Cathay Pacific’s flight attendants are threatening job action now that contract negotiations have broken off. Christmas travel will not be affected. But if unsettled, the dispute could lead to flight delays and cancellation of some non-essential onboard services in the new year.
One of the most disturbing aspects of CNN’s story on the matter, “Cathay cabin crew threaten no-smile service”, is to read that the Hong Kong-based airline’s flight attendants union considers nuts and alcohol “non-essential items.” I must admit I did not see this one coming. It’s a full-throated act of exquisite treachery. They’re threatening not to serve. Ouch.
They’ll serve water though. But not with a “non-essential” smile! It’s going to be like AA, or UA or Delta. It’s going to be just like home. Why even travel? Oh sure, you can pack your own nuts. But not alcohol. It’s not like Russia.
They’re fighting over 2%. The old complicated story. That’s all the increase the airline is offering its 6,000 flight attendants for 2013. Happy New Year! Two percent. The same percent we’re fighting over in Washington. Oh, stab us and twist it till it smarts you non-smiling flight attendants.
Oh boy. New Year’s is the busiest time for travel in Southeast Asia. The flight attendants are smiling now because that’s when they plan job action. They call it “safety-first limited service.” No nuts. No alcohol. Water. (No word if it’s going to be bottled or South China Sea vintage.)
The last job action by Cathay cabin crews was in 1993. It happened over Chinese New Year. We all respect consistency. They got us. Men in Hong Kong suits at Cathay headquarters, please up the ante and pass the nuts.