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Flight Attendants

November 6, 2005

Filed under: life,travel — Terry Wohlers @ 18:51

Ever wonder what’s going on in the heads of flight attendants? I do. My experiences with them have been highly variable over the past several years. I travel a lot and fly almost exclusively on United Airlines, except when I’m outside the U.S. Overall, UA employees have been doing a decent job, given the difficulties the company has encountered with its bankruptcy. Consequently, my expectations of UA ground and flight crews have not been high. Even so, there is a certain standard of service that one expects.

The service from flight attendants is totally unpredictable. On one flight, they can be cheerful and work hard to make the flight enjoyable for as many as possible. On the next flight, the opposite can be true. And on other flights, the service can be very average (i.e., okay, but uninteresting).

I was returning on a flight last week from Detroit. The flight attendant that was serving our section of the plane was mostly cold and mechanical when boarding and during the first 20 minutes of the flight. The individual sitting next to me made some comments that went a long way in breaking through her icy exterior. When she came by, I smiled and shared pleasantries that I hoped might also help improve her disposition. After doing this for nearly half of the 2 hour and 40 minute flight, we began to see a new side of her. She removed her glasses, knelt to our eye level, and really began to warm up.

The remainder of the flight was excellent. She told us that she was recently engaged to be married and that her fiancée and her were going to pick out rings the next day. Also, she explained that she begins her time on the job with the idea of “getting through it” so that she can go home. From her tone and facial expressions when telling us this, I could see that she does not find her work interesting. (I could not operate that way.)  She really showed her good side and that she’s a sweet person, but should the customer have to work so hard to “soften” the individual that is providing the service? If you are unhappy at work, you really should ask yourself whether it is the right job for you and consider moving on to something else. This is especially true for flight attendants.