Tag Archives: flight attendants

AMERICAN AIRLINES- ANOTHER AVIATION APOCALYPSE

Every veteran pilots favorite airplane- the magnificent Boeing 727

Aviation’s most recent apocalypse, the sad demise of American Airlines, seems to intensify daily. I remember well the collapse of Eastern Airlines and the horrific operational chaos that accompanied it. It now appears that the AA bankruptcy saga will display a comparable level of animosity between management and labor. Having been through far too many airline bankruptcies, I can attest that the safety quotient of an airline in the Chapter 11 phase of bankruptcy is severely reduced. The laundry list of operational problems that contribute to the reduced safety factor are too lengthy to mention.

The disintegration of the relationship between labor and management has many of the elements of an angry divorce. Most of the AA employees had, at one time, been infatuated and exhilarated with their status as an American Airline employee. The antipathy and the emotional trauma that comes with this ugly, and bitterly contested divorce will seriously jeopardize the possibility of AA to provide their customers with quality service. The following snippet is from a recent article in Business magazine and sheds additional light on the situation.

In Bankruptcy, American Airlines Looks At All Options

Pat Henneberry is an airline’s dream customer. She flies all week, every week, and buying an $800 ticket so that she can have full flexibility is standard operating procedure. She’s an American Airlines platinum customer. But she is fed up with the endless delays and cancellations.

“On Monday I didn’t get on

Henneberry says that not making her meetings is not an option.

“Next week I have five flights that I’m on with American. If I don’t get where I’m going — I own my own business — I don’t get paid,” she says.

American has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights, and its on-time performance has collapsed to a little more than 50 percent. The airline says its pilots are to blame.

“We’re talking about write-ups for things like broken coffee pots, inoperative passenger reading lights and torn seat pockets that are causing delays. They’re calling maintenance out to have those things checked and are causing delays. And those were up more than 34 percent,” American spokesman Bruce Hicks says.

In 2003, with American on the verge of collapse, the pilots, mechanics, ground crew and flight attendants gave back nearly $2 billion in concessions. Later, it emerged that the airline’s top managers quietly awarded themselves millions in bonuses, and tens of millions more when they retired. The workers have never really gotten over that betrayal.

“The history is the history,” Hicks says. “The fact is that all of our labor groups and management and non-union groups in 2003 made significant concessions to keep American Airlines out of bankruptcy. And we worked very hard to stay out of bankruptcy, but in fact we lost $10 billion over the next 10 years — $10 billion.”

On Wednesday night, it looked like there was progress. The pilots met and voted to go back to the bargaining table. After all, they’ve been without a contract since 2003 and are still working at their 1993 pay rates. But after the vote, a letter arrived from American management threatening to take the union to court if the pilots didn’t stop delaying flights.

“Within 24 hours of being invited back to the bargaining table by this management team, they fired off a letter that essentially threatens legal action against the pilots,” says Tom Hoban, who flies a 777 for American and is an officer in the union. “In that regard, it’s like a baseball bat with an olive branch wrapped around it, and they just hit us up the side of the head here. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Now the pilots are furious; they see executive duplicity once again. And as of Thursday afternoon, they’re not going back to the bargaining table. Instead, they’re meeting with their lawyers about management’s letter.

“This corporation has taken this airline from first to worst. There simply is no faith in the current leadership of this management team, which is why we’re pressing hard for a merger with US Airways and a change in leadership,” Hoban says.

And what’s American Airlines customer Pat Henneberry going to do?

“I won’t happily go back at this point. I have lived through a few of these with American Airlines. And to be honest, I’m having an incredible experience on Delta. You know, I have to do business,” she says.

Delta Airlines has cleverly matched the platinum status Henneberry has with American. So while American management fights to the death with its pilots union, its best customers are wandering off.

This blog is prepared by Allen Morris/aka Ace Abbott author of The Rogue Aviator (www.therogueaviator.com) and Dead Tired: Pilot Fatigue-Aviation’s Insidious Killer (www.deadtiredpilots.com).

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MORE CABIN CRAZINESS ON THE COMMERCIAL JET

A RARE SCENE–FLIGHT ATTENDANTS HAVING FUN!

Is the increasing number of airline cabin incidents the final verification that the Apocalypse is upon us? It seems that there are nearly one-a-day reports of passenger or passenger vs. flight attendants incidents. The number of people being arrested at airports and on airplanes appears to be skyrocketing exponentially. Today’s commercial airline travel is getting more onerous as we go and there appears to be an undercurrent of “It’s us against them,” attitude and those we call “them” are the enemy as opposed to paying customers. It is certainly a double-edged sword and these all-too-frequent confrontations are spontaneous and perhaps even blameless—unless we want to consider the possibility of the premise that the good old US of A is being undated with in-your-face confrontational people.

Rather than pontificating about airline travel let me now entertain you with the following recent news reports relating to life in the airliner cabin:

Family Tossed Off JetBlue Flight for 2-year-old’s Tantrum

When their child misbehaved, the family was removed from the plane, costing them
$2,000 out of pocket

BOSTON (KTLA) – A vacationing Rhode Island family was thrown off a recent Jet Blue
flight to Boston after their two year-old misbehaved.

Dr. Colette Vieau, her husband, and their daughters Cecelia and Natalie were trying
to fly back to Boston from a vacation in Turks and Caicos when Natalie, age 2, refused
to sit down.

Her parents got her seat belt fastened and held her in place, but the family was
kicked off the flight anyway.

Dr. Vieau described her interaction with the flight attendant over her daughters’
behavior. “We were holding them down with all of our might, seat belt on. And I
said, ‘We have them seated. Can we go now?’ She said the pilot made a decision to
turn the plane around,” Vieau said.

The airline said in a statement, “Flight 850 had customers that did not comply with
crew member instructions for a prolonged time period. The Captain elected to remove
the customers involved for the safety of all customers and crew members on board.”

But Dr. Vieau insists, “We did what we were asked to do. We weren’t belligerent,
drunk, angry or screaming. We were just having a hard time struggling with our
children.”

With no other flights that night the family was stranded. After finding a hotel
and re-booking their flights, the changes cost them an additional $2,000.

A Flight Attendant Refused To Let Passengers Off A Plane After A Video Player Went
Missing

Surging Energy Prices Are Already Taking A Toll On One Area Of The Market
Writer and tech consultant Jeff Reifman was on an Alaska Airlines flight from Miami
to Seattle when something strange happened.
Apparently, a rented video player went missing, and one of the flight attendants
was hell-bent on getting it back.
In fact, she threatened to detain them, saying that “the cabin doors would not be
opened and that passengers would not be allowed off to catch connecting flights,”
claims Reifman.
Yikes.
The “horrified” Reifman posted about the encounter on his blog, where he made the
observation that “threatening to detain all your passengers over transgressions
by other flyers is about the dumbest thing you can do for customer loyalty.”
It may not be the worst thing, but it’s up there. Any time a worker resorts to threatening
an entire group of customers, that’s not going to do anything positive for a brand.
To make matters worse for Alaska Airlines, it turns out that the flight attendant
was in the wrong anyway. The airline’s policy is to keep track of who rents the
video players so that they can check later. Plus, the player was actually located
before the flight landed in Miami in the first place.
We know this because Alaska Airlines quickly went on damage control and explained
exactly what happened on its end, which was great crisis management.
Spokesman Bobbie Egan went to Reifman’s blog and posted this apology in the comment
section of the post:
Mr. Reifman,
The flight attendant’s announcement to our passengers onboard this flight was inappropriate
and did not follow our procedures. The video player was located before the flight
landed in Miami and we should have shared this with our customers. In regards to
the suggestion that we note the seat number of passengers renting these devices,
our flight attendants are trained to do just that when renting the video players.
This step was not followed on this flight. We are following up with the crew of
this flight to make sure they understand our procedures.
I apologize for any alarm this caused you and the other passengers onboard this
flight.
Sincerely,
Bobbie Egan, Alaska Airlines spokesperson
(This incident was extracted from a recent Curt Lewis Flight Information newsletter)

US Airways Flight Diverts To PDX Over Cabin Confrontation

Couple Said To Be Trying To Join The Mile High Club

It would appear an amorous couple onboard a US Airways flight Thursday forgot the number one rule when attempting to join the Mile High Club: discretion.

US Airways Flight 1473 left Seattle, WA just before 1500 PST Thursday, en route to Las Vegas when the aircraft diverted to Portland International Airport due to a… well, disturbance on the plane.

The aircraft turned around over southern Oregon, and landed at PDX at 1700 PST.

“The people across the aisle from us were fooling around in their seats and they decided to go to the bathroom and fool around and they threatened the flight attendant,” passenger Jessica Smith.

US Airways didn’t comment on whether the couple had been caught in the act, but did acknowledge a confrontation between the two passengers and the cabin crew.

The A320 took off for Vegas once again — sans the couple, who weren’t charged or arrested — about 45 minutes later.      (A rhetorical question: If I put a blanket over my lap and have my hands underneath the blanket, can the flight attendant deem that I am masturbating and have me dropped off in West Texas or some other God-forsaken area?)

FMI: www.usairways.com

American Airlines flight attendant goes bonkers

And then we have the American Airlines flight attendant who lost her emotional bearings and started blurting out volatile and caustic statements over the cabin PA. This unusual turn of events, resulted in passengers intervening to help the other flight attendants defuse the incident. The cabin of a passenger airline is a stress-inducing environment and the “acting out” by less than stable occupants who are stuffed into these “high-speed flying culverts” will continue.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, the author of The Rogue Aviator; in the Back Alleys of Aviation. (www.therogueaviator.com)

UNION WORKERS WIN:(NFL AND FLIGHT ATTENDANTS)

FLIGHT ATTENDANTS DO HAVE MORE FUN (TRANSMERIDIAN)

Celebration of our biggest religious holiday (The Super Bowl-celebrates our cultural favorites: violence, decadence, and gluttony) is over and now we can get back to work. It should be noted that both the winners and losers were winners as a result of union representation. The NFL Players Association has represented their workers well. To complement their comfortable salary and benefits the New York Giants received an additional $78,000 per player for their win and the Patriots were held to a mere $46,000 for their afternoon of glory.  The message here is that union workers can, and do, provide a quality product for their employer. Hopefully, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, and his union busting accomplices in the state government will now reconsider their efforts to eliminate collective-bargaining amongst the many workers in Indiana, who require union protection to avoid being shoved into servitude.

There are recent victories for unions, particularly in the airline flight attendant realm. With the two unions that represent the recently merged Air Tran and Southwest Airline flight attendants have reached an agreement regarding the, always difficult, seniority list merger problem. A highlight of this agreement is that Southwest has now created a flight attendant domicile in Atlanta since most of the Air Tran flight attendants were already based there. It is interesting that Southwest Airlines has shown continual profits since its inception despite the fact that many of their workers enjoyed union representation. The Harvard business school, Wall Street Journal, and the other anti-labor entities will continue to blame company bankruptcies on the union labor, rather than the actual culprit, severe mis-management and executive greed. Sadly, too many working-class people have been buying into this misinformation and disinformation to their own detriment.

From 1987 until 1997 I worked as a Boeing 727 Captain for TEN different airlines. Please refer to Chapter 9, of my book The Rogue Aviator. The chapter title is: THE TURBULENT TEN. All of the ten airlines were nonunion and six of them went out of business while I was working for them, despite the fact that my annual salary averaged well less than $50,000 per year as a Boeing 727 Captain engaged in international charter trips. The failure of these airlines was certainly not related to expensive union employees. Luckily, I finished my aviation career with an airline, TransMeridien, that had an in-house union, and for the first time in my aviation career I received a salary that was commensurate with my experience and responsibility. Several situations erupted when the solidarity of the union stepped forward to help maintain a reasonable level of work rules and conditions. More importantly, the airlines safety quotient remained at a very high level when the check airman took stand against lowering training standards.

More good news for flight attendants: A US Airways flight attendant union recently reached an agreement with management regarding improved work rules and salaries. This was long overdue for the flight attendants at US Airways and will provide a morale boost that will create an improvement in the quality of life aboard US Airways flights. Hopefully, this agreement will reduce some of the ongoing animosity between US Airways employees and their management. More importanly, this action will benefit other airline F/As since the old cliche about the “rising tide lifts all,” is usually valid. For anyone interested in a career as a flight attendant I suggest that you go to the following website; www.flightattendantfacts.com. It provides a plethora of information regarding the many aspects of being a professional flight attendant. For additional information relating to airline F/As go to: www.thecrewlounge.com. Please see the cover of my book, The Rogue Aviator, along with the final page (see above photos) to explore some of the positive possibilities. It can be fun.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator: in the Back Alleys of Aviation. (www.therogueaviator.com)

AVIATION BLOGS

Long Before the Internet; "Taylorcraft and Angus bull"

Today’s blog posting will be an aviation blog directory for those folks that really want to find out what is happening in the aviation world. Flight crew members love to share their stories and the blog world allows for job-seeking, networking, or just light socializing.  There are surely many more than you will see on this list but this will provide quite a bit of diversity:

  1. Aero-News Network; http://www.aero-news.net/ ; This is actually a daily newsletter that covers many developments in both general aviation and commercial aviation.
  2. Jet Whine; http://www.jetwhine.com/2008/06/where-is-the-best-aviation-blog/ ; This is a diversified blog that identifies itself as “aviation buzz and bold opinion.”
  3. Curt Lewis and Associates, LLC; http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render, or email to curt@curt-lewis.com;  This is a very exploratory type of daily newsletter that covers every aviation accident and or incident around the world. It also functions as an informer of relevant events relating to the international aviation community.
  4. www.theflyingpinto.com;  This is a website for the flight attendants and it is worthwhile for non-F/As as well.
  5. http://www.invesp.com/blog-rank/Aviation; This is a list of 25 aviation blogs.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator; (www.therogueaviator.com)

Be Nice To The Flight Attendants

This rare photo of commercial airline flight attendants having fun should give airline passengers the incentive to be nice to those people that help them find their seat in the cabin and even find space for them in the overhead bins. Additional incentive will be provided by the following brief synopsis of an incident on a flight preparing for departure at Palm Beach International Airport: During the boarding process the flight attendant was attempting to make a little extra space in the overhead bin when a passenger expressed her concern about her “fragile” package. Other passengers joined this session of spontaneous combustion inflamatory rhetoric which was aimed at the helpful cabin attendant and that precipitated intervention by the Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Officers. Three passenger; a therapist, a lawyer, and a travel agent, were forcibly disembarked by the local gendarmes. Unfortunately this type of scenario plays out on an all-to frequent basis.

Airline travel has now degenerated to the lowest possible form of human interaction. The stress level that is associated with being crammed into a small tube with 150 or more people of various sizes, smells, etc. etc. is difficult to avoid.  Compound that with the probability of being deprived of bathroom privileges, along with losing the eternal battle for more elbow room and this alien, congested environment will bring the most tolerant Buddhist Monk-like personality profile to be on the brink of “losing it.”  I suggest deep-breathing exercises, meditation, what ever legal medication that alleviates stress, and always tell yourself, “This will all be over in a few hours.” I will also suggest the following advice from a professional flight attendant: (Click on this link;  http://www.rd.com/slideshows/13-things-your-flight-attendant-won%e2%80%99t-tell-you/2/  to view a primer for successful interaction with the cabin crew when you have to travel with the commercial airlines). “What The Flight Attendants Won’t Tell You” by Michelle Crouch. Perhaps this tutoring will allow the many holiday season travellers to return home in a reasonably relaxed state of mind.