United Airlines Union May Require Fewer First Class Seats [Roundup]

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • United Airlines had said they would put 16 first class seats on their retrofitted Airbus A320s, however they may be sticking with 12 seats – because their flight attendants union balked at a single flight attendant working the cabin, and United wouldn’t pay for a second one.

  • Meanwhile United Airlines spends its nights dreaming about political leaders. Aviation is one of the most highly regulated industries, U.S. airlines have been subsidized since birth, and we partially nationalized them during the pandemic. So, not surprising really.

  • Place lockers at airport gates? People go to their gates and anchor. It’s why OTG puts iPads at gates and delivers food. Concessionaires should pay for lockers because people will roam more and buy snacks. Sadly, the ‘if your stuff isn’t with you it must be dangerous’ crowd will likely trump good sense.

  • Entitled parent takes a man’s seat, demands he pay to upgrade her if he wants her to move, then claims he must be a child molester to want his seat which is next to her kids.

  • Drunk, Memorial Day, New Orleans and…

  • Renovated Singapore Airlines lounge in Hong Kong expected to open by late summer

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. The locker idea is a good one. History coming full circle but I would guess that people either wouldn’t use them at like $10 an hour or if cheap they’ed be full all the time. Maybe they can bring back the seat mounted little b&w tv sets that took quarters. It wasn’t much but better than being forced to watch CNN.

  2. You could literally write the headline to be “United airlines management may require fewer first first seats” as they’re unwilling to pay for the extra flight attendant.

  3. I agree with Daniel. United management wants to increase first class seats, but they’re too cheap to properly staff it.

  4. ‘properly staff’ i mean 1 american airlines crewmember serves meals to 20 first class passengers on the a321

    where do you see 2 first class flight attendants staffing 16 seats in the u.s.?

  5. Lockers sound like a great idea. Several years back my wife was hurt on a trip, she was using a wheelchair on the flight back. The logistics of handling our carry-ons while taking her to the bathroom were a royal pain.

    It’s basically the definition of leaving your bags unattended, though, so it’s not going to happen.

  6. Lockers are a welcome and pleasant idea for people who plan ahead and are aware of their own schedules and of airline gate announcements. (I am a big fan of luggage lockers found in some European train stations) Unfortunately it is clear that a substantial number of travelers are not that kind of passenger.

    I hope I am wrong, but I would be concerned about the whole system being rendered unusable due to careless use by unthinking passengers. You may end up with lockers full of items either forgotten entirely, or been left too late or too far away to retrieve before boarding. (Even if they are placed conveniently at each gate, remember these are our fellow travelers who cheerfully slap their oversized bags into the the overheads at the front of the plane as they shuffle down to their seat in the rear. And will they remember to retrieve their things when there is a gate change?)

    Passengers will either loudly demand that the airport/airline return their property (at no cost) or simply park their goods (leaving that locker unavailable to others) until their return trip brings them back to that airport.

    Perhaps I have thought “this is why we cant have good things” to many times. Bring on the lockers!

  7. I think 20 pax in domestic First is a reasonable number to serve. You just don’t get 2/3rds of the flight off to do nothing behind your curtain. Or they should unbundle the seat and the service. Basic first and Full Service First.

  8. Thank you for calling out the UA FA’s opposition of a competitor’s standard here. Holding the airline back and frankly the odds of having well funded benefits to be uncompetitive in a premium cabin.

  9. United staffs 2 FAs for 16F on the 737-800/757-200, 2 for 20F on the 737-900 and 2 for 24F on the 757-300.

    And United’s first class service generally less extensive than American’s.

    I maintain that this is all about trying to force UA into restoring (higher-paying, more senior) international widebody staffing. If UA goes back to pre-COVID staffing on the widebodies, watch 16F with 1 FA become a reality on the A320. A320 trips are usually less productive and more junior as it is (more turns, shorter legs) so ultimately this is about protecting senior FAs.

  10. I laugh reading posts like this. In 30 years of flying up front coast-t0-coast,, I have probably seen TWO flight attendants who actually work the whole flight. They serve the drinks, the meals, pour the wine, pick up the trays, and that’s the last you see of them … they’re aft in the galley yakking away with all the other FAs. Or, far worse, the other FAs come up to the front galley and yak. That’s what FAs do … work about 3 hours, yak two hours and work the last hour … but I suppose it should be referred to ‘waiting to make the flight safer for me’, not yakking.

  11. To those who want luggage lockers at airports, don’t they remember “The Boston Bombers”, September 11th, the bombing of the World Trade Center prior to September 11th, the IRA putting bombs in train lockers in Ireland, the bombing at Olympic Park in 1996…want me to go on? Lockers are convenient but… In this day and age when morons try to carry weapons through security checks (and some get away with it!!) are you SURE you want lockers for your convenience? Not me.

  12. Explain to me how asking one FA to service 16 pax in F is making them work too hard when 2 FAs are often serving more than 100 pax in the back of the plane? Flight crews need to stop their incessant whining about how hard they have it and focus on doing their jobs…which do not include parking their rear ends in the jump seat and reading a book while they ignore the people who pay their paychecks. If passing a couple of rounds of drinks and some snacks to 16 or 20 people is too hard maybe it’s time to find a new job.

  13. @ Frank — Not fair. SOME FAs are lazy, but many take great pride in their jobs and do more than is required.

  14. LOL. No. Most. The vast majority. The ones that do what they’re supposed to do are a tiny, tiny minority. And they don’t hold the lazy trash accountable, so I’m OK with painting them with the same brush.

  15. Lockers would generate revenue!
    Surprised the bean sniffers haven’t discovered this yet…..

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