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Odd (not offensive) Statement Made by a Flight Attendant

Odd (not offensive) Statement Made by a Flight Attendant

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Old Sep 30, 15, 5:37 am
  #1  
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Odd (not offensive) Statement Made by a Flight Attendant

My Wife recently flew on UNITED and had the best flight attendant that she has experienced domestically to date, she could not stop raving about this man.

Apparently, he was professional from start to finish which made her flight feel special and as she described it, "First Class actually seemed First Class". For the entire flight she said he did not sit down one second and ensured that each customer was well take care of. My Wife not being any sort of Elite did not get her first meal choice, nor her second and the Flight Attendant apologized profusely before even taking orders, by explaining to the non-Elite Passengers how UNITED takes meal orders and added that he will do his best to provide an enjoyable and relaxing flight. He really worked hard and according to my Wife it was noticeably different than her few experiences with UNITED, she equated it more to DELTA on one of their best days.

After the flight, my wife asked for either his full name or employee ID or something to identify him so that she could send in a compliment and he thanked her, saying that meant a lot, but asked that she not send in a compliment.

My Wife asked why not and he said something like (I was not there) I like to stay under the radar, if the company barely knows that I exist than there is less of a chance of them making my life miserable, I have stayed employed this long by not being noticed, the last thing I want to do now is be noticed, I do not trust this airline as far as I can throw it.

Obviously my Wife will respect his wishes, but she (and I) found the statement very odd and sad. Curious if you all ever hear statements like that before, UNITED is an airline that my Wife and I rarely fly, so our experiences with it are extremely limited.
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Old Sep 30, 15, 5:46 am
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Doesn't surprise me in the least. I have encountered several employees who have asked that I not recognize them.
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Old Sep 30, 15, 5:52 am
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I should think that he was concerned that UA would interpret a compliment as meaning he had given the customer something she was not entitled to.
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Old Sep 30, 15, 6:04 am
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Sad... cannot even recognize the good work now.
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Old Sep 30, 15, 6:21 am
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
Doesn't surprise me in the least. I have encountered several employees who have asked that I not recognize them.
+1 - IME many of the ones that really care about great service don't need / want the recognition - they just want to do their jobs as professionals in spite of what the company is doing...
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Old Sep 30, 15, 6:24 am
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I suspect an employee being slightly paranoid. People do send in compliments for employees who have done something clearly prohibited, e.g., a bottle of wine to take with them and the like. That is, of course, hurtful.

It is always worth parsing your words carefully. Send in the compliment, but if it includes conduct which is pretty clearly not according to the rules, leave that out. Keep it to attitude, service standard and the like.
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Old Sep 30, 15, 6:37 am
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Originally Posted by kmersh View Post
...My Wife not being any sort of Elite did not get her first meal choice, nor her second....
This is worth a complaint in and of itself...

Whether anyone will care is another question.

And, no, it doesn't matter of this was paid F or an award ticket.
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Old Sep 30, 15, 7:15 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I suspect an employee being slightly paranoid. People do send in compliments for employees who have done something clearly prohibited, e.g., a bottle of wine to take with them and the like. That is, of course, hurtful.

It is always worth parsing your words carefully. Send in the compliment, but if it includes conduct which is pretty clearly not according to the rules, leave that out. Keep it to attitude, service standard and the like.
Why would anyone want to take a bottle of anything served on United home with them?
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Old Sep 30, 15, 7:51 am
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I didn't like getting (in essence) "Employee of the Month" at my old job a few years ago.
I was just doing my job, I didn't want to go up in front of everyone and have them clap for me.
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Old Sep 30, 15, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
I should think that he was concerned that UA would interpret a compliment as meaning he had given the customer something she was not entitled to.
As the saying goes...the floggings will continue until morale improves
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Old Sep 30, 15, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by us2 View Post
This is worth a complaint in and of itself...

Whether anyone will care is another question.

And, no, it doesn't matter of this was paid F or an award ticket.
Tangentially:

It is a UNITED policy (whether I think it is a good or bad idea is immaterial) and thus my Wife either had to abide by it or not fly UNITED. My only thought that is maybe UNITED should put a blurb on their website explaining the policy for those who are unaware as a Forewarned is Forearmed sort of thing, but any company has a right to put whatever policies/procedures in place whether I or anybody else likes them, knowing about them going in can ease any difficulties or misunderstanding as far as I am concerned.

Actually, I think what the Flight Attendant did was pretty good, he went to each of the passengers who held no status and personally explained to them the policy on how UNITED wants it flight Attendants to take meal orders and apologized ahead of time before taking meal orders as there was a good chance they would not receive their preference, I believe he also asked each passenger who he thought might not get their first choice if they had any allergies (not sure on that as my Wife said something in passing but I had to hang up as an Emergency was coming in and a nurse was alerting me).

More Directly On-Topic:

Maybe it is paranoia or maybe the guy just truly enjoys staying under the radar and just wants to go to work and go home as anonymous as possible.
No matter what the reason, it struck my Wife and I as a little odd and I was curious what the experts here (especially those who fly UNITED a lot) thought.

Last edited by kmersh; Sep 30, 15 at 8:59 am Reason: reworked my writting a little to make a bit more sense.
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Old Sep 30, 15, 9:00 am
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This is a function of a dysfunctional culture.

While it's too early to tell if this is going to change now that Smisek is gone, keep in mind that, especially on the PMUA side, that keeping a low profile is probably a wise move, as the company has been very clear in their actions that they would like to disproportionally remove PMUA workers through various tactics.
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Old Sep 30, 15, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by us2 View Post
This is worth a complaint in and of itself...

Whether anyone will care is another question.

And, no, it doesn't matter of this was paid F or an award ticket.
And to the OP, it wouldn't matter if your wife was an elite. The vast majority of UA elites do not get any meal prioritization in FC, only the "elite" elites (1K and GS) get this. Everyone else should bring their own food into FC if they have a preference.
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Old Sep 30, 15, 9:26 am
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Recently my husband (1K) and I (silver) flew from IAD to IAH. We used a regional upgrade to fly business. The flight attendant asked me for my food choice before taking off but she did not ask my husband, I thought that was really odd and could not figure out why. Later in the flight she came and asked my husband, at that point he could not get his first choice for dinner. That was when I realized I was sitting on his seat and he was sitting on mine!
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Old Sep 30, 15, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
I should think that he was concerned that UA would interpret a compliment as meaning he had given the customer something she was not entitled to.
I have encountered this as well. The employees, especially FAs, think that management is so used to customer complaints that a compliment these days is a red flag and may be worth investigating. To be more precise, the pm UA FAs especially feel this way.
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