Cathay Pacific not only has a right to crack down on flight attendant petty theft onboard, but such a crackdown should be applauded.
It’s simple. You don’t take from your employer. Doesn’t matter how inexpensive it is. Doesn’t matter if you think it will otherwise be thrown away. Just don’t do it unless you have permission. Don’t.
Here’s what Cathay Pacific told flight attendants:
Zero tolerance means you are not permitted to take off the aircraft any item other than what the company has authorised as per the policy. If anyone removes company property, irrespective of the value or if you believe it will be thrown away, you will be subject to discipline which may include termination.
And yet Cathay Pacific randomly conducted a post-flight check last Saturday and six flight attendants, some junior, some senior, were caught with contraband. Haagen-Dazs ice cream seems to a popular item to be pilfered, as well as writing pens.
The union is onboard with Cathay Paciifc on its zero-tolerance policy, although there is some concern about how the random checks are being carried out. Nevertheless, the head of the Union added:
All staff understand there is a policy posted very clearly on the company intranet. You would be putting your career in a very risky position, just for water, bread or a pen.
That’s refreshing to hear.
Why It Matters
This matters to me for two reasons. First, I run a business of my own and see how much I spend each month on “little” things like coffee and water. The costs add up fast. Office supplies too…toners, paper, pens…it is simply unacceptable for an employee I pay a salary to or for an independent contractor I pay commission to treat company supplies as their own properties. I will fire anyone on the spot who is caught stealing from me. My office has 19 security cameras for a reason…
Second, I see United flight attendants putting bottles (and sometimes multiple bottles) of water into their bags at the end of flights. This is disgusting behavior. Feel free to drink all the water you want onboard, but don’t take bottles with you. If the removal of olives from salad can save American Airlines $100,000 year, think how much it costs airlines when FAs help themselves to water…
I understand the counterargument…that some food is simply thrown away if not consumed onboard. Thus, why not let FAs take it home instead of just putting it in a landfill? But such a policy encourages theft. Suddenly, whole trays of food go missing so that it can go home with FAs. I’ve been flying 100K+ miles per year for almost 15 years (and 200-300K in recent years). Trust me, I’ve seen it. I once saw a FA fill up a Tupperware container with all the mixed nuts that were supposed to have been served to business class passengers (true story, ORD-SFO onboard a 777-200 around 2008).
So I am very sympathetic to Cathay Pacific here and hope that flight attendants get the message loud and clear. And of course, this applies to passengers as well. Shame on those who stuff blankets and headphones into their bags after a flight.
If you don’t want someone walking into your house and helping themselves to the food in your refrigerator or pens in your desk drawer, you should give the same courtesy to your employer or airline.
(H/T: One Mile at a Time)