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Why does UA use American FAs for language speakers?

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Old Dec 10, 17, 6:18 pm
  #46
 
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Someone mentioned PANAM earlier. I remember when Japan became an important destination again, we started a program hiring "Nisei" stewardesses ( that's
what they were called at the time ) for their Japanese language skills. Of course we already had German speakers and other languages. Northwest Orient
followed and since then there was always Japanese speaking in-flight crew on board. Don't know about today's UA situation but I would venture to say that
the Unions pretty much killed the program and that's why you see mostly U.S. Citizens as foreign language speakers which might lead to some misunderstandings,
to put it lightly.
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Old Dec 10, 17, 7:25 pm
  #47
 
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Originally Posted by Bear96 View Post
TPE was an AFA base. There also used to be CDG ad SCL AFA bases at one point but they closed.... It was and is a complex arrangement I don't think exists to the same extent at any other carrier, US-flagged or not (although I do know some other airlines have foreign language F/As here and there).
True, all those bases were AFA when they closed, but they (add in LHR as well) had all started as non-AFA bases in between the times of Wolf and Greenwald. When HKG first opened, AFA called it a "declaration of war." It was one of the reasons why PMUA FAs never joined ESOP.

The genesis of PMUA's foreign FA bases was primarily for economic reasons. Language fluency for the benefit of customers was secondary at best. Regardless, UA won't be adding any more anytime soon.
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Old Dec 10, 17, 7:32 pm
  #48
 
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Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
When I go to a foreign country where English is not the native language I appreciate any attempt to speak to me in English as I am woeful at foreign languages, with the exception of hello and thank you that I have learned in many languages. (People are amazed that I had such a global/international career but I was very fortunate English is the business language.) I take a similar approach with airlines. If I fly TAP I do not expect perfect English but I can generally understand the English that is spoken. Same with TAM, Azul, etc. I would hope that passengers who fly United take a similar approach. It is an American airline so the language will be English. There will be a FA communicating in the language of destination/origin but I do not think they should be expected to be native speakers.
Well said.
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Old Dec 10, 17, 7:53 pm
  #49
 
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Originally Posted by sinoflyer View Post
IIRC, PMUA had FA domiciles in both TPE and HKG, which were staffed with local hires. Those FAs were not allowed to wear the same uniforms, in order to be differentiated from U.S.-based FAs. Later contracts with AFA forced UA to close those domiciles.
UA also had a FA base in SIN and BKK over 10 years ago, as I recall, but not staffed by the USA based FA union.
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Old Dec 10, 17, 10:13 pm
  #50
 
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Originally Posted by Exleftseat View Post
Don't know about today's UA situation but I would venture to say that
the Unions pretty much killed the program and that's why you see mostly U.S. Citizens as foreign language speakers which might lead to some misunderstandings,
to put it lightly.
Flights to and from Japan almost always have Japanese native speakers on. I recall that buyouts in 2014 took a bite out of the NRT base.
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Old Dec 10, 17, 10:53 pm
  #51
 
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Originally Posted by acregal View Post
I fly UA to/from Japan all the time and most of the Japanese speaking FAs are clearly native (note: I live in Japan and have done stuff like simultaneous interpreting so yeah, I can tell). Sometimes there are nonnative speakers but I can only think of one flight recently where the person obviously wasn't native (might have been AA though). Actually, sometimes the UA Japanese FAs aren't good at English, so I have to communicate with them in Japanese. NH and JL flight attendants are generally terrible at English and they basically only employ Japanese (last flight there was a Korean, although I highly suspect her family had lived in Japan for generations).

There are two GAs for UA in Chicago that I usually see at the NRT flight (and the NH flight to HND) that are obviously native speakers as well.

It is generally hard to find and keep employees who are good at two languages for many industries, not even considering the job and pay of an FA.
--
LOL. I recently flew NH from NRT to Ho Chi Minh City. Due to weather the flight was delayed almost three hours at the gate (after boarding). It was a late overnight flight so it became very uncomfortable while waiting with bright overhead cabin lights on the whole time. I asked several NH FA's if they could please dim the lighting (even with gestures pointing to the lights, covering my eyes, etc.) to no avail. Finally I asked again and was told "We have no WiFi". Ugh.
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Old Dec 11, 17, 2:05 am
  #52
 
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Originally Posted by 1353513636 View Post
Wouldn't they also save money, especially for countries where wages are significantly lower (like China, for example)?
No. If you spend some time going through FAs' CBA, you will know that FAs are paid the same regardless of duty stations. The only difference is they are paid in the local currencies equivalent to their USD wages.
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