11 September 2007

Why i resigned

Hearing: Windchimes.

Since Ms Tigerfeet has been so patient with me, its high time i had a good gripe about my ex-company. Before i get started though i'll just say that this will be a long post so get comfy and know that what i say is my opinion and my views - i'll try to stick to my experiences but just to show that im not exaggerating or maybe it wasn't "just me" i'll throw in a few experiences that happened to my close friends or that i was witness to.

The not so rosy side of things

- a couple of weeks after arriving into the sandpit and starting FA training we were presented with new contracts slightly different to the ones we'd signed before leaving home. The attitude was, if you don't sign well...you can go home. Nice eh? And that wasn't the only time i encountered it. During the annual refresh the class was trying to discuss an issue we faced online but the lady just said, if you don't like it you have tickets and you can go home - she didn't imply it, she outright said it!

- if ever you needed anything from staff travel, HR, housing, or some other department it was the most frustrating experience ever. You couldn't call as no one (aside from the receptionist) would ever pick up. So most likely you had to go in person. Of course this meant forking out cash for the taxis there and back unless you wanted to take the "company transport". They had introduced a bus service there (one way) that they got rid of not long after and just told us to join any crew pick up that only took us halfway and the driver would only let us on if he wasn't full and then you went on a tour of the city before heading towards the office. Oh and you had to see if there was pick up around the time you wanted to go.

when you eventually got to the office, it seemed like no one had ever heard the phrase "can i help you?" and if you didn't know your way around there were no signs to tell you where to go. If you needed a signature, good luck with finding that person, they could be at a different location, out and no one knows where they are or when they'll be back.

- there is a culture of negative reporting among management and no positive feedback. You could get reported for almost anything and get called into office for it (at your own expense of course), if you tried to explain, it just went through one ear and out the other even if it was legitimate. On the other hand if you got good feedback from a passenger or cabin manager, you didn't hear a single thing from management, no note, no nothing.

- there are laws saying that unions or pretty much any organized representation is illegal. You have no voice, no real way of finding a resolution to your problem unless someone in management decides to give you a break. One of my friends found out his dad was seriously ill due to cancer and wanted to fly home. He tried to reach someone in management but had no luck and when he did get a hold of someone they said "no, we're short of crew". My friend was really upset and kept trying to reach someone (higher up) in management who said it would be alright. But it didn't end there, he got told off (by the person who said no) for going over her head!

- in our contract we are allowed 1 fully paid annual leave ticket to your home city. The catch you have to get it signed by the crewing control manager as witness to you actually having annual leave. So lets just say you wanted to use your ticket on a couple of days off you would have to jump through hoops before anyone would understand and realize that its not a big deal. If staff travel can't find a seat (which actually translates to ticket price suitable) they would tell you to travel a different day - HUH? Aside from you making plans - changing leave isnt easy.

- other crew. Before anyone bites my head off for this let me say that the crew by nature tend to be nice but in the company's eagerness to recruit people they are selecting those whose a) spoken English is not good enough, and b) don't stand up for themselves or say anything if somethings wrong. Why on earth does this matter? Well what happens if heaven forbid theres an emergency?

- i guess another thing is the hypocrisy of how it all works and how the majority of people aren't qualified to hold the position they're in.

- they promise so much but hardly deliver on anything.

- they are concentrating on adding destinations but not on making things run smoothly

- in about a week you can get over 20 updates/changes/reminders/notices in regards to service, safety, security etc. Some necessary, most of it is just changed back again next week...

- they recently introduced allowances...which is well and good but it would be better if you had it in cash at the hotel like other airlines instead of your pay at the end of the FOLLOWING month. What good is it to crew who get pulled off standby with no time to change money? At least its good for the company as they don't lose money on exchange rates...

- not getting the full use out of the free tickets and discounts because you hardly get granted more than 3 days off in a row!

- rosterings a bitch. You only get ONE request per month! Just ONE! Most airlines have more or at least some bidding system. So you either request a flight OR 4 days off in a row OR a friend to fly with. Good luck getting that ONE request though. Before resigning all crew got denied requests for 4days off in a row for 3 months.

And in fairness i should put down what is good.

- free shared accommodation. You'll be lucky if you get to pick who you want to live with. Oh and you cant have a person of the opposite sex over past 1am.

- free laundry for your uniform.

- free pick up and drop off for work, just keep in mind there are other people in other buildings too so that does take time.

- discounted tickets and discounts with some hotels and hire car agencies.

- flying to great destinations (though layovers tend to be 24hrs only now)

- staying in some really swish hotels (and some crummy ones and ones too far away from the city)

- CREW!!!! You'll make some fantastic friends and have loads of fun.

- tax free salary

So anyways those are the main things. If i've forgotten anything else i'll add it later. I left because after 2 years i couldn't take it anymore, i was tired of being lied to, treated like crap, and have to fight over the smallest thing. The layovers were not worth it and neither was the pay. I don't regret the experience - i learnt a lot about human nature and i'm lucky to fulfill a dream of mine plus i have made wonderful friends who i'll probably have for a very long time. But it was definitely time to move on to better things.


1 comment:

  1. thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think the airline business is the same the world over for flight attendents, at the end of the day we are a 'renewable resource,' and there is no incentive at all for the airline to try to hold on to us --- in fact quite the opposite over here in the US, where it is much much cheaper to have a junior workforce.

    I was just on a Jetblue flight, and the flight attendants seemed pretty happy, but at the end of the day it is never going to be anything much better than a low-paying service job. I do miss the benefits though, and just the fun of being in the air and on the move...

    hope you find a more fulfilling life back in Oz!