American Airlines has sent a reminder to flight attendants not to go above and beyond for passengers in economy, as first revealed by aviation watchdog JonNYC. The airline told cabin crew that they shouldn’t give economy passengers blankets, pillows, or treats from business class. American framed this as consistency, which is to say making sure that there are no occasional surprise and delight moments in the coach cabin.
As part of our commitment to ensuring a consistent customer experience, please refrain from offering Premium Cabin amenities/service items (i.e. pillows, blankets, amenity kits, and certain food items) to customers who are not seated in a Premium Cabin.
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) November 7, 2023
No meaningful effort is being made, of course, to ensure a consistent customer experience in premium cabins – such as that predeparture beverages are provided consistently.
Since there’s little actual enforcement of service standards – aside from telling flight attendants not to go above and beyond using company resources – some cabin crew feel emboldened to create their own makeshift barriers that ensure they aren’t approached by passengers.
Hey @AmericanAir. Do @FAANews, @FAASafetyBrief, @USDOT, and @Transport_gc allow your crews to block off access to rear exits DURING flight so your FA’s can sit and chat ? Seatbelt harnesses connected together. AA2804 DFW-YYZ, 29 Oct 2023. #safetyfail, #clueless, #infuriating pic.twitter.com/iGJ1KUVJaj
— Lori Soler (@lorikaycan) October 31, 2023
While American Airlines is telling flight attendants not to offer amenity kits to passengers in economy, prior to the pandemic Delta actually made that a standard for their international coach product along with a welcome cocktail, hot towels, and mixing and matching choice of appetizer and entrees with dessert served as a separate course.
Delta hasn’t returned to this. Indeed, Delta’s operation overall isn’t as good as it was prior to 2020. But they repeat the mantra of ‘premium’ over and over while American – with an equally high cost base and need to for customers to pay more – is telling crew not to do little extras when warranted to make passengers more comfortable. Indeed, a year ago American told flight attendants to keep passengers from moving to otherwise-empty seats that have extra legroom. And this isn’t even The Onion.