Tue, Aug 26, 2008
Cabin Crews Are Public Face For Ridiculous Airline
Forty years ago, openings for
airline flight attendants drew mostly attractive young women
interested in travel and glamour. Today, given the need to face
passengers angry over rising fees and declining customer service
standards, you just might want a psychology degree and a black
Whether its $5 snacks on Northwest, $7 pillows on JetBlue, $15
first bags on United or tarmac strandings on American, it's flight
attendants who face the frustrations and occasional outbursts of
Roland Rust, executive director of the Center for Excellence in
Service at the University of Maryland and an expert on airline
service, says the job has become a thousand times tougher.
"The flight attendant has to deal with a bunch of surly
passengers. It’s a nasty work environment," he told the
Michael Boyd, an airline industry expert from Denver, tells the
paper the job has become much harder than it was even a year
"Airlines have increasingly stupid rules they inflict on people.
If a flight is canceled, good customer service says put them on the
first available flight," he said. "Today, some say we can’t
do that —- we’ll have to charge $25 —- and the
flight attendants are stuck dealing with this stuff."
Boyd says, however, there may be one upside in the new reality.
"I could see the flight attendants making the argument, 'Hey, it's
tough out there...so, we want some compensation.'"
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