BA: ‘Mixed Fleet’ DebutsBack to Forum
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.29 Dec 2010
I am really looking forward to my Mixed Fleet flights next year.
A youthful and enthusiastic mixed fleet cabin crew – unencumbered by antiquated working practices, without the possibility of strike action and a tight customer-centric focus is just what British Airways needs.
At the same time cash saved on superfluous and overpaid crew will allow both investment in the “soft” product on board, as well as longer term capital for projects such as new First and improved economy and premium economy products.
In addition, new routes are being opened up which simply were not economic under the old arrangements.
I continue to receive good to excellent service from existing cabin crew, but for the most part their academic achievements are irrelevant to my enjoyment of the experience, and service is not correlated to rates of pay.
The cabin crew role was a career in the past, when high margins and a lack of low cost/any competition preserved margins. But it is not the sort of occupation where one can expect to progress to a £50k++ position any longer, and now the £30k++ roles are both fewer and very much based on regular performance reviews rather than the outdated “years served” approach, I expect to see as good if not better calibre crew in such positions under the future model.
BA will maintain those rates of pay/T&Cs for those hardworking and longer serving crew who continue to support their employer effectively, and deliver great service.
Mixed Fleet is a great move for customers, shareholders and the future profitability and growth potential of the airline, as well as the ability of the airline to sustain the current pay scales and T&Cs for those remaining cabin crew on more generous, older contracts.29 Dec 2010
VintageKrug, allow me to ask you a simple question please….
Are you really Wille Walsh hero of 2010?
Ex loyal Skyward Gold Emirates member…Skywards.29 Dec 2010
Please see my above review for my awful mixed crew flight to Las Vegas. I wish I had travelled on Virgin as it was not worth it for Club WOrld. I am looking forward to my flight back on the upper deck from LA with proper crew who have BA’s standard of service. I think its evident that the BA crew are going downhill as will the airline if something does not change.30 Dec 2010
It was great to see Mixed Fleet deployed to get stranded passengers back home for Christmas, using longhaul 777s to increase capacity on shorthaul European routes.
These are exactly the sort of customer-centric innovations this new group of cabin crew can deliver.30 Dec 2010
CallMeIshmael, I know of some very good cabin crew who were not accepted for Mixed Fleet and your comments are largely conjecture.
You paint current cabin crew as a paradigm of excellence. In truth, this isn’t true. Yes, there are some excellent BA crews. The majority do a very capable job of delivering the company’s products in an efficient and professional manner. But there is also a minority crew who do their colleagues a huge disservice and should have either been performance managed out if the company or recognised for themselves that it is time to move on.
However, the current system of performance management (or lack of it) and pay increments giving guaranteed pay rises for doing the same job to the same standard and at the same level of productivity actually discourages that. There is also a fundamental cultural problem whereby cabin crew is a seperate mini-empire within BA (and no doubt explains in part how events have evolved over the past couple of years) with no career path from cabin crew to senior management, and ensuing complaints from crew that their managers have no flying experience. Mixed Fleet addresses this in the long term.
The point about additional payments for languages (now gone) is also telling. The current system of scheduling and remunerating crew at BA is so absurdly complicated with notoriously inflexible scheduling agreements with limited scope to adapt to situations as they evolve (thus drastically limiting the company’s scope to respond to and recover from disruption) and a byzantine system of allowances and other types of payments (destination payments, one-down payments etc) which must cost an inordinate amount of money to administer and audit as well as providing a perverse incentive of encouraging a culture of trying to extract the maximum amount of cash from the company.
When faced with a complete unwillingness to engage in sensible discussion about reasonable reforms (see High Court and Court if Appeal judgments) you can hardly blame the company for starting over with a blank sheet of paper on its own terms.30 Dec 2010
VK Pre-WW, when BA was being run as a team in harmony your example is exactly what occurred – it is not a mixed fleet innovation. When dire situations arose the disruption agreement was invoked and problem solved as a team.
Walsh precipitated the dispute by breaking agreements. The agreements are the foundation of the working relationship. His cavalier attitude of – well we can discuss the changes but they are going to happen regardless – is not the right way to garner a positive response. (I know that having been a COO of a multi-national company leading thousands many of which were union members).
WW leadership skills are appalling. He may be good at the strategic mergers but his man management will leave an enduring toxic legacy.
For such a people orientated business his tactics will adversely impact the morale and motivation throughout the company for years after the CC dispute is resolved. I fully expect an exodus of talent once the economic situation allows.
Unfortunately the arrival of Keith Williams may be a lost opportunity as I understand he intends to follow Walsh’s methods even though he has greater emotional intelligence? FDs/CFOs seldom make good CEOs in people centric businesses.
Walsh’s strategic destination is laudable. His execution is dire.30 Dec 2010
Hippocampus – having differing views does not entitle you to state my comments are conjecture.
Having close relations within Waterside including WW advisors, close friends as FC and CC within BA and other Airlines my comments are not based on conjecture – which, using your hippocampus, you should have surmised from details within this and previous comments.
You would be also delusional in believing BA mixed fleet have not recruited an ex-Virgin FSM exited due to performance issues. Within all large companies there are bad apples. Handling them effectively without endangering the whole apple cart takes man management skills and emotional intelligence. Let BA evidence some.30 Dec 2010
Being related to the cleaning staff at Waterside doesn’t count, I’m sorry to say, Ishmael.
It’s great to see Keith Williams will continue the effective strategy of providing new jobs within British Airways which will continue to build upon and exceed existing service levels at a more appropriate cost, ensuring the continued profitability of the airline and greater job security for all employees, and continued investment in product and training to benefit customers.30 Dec 2010
VK – still paddling down the great Egyptian river -start seeking enlightenment.
Continual use of the whip, bullying, intimidation and victimisation is most certainly not an effective leadership style which delivers enduring change and highly motivated people.30 Dec 2010
I have also heard that BA recruited an 18 year old bar worker as a CSM on Mixed Fleet. But this rumour came from the same circles that claimed that pilots were resigning from BALPA en masse to join Unite, that BASSA’s membership numbers were swelling and WW was losing support at Waterside so I knew what to do with it. It’s hardly surprising that some have an agenda of denigrating Mixed Fleet.
The crew I know of on Mixed Fleet are extremely enthusiastic about itand are enjoying the work. A bit of healthy competition at LHR is no bad thing and once Mixed Fleet beds in and after the inevitable clear out of the current BASSA leadership if they are replaced with reps that are prepare to engage with the business and not use fear to rule over their memers, many of the positive aspects of Mixed Fleet will trickle down to the LHR EF and WW fleets.30 Dec 2010
Again lots of “I have heard” without any factual references to back up the allegation.
Most multinationals would have an internal security division dedicated to ensuring fraud and other activity not compatible with the role is looked into; that is standard operating procedure.
You make an allegation which insinuates that Bill Risbridger is dishonest for “falsifying evidence”, and by extension that suggests BA management systemically uses dishonest practices against its own employees. In fact the allegation you make was never proven, and the judgement which sets that out can be read below:
“there was no possible basis for the contention that [Bill Risbridger] had been dishonest, and a jury would be perverse to draw such an inference”
Thankfully, BA holds all the cards in the remaining rump of this dispute, and the enthusiastic and youthful employees of Mixed Fleet will be part of the solution to returning the airline to structural profitability and delivering top notch customer service, alongside their existing right minded cabin crew colleagues who demonstrate their support of BA by not withdrawing their labour.
Those who believe they will get a better role, salary and pension elsewhere would be well advised to seek out those other roles voluntarily, and those who wish to stay and create dispute and division will simply not remain with the airline. Simples.30 Dec 2010
Go sit in the naughty corner VK
“Mr Risbridger has accepted that this (his allegation) was inaccurate but said it was an honest mistake and that the email was protected by qualified privilege”.
Risbridger admitted to it …. but it was a mistake.
From your current favourite broadsheet
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cabin-crew-member-sues-ba-over-email-1914113.html30 Dec 2010
You stated Bill Risbridger was “charged with falsifying evidence”.
He was never charged with anything.
The allegation of dishonesty was never proven, even in the second judgement:
“I cannot accept that Mr Hughes has proved malice on Mr Risbridger’s part. It is clear to me, having seen him in the witness box, that Mr Risbridger believes to this day that Mr Hughes took those twelve miniatures without any intention to pay for them. He had no reason to be spiteful or malicious towards Mr Hughes in particular. He was reporting on a number of BA staff who had been found with various items on them when searched. It is true that he thought that Mr Hughes had been extremely lucky to have been released without either charge or caution, but there is no reason to suppose that this led him to make any false defamatory allegations against him. He wrongly stated that there had been an admission but, as I have already said, the sting of the libel was the allegation of dishonesty rather than the admission itself. The Claimant’s case on Mr Risbridger’s motive is pleaded at paragraph 31(viii) of the Reply:
“It is averred that the real motive for the First Defendant in asserting that the ‘interview’ referred to in the E-mail was what was said in the Customs Hall is an attempt to find a ‘hook’ on which to hang a false allegation and is evidence of a malicious attempt to mislead, as to when and what admissions were made, at the expense of the truth, and to the distress of the Claimant.”
I do not accept that Mr Risbridger was prompted by a motive to find a “hook” on which to hang a false allegation. The material allegation he made, that of theft, was one which he genuinely believed at the time to be true. He did not understand how Mr Hughes could have genuinely intended to pay for items which exceeded the limit and for which, therefore, he would not have been permitted to pay.”
It is clear, like many BASSAmentalist types, that even when confronted with incontrovertible facts, you are unable to see reality.30 Dec 2010
This thread pertains to Mixed Fleet.
Risbridger does not appear charged with falsifying evidence.
Risbridger admitted to making an inaccurate statement in evidence
The inaccurate statement was not proven to have malicious intent so libel not proven.
Start another thread if you wish to continue.30 Dec 2010