Continental vs UAL F/A's?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by EX-LAX, Jul 26, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. EX-LAX

    EX-LAX Silver Member

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    Definitely not trying to stir up trouble or having anyone choose sides, but I truly would like to know ---

    Is there some sore of labor beef or something with the flight attendants at Continental or was I just unfortunate?

    Took my first in nearly 35 years flight through IAH to TPA Saturday (mileage run) on Continental and not one flight attendant smiled even once. I'm a 2MM 1K flier on United and thought that those stews had an attitude, but man, there seems to be some very p.o.ed employees at Continental. Received pre-departure drinks on all 4 segments which was a 100% improvement over UAL, but once the meal service was over the galley curtains were pulled shut and no service, or even a walk by, until the 2 dings. I am not complaining as I have pretty much seen everything doing my BIS thing, but not a smile from anyone?

    I can handle this, as I mentioned, as all of my flights booked for next year are a combination on both carriers which will be one on 1/1/2011, and I am not flying to be entertained by anyone, but a little smile would seem appropriate, especially when all of them are lucky to even be employed in today's economy.

    Again, not looking for a fight, but is there a reason for this lack of genuine hospitality, or was this an adoration?

    By the way, ALL aircraft were awesome, especially the lie flats from TPA to IAH (upgraded on all 4 segments 1 week prior).

    I think I'm going to like the change, just not going to expect too much gratitude from anyone!
     
  2. BurBunny
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    BurBunny Silver Member

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    There are a few things going on. First, they lost their union in the vote to United's. Second, many of their best FAs are feeling like the service they've always loved providing is being taken away from them. One told me a UA FA told her "we will never work as hard as you." Their little extras which made their passengers happy are slowly going away as service standards are minimized. I think they're perhaps even more discouraged about the "changes you will like" than most of us.
     
  3. COFlyerCLE
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    COFlyerCLE Gold Member

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    I was surprised to see that most UA flyers would rather not have the personal touch of the FA handing them the BF bag and menu - but would rather have it in the seat when they board. To me, that is one of the beautiful things in flying BF - that personal interaction as you board and get seated of having that brought to you on a silver tray. As those things go away... I can see how that degrades morale.
     
  4. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    Curious, where do you get "most UA flyers" from? Quite the generalization, IMO
     
  5. COFlyerCLE
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    COFlyerCLE Gold Member

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    A survey done in the United Flyers Community, where >50% voted as such.
     
  6. EX-LAX

    EX-LAX Silver Member

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    Never mind!
     
  7. Jslo
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    Jslo Gold Member

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    Yeah really. I have flown both carriers enough. I've had great and horrible service on both. Not sure why or what the difference, but no question some flights better than others. AND I should also add that the best advice EVER is that the BRICK DOESN'T LOVE YOU. These employees are people too, who have good and bad days.
     
  8. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    +1

    There is far more variation in the service level within the same airline - than there is in comparing an "average" F/A service level on one airline to another. I have taken many flights on UA, CO & AS, many in F. I have had friendly F/As on each airline and indifferent ones on each airline. I have had ones that provide great, attentive service, and others that do as little as possible. What seems to matter most is the attitude and happiness of the individual employee, much more than any corporate standard.

    If you think about it, it is really difficult for any airline company to control the service provided because they generally aren't there to observe it or evaluate it. At most what they can do is attempt in hiring decisions to screen for applicants who want to serve, and to conduct periodic training. It might help if there were more peer level evaluation and coaching/mentoring (and perhaps foreign airlines do this, I don't know) but I imagine that work culture and union rules make that impossible in USA.

    I will make the observation that it is my impression that on the whole UA crews are better about coming through the F/C cabins every 10-15 minutes to see if anyone wants something, and that AS and CO crews tend to withdraw into the galley and avoid any eye contact with passengers for longer periods of time. But even with this there is great variation among individual crews.
     
  9. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    What you guys said.

    I just took a trip to Europe, meeting my mom there. I flew LH F, where the FAs were outstanding on both the outbound on the return. Mom (who is a seasoned and undemanding flyer) flew CO BF to FRA and told me that she couldn't remember having a worse crew; they ignored her requests, took forever to do service, then disappeared completely. On the return from MAD, also in CO BF, she said that the FAs were 180 degrees from the outbound- friendly, solicitous and accommodating.
     
  10. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I'm not sure that CO vs UA is an issue, more likely that UA is consistently average and CO is never predictable. I know UA's shortcomings, and I know that on long-haul routes it is usually a bit better, but overall nothing surprises me. I am satisfied without being amazed. Very rarely is a UA flight memorable.

    On CO, every flight is different. Sometimes they disappear, act rude and indifferent, or completely ignore your attempts to make polite requests. Other times they go the extra mile. I have had some truly great experiences with Continental, great service with a smile. I only wish they could do this consistently.

    Of course, the last "great" flight I had with CO involved a pilot cracking jokes about UA and labor negotiations, which was somewhat unprofessional, but he was good natured about it. At my job, we talk smack about other labs and professors all the time, and usually those labs have better morale and are more productive. As long as the employees can do this without crossing the line, I don't have an issue with it.
     
  11. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    Good service does not come out of thin air. It comes from having precise service standards and requirements, from extensive training in what is required from the service and in continuing evaluation. None of this is illegal in the US. Where things fall apart is when FAs are allowed to express their own personality or individuality - for every FA with an attractive personality, it seems that UACO also employs one (or perhaps two) with an unattractive personality.

    It's often said that foreign carriers, particularly Asian ones, have the best service. But it's also said that the service on such carriers tends to be robotic. That's because they are following the detailed instructions. You cannot have it both ways from an airline as large as UA with its xx,000 FAs - either the service will be of a high and consistent standard with personal touches eliminated (aka a McDonalds approach) or it will be as it is - hit and miss, scaling peaks and troughs.
     
    Jslo likes this.
  12. HeathrowGuy
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    HeathrowGuy Gold Member

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    1. US air carriers, until about the turn of the century, collectively offered the best inflight experiences and highest FA standards in the world. And FAs of that time were not at all robots, but they did have...

    2. The tools needed to provide excellent service, and the respect of their management.
     
  13. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Then in order for your claim to be factually correct, it should have said "of the people who chose to take the survey, more than 50% would rather not have the personal touch of the FA handing them the BF bag and menu - but would rather have it in the seat when they board."
     
  14. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    So *that* explains why they quit handing them out! I miss that (had gotten used to it as a long-time UA flyer).

    However, my most recent UA flight (ORD-FRA last month) the FA handed out the menu personally but the amenity kit (or what remains of what used to be called the amenity kit) was stuffed in the side of my seat :(.
     

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