United’s Flight Attendants Union Wants Crew To Admit When They Provide Poor Service

United’s flight attendants union says that 91% of cabin crew feel unvalued at the airline and that 99% feel their issues go unresolved. The answer, according to the AFA-CWA union, is to hire more flight attendants.

Even before the pandemic United cut flight attendant staffing in business class. They replaced proper plating of meals in the galley by a flight attendant with less attractive pre-plated meals.

The union wants staffing levels restored, and to pressure the airline as part of slow-moving contract negotiations they’re asking flight attendants to report their own poor service.

  • Normally the union would defend the service their members offer!
  • Now, though, they believe it’s strategically useful to collect examples of poor service
  • Since the argument is that poor service stems not from underperforming crew, but from staffing cutbacks
    The union is asking crew to file ‘marginal service reports’,

    [W]e encourage you to provide specific information on the marginal service conditions that exist. Using the Reports & Forms section of our MEC website, file a Marginal Service Report which will provide the MEC Officers with specific information that can be used in our discussions with management as we continue to advocate for change to the Established Staffing Guidelines in light of the increased service levels on our flights.

    Therefore, it is important for crew members to provide detailed, specific information on how the staffing and recent increased service changes have adversely impacted passenger safety and service.

    There’s no question that staffing levels matter. United needs both more and happier employees, which seemed to be the direction they were heading overall under former CEO Oscar Munoz.

    I do worry though that to the extent poor service becomes the means by which more employees get hired an incentive is created to encourage poor service.

    (HT: Live and Let’s Fly)

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’ve flown all 3 of the majors in the last 5 months and UNITED by far had the worst food in business.

  2. Hey Delta FAs – you too can enjoy ridiculous antics like this while also losing part of your monthly paycheck to union dues!

  3. “I do worry though that to the extent poor service becomes the means by which more employees get hired an incentive is created to encourage poor service.”

    Wouldn’t the incentive be the other direction? It doesn’t help incumbent FAs if new entrants get hired; it only makes them more easily replaceable.

    (Though maybe a moot point as it’s not like US3 FAs need an incentive beyond unread content on their preferred social media feeds to provide subpar service.)

  4. Poor service in the customers mind is generally related to weather requiring flight attendants to sit and not service the plane, or inadequate meal options. Neither of these are under flight attendant control. For better or worse, United knows what customers think through their surveys, and unless the cabin reports match the customer reports, this won’t end well.

  5. American cut back staffing levels as well during the pandemic and also refuses to restore prior staffing levels.

    It’s all about cost-cutting.

  6. United should restore staffing and restore the Polaris soft product to launch standards. It’s been in a sad state for too long.

  7. Dear International Pursers-

    This is a blog and not written by a professional journalist. The people who comment on these ‘blogs’ are aviation geeks or non-airline employees. Please don’t fall for the click-bait.

    When you post comments on this blog site, you diminish United Flight Attendants ability to negotiate. What these (I’m assuming white men over 40) want is subservient group of women under 30 years old to cater to their ‘needs’ and ‘desires’ and that’s why they also praise Asian and Middle East flight attendants and bag on United States Flight Attendants.

    Do not post dirty laundry on social media and ignore blogs like this and comments.

  8. Wow if Delta flight attendants vote for a union they to can wait years for a raise and work people who shouldn’t be employed there. At Delta they are much nicer better looking and energetic. Except for the old fat lazy ones who know a union will protect their job no matter how bad they are.

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