In December 2012, an official e-mail was sent to all United Airlines flight attendants with the following instructions–
Benefits like bonus award miles, upgrades, priority airport services, fee waivers and discounts help us deliver a distinct and memorable level of service to our most frequent business travelers, especially our valued Global Services (GS) and Premier 1K customers. They tell us they appreciate being recognized for the value they bring to United.
Understanding this, to ensure that we properly recognize our elite customers seated in our premium cabins, we are expanding the meal order preference to include 1K customers effective Nov. 30, 2012. This amenity is currently offered only to our Global Services customers.
In the premium cabins, take meal orders front to back, without skipping around the cabin. Using the Inflight Final Report to identify customer status, manage main course entrée preferences out of customer view in the following order, ensuring Global Services customers receive their first choice:
- Global Services (GS): our invitation-only membership program exclusively for our top members.
- Premier 1K customers (1K): 100,000 Premier qualifying miles or 120 Premier qualifying segments.
- All other revenue customers
- Pass riders
But nearly 10 months later, are FAs complying? In my experience, particularly on domestic flights, the answer is unequivocally no.
What I cannot figure out is why. We are not talking about the hopping around the cabin legacy United FAs used to do–we are talking about taking meal orders from front to back, asking for first and second choice for all but Global Services members, then sorting out the orders in the galley, giving prefrence to GS and 1K customers.
That is five minutes of extra work–at the most.
Going from front to back usually works just fine–but on my last trip I was left with no selection: only the hot choice for breakfast and only the salad for dinner. While that worked out nicely in that it was what I would have chosen anyway, that most crews simply proceed from front to back taking meal orders with no regard to the directive above suggests a lack of management control.
United states, “They tell us they appreciate being recognized for the value they bring to United,” and that is true. Though the smallest of first world problems, it is nice to be asked what you want rather than be told what you are getting. All FAs should start abiding that procedure.
Any thoughts on why so few do?