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UPDATE: Paddle Your Own Kanoo is reporting that Delta is pausing rolling this out after the backlash.)
Delta Air Lines is introducing a new way to recognize great service in flight, but it’s getting some criticism from flight attendants and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) as they feel this is “potentially increasing risk to crews.”
This new program will provide passengers with the first names of their crew through a secure tool that will allow flyers to select those they wish to recognize. The AFA (which does not represent Delta, but has been vocal as a push to unionize continues at the airline) is trumpeting that this is a violation of privacy and a poses risk to crew. There are 25,000 flight attendants at Delta, so I’m not sure how anyone could figure out who John, Sara, and Mark are, for example, if only those first names were provided. Further, employees will be able to opt out. This is apparently not enough as it’s being labeled as a “complicated” HR process. The union further claims that:
- “Delta management is violating our privacy and potentially increasing risk to crews.”
- “The reality is that this is a thinly-veiled attempt to manage us without being on the aircraft, implemented without our knowledge or input.”
- “No other airline does anything like this. It is outrageous that our names are being sent to passengers in advance.”
- “Sharing our names with passengers in advance of a flight is unnecessary and frankly creepy”
- “Many Flight Attendants have at least one story about a passenger who gets a little too ‘friendly.”
- “For those who have dealt with harassment, intimidation and even assault, the violation of our privacy is deeply concerning.”
My thoughts are that this will also give customers the ability to clearly call out bad service as well. Many flight attendants across airlines choose not to wear name badges and tuck the badges hanging from lanyards into their uniforms as soon as they get on board. In the past, I have asked for a flight attendant’s name when filling out a card given to top tier elites to recognize service and that has often been met with hesitation.
The problem is that good or bad, there is little that happens after a customer praises or complains about a flight attendant. Unless it is something egregious, it’s usually forgotten (this is not the case if something happens when legal action could be taken). I don’t see how sharing a flight attendant’s name in a survey is different from a passenger getting it off of the name badge they should be wearing as part of their uniform. If it was their full name, photo, layover hotels, or other personal information, I’d agree with the statements above.
Anthony’s Take: Most customers won’t even take the time to fill out a survey with praise or criticism. Flight attendants should not be worried about this program and it should be viewed as a way to get recognized for doing a good job or for pointers on what they can improve upon. We’ll see how this ends up working out.
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