I’d like to compare the first two pairings I’ve had this season. Being as comparable as they are. And by that I mean they were the same pairing. Last week I operated a Flight to Puerto Vallarta (PVR) from Vancouver (YVR). An early afternoon flight heading south. Then PVR back to YVR as an evening flight, scheduled to get in around midnight.
Both pairings took off a few minutes early from all stations, and both pairings got us home about half an hour ahead of schedule.
Inside the aircraft the catering and entertainment were all identical services. Even the crew of both flights had a similar combined amount of experience (In fact it was the same flight deck crew both weeks).
Logistically these flights were completely the same. Yet totally different.
The attitude of those on board. Week one we saw some nasty passengers, where as week two the passengers were wonderful. I blame the crew.
In the first week I was working in the galley, and every time an aisle FA came into the back I’d get an earful about how our passengers are demanding so much from them every time they walk by, and they don’t have the time to take and deliver all these orders. They were concerned about getting out there with the Champaign/meal/coffee/pickup/chocolate/etc. services before we landed. It’s a valid concern, and on that flight we were scrambling to secure the cabin and take our jump seats before the wheels hit the ground. Along with this, the southbound flight was accompanied with a high number of people coming into the galley to try and buy beer while we were preparing carts and meals, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear “You have the worst service ever.” Apparently this was frequently happening in the cabin as well.
The second week I was in the aisle and the flights were equally as busy. However I think the time was better managed. Heading down south again there was no time to sit and catch your breath, but at least this time we weren’t scrambling to our jump seats. In fact this time at the “10 minutes to landing” mark we were pretty much secure and ready to go. I’d say we had the same number of drink requests and the same amount of demand in the cabin. Aside from me, it was an entirely different cabin crew and that was what made the difference.
I break down our problems in the first week into two categories: First is familiarization, second is attitude.
Familiarization: Simply put, in week one the entire cabin crew had been on layoff status for half a year. We needed to get back into the swing of things. In week two, half of us had already operated at least one flight. In fact one of us had just handled their first ever Vegas flight. Apparently that’s hell in a hand basket on it’s own. So for this second week we were a little better prepared for what was coming.
Attitude: This is where I really think everything fell apart in week one. Both the aisle flight attendants in the aft were looking at this with a “How can I stop pax from asking things of me” sort of attitude. It was completely wrong! Honestly, when I pax asked one of them “Why can’t I have a beer?” she said, “Because this is a plane, not a bar.”
I jaw dropped.
I mean, granted it IS a plane not a bar. And yes, we are primarily there for the safety of our passengers. But that is not an excuse to provide poor service, and it’s never okay to talk back to a passenger like that. Seriously! You just had a 5 month break and you’re giving attitude on your fist week back? Not okay.
Those FAs should have gone into it with a “How can I incorporate these requests into my service?” attitude. And for week two that’s exactly what we did. The popular request once again was for beer and spirits. In fact as soon as the seatbelt sign was off after take off a pax came into the back galley asking for a beer. At that time we couldn’t serve it because the bar hadn’t even been unlocked yet. But we promised to come out with the bar shortly.
We had three particular pax who I worried would be trouble because it was beer after beer with them. Of course once those beers kicked in combined with the cabin pressure of 9000 feet, they were out like lights.
Throughout the flight we had constant requests whenever we were in the aisle. It wasn’t a big deal though. I just took down the request on paper and let the pax know I’d run it out to them as soon as my service was complete. Usually I’d be able to do it earlier since I often had to head back to the galley and replenish my cart or empty a tray. This is an excellent opportunity to clear the requests off my list. It’s all a matter of time management and preparedness. The rest of my crew that week had the same attitude, and the passengers noticed.
In week two we received only compliments. Walking through the airport at the end of the day we were tired, yet satisfied. We’d done our job, and done it well. I knew for sure I was back in the groove of things.