The Air France flight attendant union claims conditions onboard flights are becoming ‘cataclysmic’ because of the rising number of daily issues affecting passengers and cabin crew.
“For several weeks, discontent has been rising among the cabin crew members who find themselves confronted with numerous irritants and spend a large part of their mission apologizing to customers,” the SN-PNC union told its members last week.
“While disconnected management prides itself on a new customer ambition, the reality of the job consists in the art and way of apologizing to them for the poor quality of the service offered.”
“Once in the air, good magicians as we are, we are not miracle workers,” the union slammed.
The problems faced by passengers and cabin crew are said to be happening just as Air France launches a major marketing campaign to promote its “move upmarket” with a new Business Class seat and improved catering.
Those improvements haven’t, however, seemingly found themselves onboard Air France flights just yet. The union says catering problems have become a big issue in recent months, while the number of broken seats and other faulty onboard equipment has ‘exploded’.
The union says working conditions have become ‘deplorable’ and warns that these issues might become a major sticking point when their collective bargaining agreement comes up for renegotiation soon.
The situation could, though, get worse before it gets better. On Saturday, Air France sent out a company-wide text message calling on flight attendants to delay any holidays they had booked in July and August due to a shortage of available staff.
Many of the issues affecting Air France are being felt across the global airline industry with most problems connected with the ramp-up of operations as travel demand bounced back after the ending of pandemic-era travel restrictions.
As the industry emerges from the pandemic, workers are becoming increasingly eager to claw back sacrifices that the industry said were necessary to survive the crisis. Strike action has already been threatened at British Airways, while disquiet is rising at a number of airlines including Ryanair and Lufthansa.
In 2018, Air France was hit by a wave of strike action in a row over pay and working conditions. The estimated cost of the walkouts exceeded €500 million before a long-term agreement was reached.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.