Leaked Memo: Flight Attendants To Be Penalized for Missing Inflight Sales Quotas

United copied American Airlines launching onboard credit card pitches last month. Flight attendants benefit from signups, but aren’t penalized if you don’t sign up.

Ancillary revenue and customer segmentation are huge buzz words in aviation. It’s how already-profitable airlines think they can make more money. Segmentation usually happens when they sell you a ticket, do you buy basic economy, regular economy, or premium economy? But they also have you captive the full length of the flight. You may be bored. And you can’t ignore the sales pitches.

The front line sales people are flight attendants, and for an airline that can get away with it, pairing incentive payments with penalties is the logical way to goose more ancillary revenue from passengers during the flight.

One airline it seems is doing just that, according to a leaked memo. Ryanair flight attendants have sales quotas for a variety of items.

Ryanair cabin crew are required to sell eight scratch cards each per day or face action, an internal staff memo shows.

…“If the same crew members names appear to not be reaching their daily targets [they] will be met with by their supervisor and further action taken.”

Ryanair cabin crew’s daily targets also include selling one bottle of perfume a day, one meal deal, and one item of fresh food.

Copyright: trevorbenbrook / 123RF Stock Photo

The charity scratch cards flight attendants are supposed to sell at €2 apiece offer a €1 million jackpot — in theory — but no one has ever actually won that much. Because the winner then has to pick out an envelope with a prize out of 125 envelopes and only one comes with the million euro prize. Last year’s winner won 50,000.

You don’t have to buy, but it’s hard not to listen. If you’re flying Ryanair you’re likely choosing your flights purely on schedule and price, and a few more inflight sales presentations aren’t going to drive away your future business.

(HT: Alan H.)

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. I thought flight attendants where mainly here for our safety? 😉
    But then again… it’s RyanAir

  2. Ughh, I didn’t know American and United started that. I forget to mention that when I write about why I hate Frontier. They litterally spent 10 minutes towards the end of the flight pitching their (crappy) card. Then went around and asked everyone individually if they wanted to sign up.

  3. If you’re cheap enough to fly RyanAir, you shouldn’t complain. It’s like going to a vacation for a discount knowing you have to listen to a timeshare pitch and complaining about the timeshare pitch.

  4. Wonder how many of these FAs end up buying some themselves each day vs dealing with management. Buy 2 yourself if you’re at 6, €4 is probably not worth getting bitched at.


  5. How much is the surcharge for a no soliciting seat? Or is that another potential in flight sale item?
    Does the plane go into a holding pattern or stay on the runway until quotas are met?

  6. I had the extreme displeasure of flying Frontier Airlines a couple of weeks ago and will never make that mistake again. From the moment I selected a flight, online, it was nothing but upsell, upsell, upsell. until the moment I got off of the plane. Even when you are merely trying to check in online, their website is again trying to upsell. I am certain they will soon find a way to charge for restroom use and simply breathing on the aircraft. The last straw was the strong arm sales pitch for their credit card prior to landing. Even water and coffee were a charge and thank heaven I was thinking ahead and at least brought my water.

  7. It’s bad enough some FA’s and quite a few pilots love to hear themselves talk. Now we have to listen to them yak about a credit card. I especially enjoy it when they interrupt the movie to tell us all about it. Too bad the FA call button isn’t a PA for us; “Shut up and Fly!”

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