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Onboard Service Enhancement Response

Date: March 26, 2021

In today’s message from John Slater to the Inflight Team, John addresses AFA’s recent communication on the subject of mask compliance suggesting that AFA “elected to omit some important facts” as it pertains to Onboard Service Enhancements.  While it is not our intent to enter into a public discourse on either subject, for the record, we want to clarify that our article wasn’t about Onboard Service Enhancements.  Our article was about mask compliance and AFA’s acknowledgement of the difficult situation many of you are telling us you are facing on a daily basis.

Let’s be clear. It’s fair to say that Flight Attendants, more than anyone else in the company, want to return to the pre-COVID service days onboard the aircraft.  We want to deliver the full services that passengers expect of the world class airline for which United is known. There is no denying the fact that long haul services to the Hawaiian Islands from the East Coast, or points in the interior United States, require food services in order to address the physical needs of the passengers in our care for the duration of these flights.

And, Flight Attendants applaud the efforts of Inflight management in the development of technologies to reduce touchpoints by using credit card information the customer has provided securely to United Airlines for that purpose.  These are positive developments that serve all of us, customers and employees, well. 

We don’t disagree that this is a highly competitive industry and it goes without saying that each one of us is fully prepared to engage in the competition, but we’re all acutely aware of the questions at the foundation of the issue; Is this the right time to introduce this level of service on every flight?  Are we jumping in too soon to our own detriment?  These are legitimate questions.

To the point we were calling out in our prior article, it’s about how the introduction of these services are creating challenges and, in some cases, conflicts on the aircraft.  Each one of you understand the point we were making.  Rather than cover the issue you already know well, for illustrative purposes, we think it might just be best to hear about the overall concern in the words of a Flight Attendant working the line, in her own words:

“Is there any clarification on what flights will be selling food and liquor? This is so insane. We struggle with the mask policy now. Every day —Someone complains. This man won’t wear his mask over his nose. “Sir please keep your mask up” which he only puts up when you are walking by his seat.  

“It’s exhausting. I’ve seen people with a can of Pringle’s sit and eat one chip at a time with the mask off. A can of peanuts, same thing for almost the entire duration of the flight. I’m eating! Every single flight I’ve had, they ask to buy liquor. Every one. Doesn’t matter if it’s 0700.

“Liquor and food sales or masks. Pick one....”    Enough, well said and in her own words.

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