Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why American Flight Attendants are so Rotten

My guess? Age discrimination laws. Once upon a time, the de facto rule was 'we keep you employed as long as you're young, hot and friendly. When these change, hit the bricks'.

This meant that being a flight attendant was one of those jobs that women (and at the time, it was just women) planned to do for a while then quit, like modeling.

Now, if you start firing people over 40, you get a massive lawsuit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. I would have thought that airlines would have implemented a 'when you're 35 you're out the door' policy, but they haven't. My guess is that unions make the rest of it hard.

But the net result is that flight attendants are less attractive. In addition, it seems that dealing with the flying public tends to grate in you over time. So you end up with a lot of older flight attendants who (in my anecdotal experience) are nasty and grumpy all the time. But since it's hard to write people up for that, it just persists.

The only major exception to this trend seems to be Singapore Airlines. The Singapore government decided that since it is in charge of the airline, messy things like discrimination and labor laws weren't going to stand in the way of providing young, hot, and impeccably trained flight attendants. Until they're 30, then they're never seen again. It's ruthless, but competitive markets that maximise consumer surplus usually are.

No comments:

Post a Comment