Warning - My Rant About Continental

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Steven Schwartz, Mar 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Just completed my fourth CO trip in 3 weeks. As a Gold Elite, I've either sat in exit rows or, like today, been upgraded to First (today with my wife).

    Airlines have massive hard costs. These boards are chock-full are critiques about the "hard" product - are the seats comfortable, do the Business Class seats go to 180 degrees and are they flat or angled. Lots of money goes into these things.

    Today's "rant" is about none of that - it is about the flight attendants. On all of the flights, not once did I see anything even approaching a smile. More amazing, whenever I or another passenger did receive something like a soft drink and said "thank you", not ONCE did I ever hear the attendant say, "you're welcome"! Forget the Ritz Carlton standard, "my pleasure!"

    Is it so hard? To see this ongoingly makes me feel that it is something that CO is more than willing to allow and live with. But today was the worst. As I said, we were upgraded to the first row of First Class on a flight from Nassau, Bahamas to Newark. I could not believe that even in First Class, the attendants could be so surly but the main one most certainly was. Nary a smile, the barest and most basic interaction that she could get away with was good enough.

    It was a 2.5 hour flight. After the first hour, their work was done. At that point, three flight attendants proceeded to talkin the galley at the loudest of levels for almost the entire 90 minutes. Not only did they not once check out if everything was OK, the volume of their conversation was only matched by the inappropriate topics they discussed. It ranged from how the job sucked, which other attendants they couldn't stand, who is a slut, children "sext-ing" and discussing teenage sexuality in general, etc. There was a young woman in the first row on the other side of the aisle and altho I don't consider myself a "fuddy-duddy", I as embarrassed. Oh and by the way, they seemed to have no trouble smiling at each other - only when dealing with passengers. I can tell you that altho I tried to nap, the volume made it simply impossible. I can think of no other airline where I have observed such behavior.

    More astonishing, not one of them thought it important to check out the passengers before landing to assure seat belts were fastened and whatever else they do.

    Everyone says that travel is harder and harder and is no longer something to look forward to but rather to be tolerated. That has not been my experience on BA, Swiss, AF, etc. But if CO or United simply decided that this stuff matters and insisted on training and behavior standards, it could change the mood significantly, and it would, basically, be free for them!

    Okay - rant over. I just wish I felt better!
     
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  2. Hannaman
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    Hannaman Silver Member

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    I think you'd do better if you altered your mindset when flying CO. Remember that flying CO is a privilege, and the fact that you had the privilege to buy a ticket to sit in one of their seats should be good enough. With that expectation, along with the expectation that they'll get you from Point A to Point B in a reasonable timeframe (or within 2-3 days if there are IRROPS), then I don't think you'll get so frustrated about CO's service.

    That said, I always say thank you when items are served, and FA's almost always react or respond appropriately with a "you're welcome" or equivalent. Then again, the airlines I typically fly didn't spend the better part of the last two decades telling their employees how great they are. So maybe, just maybe, those other airline employees are a bit less full of themselves and are able to deliver more friendly service.
     
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  3. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Really?

    I completely agree their actions were uncalled for. However, off the top of my head, I can think of much more egregious things flight attendants have done. The orange juice incident on AA, Continental Express FA who kicked a woman off the plane because of her infant, JetBlue FA who snapped....those are things off the top of my head that I would worry about.

    If this is bothersome enough to the OP, I would suggest switching loyalty to another airline. But, don't be surprised WHEN you see it done by other FAs on other airlines.
     
  4. Flag_November
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    Flag_November Silver Member

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    A shame. I remember, years ago, flying on Braniff with another person from my company. The FA's never smiled, and never made eye contact. Was I surprised when Braniff went under?
     
  5. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    I once had a United FA in First try to refuse to take my food tray after I finished my meal (I'd been done for probably 45 minutes). I had to get up and go to the bathroom. One of them snapped at me saying they were still serving the other passengers. The first class meal service on the 757 took them about an hour and a half and it really shouldn't have. It's a small cabin. I gave them the tray anyway and got up. Needless to say I didn't appreciate the attitude or the incredibly slow/bad service. I'm much more forgiving about bad service when at least the person is nice. Like how hard is it to smile, really? It's one thing to suck at your job, but its another to suck at your job AND be rude in the process.
     
  6. SS255
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    SS255 Silver Member

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    I have always found CO's FA's to be pleasant and professional. Maybe the company is aware of this particular flight crew, grouped them together, and you just got very unlucky.

    As much as I hate to admit this on the CO/UA forum, I have found US's CLT-based FA's to be the friendliest of them all. The best of US's FA's are better than the best of CO/UA's FA's. But the bad apples at US are far worse and lazier than anything I have ever experienced on CO/UA (or even AA, which I rarely fly).
     
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  7. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. ande777emt
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    ande777emt Gold Member

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    For TATL the PHL Envoy FA's may have seniority, but they provide excellent service with a smile. I was very impressed and found them comparable to my OZ flight 3 weeks before.
     
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  9. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    Just because there are documented incidents worse than what the OP described doesn't excuse or justify the behavior of these flight attendants (assuming the account is accurate). In fact, if the OP is that bothered by what transpired, I would suggest notifying CO through various channels (do they have online surveys? cust sat email/phone? via CO Gold email/phone) of the poor and extremely unprofessional behavior experienced. Forget switching airlines, let's make our airline better.
     
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  10. Brit
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    Brit Gold Member

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    I've been on several flights recently on CO and have to admit that the services seems to have slipped somewhat in recent times. I am a devoted CO flier as anyone who knows me knows! But, I have to say, I've been a tad disappointed in the attitude of the FAs in the last few months.

    However, who can blame them, given the CO/UA merger... I expect they are feeling the effects of a culture change within the organization and that is a tough thing to live through. I'm not making excuses for bad behavior, just trying to look at things from both sides.
     
  11. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    From brief discussions during my last flights on CO (some months ago), the CO FAs also have a big concern about the seniority list integration, as UA has a far greater percentage of senior FAs. With a straight combination of seniority lists, this could deny many CO FAs access to international and other "premium" routes for many years to come. Ot at least that's what I was told ...
     
  12. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    I agree that simple things like smiling, saying thank you, etc. can make a huge difference.

    Today I had the exact opposite experience of your CO experience on a United flight. The flight attendants were super polite and efficient and did everything from taking your coats promptly after you had settled in, to offering the PDB before take off. And when they served the meal, she would always add "enjoy" and a big smile after laying down the tray. They would also come through and check to see if you wanted refills for your beverage.

    Since this was a morning flight, a few people (including myself) had nodded off when she came through with the snack basket. But without any prodding, once she noticed a passenger was awake again - even though it was past a row that she had already gone through - she would come back and offer the basket and take drink orders (with offers of refills).
     
  13. Exit Row
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    Exit Row Silver Member

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    Therefore, treat pax like shyte. QED
     
  14. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    But unfortunately with human nature being what it is, such a thing can make people bitter and resentful -- and take it out on other people.
     
  15. Exit Row
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    Exit Row Silver Member

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    For sure. It's just unfortunate that customers have to pay for their internal issues.
     
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  16. SS255
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    SS255 Silver Member

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    Welcome to US Airways. [​IMG]
     
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  17. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    so true
     
  18. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    757 a small cabin? Maybe in physical size, but it holds
    24 grumpy 1Ks.
     
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  19. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    I've had good crews this month, even to MCO and FLL and back. [​IMG]
     
  20. SeaRaptor
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    SeaRaptor Silver Member

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    Crew experience always seems to be subjective.

    Two of my most memorable FA's have been on CO flights I've taken in the past 6 months. The first was technically ExpressJet I suppose, on an IAH-OKC run that saw him give the most memorable and entertaining safety briefing I've ever received as well as fantastic service with a smile. The second was my last return FRA-IAH, on the approach into Houston when my attendant came by, offered me her hand, and told me that it had been a pleasure to serve me that flight (and she had done a great job taking care of us with a long tarmac delay in Germany and an 11-hour flight time).

    As flyers, we expect a certain level of courtesy and service from FA's. However, it's important to remember that just like waiters and waitresses -- to cite an easy analogy -- not all of them are good. You have to take the bad with the good.

    Most importantly, remember to compliment the good whenever you see it. Compliments are much, much rarer than criticism.
     
  21. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    I was an AA EXP in the past and have been a UA 1K for years now, and I've seen my share of poor service from time to time. I've also done enough flying on DL and US to convince myself that all the domestic majors are pretty much the same -- some flights you do great, some flights are awful, and most flights are middling at best, whether in F or Y. The problem is, what do you do about it?

    I already give 40K BIS miles to AS every year, but I don't go much above that because I wouldn't make 1K, and then I'd lose international upgrades... plus AS doesn't fly everywhere I need to go domestically. I could fly VX, and I've heard nothing but good things about them, but they have the same limited domestic route map and same lack of international upgrades as AS. And the same is true of B6. So like others here, I daydream of switching to an airline with great hard product and FAs who consistently have a great attitude, but then I think of what I'd lose, and I make my choice, and stay with my current strategy.

    If an airline came along that had it all, I'd give them all of my business. If AS doubled or tripled its domestic route network in the midwest and the east, added something like E+, and added the equivalent of SWUs for their MVPGs on their partner DL, well, I'd fly 150K+ BIS miles with them a year. But that's not going to happen. Or if VX increased its domestic network by a factor of four or five, added UDUs, and added SWU-like upgrades on VS, again, I'd switch and give them 150K+ BIS miles. But again, that's not going to happen.
     
  22. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    I'd fly AS if they increased the quality and quantity of there food, allowed real access to partner rewards, installed better seats, installed power, and fixed the F seats.

    Basically AS needs to fix the entire airline.

    That being said I am all about their day of departure buy up policy for non-elites.
     
  23. milepig
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    milepig Silver Member

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    I've had good an bad crews and most every airline - and I'm sure most of you have as well.

    There was the UA FA in C on TATL who managed to "serve" me the entire flight without ever once saying a single word. Then were was the CO crew TATL exEWR in Y who left the food trays for THREE hours - I finally just walked our trays to the back, plopped them on the counter, and said "here you go" - oh, they were all sitting down reading gossip magazines. In general, I've found the INTL service in Y/C on UA - at least TATL - has become like clockwork of late, everything served in the same order using the same procedures flight after flight. Some crews seem happier with their lot in life than others, but the same service, every time. Off topic, you can also be assured that they'll never have the wine you wanted.

    On the other hand, in UA TATL F after service was finished I quietly chatted with a FRA-based FA for over an hour trading restaurant recommendations, train tips, etc. It made the entire flight a pleasure. (Before you ask - she was an American who happened to live outside FRA with her husband - does UA actually have FRA-based crew?)

    A question about TATL service in B/F on the CO757s. Is this the standard sized galley? I would imagine it would be difficult to prepare and serve INTL meals out of the regular 757 galley.
     
  24. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    I never said or implied any sort of justification.
     
  25. dwhotz
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    dwhotz Silver Member

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    Everyone's been on flights that have had terrible service and everyone's been on flights that have great service. I've only flown a few times on CO, but I've found that they're usually quite good. UA is more hit or miss. I usually have good to great experiences with DL. US just depends. I wouldn't judge a whole airline on one flight crew.
     

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