The Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union says its members are “furious” with recent worldwide media coverage that has labelled cabin crew at the airline as “thieves”. The allegations went viral earlier this week after it was revealed management at the airline had started a crackdown on the petty theft of company property that’s leftover from inflight service.
According to the South China Morning Press, petty theft had long been considered an unofficial perk – the newspaper said common items to be taken without the airline’s permission included pens, spare amenity kits, cutlery and wine glasses to expensive bottles of Champagne and even bread.
Small pots of Häagen-Dazs ice cream which are meant to be given out to passengers were said to be one of the most popular items taken by Cathy’s cabin crew.
According to one unnamed source, the theft of leftover service items had apparently cost Cathay Pacific “untold hundred of millions”. The airline has hired a private security firm to randomly search cabin crew as they arrive back in Hong Kong – six flight attendants have already been suspended after company property was found in the bags.
Cathay’s manager of inflight services, Ed Higgs told staff in a stern memo that a new zero-tolerance policy applied to all property irrespective of the value.
But the union representing cabin crew at the airline says the reporting frames all flight attendants as thieves without any actual proof. After all, an unnamed source does not necessarily make a story true. As for the six crew members who have already been caught, the union says the whole incident has been blown out of proportion and certainly not reported on accurately.
In fact, the union has obtained legal advice that suggests the random searches may have even been illegal. So far, airline management has failed to respond to questions about the search process.
“Every one of us understands the principle and responsibility in protecting company property,” the union said in a statement posted to its Facebook page. Although, the union does acknowledge that some cabin crew do take unused perishable food items that would otherwise be destroyed.
“There are times whereby some might find it a waste to let the perishable items (be) disposed of,” the statement reads. “(Cathay Pacific) has all the rights to stop us from saving the environment but defame us and labelling us as thieves is intolerant.”
As we’ve already mentioned, the notion that Cathay Pacific cabin crew are the only flight attendants in the world taking unused food or the contents of amenity kits with them after a flight is absolutely preposterous. It’s really common and not all that surprising at all.