Delta Air Lines is facing intense criticism over its plans to share the names of flight attendants with passengers in emails that will be sent to customers a day before their flight.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) claims the “outrageous” plan is a violation of privacy and “potentially increasing risk to crews”.
Delta Air flight attendants are not represented by AFA or any union for that matter, but unionization efforts have been ongoing for years, and the AFA has become increasingly vocal in speaking out about internal issues at the Atlanta-based airline.
The names of flight attendants are to be shared with passengers as part of a new recognition tool in which passengers can see the first names of the flight crew operating on their upcoming flight and then write comments about the service they received.
In an internal memo explaining the program, Delta told staffers that no other identifying information apart from their first names would be shared and that the system would only forward positive comments and compliments to crew members.
The AFA claims flight attendants immediately objected to the trial, forcing Delta to allow crew members to opt out through a “complicated” HR process. A measure that the AFA described as “insufficient and insulting”.
“Delta management claims that this program is a way for customers to recognize great service,” the union said on Friday. “The reality is that this is a thinly-veiled attempt to manage us without being on the aircraft, implemented without our knowledge or input.”
“For those who have dealt with harassment, intimidation and even assault, the violation of our privacy is deeply concerning,” the memo continued.
“No other airline does anything like this. It is outrageous that our names are being sent to passengers in advance.”
In a Facebook Workplace message explaining the trial, Delta said the recognition tool would give customers “another opportunity to show how much they value each of you for improving the travel experience”.
“The secure site will allow customers select from a list of the first name of the crew members (pilots and flight attendants) on flights where the customer has a confirmed booking only”.
The tool has already been launched, according to the Workplace message, although flight attendants have been told to wait several weeks before more details about the program are shared.
Of course, it isn’t uncommon for airlines to send customer surveys, including explicit questions about the service provided by flight attendants, although the ability to dial down to specific crew members appears to be pretty much unprecedented.
Last week, pro-union Delta flight attendants staged pickets at several airports across the Delta network in an attempt to raise public awareness about the unionization drive. Previous attempts at unionizing Delta flight attendants have seemingly pushed the carrier to improve working conditions, such as becoming the firs major U.S.-based airline to pay flight attendants for boarding.
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.