Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Treated differently because of perceived AGE in Polaris

Treated differently because of perceived AGE in Polaris

Old Sep 28, 19, 10:53 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: Mileage Plus 1K \\ ConciergeKey
Posts: 260
Treated differently because of perceived AGE in Polaris

hey FT,

let me first start by saying that this is in no way indicative of all cabin crews on UA. 98.9% of cabin crews I have experienced have been AMAZING and outstanding in their service to myself and my wife.

i debated about whether to start this thread because maybe im just overly sensitive, but my last flight back from ICN pushed me to write this and see if im crazy or if others feel the same.

Ive taken a lot of UA longhauls TPAC primarily, with SFO -TPE/ICN/HKG and back and what I have sometimes noticed is that older flight attendants who are of Asian ethnicity sometimes treat and look at my wife and I like we are undeserving or spoiled to be sitting in the front of the plane. (Maybe i see more asian FAs due to SFO being my hub and going TPAC)

We sometimes are passed over when we ask for PJs but they are proactively offered to others (who look older than us), we get some looks when we ask for mid-flight snacks or a bit of an attitude (where as others dont) and sometimes I just get the good old Asian grandmother look when they get to me with my meal, like, ďheres another spoiled kid that I have to serveĒ Little things like asking for cheese + ice cream sundae has gotten me a weird look, where they dont bat an eye for other passengers who look a bit older than us.


We are both Asian, in our early 30s and weíve worked extremely hard to get to where we are in life and have been extremely lucky to have great careers. Sometimes the tickets are GPUd, sometimes they are award bookings, and sometimes they are full fare. We dont dress like slobs (we never wear shorts on the plane, sandals, etc - because both sets of our parents worked in the airline industry and we were always taught to dress appropriately for the cabin) we go out of our way to be kind since we know its a thankless job sometimes - but Its something I cant really ignore anymore.

Does anyone feel the same sentiment sometimes? Or am i just being a snowflake? (Its ok if you think i am! I just need a sanity check)

thanks again FT!
Rumples is offline  
Old Sep 28, 19, 11:05 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AC E50K, AS MVPG, Hertz PC, Hilton Diamond, Delta/Marriott/SPG Plat, UA Gold
Posts: 2,492
It's happened to me before, on more than one occasion, and usually from the boarding process and onward. I have had UA FAs chasing me down, and outright telling me (and making the incorrect assumption) I am in the wrong section. Now, if some of them would start doing their job, instead of chit-chat with each other, and certain pax (but ignore others), I would gladly show them my ticket.

Some of them are actually surprised I can speak English during the preboarding meal order process.
Repooc17 is online now  
Old Sep 28, 19, 11:33 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: SAN
Programs: 1K, *G, 1MM
Posts: 2,060
Originally Posted by Rumples View Post
hey FT,

let me first start by saying that this is in no way indicative of all cabin crews on UA. 98.9% of cabin crews I have experienced have been AMAZING and outstanding in their service to myself and my wife.

i debated about whether to start this thread because maybe im just overly sensitive, but my last flight back from ICN pushed me to write this and see if im crazy or if others feel the same.

Ive taken a lot of UA longhauls TPAC primarily, with SFO -TPE/ICN/HKG and back and what I have sometimes noticed is that older flight attendants who are of Asian ethnicity sometimes treat and look at my wife and I like we are undeserving or spoiled to be sitting in the front of the plane. (Maybe i see more asian FAs due to SFO being my hub and going TPAC)

We sometimes are passed over when we ask for PJs but they are proactively offered to others (who look older than us), we get some looks when we ask for mid-flight snacks or a bit of an attitude (where as others dont) and sometimes I just get the good old Asian grandmother look when they get to me with my meal, like, “heres another spoiled kid that I have to serve” Little things like asking for cheese + ice cream sundae has gotten me a weird look, where they dont bat an eye for other passengers who look a bit older than us.


We are both Asian, in our early 30s and we’ve worked extremely hard to get to where we are in life and have been extremely lucky to have great careers. Sometimes the tickets are GPUd, sometimes they are award bookings, and sometimes they are full fare. We dont dress like slobs (we never wear shorts on the plane, sandals, etc - because both sets of our parents worked in the airline industry and we were always taught to dress appropriately for the cabin) we go out of our way to be kind since we know its a thankless job sometimes - but Its something I cant really ignore anymore.

Does anyone feel the same sentiment sometimes? Or am i just being a snowflake? (Its ok if you think i am! I just need a sanity check)

thanks again FT!
So you believe this is perceived age discrimination rather than perceived racial discrimination? Or do you think this is perceived Asian discrimination of youthful looking Asians?

It may be more productive to write into UA about your experiences. These days apparently the FAs has an app on the pax and perhaps it could be noted that you would like to be treated with respect by the Asian FAs.

There is another thread about perceived discrimination of Asian customers by UA FAs (based on the experiences at the greeting/farewell by the FAs at the door), so you may want to merge your post with that thread as it is about perceived discrimination of Asian pax.

(FWIW I was very young senior executive, department head by 26, and I would be in meetings as the youngest and only female and I can assure you more than once I was told I was in the wrong place due to age and gender. I would just smile sweetly and the "grandfathers" soon learned I was in the right place and senior to most of them. I understand it is trying but if the worst thing in life was being told I looked too young or the wrong gender to be wherever I was I just let it pass. We do age so solved that problem - nothing I wanted to do about the gender issue as frustrating as it was. Then again I try not to sweat the small stuff.)

Your reactions to your experiences can only be controlled by you and your expectations are set by you - it is up to you how you decide to react.

For you I would suggest flying an Asian airline as I can assure you male pax are treated with far more respect and deference than female pax, even white female pax. Asian airlines would provide you the level of respect you are seeking, but I would guess far less so for your wife and probably less than she currently receives on UA.

Hope your future travel plans result in less looks and angst for you and your wife.

Last edited by Aussienarelle; Sep 28, 19 at 11:37 am Reason: Grammar
Aussienarelle is online now  
Old Sep 28, 19, 11:45 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: SEA
Programs: Million Miles achieved | 2017 Delta Platinum, United NADA, Global Entry, PreCheck, NEXUS
Posts: 1,285
From the other side of the age divide.

Iím really surprised to hear this. Iím an older Caucasian man who has flown business class or premium economy many times to the same locations you have. And Iíve had mostly good experiences, like you, but also like you Iíve had a few with flight attendants with attitude. And with your status they should be able to know you and should treat you especially well.

One thing I tend to do on boarding is let them know I know where my seat is, and even flash my ticket at them. And as for the PJs my feeling is that they pass over the Caucasians for Asians. Of course their large size is really not big enough so there is that.
Boraxo likes this.
Bear4Asian is offline  
Old Sep 28, 19, 12:05 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: FLL/LAX/YYZ/TPE
Programs: CO Platinum 1K, United 1K, SPG LT Platinum, National Executive Elite, Platinum TSA Hater
Posts: 33,703
If you have a specific experience on board, I would bring it up with the purser, make sure they know who the offending FA is, and make it clear you will be informing the 1K customer service people about the specific experience on your flight. If you're spending good money to fly in Polaris, this treatment is unacceptable. You should be doing this every single time you have a direct, unambiguous slight from one of these crew members. If it was me, I would have probably loudly snapped "knock off the attitude, I paid to be here and should be shown respect", a long time ago if this was happening to me every flight.

But....I need to ask....if you are experiencing this on an ongoing basis, which is apparently the case, why are you not flying BR/NH/OZ instead? I can guarantee that your overall experience will be head and shoulders better than on UA, and you can just bring your own pajamas to make up for what is really the only gap between UA and these other vastly superior *A carriers. Why continue to put yourself through this?
travelinmanS likes this.
bocastephen is offline  
Old Sep 28, 19, 12:09 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: ASE
Programs: AA EXP, UA Silver, Hertz 5*, National Executive, Hyatt DSC, HHonors/SPG/Marriott Gold, IHG PLT
Posts: 2,686
I don't think that you're being a snowflake or that it is all unreasonable to expect good service no matter one's age, race, gender, etc. I'm sorry that you have experienced this and it is sad that people's biases and prejudices still exist in 2019. Maybe one day we as a society will treat others as we wish to be treated.
UAPremierGuy is offline  
Old Sep 28, 19, 12:16 pm
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 85,485
Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
If you have a specific experience on board, I would bring it up with the purser, make sure they know who the offending FA is, and make it clear you will be informing the 1K customer service people about the specific experience on your flight. If you're spending good money to fly in Polaris, this treatment is unacceptable. You should be doing this every single time you have a direct, unambiguous slight from one of these crew members. If it was me, I would have probably loudly snapped "knock off the attitude, I paid to be here and should be shown respect", a long time ago if this was happening to me every flight.

But....I need to ask....if you are experiencing this on an ongoing basis, which is apparently the case, why are you not flying BR/NH/OZ instead? I can guarantee that your overall experience will be head and shoulders better than on UA, and you can just bring your own pajamas to make up for what is really the only gap between UA and these other vastly superior *A carriers. Why continue to put yourself through this?
Sometimes it's the purser who is the problem, sometimes even going so far as to encourage the FAs to behave badly too. There was a very senior PMNW and then DL purser who was notorious for deciding which passengers he thought deserved to be sitting in business class and thus deserved to be treated well, regardless of fare, status, etc. He treated individual FAs working *his* flights either very well or very badly too. Unfortunately it took the airlines a very long time to get rid of him.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Sep 28, 19, 12:22 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Programs: Aeroplan
Posts: 19
Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
But....I need to ask....if you are experiencing this on an ongoing basis, which is apparently the case, why are you not flying BR/NH/OZ instead? I can guarantee that your overall experience will be head and shoulders better than on UA, and you can just bring your own pajamas to make up for what is really the only gap between UA and these other vastly superior *A carriers. Why continue to put yourself through this?
Off topic slightly but BR J provides quite nice pajamas, and NH J sometimes gives you F pajamas if you have status and ask nicely.
east_west likes this.
zephyr7 is offline  
Old Sep 28, 19, 12:27 pm
  #9  

2019 Secret Santa
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: New York, NY
Programs: United 1K, Marriott Titanium, AA Gold, Hilton Gold, Hertz PC
Posts: 15
I'm just shy of 30, but I look closer to 25 -- and I'm constantly stopped on UA. I've had gate agents who are coming on the plane to move me up to first laugh and say they must have the wrong seat, I've been stopped going into the United Club (several times) -- including once by an agent who said "I just looked way too young to be a 1K." Most times it comes from older employees -- and I'm often treated the best by younger UAX employees on regional jets.

I've brought it up with a few of my friends who work for UA, and they say unfortunately the ageism can be rampant with crews, too. I've brought it up with customer service a couple times, but it's hard to prove. Not sure what the solution is.
cubsfan312 is offline  
Old Sep 28, 19, 12:50 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 8,931
Well, I wish I had this problem - being able to fly business class regularly and look that young

I think we all have that generalization and sizing-up people tendency - it is human nature. In the service industry, I guess it might be worse - they have a huge sample size and probably size people up out of habit. The trick of course is to not treat customers differently based on our generalization, opinions, past experiences and prejudices.

As I mentioned in the other thread Treated Differently as an Asian Passenger , UA has an internal Diversity group to help with this kind of thing.

All that said, the only time I have personally experienced out right rudeness on UA TPAC J from an FA was an older SFO-based Asian FA. I wonder if OP had her.

When this kind of thing happens, it is hard to prove. On one hand, it does not help to think this way and one should move on. On the other hand, if people do report this kind of thing and UA keeps track of it, maybe they can see patterns.
username is offline  
Old Sep 28, 19, 1:08 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: NYC, LAX, Seattle, Dubai... or just on a plane
Programs: Skywards Platinum, AA EXP, AS MVP75K, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Titanium, IHG Spire
Posts: 1,700
Originally Posted by cubsfan312 View Post
I'm just shy of 30, but I look closer to 25 -- and I'm constantly stopped on UA. I've had gate agents who are coming on the plane to move me up to first laugh and say they must have the wrong seat, I've been stopped going into the United Club (several times) -- including once by an agent who said "I just looked way too young to be a 1K." Most times it comes from older employees -- and I'm often treated the best by younger UAX employees on regional jets.

I've brought it up with a few of my friends who work for UA, and they say unfortunately the ageism can be rampant with crews, too. I've brought it up with customer service a couple times, but it's hard to prove. Not sure what the solution is.
This. Way back when I was 13 or so (Iím 30 now), When my parents got divorced I traveled between them every month cross country. I was accused of using my fathers elite card three times over a span of about 4 years. Also the looks I got on op-ups on the plane from a guy in a 3 piece suit were priceless!

It got to the point where I wrote into WorldPerks and requested they send me a written letter I could present to agents explaining I was the actual elite member and this was not my fathers card so I could avoid these confrontations.

I completely understand and agree with the OP and donít doubt for a minute that what is happening, is happening. So donít think youíre crazy. Youíre not, and itís really sad that US carriers have such horrible FAís. Unfortunately itís a real problem, and there isnít much you can do about it. Especially on all the US-3 carriers. Iíve never had a problem traveling in J or F on a Gulf carrier or an Asian carrier.

When I book J/F on an American carrier I actually expect to be treated differently and sort of just go with the flow because there really isnít much you can do from passive aggressive behavior towards you on an airplane. I just set my bar so low that nothing bothers me.
NWplatinum is offline  
Old Sep 28, 19, 1:10 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: FLL/LAX/YYZ/TPE
Programs: CO Platinum 1K, United 1K, SPG LT Platinum, National Executive Elite, Platinum TSA Hater
Posts: 33,703
Originally Posted by zephyr7 View Post
Off topic slightly but BR J provides quite nice pajamas, and NH J sometimes gives you F pajamas if you have status and ask nicely.
oh you are right - duh! I just forgot because their XL is actually a USA XS, so I never get to wear them. So, adding in BR also allows advanced ordering of meals, amazing inflight hamburger and fries, luxury champagne from a brand everyone knows (ie Krug), a really easy connection process at TPE, and the crew falls over themselves to be friendly and helpful, if the OP doesn't need UA PQD, I am unsure of the value proposition in flying UA except point to point ex-SFO, although I would rather take a connection vs being treated like something under the FA's shoe in exchange for my thousands of dollars in spend.
east_west likes this.
bocastephen is offline  
Old Sep 28, 19, 1:19 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: SAN
Programs: 1K, *G, 1MM
Posts: 2,060
Originally Posted by NWplatinum View Post
This. Way back when I was 13 or so (I’m 30 now), When my parents got divorced I traveled between them every month cross country. I was accused of using my fathers elite card three times over a span of about 4 years. Also the looks I got on op-ups on the plane from a guy in a 3 piece suit were priceless!

It got to the point where I wrote into WorldPerks and requested they send me a written letter I could present to agents explaining I was the actual elite member and this was not my fathers card so I could avoid these confrontations.

I completely understand and agree with the OP and don’t doubt for a minute that what is happening, is happening. So don’t think you’re crazy. You’re not, and it’s really sad that US carriers have such horrible FA’s. Unfortunately it’s a real problem, and there isn’t much you can do about it. Especially on all the US-3 carriers. I’ve never had a problem traveling in J or F on a Gulf carrier or an Asian carrier.

When I book J/F on an American carrier I actually expect to be treated differently and sort of just go with the flow because there really isn’t much you can do from passive aggressive behavior towards you on an airplane. I just set my bar so low that nothing bothers me.
Let me assure you as a female I am usually treated as a second class citizen on Asian and Middle Eastern carriers. As a general rule I am treated much better on UA (there has been the odd exception but is is very much the exception and not the norm). There is a reason I choose UA for most of my flights.

As others have suggested OP should fly other carriers for the better service for a male but his wife will likely receive a lower level of service on those other carriers. The pecking order seems to be any man, white females and then other females (based on my OAL flying experiences).
Boraxo likes this.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 28, 19 at 5:41 pm Reason: Discuss the issue; not the poster(s)
Aussienarelle is online now  
Old Sep 28, 19, 1:40 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AC E50K, AS MVPG, Hertz PC, Hilton Diamond, Delta/Marriott/SPG Plat, UA Gold
Posts: 2,492
In Asia, sometimes you are treated better if you are not Asian, or do not look Asian. This carries to the airline industry; although mostly for business (financial) reasons.

On the other side of the coin, I have seen quite a bit of non-civil behavior from Asian pax, such as talking across the cabin, treating FAs as servant-like because they can afford business/first cabin.

Both are equally disgusting behaviors
Repooc17 is online now  
Old Sep 28, 19, 1:43 pm
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS MVPG75K; Marriott Titanium; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Refugeeist
Posts: 42,455
Air travel is much easier if you don't take stuff personally.
Kacee is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread