My name is Jason and I’ve been a flight attendant at a major airline for 15 years. To be honest I never expected to be around this long. I was fresh out of college and wasn’t having much luck finding a “real job” and went to an interview on a whim. I definitely felt out of place at the “cattle call” but gave it my best and ended up getting hired. I soon realized I’d fallen into the perfect job. I utilized my pass travel benefits to the fullest, and surfed my way around the world. I was living the dream! Over the years, my travel and experiences in the theater of life helped to refine a young spirited wayfarer into a proud professional with two kids and a lovely wife. I’ve come to learn many valuable lessons, a few of which I hope to share with you.
The reason I initially approached Flyersrights.org was because of the drastic decline in the quality of the air travel experience. Specifically I wanted to draw attention to the use of regional jets and prop commuter planes to replace mainline aircraft on shorter routes. The work rules and pay for the crews are heinous to say the least. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the Colgan Air tragedy. These flights are also the first to delay or cancel with any kind of weather and they are far from comfortable. The major airlines are trying to farm out more and more flying to these commuters. They also continue to wage a war on American jobs by attempting to outsource crew jobs to foreign nationals who they can pay even less and work with little or no work rules. In every aspect there’s been a race towards the bottom in the airline industry.
At the company I work for there has always been a clear and decisive effort to create dissent amongst the ranks. This may sound counter-productive, however, there’s really no better way to effectively control a work force than by playing them against one another. One example is the pressure created between the gate agents and flight attendants during the boarding process. The agent is under extreme pressure (placed on them by the company) to close the aircraft door ASAP. The flight attendants are responsible for making sure all F.A.R.s (Federal Aviation Regulations) regarding the passengers are complied with (i.e. exit rows, stowage of carry-ons etc...) If a flight is delayed, it’s not uncommon to receive a phone call on the jet bridge in the arrival city from a supervisor inquiring as to why there was a delay. One department will be pinned with the delay and must defend themselves. More often than not it’s a “he said, she said” and distrust and dissenst are thusly created between the two work groups. I feel the same is also true with the relationship between the flying public and airline employees. Passengers fit into the above equation perfectly. With the advent of charges for checked bags, the process of boarding has become even more stressful for all parties. In an effort to not have to pay for checking their bag, passengers attempt to bring them on board. I, by the way, would do the same thing. We all know what it’s like boarding a full flight these days. There are several things the company could do to alleviate these problems but all complaints have fallen on deaf ears.
I’d like to help bridge the gap and create a coalition between the flying public and the employees. We all share one very important thing in common, we want to feel like we are appreciated and respected. Perhaps if we work together we can help create an atmosphere of understanding and direct our energies towards creating an airline industry that meets all of our needs.
Fly Safe and Happy Holidays,