At about the same time we read the recent heartening stories about twin brother flight attendants celebrating 35 years with Delta, or the 83-year old United FA, we received one more in a regular stream of complaints from TICKET readers about “older” flight attendants.
We’ve all heard the whines and whispers about poor service from older flight attendants online, at parties, across the aisle or elsewhere, so we thought it was time to bring the issue to light. What do you think? Do you notice a difference in the level of service you get from flight attendants based on their age? Is it fair to even bring this up in public? Is it ageism? Or just a bad attitude? Are the physical demands of being a flight attendant too much for people over a certain age?
Read through the following copy of a complaint letter sent to Delta by one of its platinum medallion flyers and let us know what you think.
I am still shaking my head in disbelief at the attitude, work ethic, and general malaise displayed by some flight crewmembers yesterday on a Delta flight from Atlanta to San Francisco.
I have rarely encountered such a lack of respect for passengers, and an obvious “We don’t want to be here” attitude displayed by the two flight attendants who worked the first class cabin (where I was seated).
The initial meal service was presented, and not once did either of the flight attendants come back to see if another drink was needed during the meal. When my tray was taken away when I was finished, they asked if I needed anything else. That’s it. Then they both proceeded to sit on the jump seats in the front of the aircraft between the aisles for the remainder of the flight.
Despite passengers repeatedly coming up to ask for a refill, coffee, whatever – they remained on the jump seat after filling those requests, and never once walked out into the cabin to see if anyone else needed anything. One played solitaire on her iPad for over 90 minutes without ever getting up. The other read the paper and a magazine. Both appeared a little annoyed when a passenger made a request or needed to use the restroom, which required them to get up for the passengers on the right side of the aircraft to pass by.
For a flight of just over four hours, these flight attendants worked no more than 45 minutes, and sat on the jump seat the rest of the time. Only when flight attendants would come up from the rear cabins was anything removed from first class tables or trays, or any request fulfilled. I think the other F/A’s from coach actually did more work in first class than these two.
These two have clearly been flight attendants a long time. It is obvious that they no longer value their job or perform even rudimentary cabin service. They were unsmiling, unhelpful, and unwilling to do what most of the other flight attendants do – which is to provide even minimal cabin service, but with a positive attitude.
No one expects top-notch in-flight service from any domestic carrier anymore regardless of the class of service. But I fly a lot on Delta and other airlines as well, and this flight was among the worst I’ve encountered for bad attitude and lack of service.
I recently flew back from Dublin and had a similarly poor experience with, once again, more seasoned crewmembers.
By the way – the gate agents who handled this flight (which was delayed and had a change of aircraft) did a superlative job and were endlessly helpful and cheerful to a large crowd at the gate– especially the red coat, and a new “agent in training.” Perhaps that is why the lack of service once we were onboard was so stark in comparison.
My question is this – I have had increasingly poor in flight experiences with Delta lately, although none as bad as this one. Is this what is becoming commonplace at Delta? It seems that the older, more seasoned crews are not as interested in providing a positive experience. Are these employees who so blatantly disregard passenger comfort protected because of their length of employment?
Here are parts of the response this reader recieved from a Delta customer service rep:
I am truly sorry you did not receive the service you expected when our crewmembers were rude, inattentive, and did not make every effort to accommodate passengers with food and beverage services. Likewise, I also notice the complete disregard you encountered when our flight attendants provided our passengers with minimal level of service. We expect our flight attendants to be helpful and professional at all times…I will be sharing your comments with our inflight leadership team for internal follow up…As a gesture of goodwill for the poor customer service, I have added 7,500 bonus miles to your SkyMiles account.
So, dear readers…. your thoughts in the comments box below, please!