Reply To: BA: ‘Mixed Fleet’ Debuts

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BA used to set the bar very high for Cabin Crew CC. It required fluency in at least two languages with extra payments for each additional language – recall the discreet flags alongside name badges indicating the range of languages spoken.

Most CC had degrees, from the time having a degree was more an exception than the rule. It was understood that higher calibre staff could interact far better with F CJ passengers and be better suited to handle the not infrequent flaws, failures, issues, disruptions and crises in the flying experience.

The typical start age was 25, therefore had reasonable life experience already. People service experience and orientation was a pre-requisite, being rigorously validated at a thorough interview.

The bar is now so low a world class limbo dancer could not get beneath it.

Under Walsh’s tenure, the status of BA’s front line – the cabin crew, has been relegated, by BA leadership, to a refuge for displaced bus drivers, baggage handlers, surplus check-in clerks and others to minimise/avoid redundancy costs.

The new recruits for the new mixed fleet (intended to usurp long haul crew over time) are predominantly 19-21 year olds with a few experienced hands from budget airlines or other mainline redundancies/malingerers. The old budget airline hands being given a second shot as many were rejected by “the world’s favourite airline” when they first embarked on an airline career – the entry bar now lowered to second basement level.

As there are no language or service experience pre-requisites, young attractive girls, anxious to travel the world for a couple of years but with no discernable service ethic or expertise are the order of the day.

A high turnover of low paid staff being preferred to higher paid career orientated, customer centric professionals.

You will see an increasing use of comment – complaint forms as crew’s propensity and ability to resolve in flight issues are compromised by recruit’s lack of willingness/inability to think for themselves, lack of life experience and lack of flying experience.

Central to “the World’s favourite airline” was the front-line cabin crew. This nomenclature will never again be attained.

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