United’s flight attendants unhappy


What else is new? 

But seriously folks, this time they seem to have a focus for this anger: the new upgrade policy that United announced a couple weeks back and the cooperation with Continental on that policy that was announced earlier this week.  In this week’s AFA bulletin the union included this juicy nugget:

As a result of the Antitrust Immunity granted to United and Continental, the airlines are allowed to coordinate products, services, schedules and other business related practices. Today, United and Continental announced that members of each carrier’s frequent flyer program who have earned elite status will receive unlimited, complimentary domestic upgrades and preferred economy class seating on either airline when space is available. United had previously announced their intention to implement this program last month to United’s elite customers, and is just another kick in the teeth to Flight Attendants and other loyal employees. These upgrades will be handled by the customer service representatives on the ground before the flight takes off, and Flight Attendants are not responsible or required to implement this new policy once the plane leaves the gate. The upgrade program becomes effective in March, 2010 and applies only to domestic flights on a space available basis.

On the plus side they make it clear to their members that the responsibilities for managing the upgrades rest solely with the agents in the terminal, the same as Continental runs the system.  That is useful information.

But there is also the one line that doesn’t make any sense to me at all:

United had previously announced their intention to implement this program last month to United’s elite customers, and [it] is just another kick in the teeth to Flight Attendants and other loyal employees.

Where is the kick in the teeth?  Certainly not in the typo that left the word “it” out of the statement.  Of course it is that the customers might actually get to sit in the premium seats when flying rather than having them available primarily for employees to use.  Don’t get me wrong – I know that being a flight attendant isn’t the best paying job out there and that the flight benefits are getting harder to use as capacity cuts drive up load factors.  But a “kick in the teeth” that the airline is actually trying to do something to attract and retain customers who are willing to fly 25,000 or more miles annually?  Yeah, the job would be a whole lot easier without the pesky customers I guess.

Tip of the cap to Gary for posting about this earlier.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

2 Comments

  1. The way I read it, "it" can be left out of the sentence. There is no confusion as to what is being complained about with the way the sentence is structured. My two cents; as I'm a fan of simple sentence construction.

  2. Lacking the "it" would make United the subject of the second clause so it would read "and [United] is just another kick in the teeth to Flight Attendants and other loyal employees." I don't think that is correct either.

    There are plenty of ways to make the line work without "it" but this isn't one of them.

    They'll still have Employee class on the international F segments and on p.s., though the return of CR-1s will put a few more bodies into the premium cabins on the p.s. flights.

    And they'll still have customers. Which they need to pay their salaries. That can't be a bad thing, can it?

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