Flight Attendants Complain That American Airlines Is Sending ‘Snitches’ On Board To Write Them Up

American Airlines is sending auditors on flights to monitor flight attendant safety performance. It’s a partnership with the flight attendants union – which doesn’t appear to have asked for anything in return, despite being in protracted negotiations and reporting out to members little progress.

Some flight attendants are calling LOSA-C, the Line Operations Safety Audit-Cabin program the “snitch” program, with crew

This new program will complement the existing Flight LOSA and Dispatch LOSA
programs, allowing for a more complete picture of operational safety.

What is Cabin LOSA?

This peer-to-peer program will observe cabin crew members’ natural behaviors in the operation in rder to quickly identify safety trends, mitigate risks, and make meaningful changes to our policies, procedures and training. American’s Cabin LOSA is unlike any other audit or observation program:

• Developed in partnership between American and the APFA
• All data collected is safety-related, confidential, and de-identified
• Observations are not check rides and are strictly non-punitive
• Participation in the program is voluntary Observations are completely voluntary, and all data collected is de-identified and non-punitive. The program ensures confidentiality and anonymity of all flight attendants observed. The observer will ask all flight attendants for their permission to observe the flight. If any flight attendant declines to be observed, the observer will not conduct the observation and any future discussion of the declination will be de-identified.

What a LOSA is not…

A LOSA is not a “check-ride” and is strictly non-punitive. All data collected is de-identified safety data. Collected data is securely maintained, and is shared through American Airlines’ Safety Management System (SMS) meetings where stakeholders drive changes based on such data. Cabin LOSA data is collected by line-qualified flight attendants who act as observers in the cabin. By observing normal processes, trends can be identified, and changes can be made to improve operational safety. Cabin LOSA is strictly a safety program, and as such, only data related to safety is recorded by the observer.

American Airlines re-assures crew that the audits are being performed by “non-threatening” employees riding in the jumpseat and taking notes on their behavior.

However some crew find working in new domestic ‘Oasis’ galleys, that have limited workspace (because it’s been condensed to make room for more seats) challenging enough as it is. American highlights that it hopes to see lower insurance costs out of the program, improved employee morale (?), and lower costs from workplace injuries. Here is one such communication:

Crew don’t seem to entirely believe the company that participation is voluntary, and that refusals are kept anonymous.

American Airlines is not monitoring cabin crew service. There’s no report on whether they serve predeparture beverages, address customers by name, or hang jackets in first class. After all, they believe flight attendants are here primarily for your safety.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. How about giving those stewardesses a raise for morale AA? All this and AA still can’t give these people a new contract. Delta has upped their contract and the morale is the best all with no union too

  2. @ Fly So hard
    You just said it all right there… “the morale is the best all with no union too”
    That is the answer to your question why things don’t happen. Let Delta unionize and we will see quickly how things change.

  3. Delta hasn’t upped their contract because Delta doesn’t have a contract, as you mentioned they are non-union.

  4. If you are doing a job correctly, there is no need to worry. Virtually every job / industry has reviews/audits – this allows the employer to maintain quality control while letting work groups know areas that could use improvement. It also lets the employer identify potential weaknesses in their own policies.

    Side note, while I have encountered many excellent flight attendants who do a great job, there appears to be an increasing number who seem to not follow their company’s procedures / service standards. Hopefully these audits allow AA to identify ways of bringing this subgroup of under-performers back into compliance while also identifying areas seeing if there are ways AA itself can improve its own procedures.

  5. Unaccountable cabin crews play a big role in AA’s quality ratings and brand perceptions. Lazy, angry, or rebellious staff do tangible damage (by opting to drop promised service elements, treating customers rudely, etc.). I think management has every right to manage its employees, via this tactic or others. Many overseas carriers do not have such rogue-staff issues because a manager is on board.

  6. On a recent flight, I noticed the flight attendant start putting away loose items in the gallery when the captain said, “Flight attendants, take your jump seats”. The turbulence wasn’t too bad, but next time it could be. This is the kind of safety issue which could be addressed through this program.

  7. Unaccountable cabin crews play a big role in AA’s quality ratings and brand perceptions. Lazy, angry, or rebellious staff do tangible damage (by dropping promised service elements, treating customers rudely, etc.).

  8. In the pass AA would have “ghost riders” supervisors in passenger seats to spy and write reports on all phases service, safety demos, grooming, etc.

  9. I worked in the service industry in high school & college. I’ve worked in both restaurants & major department stores. Every place I’ve worked has had mystery shoppers. They were very descriptive in reporting us. By name. Because of this, we knew to offer the best customer service. It worked.

  10. For a year and a half I drove a hotel both UA and AA crews from their hotel to the airport and back. For the most part I noticed a big difference between the two. The UA crews seemed full of joy. They loved exploring our area and seemed to have a great esprit de corps. They also seemed to be on a fairly good rhythm with relatively predictable schedules. The AA crews came and left piecemeal. We’d pick up one or two crewmembers at a time, sometimes every several hours, at different intervals. Us drivers got the impression that the AA crews were being jerked around left and right. Also, AA seemed to be more aggressive with either adding flights or quickly dropping full fledged AA flights to their regional subcontractors, or keeping their full fledged flights well into the shoulder season. Sometimes crew members would be difficult and demanding with us or our front desk and the AA crews w were in the majority. AA crews also seemed grumpier as a whole. Both airlines had wonderful people, but I can say the UA crews were considered the nicer of the two. We all agreed we would rather work for United. We were front-line employees who are very familiar with dealing with the public while at the same time dealt with driving in all kinds of weather with roads that were often dangerous. The idea that AA employees feel the leash getting shorter doesn’t surprise me. To all of you, grumpy or not, I still want to lett you know it was an honor to have you riding with me. Thanks for doing what you do.

  11. This program likely means worse in-flight service, as FAs consider things like PDB service to be “crossing the picket line” and undermining those (lazier) FAs who do not wish to see PDB service return. I suspect the dynamic exists on other aspects of in-flight service as well. If you’re an FA who is otherwise inclined to provide service, you’re more likely to think twice if your colleagues will not only know that you do so, but will also conveniently have the ability to retaliate by criticizing your “safety” performance.

  12. As an actual flight attendant with American Airlines, if given the option of union or no union, I would choose UNION every time

    The overwhelming majority of us like our union, so, I don’t know who you speak for

  13. I will refuse this on any of my flights. First off our problems are service, not safety. Our Service is poor because we simply do not have the FA staffing to do a proper service. Friendliness goes both ways…..try being nice to your Flight Attendant. Don’t bring me candy or gifts, just smile and say hello.

    Again I will be refusing this for 2 reasons. The company refuses to negotiate with our Union, and our Union agreed on this without membership approval. Something this Union does often & I have zero respect for them and have no intention of voting for the contract when presented. Too much taking from the company, and nothing in return. Second this new process will be taking a jumpseat out of inventory. A much needed jumpseat needed for commuters such as myself trying to get to Dallas or other bases to start our trips. Perhaps they should give them a positive space seat and NOT TAKE OUR OPTION AWAY FROM US TO GET TO AND FROM WORK.

    I don’t think it will be much of an issue for me as I fly long flights, but it will definitely impact my ability to get to and from work. Hard no for me if asked to be observed. After 37 years I have nothing to hide. Just frustrated by not given the tools to do my job. That is where the problem lies.

  14. I applied for a flight attendant snitch job just like this in the 80s! Did they not know this has been an industry practice?!

  15. @Barbara. You are commuter concern about a taking a jump seat out of inventory. Every time you commute to and from your base in Dallas you are also taking seat out of inventory. Now non-rev families and lower standby classes do get to board as most commuters do not ride the jump seat.

  16. Hard pass for me as an AA FA. If management would give us the TOOLS and staffing we need to get the job done in a friendly efficient manner, and finally get us a decent contract proposal, it might be another story. They fail us daily and in turn it rolls down to our customers. Sad.

  17. Flight Attendants, particularly at AA tend to believe that the world exists because of them and not the other way around. The attitude generally speaking on a good day from most of them is hostile, if the service element is hostile, it tends to usually indicate indifference at other levels of the job scope regardless of field of work. Just reading the comments of some of them here is fairly indicative of that attitude of entitlement. LOSA audits are part of most if not all airlines larger SMS programs, front line staff dont get a say in if an airline has SMS reporting culture. It is exists for the passengers, employees and greater good.

  18. They are members of the Union. there is no accountability. Good luck ever trying to get one fired

  19. LOL, this just proves my point again that AA is a hostile work environment. So glad I made the decision to jump ship to another airline, sometimes the grass is greener on the other side. I’m now getting paid better and don’t feel like management is out to get me at my new airline.

  20. @Joe you clearly are NOT THINKING CLEARLY. I 99% take the jumpseat, but after a 16 hour flight? I have every right to have a comfy seat and NOT a jumpseat, just as much as you. It is rare that I ever Non-rev for pleasure. I buy tickets these days. I commute because AA took my rights away at my base, so I had to go where they couldn’t put me back on reserve 3 times a year after 37 years of service.

    Again I usually take the jumpseat allowing as many non-revs as possible on. So think again……that person that will be observing safety ONLY ( Not service, safety only) will be taking that jumpseat and pushing me into taking a seat over you and your family getting the seat. Your loss, not mine.

    None of you truly know the problems we are facing at work. It’s not safety, it’s service and it suffers because we don’t have the tools or enough FA’s to do our service. We aren’t spoiled and pampered. We are left to our own creativity to make a service work without having all we need.

    I have zero fear of being called

  21. Every worker everywhere, from a bus driver to a president, is subject to performance measurement. Contending that living with a bad (or just myopic) management, or the unique physical stress of the gig, earns some cohort a pass from monitoring and assessment — not to mention obligations to adhere to service delivery standards – will seem quaint to the 99% of us who have to hit professional marks every day.

    AA is far from the only airline with workers who frame this argument from time to time, but it’s no more convincing for being common.

  22. All.of you are missing the whole thing. These people are not going to be put on board to make service better! This is all about safety. We have to adhere to so many safety FAR’s and procedures. It’s not Rocket science to do our jobs. Just comply to the safety standards. There are so many already non-punitive ways to report people for not complying. Think about it people….safety. This so called Audit you are believing this to be has nothing to do with Service. It’s not going to make your flight more enjoyable or get AA to offer you more amenities. That is beyond the scope of this program. It has nothing to do with how we do service or Sadly on many flights how they DON’T do service. We are micro-managed more than you can imagine. This is just beyond necessary.

    Why not hope that AA puts more money into improving your flight experience. Isn’t that what you really want?

  23. @Barbara I don’t know if they have similar policies, but on the flight side LOSA observers won’t take the jumpseat away from a pilot who needs it to travel. If the LOSA observer’s presence in the jumpseat will deny boarding to a nonrev, then the observer takes a different flight. Hopefully the LOSA-C observers will have a similar policy.

  24. I’m not a flight attendendant but I do work for AA so I’m familiar with our corporate culture. AA preaches caring for people along life’s journey, but they rarely put it into practice with customers and even more rarely with employees. This sounds a lot like if someone were to come sit in my cubicle to observe and try to get me to believe that their reports did not reflect on me personally. AA is delusional if they think an extra body “observing” doesn’t actually impact the very employee performance they claim to be impartially “not measuring.” While there likely are a few flight attendants not working to standards I’m sure the vast majority are. I support them and am grateful for the hard work they do and the important role they play in our company. AA management needs to get a clue.

  25. You all can hate on me all you want but FA’s are not the end-all. I find it ridiculous that we are supposed to look at FA’s as if they are something special. As a coach pax, we are treated as almost non-existent & FA’s act like they just put up with us. I feel like we just better be friendly but I don’t want to be because they aren’t. But I don’t want kicked off either. AA has way more unfriendly gate agents, check-in agents, & flight attendants than any other airline I have flown. It must be a horrible employer but please stop taking it out on all of us peons! PLEASE!

  26. @Dora the Explorer…actually I am special. You can ask one of the other commenters on this post. I had to school him in that as well. I certainly hope you think you are special yourself. Now every time you come across a grumpy F/A just slap a smile on your face and kill them with kindness. Every 5th passenger that boards my plane is in a grumpy mood. I slap on a smile because I’m special and pretty soon they start acting like a decent human being and actually smile back. Learn how to work it girl!

  27. CS and ramp agents, who get paid less, are constantly audited. Sometimes known and sometimes not. As shown by the comments here from actual FA’s, many are scared of this and have an entitled attitude. This seems like a critical program to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort. And stop complaining about “grumpy” passenger. This will never change and the best employees who deal with customers will do their best to change grumpy to happy.

  28. American very close to bankruptcy. Just cut all commissions to travel agencies as they try to dis-associate themselves from their GDS Commissions. No one will be booking AA. The writing’s on the wall. Nice deflection by AA’s PR making you look at the da’s on the plane. Remember they don’t get paid until the door closes. R.I.P. AA !

  29. @John C – American still does have ghost riders that do all of those things. LOSA is a totally different program. It doesn’t replace ghost rides or check rides. Those never went away.

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