The stress on airline employees got a lot of attention this week after JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater “lost it” by cursing at a (jerk) passenger over a plane’s loudspeaker and then jumping down the emergency slide with a beer from the galley. However, this may be just the beginning of flight attendant flare ups. According to reports, U.S. airlines have cut jobs for two straight years and airline employment in the U.S. is now at its second lowest point in 20 years. Meanwhile, annual passenger traffic has jumped about 65 percent during that same period.
Diminishing staff and fuller flights are adding to the stress among flight attendants, pilots and other workers – and experts think that U.S. airlines will continue to show overall declines in staffing despite some sporadic hiring.
The bottom line: Flight attendants are over-worked, under-paid and often treated poorly by passengers. Give em a break and be kind.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- British Airways recently announced a “London for Free“ promotion where you can book a round-trip fall airfare from the U.S. to U.K., and get up to two complimentary hotel nights at select 3-star and 4-star properties. The airline also reduced fares from its 19 U.S. gateways. Round-trip fares are from $498 from New York (JFK or Newark), from $654 from Chicago, and from $576 from San Francisco. For the free hotel deal you need to book by midnight August 19, for travel October 21 to December 19.
- From now until September 6, 2010, the New York Marriott East Side hotel offers a special sightseeing package. This last minute deal is perfect for guests who want to explore the best of New York City with less strain on their wallets. With the Summer in the City deal, guests receive two NYC Explorer passes and guidebooks in addition to breakfast for two. This special Midtown Manhattan hotel offer is available to guests staying at least two nights and can be reserved online at http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/nycea-new-york-marriott-east-side/.
- Delta Air Lines has received approval to begin a $1.2bn terminal renovation project at JFK Airport in New York. The airline will dismantle Terminal 3 to accommodate parking spaces and will operate its international traffic from Terminal 4, which will also be upgraded with nine additional gates and baggage claim space and will be linked to Terminal 2. The project will begin in September and is expected to be complete by mid 2013. The fund will include $900m in special-project bonds, $215m in passenger facility charges (there’s the rub) and $75m in equity from Delta. Delta said the renovation is aimed to attract corporate passengers as it builds a major air hub in New York.
Bad weather wasn’t the only thing slowing travelers down Thursday in New York. Passengers on a Delta Connection flight out of Rochester were delayed after two female flight attendants got into a fight on board the plane.
Dozens of passengers were forced off the flight and had to make alternative travel plans at a time when flights from the New York area are being canceled faster than a Tiger Woods endorsement contract.
A spokesman described the fight as a “little” argument that started as the plane was returning to the gate after a passenger complained of panic attacks. However, passengers aboard the flight have reported that it was a full blown “fist fight“.
And in case you’re wondering, the answer is “no” – this is not what psychologists mean by “fight or flight.”
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, the world’s two largest carriers, are counting on lie-flat seats and Tahitian crab soup (or gingered scallops with lobster sauce) to help win back their most-profitable customers - the corporate passengers whose ranks dwindled when the global recession ravaged budgets for international flying.
- Los Angeles International Airport wants to increase its car rental fees to fund an off-site terminal that would house car rental agencies. The project aims to reduce pollution and congestion from car rental courtesy vans that circle the airport. LAX officials are backing a state bill that would increase the current $10 rental car fee by an undisclosed amount. So, let me get this straight: Building an OFF-SITE terminal will help cut down on courtesy vans? And even though this bill is about to be introduced, it’s still not clear how much the airport would raise the fees? Sounds like California politics to me.