The demeanor of the flight attendants were so out of character for Northwest Airlines that I was compelled to say something. Turns out I was not alone.
My son Noah ,who was sitting several aisles away from me on the flight, mentioned as we were waiting for our luggage that the flight attendants were FRIENDLY.
Oh and they were FUNNY.
This was Monday. Three days before the airlines was scheduled to come out of bankruptcy.
During our conversation I told Noah that they were so nice that I actually said something to them. That's when Noah said he did too. Friendly and Funny NWA flight attendants deserve a comment.
Anyone who has had to travel on NWA during the turbulent last five years, knows that on the customer service side, they've had some mighty cranky flight attendants. Sometimes downright rude. There has been no hiding that these union employees were not thrilled they were pouring "one for the kipper."
But back to Monday's flight. It was ala Southwest Airlines. Joking around. Actually smiling and talking to passengers. It was so off[-putting that I mentioned it to the flight attendant who in an act of absolute generosity not normally seen on NWA, served me an entire can of Bloody Mary Mix sans the vodka
When I said how unusual it was to see happy flight attendants she said, " we hear that a lot."
While NWA and their shareholders may start smiling a bit more, passengers shouldn't think that my Hartford to Minneapolis trip is an indication of a trend.
Your Global Travel News is reporting that even though NWA has survived its financial struggles, its battle with employees,who are none to happy in giving up $1.4 billion annually in compensation ,could still be its undoing.
"Employee rage swelled this month when the company revealed a management compensation plan that awards Steenland stock and options potentially worth more than USD$20 million.
“Northwest may be emerging from Chapter 11, but it has a long way to go,” said Anthony Sabino, a law professor at St. John’s University in New York.
“Much of the carrier’s unionized work force is tremendously unhappy. And in an intensely competitive and service-oriented industry such as the airlines, the bad blood could cost Northwest dearly, if not doom it altogether,” he said."
On Tuesday, the flight attendants begrudgingly agreed to a new contract. According to the Liz Fedor at the Star Tribune
"It is not a contract that any labor organization wants to pass to their members for a vote," said Andy Wisbacher, vice president of the Northwest branch of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).
But Wisbacher said the agreement -- the two sides' third attempt at a contract since 2006 -- passed partly because a rejection would mean the loss of a $182 million bankruptcy claim. He also said union leaders had run into legal roadblocks that prevented them from negotiating a better deal.
"We've been failed by the courts and failed by the National Mediation Board. That caused some flight attendants to vote yes," Wisbacher said."
According to the article, under the new contract a flight attendant with 15 years experience who flies 75 hours a month will earn $35,433 a year.
Image Credit: Betty In The Sky With A Suitcase.