Hoisted From the Comments: Why So Many American Flight Attendants Hate Providing You Service

On Tuesday I wrote that American is encouraging their flight attendants to offer predeparture beverages in premium cabins.

It’s an ‘optional’ though desirable service element, in that flight attendants aren’t going to take the time to offer beverages if it delays a flight. A late boarding that’s done quickly for instance, the priority is an on-time departure.

But it’s certainly possible most of the time. Delta manages it consistently (and they have better on-time performance than American does..). Yet American flight attendants have been inconsistent at best at offering this.

You can call this a ‘first world problem’ and it is. When you run from one flight to the next you easily go 90+ minutes without access to a glass of water. Predeparture beverages are a nice feature of domestic first class. They’re appreciated when offered.

The good news is that American’s reminder in crew communications that “first impressions are lasting impressions” seems to be working — at least for now. Both my flights on Tuesday offered predeparture beverages. I was offered something last night as well — just water prepoured on a tray, but this was a flight that was 10 minutes late to board.

The less good news? The folks in the comments of my post identifying themselves as American Airlines flight attendants.

Randy said,

I will not serve pre departures till we are paid for boarding the aircraft

I’ve found that legacy US Airways flight attendants are more likely to offer predeparture beverages than American ones. Monique disagrees and points out that they’re now expected to do more service than they used to as US Airways (remember, US Airways elites were hungry). She said,

Yea first world problem…it’s really not that important. I can tell you as a US Airway FA based in Philly, we hate doing these PDB, most of you be so ungrateful. The AA FAS do it far more than we do, and this merger is a nightmare…they even want me be cooking meals in first class now, you should all bring your own food and drink if it’s such a big deal and stop whining like babies.

The most common themes in flight attendant comments were:

  • They aren’t being paid until the door closes, so why should they do ‘extra’ work before then?

  • American won’t offer profit sharing to flight attendants. If flight attendants don’t control profit, then it shouldn’t matter what service they provide.

  • They’re often miscatered and that eats up time they could have served beverages.

Some of course just don’t like their customers very much and want tips. (Should you tip flight attendants?)

You bought the seat in 1st. The service is optional. FAs are on board to save your ass not kiss it. …Are there no drinking fountains or restrooms in the terminal? Why do people come on and want to use 1st class bathroom when it’s the right by the boarding door and extremely inconvienient. Because you are so self absorbed , you whine about everything. Walk a day in someone else’s shoes for a change. Tip your flight attendant. They make less than minimum wage working double the hours they get paid for. You tip the waitress that brings your food why is this job any different?

DP made an impassioned case that they have lots of priorities and that drinks aren’t that important (again, though other airlines’ flight attendants manage them also) and also offered that serving drinks and hanging coats aren’t part of their job, since in all of the training DP received “[n]ot one time have they shown me how to pour a drink or hang a jacket.” That’s sad if true.

To say the issue stirred passions would be an understatement. One response to a passenger commenter? “STFU you uneducated [expletive] MORON!!!”

A year ago I wrote about whether flight attendants deserve to be paid for time spent during boarding. Most people intuitively feel that they should. In a formal sense they may not be, but in a very real sense they really are paid for that time regardless of how the calculation is done.

Most flight attendants in the U.S. are represented by unions and the terms of their contract — when they are paid, how much, what kinds of expense allowances they receive (to name just a few items) — are intensely negotiated over long periods of time by specialists acting on their behalf. And each contract is a balance of costs, getting the most for flight attendants and those things their union has determined are most important, and ‘giving’ on those things they consider less important, as the airline looks to balance their total labor costs.

In other words, flight attendants and their representatives have carefully considered and agreed to the current method of pay in exchange for other benefits they receive and in exchange for the wage they’re earning for the time that is paid.

Although in fairness, some of American’s flight attendants — seemingly disproportionately represented in the comments here — don’t much like their union.

Definitely read all the comments.

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. Some of those FA’s who commented sound like an absolute joy to fly with. I sure hope I never have the pleasure of their company!

  2. To me, clarification would help. Are they really not paid until the door closes? As in, they are hourly, non-exempt employees who are not earning a wage until the door closes?

    If that’s the case, it sounds like they need a better arrangement. At the point they queue up at security in a uniform, they should be paid.

    If not, then the PDB drama is entirely unwarranted.

  3. Gary –
    I am saddened by the remarks made by the AA an former USAir FAs
    I too have seen the service deteriorate and while I understand if the flight is late boarding
    they maybe unable to serve beverages – but I fly many domestic airlines – DL, UA, jetBlue
    etc in First Class and they all seem to be able to board and provide the SERVICE associated with paying the premium.
    Also I know for a fact that the FAs at the NEW AA received significant raises – and honestly –
    if they feel they aren’t paid to provide service and their job is safety – welllll – while safety is their priority – service is what differentiates the airlines … good service will encourage flyers to return.
    I think honestly – if you don’t like your job or feel you aren’t being paid enough – maybe you should consider getting a different Job and don’t take it out on those of us who – technically – are paying your salaries.
    Wishing everyone –

  4. I agree we are talking about a “first world problem” (if the word “problem” is even appropriate)…but I am still appalled by the acrimony of some of the FA’s comments. At least some of the people flying in the 1st class cabin paid a pretty penny to be sitting there and this airline income is what is used to pay the wages of airline employees. Others have paid for and/or flown 6-figure-plus miles, so they may be enjoying a “free” benefit — but they did so by demonstrating loyalty to AA/US. I realize “loyalty” is increasingly becoming a one-way street but it still should be worth something. It wasn’t so long ago people considered themselves lucky to have a job. I’m not so sure who’s doing the whining here….

  5. “I will not serve pre departures till we are paid for boarding the aircraft”

    Just shameful. To whatever point Randy has a cognizable argument, the attitude indicates a willingness to air rank and file grievances with management to the customer – a terrible practice in any industry.

  6. They might be paid hourly and the clock doesn’t officially start until the door is closed but I’m sure their hourly wage takes in to account the boarding process. If they want to be paid for the additional 15 minutes of boarding I’m sure they could but then I’m sure their hourly rate would go down and they would make the exact same if not less. It’s just a mindset issue of “I’m not on the clock yet so I don’t have to do anything”

  7. The same people complaining about not being paid for boarding would then complain about their lower hourly pay even if they made the same. I disgruntled employee is a disgruntled employee no matter what you do

  8. If flight attendants were on-the-clock during boarding, it would incentivize them to drag out the process. The current system incentivizes them to board as quickly as possible, and the no-nonsense service during this period is an unintended consequence. Perhaps the solution is an hourly rate once the door closes, plus a flat rate for boarding?

  9. U.S. culture doesn’t admire people who work for free (outside of charity.) When someone works for free, we tend to view them as unsophisticated or perhaps even worse.

    So why do we pounce with such venom when a group of workers actually has the stones to tell their employer, “No, I will not work for free.”

  10. You said it, Louise!

    Agreed, if the FAs don’t like the working conditions, then find another job. Really–it’s not like the FAs don’t know what they are getting into.

    Also: the wage structure should be changed so the FAs are paid when the enter the aircraft.

    How are FAs on other (non-US) airlines paid? How is it that they can provide better service? Are they paid more? Do they have better union representation?

    I think part of the issue is that when FAs first started out many decades ago–think Catch Me if You Can– a job as a “stewardess” was a glam job for young women. Those 20- somethings were not so picky as the older, middle age (and higher!) FAs we see currently. Nor were (some of) the passengers such unappreciative lowlifes as they are today.

    It’s a whole different game now and that is why the wage structure needs to be redfined.

  11. Might there be a relationship between the FA’s grousing over whether or not they are paid for boarding (and all it may entail) and the airlines’ endless efforts to squeeze additional revenue for things that used to be included in the price one paid for one’s ticket? I can only hope AA’s senior executives responsible for the customer experience and the AAdvantage program pay attention to this particular blog entry!

  12. I work for Delta connection, where we have 25-30 minute turns. There is also rarely much of a break between boarding first and coach. However, I want to provide the best experience to our customers and it is what is expected of us. Every international carrier I have flown with offered a PDB. If we want passengers to fly with us, we should provide service. In fact, I wish we were given more to help the customer experience. American does not get this and with devaluation of its mileage chart, more passengers will switch over to DL.

  13. Regarding whether they are paid when the door is not closed, it is my understanding that while they are not directly paid for the time while the door is open, but when the hourly rate is negotiated that was factored in their inflight hourly rate (higher hourly rate) to compensate for the “downtime” where they have to be on the plane, but aren’t being paid for that time.. With that said, FAs are technically being paid for the time they spend on the aircraft before and after each flight.

    If the FAs want to start being paid the every minute their foot is on the plane, then expect lower inflight hourly wages. In other words, you will still be paid the same.

  14. i am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sick of this ‘we’re here to save your ass, not kiss it’ delusional mentality of US FA’s. i’ve heard it parroted countless times to me/other passengers when asking for such luxuries as a stupid blanket (ie: they point out their job is ‘our safety’ and they’ll get to it if/when they get the chance). i’ve seen a medical emergency on a plane twice. the FA’s were so clueless and ambivalent to, in 1 case, an unconscious older man, that it was shocking. non-medically trained passengers stepped in bc the FA’s didn’t know how to check for a pulse- i am NOT kidding.

    our safety? ahhh… not really. in the HIGHLY unlikely event that there is a slide evac on one of their flights in their ‘career’, that training entails telling you to take off your shoes and stay in the middle of the slide! that’s it, folks. as a ‘on point’ song once said:

    sanitation expert and a maintenance engineer
    garbage man
    and you, my dear…
    an (American) flight attendant
    my , oh my
    you ain’t nothing but a waitress in the sky

    don’t let the drink cart hit you in the ass when you quit and take the only other job your qualified for at Denny’s. FA’s who understand their job (ya know, the one you willingly applied for because you wanted free travel) and treat their CUSTOMERS with respect, i also treat with respect. the % on US vs intl carriers is, well…. well established.

    btw, anybody else notice that a big part of this ‘hectic’ preboarding routine of US FA’s is hanging in the galley messaging in their phones?!?

  15. There are some remarkably embittered F.A.s out there. I’m sure they are a small percentage of the team, but wow.
    Unemployment is in the low single digits, folks. If you don’t like serving customers, I think you can find a back-of-the house job either at AA or, really, anywhere else. Please consider it. I’m pretty sure there are people who enjoy customer service who’d be interested in joining AA (or other airlines) and flying in customer-facing jobs.

  16. As others have pointed out, pre-door closing tasks have been accounted for in the hourly wage. I guarantee the union did not forgot about that. (For reference: I’m in a union.) I too have to deal with people who I might consider rude, entitled, self-important, but you know what? It’s my job. Full stop. I do the tasks that are part of my employment and don’t get to decide which I will do and which I will not. I would have been on the FAs side before but these arguments just make them look bad and give hard working union members like me a bad name.

  17. The “I’m not being paid until the door shuts” argument is so stupid. I’m a teacher. I get paid for working from 7:30 until 3:10. But I show up at 6:55 every day, stay usually until 4, and then go home and plan/grade. It’s all part of the job, whether or not I’m literally being paid for it or not. Almost every other teacher I know is the same, and none of us respect the few teachers who boast of never bringing work home

  18. What a fascinating though unfortunate series of exchanges in the original PDB post’s comments, Gary. And I never knew so many FAs read your blog!

    Anyway, I fully agree with other passengers that the attitudes displayed by some FAs’ comments are excessively negative and not the kind you’d want from folks responsible for either our safety or our service.

    Nevertheless, one thing that’s missing from the discussion is the strong possibility that Delta (and many international carriers, for that matter) manages better PDB service simply because it’s a better-run airline. We all see the cuts that the new regime running American is making. One FA’s comments pointed out the changes this has meant in terms of dealing with catering cutting into their time for other tasks. If we in fact know that Parker and Company are cutting back in many regards – or even of pre-existing ways in which American’s systems might have been inferior to other airlines – why can’t we acknowledge at least the possibility of the sub-Delta PDBs service at American being a product of American’s systems rather than the FAs? And if we complain about how Parker is in many ways indifferent to passengers’ concerns, why can’t we see how tough it can be to work for such management?

    Again, I’m not condoning some of the lousy FA attitudes displayed in this discussion. But I’m asking that we at least be open to the possibility that sometimes such problems are a product of the poor systems or management or cutbacks being imposed, rather than of the particular FAs involved. And I do appreciate the many factors that affect dedicated FAs’ ability to deliver PDBs, as so well articulated by this comment on the previous PDB post:

    Megan says:
    December 17, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I’m a rather new flight attendant, been at it for about a year now and I am neither jaded nor lazy. I love my job and I am a genuinely kind person who cares about providing good customer service and the impression I leave passengers with about my airline. I want to say that for flight attendants like me, pre departures are still difficult to complete everytime. I think it’s difficult for passengers to understand what exactly your #1 first class flight attendant is doing up there, please keep in mind that everything that needs to happen before departure is happening in, best case senerio when boarding starts 30 min to departure as it is supposed to and the boarding door needs to close 10 min to departure, that gives us 20 min (in a best case scenario) to have that plane ready, not just first class, but the whole plane. The first big impediment to getting out into the aisle to start taking drink orders for every row and then running those drinks out to you is the fact that passengers are boarding down that aisle. On a full flight, the min boarding begins it is usually a pretty constant stream of people coming through right up to the point boarding ends, the aisle is not wide enough to manuver through while people are trying to get down it with their luggage without causing delays in the boarding process and continued congestion. We have to think about departing on time bc I assume that this is important to you the passenger as well, we are trying to provide you good customer service by not impeding boarding so that we can get you to where you are going on time or even early if we can. Not only do I want to help you get out on time but I know that the agents job is very centered on this and the company wants this too, one little delay for the company at the beginning of the day could have a snowball effect for the rest of the flights that plane is taking that day. It is my experience that boarding Of passengers usually takes at least all of those 20min, meaning when the last passenger has walked through first class the agent is hot on their tail handing me the paperwork for the flight and looking down the aisle saying “why are there still people in the aisle? Why are there still bins open? Are you ready to close the door?” When the agent comes down and hands me that paperwork it is the only signal I get to let me know boarding is actually complete, it’s at this time that I have very important and FAA regulated and company regulated PAs I need to give, I need to make sure that if anyone doesn’t wish to travel to our destination for any reason that they know this is their last opportunity to do so and I actually have to look and make sure there isn’t anyone who wants to, then, per FAA regulations I need to make sure that all passengers are seated and all luggage is stowed and bins are shut. Of course this doesn’t always go as smoothly as we would all like it to. Throughout the entire boarding process we are not only trying to stay out of the way in the aisle to keep things moving but we are also helping passengers who have been given the same seat for whatever reason, passengers who can’t find their seats, elderly and handicapped passengers who need help with their luggage, passengers who can’t find room for their luggage, making room in overhead bins bc someone took up rollerboard spaces with small purses or coats, rearranging, refitting, taking a multitude of questions from passengers, trying to assist those who ask us for different seats, trying to explain the FAA regulation to those in bulkhead rows that none of their items may be at their feet and trying to find room for them in the bins, getting everything shut, and asking passengers to sit down, making sure the FAA regulations for who may and may not sit in an exit row are being followed and briefing passengers on their responsibilities there, while much of this is being helped by my number 3 and number 4 fa throughout the cabin, they have to call me at the front and relay a lot of these issues to me so that I can relay them to the captain or agent to get them taken care of, two passangers with the same seat assignment, I need to get that info to the agent and then they need to get the new seat assignment to me all while I’m not allowed to leave the aircraft even to step into the jet bridge and then I need to get it to the back of the plane where the issue is. It’s a bit chaotic even if it might not look it. I often have multiple calls coming in from the back of the plane to tell me info I then need to relay to the appropriate division to get it resolved before we take off, often this is all happening during boarding, all at once. The other big thing that is happening during boarding is catering. This is important, especially on a long flight I feel it is important for me to make sure my passangers are going to have everything we need for the next 4-6hours bc there is no stopping somewhere in the sky to get anything, all the water, cups, toilet paper, paper towels, coffee, juice, alcohol, food that I have on that plane to serve you with is often being brought into the plane as you are boarding, in that busy 20 min window. Once they bring it all on it is then my responsibility to make sure I have everything and enough of everything and that is often just not the case. If you are upset about not getting a pre departure, imagine how upset you would be if I didn’t have half my meals, or a couple of the meal trays and set ups, or if I ran out of cups or toilet paper or water, when I’m not catered headphones. I really have to meticulously check all of this and when things are missing or I don’t have enough of something I have to then call that department up and try to get them back to the aircraft again, before it’s time to get the door shut. Once I finally get my catering, which often doesn’t happen until well into the boarding process, I have to not only check for everything and call for what I’m missing but I then have to get it all ready to go so that I can start your service once we reach 10,000 feet. There is no other time for me to get the meals in the oven, the nuts in the ramekins, the ice cracked, the coffee in the pot, etc other than during boarding as soon as I am catered bc once we have to close the door I am doing FAA regulated procedures and I am required to take my jumpseat until 10,000 ft. So, going back to the agent coming down the jet bridge after the last passanger boarded and giving me that paper work and saying, “are you ready to close the door yet!?” I have to make sure everyone is seated and all overheads shut, I have to make those important pas, I have to communicate with the captain and ask if it is ok to close, I have to close the door, I have to make sure all FAs onboard have armed their doors, I have to make sure the cockpit is ready for me to shut their door and then I have to get the safety demo going. Now I don’t know what you or anyone else is capable of completing in 20 min and honestly, usually less time, often we are already late before we’ve even started, but getting all of that taken care of and going around to every 1st class passenger and taking their drink orders and then making all their drink orders and giving them out, amidst all of that, with time to spare for them to actually drink them before I’m required to then take them all away (as we are taxiing out I am not supposed to allow you to keep those drinks) is honestly pretty difficult to do much of the time. If I don’t get it done it is not because I didn’t care to or am lazy, it’s because I just wasn’t able to, and if I didn’t go out and apologize to you for not doing it, it’s bc honestly there was no time for that either. While my job may seem ynportant to you and you may think of me as only a waitress or bartender in the sky, I do have some very serious FAA regulated safety and security procedures I am constantly working to comply with and company pressures to depart on time, with often many roadblocks thrown into the mix. And for the commenter here who so brazenly declared we sky waitresses will never see an emergency onboard, though this comment had little to do with the pdb issue at hand and was instead just sort of disrespectful, I have only been a flight attendant for one year and I have had to do two emergency landings and had two medical emergencies of passengers onboard who I had to preform first aid and CPR on. Many flight attendants have been at this for 25-30 plus years and trust me when I say they have seen and assisted through some very serious events in the air. Anyway, I think throughout the rest of your flight you should be able to tell a good flight attendant from a bad one, please cut us some slack, if you are familiar with air travel you should know that things hardly ever go as planned in this industry and we all have to try to be flexible and accepting of it, you just aren’t going to get 160 people on a little metro tube and expect that everything is going to work out perfectly for everyone without a few hiccups here and there, but hopefully we can do the best we can for as many people as possible and get you to where you are going safely and comfortably.

  19. James, are you hourly or salaried?

    I am salaried because I am paid for a result, a goal. If I can accomplish my goals in 6 hours instead of 8, I can take a long lunch or leave early. Some weeks I work only 35 hours, and some weeks I work 60, but I am paid the same either way because I chose this arrangement.

    For an hourly worker, the situation is different, and I don’t think the comparison to a salaried position is useful or relevant.

  20. Pointster: I am salaried, but we are contractually obligated to work from 7:30 to 3:10, so it would be easy to maintain — as some do — that that is when we are on the clock, and everything else is “unpaid.”

  21. Pretty sure that those were internet trolls. I’m not blown away by the FAs, but have never run across any so unpleasant as that. Welcome to the internet- people lie about who they are.

  22. James, either way, thank you for what you do. We would do well to treat teachers better across the board.

  23. Service on domestic carriers will suffer until FA’s figure out the difference champagne and sparkling wine

  24. I entirely agree with pointster. Their pay should start when they line up at security. After all, if they really are as they say primarily safety officers, then safe boarding should be a core function, rather than serving drinks, and it should be compensated as such. Here, it appears that actions don’t support the stated priority.

    Of course, the games with hourly pay go both ways; employers in this situation tend to say with unbelievable precision when the pay starts and stops, and many of those limits appear arbitrary and unfair to the employee. This is the case in many large-scale uniformed industries; everyone from cops to Disneyland employees sue over pay when donning/doffing uniforms and costumes, for example. The employee rationally takes such actions as necessary to stay within the employer’s limits. Salaried employees have other problems but salaries at least solve this nonsense.

    In airlines, unfortunately, flight attendants are the face of the carrier, and their rational and understandable reactions to arbitrary employer-set limits hurt customer service.

  25. I, too, agree with pointster and John. Why is everyone upset with a flight attendant who interprets their management’s rules precisely as those rules have been written? (Yes, MANAGEMENT – they’re the guys who ACTUALLY get paid, very handsomely, to run the airline).

    If you believe it should be different, ask management to rewrite the rule book. And if that means they have to (gulp) pay an FA for serving drinks while you board, well, that seems pretty reasonable. Just ask that lawyer who won’t take a call in the middle of the night without billing you, even if the call is five minutes.

    American has been a poorly managed airline, with poor industrial relations as a result of that poor management. It shows in their profits, their dirty aircraft, and their terrible service from the ground all the way to the ramp and the sky.

  26. And I’ll add: this is not a first world problem in any way other than it being a complaint from a group of people who feel entitled to have something that is “optional” from those who are (not) paid to provide it.

    Take a look at Downton Abbey sometime for a reality check on our evolution in this regard.

  27. First off, like others here, I’m appalled at these comments (assuming they are from real FAs).

    Second, I recognize that at times, there are unexpected tasks that occupy the FAs during boarding, or delays that shorten the overall boarding time. But know that when I’m sitting there in 4B, I can see into the galley area. I can usually tell the difference when an FA is busy with catering prep or working issues out with the captain or the ground crew, versus when the FAs are simply chatting with each other or playing on their cell phones.

    Third, as noted, other airlines (including pmUS) manage PDBs well enough. It doesn’t delay boarding to ask the coach pax to wait for a moment at the front closet to allow an FA to take or fill a drink order and get back up front – since the coach pax would only end up waiting in the aisle anyway as the fellow in 10E struggles to get his bag stowed.

    Finally, as to the issue of pay for boarding time. Of course it makes sense that FAs should be paid for that time. Likewise, they should be paid for time at the airport transferring from one flight to the next. Yes, higher hourly pay for flight time mitigates this, but I wonder if that is skewed unfairly in favor of more senior flight attendants? The senior FAs select the longer routes. Their work day may include an 11 hour flight to Europe, plus 40 minutes to board and 20 to deplane. A junior FA may working the same 11 hours may be doing 8 short hops back and forth between DFW & AUS, with just 7.5 hours of paid time while the aircraft door is closed.

    But even if so, that’s between them and their union and the airline. As long as the job description includes PDB service as a task, the FAs should make every effort to complete it.

  28. Maybe the airline could pay the flight attendants a few bucks for each pre-departure beverage served in first class. Same for the warm nuts and ice cream sundaes. That would be a win win.

  29. I’ve never been crazy about AA’s FA’s but I do think there are a lot of over demanding FC passengers who think it’s bubbly time the minute they sit down in their seats. If I see the FA’s are busy and trying to deal with other pre-flight issues I don’t ask them for anything until we’re up in the air. If they have a tray with drinks and offer that’s a different story. I have seen many times where FC passengers were offered a choice of a few pre-flight beverages but NO they wanted something special. That’s just being obnoxious and rude especially if it’s a narrow body aircraft and it’s not easy for the FA to navigate through the aisle while people are boarding.

  30. Of course FAs should be paid for all work related duties, in addition to PDBs, that they are compelled to do before the door closes. Clearly, however, there is no legal requirement under the Fair Labor Standards Act or the Railway Labor Act that FAs be paid for those duties or the airlines would have been long ago legally compelled to pay for this time.

    Airlines are probably extremely reluctant to pay for pre departure activities because that time would then be counted as part of the FAs duty period and have a costly impact on FA crew scheduling.

  31. This is appalling. The entitlement here for once are the FA’s, not PAX’s. It is a SERVICE job, interacting with and serving passengers while representing the company that PAYS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TO LIVE. You knew this when you applied for this position. There are friendlier, younger, higher qualified people all around the world willing to do your job better, and for less pay. Take some fucking pride in what you do! Who do you think you are?


  32. How do you know that these are actual AA flight attendants? Then again, if it’s on the Internet it has to be true.

  33. @ Travis — Thank you! I look forward to flying with you one day soon. If we all treat each other nicely, the flying experience can be better for everyone.

  34. Hmm…

    Well, as a disinterested observer, I can see points on both sides of the discussion.

    Frankly, I don’t see all the fuss being made over pre-departure drinks or food & drinks in flight. Other than on long haul international flights, I could care less whether or not food is served on a flight. Caring about cookies, warm nuts, taking pictures of meals… Caring about flight attendant uniforms, who uses what lavatory…

    I can sit in coach fairly comfortably for a couple of hours, nap or read, and mind my own business without need for in flight internet or fancy entertainment options and just get safely from Point A to Point B and get about my business.

    I can see where some FA’s might think that some passengers are self-entitled jerks.

    On the other hand, while airlines are basically in the transportation business, they are also, to some extent, in the service business. If multiple airlines serve the same routes at similar times and prices, service to customers can be an important differentiating factor for some. That can impact the airline’s bottom line and, in turn, their willingness and ability to hire and compensate their employees.

    I don’t believe we have indentured servitude in this country. Employees should heed the directives of their employers. If that is found to be objectionable, resign and work elsewhere. If one feels that they are not being fairly compensated for your labor, work elsewhere.

  35. And they wonder why we have no interest in stockpiling more AA miles and why “any” Middle East airline + Alaska miles are the miles we want for the future…………AA you are now loved with the same passion as UA and Greyhound…………you are old and you are slow………….

  36. Those lazy old FAs should be all fired.
    It’s the stupid union keeping those lazy ungrateful FAs from being fired.

  37. Sam, your thoughtful, nuanced opinion is a welcome surprise in a sea of breathless, parroted sloganeering.

  38. I recently flew American instead of Delta. I was truly surprised at the difference. The product Delta has on a daily basis is far superior to American and being more so by the day.

  39. Both the original article where the FA’s fired back and this one make me sad. It also reinforced my decision to leave AA last year for Delta. I flew well over 100 times this year on Delta and cannot report one bad flight. Conversely, I flew United 12 times this year and only had two good experiences. I refused to fly AA at all this year, because of how terrible they were to me in 2014. I really believe that AA has lost its way and it’s people like these entitled FA’s that are part of the problem and not the solution.
    Maybe the FA’s should consider that their elite passengers got there, because they are constantly flying every week and are typically running to make their flights to another meeting. So yeah, the old saying ” A Coke and a smile” would be nice. Service is a thankless job. Get over yourselves.

  40. @pointster – “When someone works for free, we tend to view them as unsophisticated or perhaps even worse.”

    Who is this “we” you are referring to white man?

  41. “They aren’t being paid until the door closes, so why should they do ‘extra’ work before then?”

    I’m confused. On almost every flight I’ve ever been on I’ve seen FA’s directing traffic in the aisles, helping people lift bags, rearranging bags in overhead bins etc. They can do that for free risking physical injury but not serve drinks?

  42. @pointster At the point they queue up at security in a uniform, they should be paid. That is called communing time. Just like when I walk from my car to the office door I do not get paid for that.

    “I will not serve pre departures till we are paid for boarding the aircraft” That is what you agreed to when you signed your contract with the union. If you do not agree with it 1) quite the union and go independent 2) get a job somewhere else.

    If they are really working for “free” while boarding then the Dept of Labor would be all after the Airlines for Labor violations but because Labor has forced the Airlines to accept them as a Union they have to agree to the terms of the union contact which says they that FA do NOT get paid for preboarding.

    By the way McDonalds is hiring and you get paid once you walk in the door.

  43. my personal opinion, there is nothing wrong with the service because culturally, we aren’t like the subservient asian and middle eastern cultures. Thats why we are very similar in the service level as our european counter parts. Just like culturally we are expected to tip at restaurants to receive service and servers will openly complain if you happened to tip lower than what they expect, but most of the other parts of the world do not have this practice. We just have to understand the cultural context and what to expect. Unfortunately, in the US, we have bred over-entitled FAs who believe they are really doing us a favor by ensuring our safety rather than providing a service. Its like saying law enforcement and military are doing us all a favor by protecting us instead of its their job.

  44. If airlines really cared our safety, they wouldn’t employ some of the flight attendants I’ve seen. One experience sticks out in my mind, on an AA flight from CDG to ORD. I believe the female FA was about 70 years old (possibly older). She looked very fragile and weak and her movements were slow. I’m not criticizing her per se, as her service was unremarkable (not particularly good or bad). She did offer to refill my empty Starbucks cup with water which I thought was a nice gesture. When she brought the meal, I gave it a look and she said something to the effect of “that’s airline food for ya”. But the point is, I don’t think I could count on her to assist in an emergency. Oh and the plane was an ancient 757, which made the entire experience pretty crappy.

  45. The FAs comments that they are there for safety and NOT service. I get that comment or hear it regularly on flights now by FAs goofing off. If that were true, 3/4 of the FAs can be fired as they would not have anything to do. A few can handle safety. A bunch of BS from the double talk of unions and pay us more for doing less.

  46. Never had this problem of 90 minutes without a drink. I’m always stuffed after I leave the business or first lounges before a flight and often decline the PDD service.

    So easy solution…but business or first tix.

  47. They are there for safety? What the hell are they going to do in a real emergency? They are going to strap in like the rest of us. They are waiters and waitresses in the sky. Stop acting like your gods gift and do your job.

  48. Some really rude comments on here. Yes there are some bad FA’s but there are also some very good ones who do their jobs well and are extremely well trained. None of us are perfect so stop being such demanding SOB’s. If you need a drink that bad then buy one in the terminal before you board. Such princesses.

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