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American Airlines Flight Attendants Protest – “We Feel Your Pain”

October 14, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News,Flight Attendants | 6 comments

Flight attendants of American Airlines staged demonstrations at airports in Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and LaGuardia last week – even as their union is in talks with the carrier on a new contract.

The flight attendants want more money – after agreeing to steep pay cuts a few years back when American wasn’t flying so high. A new wrinkle: the flight attendants are trying to enlist passenger support — they say, this protest is not just about wage cuts, but what attendants call poor working conditions that have led to a “deteriorating level of service to its passengers”.

American says the usual – employees have the right to express their opinion – but what do you think?

Do the flight attendants have a point? Or have they become, unwittingly perhaps, part of the problem?

United Lays Off Flight Attendants (No Wonder Some are Surly)

August 28, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News,Flight Attendants,United | 1 comment

Next time you see a flight attendant with something less than a stellar attitude, you might consider their employment situation: United Airlines is laying off 1,500 flight attendants – to cut costs. That’s about 10% of their flight attendant work force.

And earlier this summer, American Airlines warned its flight attendants that layoff’s were coming, and that as many as 1,000 of them could be “furloughed”.

Remember, it wasn’t a flight attendant’s idea to charge you for that blanket and pillow, or to ask that you fork over $2 for that can of Diet Coke.

Most are hard working men and women who do a good job — everyday — despite having to wonder if perhaps this will be the day they’ll get the axe.

Flight Crew Power Play?

August 15, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News,Flight Attendants,Passengers | 0 comments

Stress seems to be bringing out the worst in both passengers and flight crews lately …

One could argue that air travel has become the equivalent of the dry Southern California country side, waiting for the smallest of sparks to set off a firestorm.

This latest story about a jetBlue flight crew who put an 110 pound grandma through the wringer has me wondering if common sense has completely left the building in the current aviation environment.

Recent stories about flight crews deeming your skirt too short, forcing you to sit in the bathroom on a flight, accusations of deploying evacuation slides “too quickly”, kicking your “unruly” kid off the plane– however isolated — highlight not only the “power” bestowed on flight crews but how seemingly innocuous events quickly can cascade out of control in what can only be described as testing the limits of this “power”.

The latest power play involves a grandmother,a jetBlue flight, an unruly kid, an altercation, video camera, and the COPS. We touched on this story on our Standard Upright Position blog yesterday, but Chris Elliott and the team at the WSJ’s Middle Seat Terminal deserve the credit for getting it the story out.

Here’s my summary of the details provided by Chris and listening to the podcast interview (link below): the grandma, Marilyn Parver, recorded a minor altercation between two passengers regarding a screaming child. When she refused to relinquish the video, the flight crew threatened to blacklist her, and then said she was interfering with them, a federal crime. She was then greeted by officers and escorted off the plane. After refusing to delete the video, at the request of jetBlue rep who was part of the greeting party, she was arrested and thrown in the pokey.

You can hear Marilyn Parver’s side of the story on the IAG Podcast “The Granny vs. jetBlue”. She claims that all she did was take the video. She did not even get out of her seat. Now she does have an exclusive deal with ABC GMA for the video (evidently the story is not exclusive given her exhaustive recounting of the event) — but listening to her you don’t get the feeling she spends to much time on YouTube or planning her next viral response video to a John McCain political ad.

Oh, just in case you’re wondering if shooting videos on a plane is cause to get the police involved, check out the in-flight cabin video below of how one of our employees spent last Christmas…

Flight Crew Power Play?

American Flight Attendants: Should They Have Deployed Slides?

August 7, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News,Flight Attendants | 4 comments

Did you happen to catch the video of that American jet that made an emergency landing at LAX this week because passengers reported smelling smoke?

Those passengers exited the craft on evacuation slides — per orders of the flight attendants. Note: ultimately, investigators found no evidence of smoke, fire or any mechanical problem.

Meanwhile, the evacuation temporarily closed two runways — and now, according to a Wall St. Journal report, the flight attendants are under scrutiny for not consulting with the pilot before deploying the slides. They didn’t have to, but it is “routine” to.

People can get injured evacuating by slides. On the other hand, smoke and the possibility of fire is nothing to fool with. What do you think?

Amid 4th of July Celebrations — Remembering the Airline Crews of 9/11

July 4, 2008 | Posted in: Flight Attendants,News,Pilots | 0 comments

A ceremony is taking place near Dallas today, in the smallish town of Grapevine, Texas.

A dedication ceremony — to honor the 33 airline crew members who died on September 11, 2001.

They deserve to be remembered — because they were magnificent. By all accounts (from personal cell phone calls, from final communications with headquarters), these men and women were professional, compassionate and caring til the end. I’m sure they were scared. Who on the face of this planet would not be? But they did their jobs, and they did what they could to take care of their passengers. That is a quiet sort of heroism, an every day gallantry that we so rarely recognize or praise — until a day like September 11th.

I think those lost crew members would have loved their memorial… not because of the beautiful sculpture that is its focal point…but because it was built by those who cherished them, and miss them every day. It began with a determined American flight attendant named Valerie Thompson who came up with the idea, and she was soon joined by many in the aviation community — unpaid volunteers, every one of them — including pilots and flight attendants who fly in and out of DFW and call little Grapevine home.

But it wasn’t just the aviation community. People with no connection to any airline, people who never even learned the names of the dead crew members felt a need to honor them, and they began sending in what they could, a dollar at a time. It is moving to learn that most of the money for the memorial came from these small donations, whatever people could spare, until finally there was enough.

And so they built their memorial. And we will not forget.

ON NOTICE: 900 American Flight Attendants Could Get Axed

July 2, 2008 | Posted in: Flight Attendants | 0 comments

American Airlines has sent a so-called WARN letter to 900 of its flight attendants, in effect notifying them that they could be out of a job by the end of August.

Such a letter (WARN is an acronym for “Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act”) is a federal requirement if layoffs are possible — and American has already said that employee reductions are expected.

For what it’s worth (not much, probably), United pilots can sympathize — last month that carrier announced its plans to “furlough” 950 pilots.

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