The American Airlines flight attendants union asked the airline to cut service levels for passengers
because they don’t want to work because they’re concerned about the spread of Covid-19.
- Offering service means coming into closer contact with passengers
- Passengers eating and drinking means more time with masks off (though passengers may bring their own of course)
The union asked for single tray service in international business and first class and reduced beverage service in coach on all flights. And American has more or less agreed, as first highlighted by aviation watchdog JonNYC. Starting January 26,
- International first class will serve the first 3 courses (appetizer, salad, soup) all at the same time. There will be no changes to business class. Coach will get beverages at the same time as meals, with no separate beverage service beforehand.
- Domestically there are no changes to first class (still no predeparture beverages) while coach will not get a second beverage service on flights of 1500 miles or more – passengers will have to request it.
— ˜”*° JonNYC °*”˜ (@xJonNYC) January 21, 2022
This is such an odd decision on several levels.
- Cross country flights in coach won’t get a second drink. But if a customer wants it they’ll have closer contact with flight attendants, walking back to the galley, or flight attendants will be running up and down the aisles responding to call buttons.
- American just said this week that they aren’t eliminating first class but then a day later effectively eliminate the meal service flow difference.
- The flight attendants union isn’t reminding flight attendants to wear masks, encouraging them to wear better, more effective masks or distributing better masks. The biggest concern I’ve heard from flight attendants has been close contact with other unmasked crewmembers, not passengers.
- Crew aren’t being told not to go out to restaurants during layovers. The union isn’t asking the airline to end shared bus transportation to crew hotels. They aren’t trying to keep flight attendants away from crowded spaces they are asking for less work while they’re in relatively more protective environments.
- American has been encouraging and rewarding employees to get exempted from vaccination. If they hadn’t been doing this, perhaps there wouldn’t be as much risk to cabin crew and they’d be in a better position to deliver the product customers are paying for.
- Despite the need to ‘reduce touch points’ they won’t be cutting back distribution of infight credit card applications.
Needless to say, starting mid-next week, on your next American Airlines flight in back you may be thirsty. Plan accordingly.