Once upon a time, the U.S. airline industry was a good place to
work, and employees showed up at work with smiles on their
faces. So went the discussion I had recently with a retired airline
worker, as we endured an almost eight-hour delay on a flight from the
West Coast to Washington.
Many on our flight were baffled by the lack of communication from
workers at the gate, who weren't surly--they weren't saying
much at all. The former airline worker explained that many working the
gate often don't know what's causing the delays--and their salaries
tend to be skimpy. An MSNBC article backs that up:
Airline employees have been kicked around a lot in recent years.
Management has threatened their unions, cut their paychecks, eliminated
their pensions, changed the work rules, reduced personnel and even
hidden behind bankruptcy protection — and yet has found it possible to
shower bonuses upon their CEOs and top brass. Let's face it, employee
morale is broken and no amount of company pep talk is going to fix it.
Just go to Chicago O'Hare or Atlanta Hartsfield airport during the peak
flight hours. You'll see many employees doing their jobs, but their
spirit is all but extinct.
As news swirls that this summer might be one of the worst travel
seasons ever, I wonder: is this the worst time to be working for the