Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

United Airlines Flight Attendants aren't all that happy these days.

I deduce this from the fact that they're organizing a Day of Action on December 13

Some, though, have been unhappy for some time. 

You might expect this in any large organization. In United's case, however, some have gripes that might make you wonder.

Indeed, one United Flight Attendant explained to me how they and many of their experienced colleagues avoid certain planes if they can.

When you're senior, you see, you have priority as to which flights you'll bid for.

Those flights don't just encompass a point of departure and a destination. They also involve a particular type of plane.

This senior United Flight Attendant told me that the Boeing 767-300 and 400 are two plane types they avoid: 

In order to fatten the cash-cow, United removed the cross-thru' -- the walkway from aisle left to aisle right (and vice versa) in the aft cabin on the 767-300 & 400. The airline installed another row of three seats in the middle.

But airlines are doing this all the time, aren't they? Is this such a big deal?

The Flight Attendant explained:

In front of these seats on the 300 are more seats. In front of these seats on the 400 is a bulkhead, then toilets, then more seats.

I think I'm getting the picture, but how does this affect the Flight Attendant's job? It's like this, said the Flight Attendant: 

This stupidity means that other than pushing between occupied seats and stepping on toes, you have to walk all the way to the forward or aft coach galley and back in order to cross from one aisle to the other.

 The 767 have two aisles. That's a lot of walking. So some Flight Attendants just avoid it altogether, as they don't believe they can offer anything resembling customer service.

Actually, it's more than just the customer service thing. It's a safety issue, says the Flight Attendant: 

This 'logic' also means that in the event of a crash and either door 3L (3 Left) or 3R (3 Right) is blocked, people (passengers and Flight Attendants) would have to climb around, between or over the seats in order to exit from the only available door in that part of the plane.

You might think this is just a few unhappy employees venting.

However, the list of demands made by the Flight Attendants' Union -- the Association of Flight Attendants -- lists this very issue as one they want solved. 

With such management decisions, you might expect that consideration is given to how employees might maneuver around the new configuration. 

I contacted United for its view and will update, should I hear.

In this case, however, Flight Attendants seem to believe that management just doesn't care.

Indeed, I was on a United flight only the other day and I noticed a renewed enthusiasm for the phrase The Friendly Skies.

I'm worried the skies are becoming decidedly chilly.

Published on: Dec 2, 2018
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