Delta Air Lines has reportedly paused the rollout of a controversial new recognition tool that sends passengers a pre-flight email with the first names of the pilots and flight attendants due to work on their flight.
The tool was meant to give passengers the opportunity to select an individual crew member and provide them with specific feedback – although Delta said it would only forward positive feedback and compliments to crew members.
Flight attendants were told about the tool only after it had gone live, and following what has been reported as an immediate backlash, the airline then decided to add an opt-out process for crew members who didn’t want to share their names.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA), however, warned that the opt-out process could take five days or more to be approved, during which the program would still be live.
Fighting for the right to represent non-unionized Delta flight attendants, the AFA labelled the tool “deeply concerning” and said it was a violation of privacy and “potentially increasing risk to crews”.
“The reality is that this is a thinly-veiled attempt to manage us without being on the aircraft, implemented without our knowledge or input,” a memo from the union read.
“For those who have dealt with harassment, intimidation and even assault, the violation of our privacy is deeply concerning,” the memo continued.
Delta had attempted to reassure flight attendants, explaining that the emails sent to customers linked to a secure site and that only the first names of crew members would be shared – in the same way that flight attendants already wear their names visibly on their uniforms.
Despite these assurances, however, Delta has decided to pause the rollout of the tool amidst a vocal backlash over its plans. The airline did not immediately say when the recognition tool might be brought back online.
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.