Conditions on board Air France flights are ‘cataclysmic’ and ‘deplorable’ Flight Attendant Union

Air France’s flight attendants’ union says conditions on board flights are becoming “cataclysmic” due to the growing number of day-to-day issues affecting passengers and cabin crew.

“For several weeks, discontent has been rising among the cabin crew members who find themselves confronted with many 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 having a new customer ambition, the reality of the job consists in the art and the way of apologizing to them for the poor quality of the service offered.”

“Once in the air, good magicians that we are, we are not miracle workers,” castigated the union.

The problems faced by passengers and cabin crew are said to come just as Air France is launching a major marketing campaign to promote its “upscaling” with a new business class seat and improved catering.

However, these improvements have not yet found their way onto Air France flights. The union says catering problems have become a big problem in recent months, while the number of broken seats and other faulty on-board equipment has “exploded”.

The union says working conditions have become “deplorable” and warns these issues could become a major sticking point when their collective agreement is soon renegotiated.

However, the situation could get worse before it gets better. On Saturday, Air France sent a company-wide text message calling on flight attendants to delay holidays they had booked in July and August due to a shortage of available staff.

Many issues affecting Air France are felt across the global airline industry, with most of the issues related to the ramp-up of operations as travel demand rebounded following the end of pandemic travel restrictions .

As the industry emerges from the pandemic, workers are increasingly keen to recoup the sacrifices that the industry says were needed to survive the crisis. A strike has already been threatened at British Airways, while concern is mounting at a number of airlines, including Ryanair and Lufthansa.

In 2018, Air France was hit by a wave of consecutive strikes over wages and working conditions. The estimated cost of the walkouts exceeded €500million before a long-term deal was agreed.

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Mateusz Maszczynski


Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the Middle East’s most important airline and flew 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-centered stories. Always on the cutting edge, Matt’s knowledge, analysis and news coverage are often used by some of the biggest names in journalism.

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