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Being Cabin Crew – The Ugly Truth


Table of Contents

Page 1 – Cabin Crew Mental Health
Page 1 – Allegations of Inappropriate Touching
Page 2 – Behind the Galley Curtain 
Page 2 – Dealing with the Grievance 
Page 2 – Stupidity Ignorance or Both? 
Page 3 – Workplace Mental Health
Page 4 – Ex Police Officer now Cabin Crew 

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 2


Cabin Crew Mental Health

Having spent my entire working life as cabin crew I was made redundant in 2020 following the outbreak of Covid-19. I was on long term sick at the time because of issues with my mental health. As soon as redundancies were announced I knew my cards were marked.

During my 30 years with Virgin Atlantic I had a clean record, worked hard and was passionate about delivering exceptional standards of service. I loved going to work and carried out my duties to the highest standard.

In later years as a Flight Service Manager (FSM) I worked closely with the cabin crew to gain trust and respect, ensured safety and service procedures were followed and tried to create a happy working environment.

Mental health matters especially in the workplace and it’s something I’ve always been passionate about.

One aspect of my role as a Flight Service Manager I particularly enjoyed was coaching and developing. During my twenty five years as an Onboard Manager I wrote and delivered hundreds of performance appraisals.

In 2003 a couple of years after being promoted to FSM my partner became gravely ill. I suddenly found myself facing some very difficult decisions.

Flying full time wasn’t easy and part time wasn’t an option because it was only really offered to crew returning from maternity. Having told my manager I was thinking about leaving he managed to get me part-time.

Despite the turmoil of the next five years which had a huge impact on my mental health, I remained loyal and committed to the company and was rarely off sick.

In performance appraisals written on me by colleagues throughout my time as a Purser (now Cabin Service Supervisor) and also after being promoted to Flight Service Manager, I was described as proactive, approachable, a great communicator and someone who thrived on delivering exceptional standards of service.

I always took a keen interest in my performance and development and spoke with my manager regularly. We had a good relationship, were open and honest with each other and I was repeatedly told I was a high performing member of his team.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and am by nature thoughtful, kind and considerate. As a Flight Service Manager I understood the importance of rewarding outstanding performance but also felt it was important to highlight areas where there was room for improvement. That’s part of being an effective manager.

For Christmas 2018 I was due to operate a flight to Seattle. It had a long layover and I didn’t want to be away from home for so long. My dad had recently become very frail and was in the last stages of his life. I managed to swap with a colleague for a shorter trip to Atlanta. It was a decision I would live to regret.

What happened in the months that followed is difficult to comprehend. It had a catastrophic effect on my life and on my mental health. More than three years later and I’m still struggling to come to terms with what took place.

I had considered leaving many times over the years but loved flying, believed I did my job well and was never quite ready or brave enough to call it a day.


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At the time this all began I had been back at work for less than a year after being off for eighteen months with depression and anxiety.

What I was put through by several cabin crew line managers and the Head of Cabin Crew defies belief.

They were all fully aware of my situation. They were also aware I was crumbling under the pressure of having to deal with a fictitious grievance raised by a new employee still in probation. It made no difference at all.

Unknown to me at the time this was a witch hunt that came about because of an encounter I’d had with the Head of Cabin Crew some years earlier. She was after revenge and was prepared to go to whatever lengths necessary to achieve it.


Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 flying in a pure blue sky
Boeing 747-400


Allegations of Inappropriate Touching

During a flight to Cape Town not too many years ago I was asked to speak with a customer sitting at the front of the Premium cabin.

Premium is superior to Economy but not quite Upper Class.

Since take-off she had been asking to be upgraded because her husband couldn’t get comfortable. He had a spinal issue which meant he couldn’t stand up straight.

After introducing myself she told me she wanted to be upgraded to Upper Class so her husband could use the bed.  Having explained I wasn’t able to upgrade them she said they had been upgraded many times by the Flight Service Manager. She told me as a gold club flying member they were entitled to be upgraded.

I explained that wasn’t company policy and although we do everything possible to make gold club customers feel welcome, as a Flight ServiceManager I wasn’t authorised to upgrade them.

She told me they had flown out to Cape Town in Upper Class but were disappointed with the seat so changed their return flight to Premium.  It was the first time they had travelled in this cabin and found the seat extremely uncomfortable.

Despite trying to help as much as I could she was only interested in being upgraded. At this time the company strictly prohibited us from upgrading anyone to Upper Class.

As her voice became louder she suddenly blurted out “you have no idea what it’s like to live with someone who’s disabled”.

I empathised and said I really did understand how difficult it can be and explained I’d been a carer for many years for my partner who had been very ill. Her response was to say “he probably had AIDS”.

Her comment resonated because my ex partner did have AIDS. Those years were some of the most difficult and traumatic of my life.


Flying as cabin crew is a job unlike any other. During my time with the airline I met many amazing people and had some incredible experiences.

I always felt proud to be in uniform and did everything to make every customer’s journey special. I enjoy making people happy and am passionate about delivering great customer service.

I can hardly remember a day when I didn’t feel excited about going to work.


A group of Virgin Atlantic cabin crew in a hotel lobby
Vancouver 2012 (taken with an old iphone)


I was often asked by friends and even my family how long I intended to keep flying.  It was a strange question because it was my job and one that I loved yet was not looked upon as being a career.

I had always planned on hanging up my wings at 55 but in 2016 a year before my 50th birthday was on long term sick with issues relating to my mental health. I never believed I’d fly again.

Incredibly I did manage to return to work in March 2018. Although I was no longer the person I once was, being back doing the job I loved was more than I could have wished for.

I always worked hard and tried to set an example for others to follow.

I am by nature a bit of a joker and love to make people laugh. Although I expected my crew to work hard, I tried to create a fun and relaxed working environment.


On 24th December 2018 I operated a flight to Atlanta. During the eighteen months that followed what I was put through by the company led to me contemplating suicide on several occasions.

On that fateful day I checked in with five of the most vile and despicable people you could ever wish to meet. One of them was an ex serving police officer.

My alleged conduct during the flight and whilst in Atlanta led to a complaint for bullying, harassment, overbearing supervision and inappropriate touching. The ex police officer had been with the airline for eleven months so was still in probation.

Prior to joining the company he had been with the police for eight years. His fiancée was also on the flight as cabin crew although I was unaware of their relationship. She was also ex police but I don’t in what capacity. She was good friends with two other crew on the flight.

Considering the seriousness of his allegations he said nothing to anyone either during the flight or whilst in Atlanta. Even after landing back home he didn’t speak to his manager to raise concerns about my alleged behaviour.

As an ex police officer he would have understood the importance of doing that.

I’m going to refer to this vile creature as Bart.

I had allocated Bart a working position in Upper Class. Working in this cabin meant he would be working alongside me and four other crew.

He was aloof and unfriendly from the second we met which is unusual for cabin crew. I initially put it down to shyness.

When I asked him during the pre-flight briefing whether he’d worked in the Upper Class cabin before he confirmed he had many times.

What I witnessed on both sectors showed otherwise. I had to address a number of issues with him on both flights regarding the way he was delivering the service. That was part of my role as a Flight Service Manager.

With him still being in probation I decided to write a performance appraisal. In line with company policy that’s what I should have done.

Having received it he responded with accusations of bullying, harassment and overbearing supervision. He also accused me of inappropriate touching not only towards him but also towards the rest of the crew.

He made twenty separate complaints about my performance, ability and conduct.

Despite proving unequivocally that Bart, his fiancée and four cabin crew with whom they colluded were lying, the allegations were upheld. Very little of what I said was believed.

Bart is a devious, malicious narcissist who was not prepared to accept any constructive feedback on his performance. His eight years in the police enabled him to cleverly manipulate situations that had actually taken place.

He was aware of the importance of witnesses so colluded with several members of the crew.

His now ex fiancée was good friends with two crew members. A third crew member was on the flight with his best friend. Another crew member who had been called for the flight from standby was more than happy to support Bart’s lies for reasons that will become clear later in the blog.

As someone with an impressive memory which his fiancée Anna (not her real name) confirmed in her witness statement, Bart used facts from situations that had taken place and twisted the truth. This made the allegations extremely difficult for me to defend.

The following screenshot comes from her witness statement. She was working at the opposite end of an A340-600 which is a long aircraft. She only came to the front cabin where Bart and I were working once and stayed for just a few minutes.


copy of written text
From the witness statement submitted by Anna, Bart’s fiancee. “Workplace” by Facebook is a corporate communications platform. FSM = Flight Service Manager which was my rank.


In addition to Bart, three other cabin crew one being Anna also accused me of inappropriate touching. Her witness statement and one written by crew member Ven (not his real name) are so vile, poisonous and full of hatred that even now I find them incredibly difficult to read.

All five witness statements submitted by the crew who supported Bart’s complaint were full of lies and inconsistencies. It was plain to see collusion had taken place.

The remaining three statements written by the crew who worked alongside Bart and myself in Upper Class and those written by the Captain and First Officer were honest and told a very different story.

Despite providing endless amounts of evidence to prove Bart, Anna and their accomplices were lying, the cabin crew managers dealing with the case and the Head of Cabin Crew who dealt with my appeal refused to believe anything I said.

Four out of the six crew involved in this matter had been with the airline for less than twelve months. The fifth was on his first operating fight back after having been on a ground placement for a year.

The remaining crew member who was Ven had been with the airline for four years. He had been called on the morning of the flight from standby because we needed an additional crew member.

The following screenshot comes from his witness statement. He’s talking about Bart. Anna was Bart’s fiancée not his wife. Ven had never flown with him or anyone else on the crew previously.


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From the witness statement of crew member Ven


Along with Bart and myself there were four other crew working at the front in Upper Class. Lottie was the longest serving crew member after me. She had been with the airline for eight years.

Katrina and Claire had only been with the company for just over a year but both had flown previously. Bruce was the second longest serving crew member. All names throughout my blog have been changed .

Katrina and Claire were best friends who had been at another airline for thirty years. They had been onboard managers for twenty years before being made redundant.

Almost nothing that was said by Lottie, Katrina and Claire in their witness statements was believed by the company. Bruce failed to return his statement.

Bart’s complaint was submitted three weeks after the flight. It was almost four months before the cabin crew manager dealing with it requested witness statements from other members of the crew.

They were each asked to respond to more than thirty questions about my performance, ability, conduct. The questions she compiled were based on allegations made by Bart.

One question was “please share any observations you have about Laurence and his physical touching towards either yourself or any of the cabin crew throughout the flight.”

Out of eleven questionnaires which included the Captain and First Officer nine were returned.

As part of my defence I asked a doctor of clinical psychology to write to the grievance hearing manager regarding the accusations of inappropriate touching. I had been seeing him for some time because of matters relating to my mental health.

During our sessions we had spoken about something I have struggled with for my entire adult life. I believe it stems from an abusive relationship I was in when I was 18. Without going into more detail than necessary I find physical contact that may be perceived as being affectionate very difficult.

It’s something I have never spoken openly about yet was now sharing this intensely private information with my employer to clear my name.

The first screenshot below comes from Bart’s complaint. The second is from the outcome of the appeal heard by the Head of Cabin Crew.


copy of written text
From the complaint submitted by crew member Bart

copy of written text
Outcome of appeal carried out by Head of Cabin Crew


The doctor I was seeing is a Consultant Clinical and Counselling Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He is a registered Applied Practitioner Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council. He’s been in practice for more than thirty years and has the following letters after his name; BA (Hons), MSc Med Psych, DClinPsych, CPsychol, AFBPsS.

The Head of Cabin Crew joined the airline sixteen years after me in 2006. She moved into her current role in 2016. My flight was in December 2018. According to her LinkedIn profile she has nine ‘O’ levels including English and Maths and an ‘A’ level in English literature. Despite not having any qualification in psychology she felt she could override the opinion of a clinical psychologist.

I had proven unequivocally in my evidence the three crew members who accused me of inappropriate touching had lied throughout their entire statement. It made no difference.

Nobody had been touched inappropriately at any time. The only physical contact I’d had with a crew member was the moment I touched Ven’s ankle for a split second whilst playing a joke on him. I’ll talk more about that shortly.

The three crew who worked alongside Bart and I in Upper Class on our flight to and from Atlanta stated they were not aware of any inappropriate touching at any time. In fact out of eleven witness statements only one crew member claimed she had seen me touch another inappropriately. That was Bart’s fiancée Anna who worked at the opposite end of the aircraft.

The remaining witness statements confirmed nobody saw me touch anyone inappropriately or was even aware of any such behaviour.

The following comes from Anna’s witness statement. For point of reference I’m five foot seven;


copy of written text
From the witness statement of Bart’s fiancée Anna

I believe the Head of Cabin Crew was determined for the allegation of inappropriate touching to be upheld. She never expected to receive a letter from a clinical psychologist stating it was unlikely I would touch anyone in this way. As such she had no choice but to claim his opinion was not correct.

Her statement that my ‘physical contact’ made those concerned feel uncomfortable refers SOLELY to statements written by Ven, Anna and Bart. The fact I had proven repeatedly all three lied throughout their statements made no difference.

To put the incident regarding “tickling a crew member’s leg” into perspective, towards the end of our return flight to London I touched Ven’s ankle for a second whilst he was sitting at the Upper Class bar.

It was witnessed by two other cabin crew. Both had been working alongside me in Upper Class on two long sectors to and from Atlanta. One was Lottie the other was Katrina. Katrina was sitting next to Ven at the Upper Class bar, Lottie was standing next to them.

Katrina was working up a rank in the role of Cabin Service Supervisor (CSS). Prior to joining the airline she had been an onboard manager for many years at another airline.

The word “tickled” was used by Ven in his witness statement. I wouldn’t describe touching someone’s leg with your forefinger as tickling.

The following comes from Lottie’s witness statement;

“Towards the end of the flight Laurence was in very high spirits and was laughing and joking with the crew.”

Although Bart was not present, Ven must have told him about the incident after the flight. I believe that led to him coming up with the idea of accusing me of inappropriate touching. He just needed to convince others to support his story.

After I touched Ven’s leg he didn’t give any indication he was upset by what had taken place. I was just having a joke with him and the crew and passengers present who witnessed what took place all laughed. Ven also laughed.

Had he been upset by what had taken place there was plenty of time for him to come and speak with me. He could also have reported the incident to his manager upon returning home. He said nothing to anyone about it.

My finger was in contact with his leg (over his sock) for less than two seconds. In her witness statement Katrina states she was totally unaware of me touching anyone inappropriately. She was sat right next to him when the incident took place.

Ven also accused me of squeezing his waist yet in his witness statement says he did not see me touch anyone else inappropriately.

Crew member Mia accused me of touching her leg whilst she was helping out in Upper Class. She also states she did not see me or was aware of me touching anyone else at any time.

As cabin crew you make friends quickly. You may fly with someone once and never see them again. Spending ten hours together in a metal tube means there’s plenty of time to chat and to get to know each other. Considering so much touching was allegedly going on, nobody apart from Bart and Anna were aware of it or witnessed it.

Crew members Peter and Mia were best friends. In his witness statement Peter says Mia told him I had been “quite physical on a few occasions”.

In her witness statement Mia says nothing of the sort. She alleges I touched her leg whilst in Upper Class and then says “I don’t wish for this to be taken further”.

I’ll cover both points in more detail later in the blog.


In May 2020 when redundancies were announced in response to Covid-19 I was told my job was at risk. I was on long term sick once again with issues relating to my mental health. The reason was purely because of having to deal with this abhorrent complaint. I had been off work since December 2019.

I was made redundant a few months later and subsequently received my P45 in the post. It was the only piece of paper in the envelope.

It had been several months since I had spoken with my new line manager. The last email I received which was from someone in the office I didn’t know was to invite me to appeal the decision to make me redundant. I declined the offer.

That was how my thirty year career came to an end.


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Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 7


Table of Contents

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 6

Page 1 – A Royal Commendation
Page 1 – Lana’s Investigation Continued
Page 2 – More from Lana’s Investigation
Page 3 – Yet More from Lana’s Investigation
Page 4 – Almost Finished but not Quite
Page 5 – That’s It for This Chapter

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 8 (TBA)

A Royal Commendation

You may recall in the last chapter of my blog I briefly mentioned a Royal Commendation. On Bart’s LinkedIn profile he states whilst serving as a police officer he received this award.

Bart is a devious and hateful narcissist who’s also a compulsive liar. I was immediately suspicious about the existence of this award so wanted to find out more about it.

Having scoured the internet I could find nothing relating to a Royal Commendation that was associated with the police.


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Statements from Bart’s LinkedIn profile

The only thing that comes up on Google for a Royal Commendation can be seen in the following screenshot. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s a fictitious medal awarded for merit in Star Wars!


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Having asked a few ex and currently serving police officers if they had ever heard of a Royal Commendation none had.

I then messaged the police force where Bart worked. They told me they couldn’t give me the information I was looking for and recommended I submit a Freedom of Information request.

In that request I explained I had learnt someone had been awarded a Royal Commendation whilst serving as a police officer on their force a few years ago. I asked what it was for.



I initially found it odd the police wouldn’t give me this information. Surely there’s no breach of confidentiality telling me what an award is given for. Unless of course it doesn’t exist.

Bart also states in his LinkedIn profile he received another award for merit whilst in police school. I also asked about that.

The police were happy to tell me about an award that was given for long service but wouldn’t say anything about a Royal Commendation or the “student’s student award” given during training.

I’m a pretty good sleuth and believe that’s because having said someone had told me they’d received both awards, if the police confirmed they didn’t exist they would in effect be telling me Bart was not telling the truth. Somewhere along the line that’s likely to be a breach of trust/confidentiality.

Therefore they said they were not able to share this information because it involved a third party.

I have also had a conversation with someone who served on the same police force as Bart a couple of years after he left. He messaged me after I asked about the awards on social media. He too had never heard of them.


Lana’s Investigation Continued

In this section I’m returning to the outcome of the initial investigation carried out by Crew Manager Lana into the grievance raised by Bart.

The following screenshots come from minutes taken during his meeting with her;



This point relates to the naughty cartoon I showed T and Ven on the bus to the airport in Atlanta. So Anna is laughing uncomfortably as she watched it but then says this in her witness statement. Read point 22.


From minutes taken during Bart’s meeting with Lana

None of the crew were spoken to throughout the entire investigation. It’s clear from his response Bart was being asked about his engagement with customers. The only thing he mentions is he helped someone out by giving them a battery. Why didn’t he mention any of these incidents which are much better examples;


From Bart’s complaint

Customer Relations confirmed to me there were no customers by the name of Mark or Jason anywhere in Upper Class.

Bart mentions the name Mark twice, once in reference to Mark and Jason and again when he talks about Mark and Iris.

There was a lady by the name of Pam sitting in Premium. I forgot to ask whether there was an Iris in Upper Class. The company could have done that as part of their investigation into whether Bart was lying. They didn’t because they had no interest in establishing that.

Bart undoubtedly has an excellent memory yet seems to have forgotten about these three encounters which if true, would have demonstrated pretty good customer engagement.

The battery incident is a nothing. Most cabin crew are more than happy to help customers out by lending or giving them things. Giving someone a battery because you have a spare really is the minimum you can do to help someone out. I once lent someone my glasses for a few hours because they had lost theirs and wanted to read. I’ve also allowed people to make calls and send texts from my phone many times.

Being the narcissist that he is, Bart believes nobody could possibly be as kind as him. Afterall he is regularly told his customer engagement is “exceptional and one of the best ever seen onboard.” Yet as someone who takes huge pride in the standard of service delivered by members of my team, I saw nothing that stood out despite working alongside him on two long sectors.


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This next allegation demonstrates like so much else, what a farce this investigation was.

In Anna’s witness statement she refers to Bart and me by our surnames. In the screenshot below CM (crew member) is Bart and FSM is me.


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The Gatehouse – Cabin Crew Check in Area

I didn’t say I did not “deliberately” ignore Bart. I said I didn’t ignore him because none of the incidents he mentions happened.

Regarding the encounter in the hotel corridor Anna says they were on their way to have drinks with the crew. By this she means they were going to T’s room for pre-dinner drinks. Having been ignored by me not once but twice according to Bart’s complaint although Anna seems to have forgotten about the second occurence, they said nothing about it to anyone when they arrived.

Out of nine witness statements nobody was aware of me ignoring or excluding anyone at any time. Seems a bit odd considering Bart and Anna allege I ignored them both for the entire trip and give several examples. I didn’t even know they knew each other let alone were engaged to be married.

Bart did not try to say “hello” when we checked out the hotel. This comes from his complaint;


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From Bart’s complaint

According to Lana’s LinkedIn page she has a degree in criminology and sociology. I find that absolutely incredulous. Although a vast subject sociology includes the study of human social relationships and deviant behaviour. Yet she failed to recognise a narcissist and pathological liar when she came face to face with one. She also failed to see similar traits in his fiancée.

Despite proving Anna and Bart told nothing but lies, Lana still believes the incident in the corridor “may” have happened.

In thirty years of employment with Virgin Atlantic I didn’t have a single complaint on my file regarding unpleasant, unacceptable or inappropriate behaviour towards another employee.

In the outcome to her investigation Lana says “I accept this may have happened but cannot say if it was intentional.” She then says it should be a learning for me to pay attention to my team.

Whilst writing this last paragraph I looked at Lana’s LinkedIn page because I wanted to check I got it right and she did have a degree in criminology and sociology. When I saw her latest post I could not believe what I was reading.


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What Hayley says shows just how little she knows about mental health. Does she really think we all walk around looking sombre and miserable?

Nobody I ever flew with would have any idea what I was dealing with. I always came across as a happy fun loving guy. I believe it’s called “putting on a front.” Very few people who are struggling with mental health issues want others to know what they’re going through.

The truth is you will rarely be aware of what someone is dealing with. I ONLY told the company what was going on in my life because I had to. I would have preferred for them not to know.

I would also have preferred not share some of the most intimate details of my life in a blog. However this is a story that really needs to be told.

Being at work made me happy. I loved my time on the aircraft and loved my time downroute. The days of going out drinking and partying were long gone but I was sociable and believe I was generally liked.

Following the disciplinary meeting carried out by Hayley I shared a letter with her from a clinical psychologist who I had been seeing. He confirmed it was unlikely I would touch anyone inappropriately.

She was aware of my struggles with mental health because we had spoken whilst I was off sick with stress following the meeting with Lana.


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At the time of sending her that WhatsApp I was in a deep state of depression.

Hayley upheld every complaint against me. The evidence I submitted proved without doubt Bart was lying and that he and his fiancée had colluded with four other crew members.

Hayley also believed she knew better than a doctor of clinical psychology.

She even upheld one complaint that had already been dismissed.

I am not saying because I was struggling with my mental health that Bart’s complaint should not have been investigated. Nor am I saying complaints should not have been upheld were they to be valid.

There was something very sinister going on here. Despite providing more than five hundred pages of evidence virtually nothing I said was believed. A second grievance was also taken out against me whilst the first matter was still ongoing.

Having asked Hayley in writing to be mindful about when she sent me the outcome of her investigation it was sent three hours after I landed from a flight. That was a frighteningly dark day and ruined the memories of what had been three wonderful days.

In response to my request she said;

“In terms of the outcome letter I am always mindful of flying duties and intend to send the outcome by email after I have reviewed your roster.”

Anyone who has ever flown as cabin crew would never send the outcome of a grievance investigation on landing day. Unless all allegations were being dismissed.

Despite being a crew line manager she has zero understanding of what’s it’s like to be cabin crew. According to what she said she looked at my roster, saw I was landing from the company’s inaugural flight to Tel Aviv and decided that was an appropriate time to send me the outcome of her investigation. I had nine days off before my next trip.

Ironically one of the complaints she upheld was that I didn’t give consideration how Bart may feel when I sent him his performance appraisal.

I was told I couldn’t be sure he was rested or in a good place at the time he opened it. It was sent more than twenty four hours after we landed.


Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 6


Table of Contents

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 5

Page 1 – Outcome of Lana’s Investigation
Page 2 – An Aircraft Called Emmeline Heaney
Page 3 – Profile of a Narcissist
Page 4 – Anna’s Witness Statement
Page 5 – Our Standards Policy

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 7

Outcome of Lana’s Investigation

The first screenshot in this chapter comes from the letter Bart sent to his manager following our flight together. My appraisal was sent to him on 28th December 2018, we landed on 26th December.

“TalkitOut” is the company’s mediation service. Company policy states mediation should always be considered before pursuing a grievance. Just like the Our Standard’s policy and Anti Harassment and Bullying policy, it didn’t apply to Bart.


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The appraisal I wrote on Bart is here. If you’ve followed my blog you’ll be aware the only two cabin crew who claimed they had seen or were aware of me touching anyone inappropriately at any time were Bart and his now ex fiancée Anna.

Nothing he says in this letter to his manager is accurate or honest.

His complaint was passed to crew line manager Lana to investigate. Having initially replied in writing to the points he raised, I was then invited to a grievance investigation meeting. By this time Lana had met with Bart.

Two months and ten days later I received the outcome of her investigation. Here’s the most relevant points;


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SEP questions relate to the mandatory safety questions each crew member must be asked individually during the pre-flight briefing.

These are not the same as the Aircraft Familiarisation Points. The purpose of these is to familiarise the crew with the type of aircraft we’re about to fly on. Seven are listed, any three must be read out during every pre-flight briefing. They never change.

Having been asked by my manager to get the crew more vocally involved from the start, I decided to ask the familiarisation points as questions to the group as a whole.

I said just shout the answers out.


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Bart – Time in company eleven months, still in probation. Never flew previously.

Mia – Time in company similar to Bart. Never flew previously. Accused me in her witness statement of touching her leg but said “I don’t wish for this to be taken further”.

States additional questions were not needed because everyone had answered their questions correctly. That’s not correct because the first questions were asked to the group as a whole. Some people answered most didn’t.

I began by saying “I’m going to ask the Aircraft Familiarisation Points as questions, just shout the answers out”. Therefore Mia would have been fully aware each crew member still needed to be asked an individual safety question. A pre-flight briefing is conducted prior to every flight that leaves the UK. The crew know what information must be delivered and what to expect.

As each crew member answers their question correctly it has to be acknowledged on the Flight Manager’s iPad. These questions are never asked to the group. This part of the briefing is mandatory for all UK airlines.

Lottie – Most senior crew member after me. Her witness statement was detailed and honest.

Having used this briefing format several times I could see the crew didn’t like it. I therefore went back to my usual briefing on my next flight. That wasn’t because of Bart’s complaint, I only found out about that three months later.

OBM is onboard manager. There should have been three OBM’s on the flight but I was the only one. Both Cabin Service Supervisor positions were filled by cabin crew working up a rank. The CSS’s are also onboard managers. One works in Upper Class the other in Economy.

On many flights the Upper Class CSS position has been removed. When the change was implemented the Flight Service Manager took over the duties associated with this position. Where a CSS is present they run the service and are responsible for doing “performance monitoring” on their crew.

The pre-flight briefing lasts fifteen to twenty minutes. Asking the Aircraft Familiarisation Points as questions took only a few minutes. The rest of the briefing was no different to any other pre-flight briefing.

Anna – Time in company less than twelve months, still in probation. Flew previously for British Airways for a short period of time. States she’s ex police.

The briefing was “unusual” because I was following advice from my manager and trying to get the crew verbally involved from the start.

Tommy – With the company for about five years. On his first working flight back after being on a ground placement in recruitment for a year. This was his second flight back, he worked as an “additional” crew member on his first flight.

Worked up as Cabin Service Supervisor in Economy. He had recently been turned down for promotion to this position. Having included him in the email I sent to the Economy crew after the flight in which I stated he did an amazing job, he didn’t reply.

I’ve explained elsewhere in my blog why I decided to give him this opportunity. Katrina was understandably a little apprehensive. She was relatively new and had not worked up before. When I asked if she’d like to do it she could have said no. We had never met previously and there was no pressure.

I only asked because her crew line manager told me she had been an onboard manager at her previous airline for twenty years.

She told me she would give it go and I said I would give her loads of support. She confirmed in her witness statement I was very supportive.

Peter – Time with the company six months. Never flew previously. The youngest and most junior crew member.

The following comes from his witness statement;


""

The next screenshot comes from my defence. Peter’s assertion that I asked all crew individual questions about (emergency equipment) locations and other safety questions that were not part of the briefing is not correct. The first set of questions were the Aircraft Familiarisation Points that are usually read out but this time were asked as questions to the group.


""
From evidence I submitted to the company

I told the crew I had brought a huge box of chocolates for us to share during the flight and luxury mince pies from Marks and Spencer. I had spent more than £40 on a group of people I had never met.

The chocolates were opened during our outbound flight, the mince pies I saved for the flight home because we were leaving on Christmas Day.

Anna seemingly shared a few bits of tinsel with Mia and Peter. Nobody else did anything to bring any Christmas cheer to the flight.

Crew line manager Lana says regarding the delivery of my briefing there’s a performance issue here and Laurence needs to reflect on doing things differently and “read his audience”.

The following screenshot comes from minutes taken during the meeting between Lana and Bart;


""

Had my manager not asked me to get the crew more involved from the start my briefing would have been the same as it always was. Unless you try something a few times how are you supposed to know if it works?

I’d love to know whether she spoke to my manager. I can just imagine the conversation. For point of reference nobody had ever said anything negative about my briefing. Just a few weeks earlier crew manager Fred had sat in on one of my briefings. He told me the content and delivery was excellent.

Cabin crew work in a safety critical environment and the company are forever emphasising the importance of safety. There’s a mountain of information that must be memorised so I believed by asking the aircraft familiarisation points as questions it would be helpful. It was also a great way of getting the crew verbally involved from the start.

Maybe I should have asked all nine crew members to tell me something about themself that nobody else knows. That is afterall what crew line manager Hayley told me she does when she flies.


""
From evidence submitted to the company

I wonder whether Bart would have said he was an ex police officer with a Royal Commendation?

I’m just wetting your appetite with that one. It will make more sense when you read chapter 7.


Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 5


Table of Contents

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 4

Page 1 – Bart’s Performance Appraisal
Page 2 – Bart’s Response
Page 3 – Bart’s Response (cont.)
Page 4 – Behaviour/Conduct in Atlanta
Page 5 – Adult Content
Page 6 – My Behaviour in Atlanta 1
Page 7 – Bart’s Complaint Finale

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 6

Bart’s Performance Appraisal

Chapter five and it’s finally time to share the performance appraisal I wrote on ex police officer now cabin crew member Bart.

The text comes directly from the original document. Where necessary explanations have been added in coloured font.

All names have been changed.


Performance Review – Bart  – employee number

VS103/4 – 24/25th December 2018

Bart was allocated an Upper Class working position by me prior to the pre-flight briefing.  When asked, he said he had worked in Upper Class before and was familiar with the service.

During the pre-flight briefing whilst asking the crew as a whole, questions about the aircraft type (Airbus A340-600) as a refresher, Bart wasn’t very forthcoming with answers and generally remained quiet.

He did however answer his individual safety question competently.

Ordinarily these “aircraft familiarisation points” would be read out by the Flight Service Manager.  There are seven listed, we had to read out three.

Having been asked by my line manager to make my briefing more interactive so the crew became involved from the start, I decided to ask the points as questions.  After telling them what I was about to do I said “just shout the answers out”.

I had done this a few times previously and received a mixed response.  During this briefing I asked six or seven questions.  Three were answered immediately by crew members Katrina and Claire.  Everyone else remained silent.

After saying in a jokey manner “shut up you two you can’t answer any more questions” I said to the rest of the crew “come on guys, if you don’t know the answers to these questions you’ll be up the creek without a paddle”.  These were very basic safety reminders that everyone would have known.

I received a half-hearted response to the remaining questions.  

For the rest of the briefing Bart mainly looked at the floor. I would have liked a little more eye contact from him.  It’s nice to see people engaging with you when you’re talking to them.

There was a slight delay on the ground departing Heathrow, Bart was in the cabin talking to his customers which impressed me.  I thought he was introducing himself and doing seat introductions however as I realised after take-off, he had been taking his drinks and meal orders.

During “seat introductions” the crew explain how the Upper Class seat operates and the associated functions. It’s usually done after take-off.

When I told him that’s not how the service is done he said customers started telling him what they wanted to eat/drink so he wrote it down.  I told him he should have explained at that point how we do the service.  Quite why he even had his order sheet with him at that time I’m not sure.  If he was introducing himself his customers’ names are on his iPad as well as their flying club status.  If they were volunteering that information it’s clear they haven’t flown with us before hence it’s a perfect opportunity to explain how the service is done.

You may recall from a previous chapter Bart said my use of the words “quite why” was “sarcastic and ridiculing him”.  This complaint was upheld throughout the grievance.

I said his customers’ names are on his iPad believing he may have wanted to address people by name. Were that to be the case names are on his iPad so it wasn’t necessary for him to have his aisle order sheet.

For clarification, at some point before or just after take-off crew copy customer names from their iPad to their aisle order sheet. They can then address customers by name when taking their order.

The only reason for Bart having his order sheet and a serving tray whilst casually talking to customers during a delay would have been to take their order. When completing the sheet crew lean on the tray.


Crew taking meal orders after take-off


Once Bart started taking orders people would have seen him coming and had their order ready when he arrived.

Whilst he was taking orders Lottie, Claire and Katrina were keeping themselves busy doing other things in the cabin. They were also chatting to their customers but didn’t take any orders.

After Bart had taken an order from every customer on his side he said nothing to anyone. Once orders have been taken the crew inform the galley crew member what meals need to be loaded into the ovens and how many of each starter they need.

Bart didn’t do that because he was aware orders should not have been taken on the ground.

At that point Bart had not been given a meal break down by the galley so wouldn’t have known how many of each meal choice was available for his side.

The total number of hot meals should be split between the three aisle crew.  Once they’ve used their allocation they explain that choice is no longer available. Once all three crew have finished taking orders whatever has not been used can be offered to anyone who couldn’t have their first choice.

Doing the service this way ensures all three aisle crew begin the service with the same number of meals to offer to customers in their section.

This is how the service should be delivered as per the Service Procedures Manual.

It’s worth emphasising I simply told Bart this isn’t the way we do the service, of course I wasn’t happy but he wasn’t reprimanded. Other Flight Managers I know would have told him in no uncertain terms what he had done was not acceptable.

After take-off I decided it wasn’t necessary to have three aisle crew in Upper Class so asked Bart to work with the crew member in Premium.

Just prior to the last service I asked him to clear in rubbish on the right side of the Premium cabin whilst I did the left side.  He was talking with another crew member in the galley.  I cleared in a few rows then returned to the galley to empty my tray and went back out to finish off.  When I returned for the second time Bart was just finishing his conversation and only then did he go into the cabin.

When asked to do something by an onboard manager providing he’s not doing anything more important, Bart needs to do what he’s asked straight away.

I did the afternoon tea service in Premium on the left aisle with the other Premium crew member.  Whilst observing Bart from across the aisle I could see he was being polite and professional but wasn’t really engaging with his customers.

This is a complaint that comes up time and time again in Voice of Customer questionnaires. In fact a comment that accompanied a ‘good’ mark that we received on our inbound sector said “although the crew member was professional they weren’t very engaging”.

Voice of Customer feedback is the questionnaire customers receive after their flight.  The crew are marked poor, good, very good, excellent. The accompanying comment actually said the “stewardess was professional but not very engaging”.  I didn’t use the word “stewardess” because I didn’t want to draw attention to whoever it was aimed at.

The customer who left the comment was not being looked after by Bart but it demonstrates how important it is that we build a rapport and engage with people instead of just methodically serving them.


virgin atlantic sticker saying  more experience than our name suggests
An old sticker from the mid 90’s


Our inbound sector (flight to London the following day) was full in Upper Class. We had a crew member working up as Cabin Service Supervisor.  Every single customer in the cabin had drinks and a full three course dinner.  Many also finished with cheese and biscuits.  As a result the service was extremely busy.  Everyone then wanted to be woken for breakfast.

On inbound night flights people often go straight to sleep after take-off and don’t want to be disturbed until landing. Especially flights that land so early in the morning.

As we were coming to the end of the flight a Delta platinum (top flying club status) customer told me Bart had woken him for breakfast, converted his seat (from flatbed to seat position) but didn’t go back to serve him.  Upon asking Bart why he had been missed out he told me he had been working from the front of the cabin, the Cabin Service Supervisor (Katrina who was working up a rank) had been working from the back.

The Cabin Service Supervisor would not normally help an aisle crew member serve breakfast. They tend to help in the galley and do other service related duties.  Katrina was helping Bart because he was so far behind his colleagues I had asked her to start from the back and work forwards to meet him.  

He didn’t appear to be very apologetic and didn’t go back and apologise personally to the customer.  Upon speaking to Katrina she told me she had only served the back three rows so hadn’t gotten anywhere near seat 8K.

I awarded the customer airmiles as an apology and said if he didn’t want breakfast now he could use the Revivals Lounge at Heathrow.

During the breakfast service the Flight Manager is required to do the service in a different cabin. I tried to keep an eye on Upper Class whenever I returned to the galley. That’s when I saw Bart was way behind Lottie and Claire and asked Katrina to help him.

When I spoke to Bart about how he did the service he told me he had first woken up every customer on his side who wanted breakfast.  He then went back to the front to start serving.  I explained that’s not how the service is done.

By doing the service in this way all of Bart’s customers were awake, sitting back in their seat waiting for breakfast.  The service takes time to deliver and he now had 16 people all waiting to be served.    

Bart is relatively new to the company and I appreciate there’s a lot to take in especially with having to work in three cabins. The best way to learn is to ask plenty of questions.  He should also work regularly in each cabin to stay familiar with the services.

The company have high expectations of cabin crew and the service we deliver.  Working in Upper Class in particular involves so much more than just taking orders, putting things down, then clearing them away.  We also need to have good product knowledge and be able to deliver an outstanding level of customer service which includes using our personalities to ensure people leave with great memories. 

Personally I didn’t find Bart particularly friendly, not towards me anyway.  He didn’t say hello when he came down to check out in Atlanta, didn’t say goodbye before leaving the aircraft at Heathrow or when getting off the car park bus.  In fact we spoke very little on both sectors despite working in close proximity to each other.

I didn’t see him spend any significant time with any one customer in the Upper Class cabin on the inbound sector other than when he was taking their order.  Part of the reason why people choose to fly with us is because of the cabin crew.

For that reason the company tries to employ people with great personalities who also have the potential to deliver outstanding service.  Bart clearly demonstrated those skills during his interview but now needs to follow them through.

When working at the front he must remember to check on the flight crew regularly (pilots) and to also go in to see them occasionally.  As well as engaging with customers (irrespective of which cabin he’s working in), he also needs to build a rapport with his colleagues and that includes the onboard managers.

Bart asked me to reset a customer’s entertainment screen for him during one of the services and said he didn’t know how to do it.  If he’s unsure how to do something he should ask to be shown, that’s how you learn.  He was shown by another crew member.

Bart comes across as confident and relaxed in his role but needs to be giving a great deal more to achieve the standard of service that’s expected of him.

When going to/returning from crew rest he should not walk through the cabin without wearing a tie because he’s in full view of customers until he enters the Crew Rest Area.

When I did my walkaround prior to landing I opened two window blinds at the back of the cabin that were obstructed by pillows.  The two windows were immediately forwards of the emergency exit.  I also removed items from several ottomans.

When crew prepare the cabin for take-off/landing window blinds must be open especially adjacent to emergency exits.  In the event of an emergency landing the crew member sitting at the exit may have to look out of the window before opening the door. If the blind is closed and obstructed by a large pillow valuable time could be wasted.

These procedures are laid down by the Civil Aviation Authority and are strictly enforced by the company. It’s mandatory the crew comply with them.

There should be no loose items on the ottomans positioned in front of the Upper Class seat.  Securing the cabin for take-off and landing is one of the first things crew learn in their training.  It’s a straightforward but important part of the job.      

I hope Bart takes on board what has been said and I’m also including a step by step guide of what needs to be done when working in Upper Class.  I hope he finds it helpful.

I feel there’s plenty of room for improvement and whilst nobody expects a relatively new crew member to learn everything in a few months, Bart should be showing a little more potential at this stage.

Bart, I am more than happy for you to contact me should you wish to discuss anything.  I did not do your performance monitoring, that was done by Katrina who worked up.  I did not discuss your performance with her.  I would have liked to have spoken with you more about your performance whilst on board but unfortunately the flights were exceptionally busy.

 I look forward to flying with you again at some point in the future.

Laurence – FSM


virgin atlantic upper class cabin
Upper Class Cabin


The cabin crew have service flows on their iPad but they’re set out in a much broader manner.  I believed by giving Bart a step-by-step guide of everything that needs to be done it would be helpful and he could print off a copy to keep in his pocket.

My role as a Flight Manager was to lead, support and develop the crew.  Bart was not familiar with the service and had struggled with many aspects of it.

Regarding Katrina doing his performance monitoring, at the end of each sector the Cabin Supervisor and Flight Manager are required to complete a short anonymous assessment on their crew.

It’s only possible to complete a review on the people you’re required to do it on.  Bart’s review would only appear on Katrina’s iPad.  On my iPad I could only do a review on the two Cabin Service Supervisors.

I was later told by the Head of Cabin Crew I should have discussed Bart’s performance with Katrina so she could mark him accordingly.  Alternatively I should have done his review on her iPad.  Bear in mind she was working up in the rank of Cabin Supervisor and had only been with the airline for a few months longer than Bart.

Throughout my nineteen years as a Flight Manager we were encouraged to occasionally complete a more detailed performance assessment.  Prior to the introduction of iPads in 2018 all assessments were completed by hand. With performance monitoring now being on an iPad it was rarely necessary to write an additional “more detailed” assessment.

On the iPad there was only space for about two short paragraphs. I had been advised if I wanted to write more the review should be done on paper.   I occasionally wrote these when I felt it was relevant but they were done in addition to the assessment on the iPad.

It didn’t cross my mind to do a written assessment on Bart for many reasons.  After arriving home and having slept, I thought back to what had happened during the flight and thought I should really document what had taken place.

Bart was still in probation and hadn’t performed to standard. I had also found him to be aloof and unfriendly but that only seemed to be towards me.

Having compensated a customer and documented the reason why, I thought if it gets back to the crew member’s manager they may look at his performance review for this flight.  I later discovered Katrina had given him 10/10 for both sectors.

Whether my line of thinking was correct or not, I decided to write a review and sent it to him and his manager.  It’s standard practice for all performance appraisals to be copied to a crew member’s manager. I also copied in my own manager.

This was the guide I wrote for Bart. The picture wasn’t included!  

Upper Class Service Guide

Pre Boarding – Ensure all Upper Class seats are reclined.  Set the bar up as soon as possible.  Get landing cards and UK landing cards/fast track vouchers for the handover. Leave them in the bar.

Hang customers’ coats (use tags), offer drinks.  Remove empty glasses as soon as possible.  Write out surnames on aisle order sheet, mark customers’ flying club status.

Replace used glasses in the bar with clean trays.  Get foil cutter, bottle opener, measuring cup, ice tongs from sundries cart and place in bar.

Once airborne unlock toilets, help set up bar.  When instructed take drinks orders four customers at a time.  Ensure you’re familiar with the wines/cocktails on the menu.  There’s a wine list on the iPad in Logipad/Documentation/Crew Experience/Wine Guide.

If you want a paper copy they’re at cabin crew check-in.

Before asking what each customer wants to drink introduce yourself.  If they haven’t flown with us before explain how the seat reclines and converts to bed.  Point out the reading light/call bell, operation of table and on the Boeing 787 how to dim the window.  If they’re a flying club member welcome them back.  Address customers by name at this point.

Deliver drinks with crisps/serviette. 

Before taking meal orders ensure you have a meal breakdown from the galley.  This is how the service should be done but it’s often not.  It ensures you don’t have to go back to someone later to say they can’t have the starter/entrée they ordered.

It’s useful to indicate how many of each starter/entrée you have with stripes ||||. As you use your allocation cross one off so you know how many you have used.

On flights where breakfast is served ensure you get a completed breakfast card before customers go to sleep.  On inbound flights remind people about the Revivals Lounge, they may prefer to go there instead of being woken for breakfast.

Revivals offers hot/cold made to order breakfast, showers and spa facilities and customers can have their clothes pressed.  It’s open until 1.30pm and may be used by all Upper Class customers and gold card holders. 

Be aware of time especially on night flights, the meal service should be delivered relatively quickly so people can maximise their rest.

During services ask if anyone has spoken to flight crew, if not call to check they’re okay and ask if they need anything.


view out the front window of the cockpit of an aircraft on approach to landing

When laying tables it’s handy if one crew member takes the table out whilst the other puts down a tablecloth.  Bread should be offered from the trolley.  If the customer doesn’t want bread remove the bread plate/butter.

When collecting in starters remove used cutlery, remove the bread plate if it’s finished with, pick up paper serviette ring.  When clearing away the main course pick up salt/pepper, offer dessert and tea/coffee.  Remember we have herbal teas/decaffeinated coffee. Refill or remove empty glasses.

Keep the clearing in station tidy, stack crockery neatly, keep cutlery separate and scrape leftover food from plates.  The trays have to go back into a cart in the galley. 

On day flights if the customer is having cheese/biscuits leave their tablecloth.  On night flights it should be served immediately.  Remember to offer port.

When removing the table cloth fold it away from the customer (towards you) to ensure nothing falls onto their lap.  Put the table back in the stowage, unfasten the seat belt on the ottoman to make the foot area more comfortable.

Between services wander around the cabin regularly.  If people are awake offer a hot/cold drink.  Start counting drinks bars as soon as possible, do wine cart handovers for return crew.

On night flights put drinks from the bar unit away after lights have gone off. Dispose of open wine if no longer being used (inbound flights).  Complete bar paperwork.  On the Boeing 787 wander through the Premium cabin as well.

Replenish/freshen toilets regularly, there are gloves and a hygiene spray behind the mirror.

For the breakfast service begin by serving customers who are already awake.  Then start waking people up but one at a time.  Wake them up, serve them breakfast then move on to the next person.

Whilst it’s fine to wake a couple at a time, don’t wake the entire cabin in one go.  Breakfast is a busy service, try not to return to the galley empty-handed, pick up items that are finished with as you go, always offer a second tea/coffee.

Once everyone has been served keep walking around to ensure nobody has been missed and that people are not left for longer than necessary with items in front of them.

Time permitting offer water/tea/coffee to anyone who wakes up after the service.

At the end of the service help clear everything away. 

Top of descent P.A made by the Y CSS indicates it’s time for you to start securing the cabin. All beds must be converted, baggage must be stowed overhead or fit into the ottoman recess, nothing on ottomans.

Top of descent P.A – announcement made just before seat belt signs go on for landing. Y CSS – Economy Cabin Service Supervisor.

People who have not flown with us in Upper Class before may bring their seat upright, tell them it’s allowed to be reclined because there’s nobody sitting behind them. Once the seat belt sign is on ask people to fasten their belts and do a final check of the cabin. Lock toilets, pass checks to CSS, take your seat.


Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 4


Table of Contents

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 3

Page 1 – Fighting Hatred in the Workplace
Page 2 – Employing a Sociopath
Page 3 – The Day that Changed My Life
Page 3 – When It All Becomes Too Much
Page 4 – Shalom Tel Aviv
Page 5 – Post Flight Customer Feedback
Page 6 – Cue Second Disciplinary
Page 7 – Outcome of the Grievance
Page 8 – Yee Haw The Last Page!

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 5

Fighting Hatred in the Workplace

In 2011 I had an encounter with the Head of Cabin Crew that led to me reporting her for breach of confidentiality. I believe in 2019 when my name came to her attention because of the grievance raised by Bart, she used the opportunity for revenge.

When a second incident was then reported to her by the CEO she asked for it to be dealt with as a final written warning. Bart’s grievance was also being dealt with as a final written warning.

She would have been aware that if upheld I could be dismissed.


copy of a company policy

Quite early on in the first grievance investigation I sensed something wasn’t right. Despite Bart’s complaint being made up entirely of lies, crew line manager Lana who conducted the initial investigation didn’t appear to be overly concerned.

In law the objective of a grievance is described as an opportunity to collate balanced evidence from both sides and to be fair and objective. It’s not about proving guilt. The purpose of the investigation is to establish whether there has been a breach of any company policies.

It was clear from the start, this investigation was taking a different direction. There was no interest in establishing whether the allegations that had been made were truthful. The company only seemed to be interested in ensuring the grievance against me was upheld.

The evidence being examined was far from balanced. Every word I said in my defence was the truth and was backed up with hard indisputable evidence. Everything Bart said in his complaint was a lie. The only evidence he could provide to support his allegations came from his now ex fiancée and three or possibly four crew with whom he colluded.

Bart whose an ex police officer is a manipulative liar with a sense of entitlement. He was aggrieved at not having been given the opportunity to work up in a supervisory position on our flight. A colleague who had been with the company for just a few months longer was given that opportunity.

He had never flown previously and having joined in February 2018 had been with the company for just eleven months. Katrina who worked up as Cabin Supervisor had flown with another airline for thirty years, twenty as a Cabin Manager.

Later in my blog when witness statements are published you’ll see collusion between Bart, Anna and Ven could not have been any more obvious. Despite that, in the outcome to my appeal the Head of Cabin Crew stated she could find no evidence of collusion.

All crew line managers report to the Head of Cabin Crew. Since publishing the first chapter of my blog I’ve learnt she’s the driving force behind most if not all grievance investigations. She is no longer with the company.

Following the initial investigation carried out by cabin crew manager Lana I was told there was no case to answer for the complaint of bullying and harassment. That was in relation to bullying and harassment on the aircraft.

Crew line manager Lana went on to say there was a case to answer for several other complaints.

Bart’s entire complaint focussed on character assassination. He was upset at not having been given the opportunity to work up so had taken a dislike to me before we’d even spoken. Addressing several performance related issues with him during both flights irritated him further. The final nail in the coffin was the performance appraisal I wrote on him which was also copied to his manager.

A complaint that was dismissed during the initial investigation was subsequently upheld by crew manager Hayley who dealt with the second stage of the process.

This relatively new manager had no idea what she was doing and had clearly not read the outcome of the initial investigation properly or at all.

She was repeatedly described by the Head of Cabin Crew as “a very experienced manager” yet nothing could have been further from the truth. She was oblivious that Bart’s complaint about the way I conducted my pre-flight safety briefing and in particular my use of the phrase “up the creek without a paddle” had already been dismissed.

In her farcical investigation that took six weeks to complete she upheld this point along with another regarding my pre-flight briefing being “unusual and intense”.

The following comes from the outcome of the investigation carried out by crew manager Hayley;


copy of written correspondence

The following screenshot comes from my appeal.


""
""

Here’s something interesting about what cabin crew manager Hayley says about the ice-breaker she uses when she flies. Bear in mind this would have meant me asking nine crew an individual question. I then had to ask the same nine crew an individual safety question.

We only have twenty minutes for the pre-flight briefing and there’s already a significant amount of information that must be covered during that time.


""
From my defence submitted to the company

According to her LinkedIn profile she was a cabin crew base manager at her previous two airlines. She says nothing about ever having flown as cabin crew.

Although cabin crew line managers at Virgin Atlantic do fly, they do not fly as Flight Manager or Cabin Supervisor. They would therefore never conduct a pre-flight safety briefing.

The following screenshot comes from the outcome of the appeal carried out by the Head of Cabin Crew.


copy of written correspondence
copy of written correspondence


Regarding the comment “up shit creek without a paddle”, what I actually said can be seen in Bart’s complaint;


copy of written correspondence
From complaint raised against me by crew member Bart

The following screenshot comes from the outcome of the initial grievance investigation carried out by crew manager Lana;


copy of written correspondence


Bart’s allegation that my briefing included “a bombardment and tirade of safety questions” and that I subsequently “became visibly and verbally annoyed despite everyone answering” was like everything else in his complaint, a devious and malicious lie.

Witness statements from the rest of the crew failed to support this allegation.

Throughout his complaint he recounted situations that had taken place and manipulated them. He knew if he was to be believed he had to get other crew members to support his version of events.

This is someone with an impressive memory for detail which I suppose is a prerequisite of being a police officer. His complaint was submitted almost four weeks after we landed home from our flight to Atlanta.

During the early part of my pre-flight safety briefing I asked the crew six safety related questions. The first three were answered immediately by best friends Katrina and Claire. There was no response from anyone else in the room.

The following screenshot which comes from evidence I submitted shows how Bart manipulated what I said to them to make it appear as if I was “visibly and verbally annoyed”.

copy of written correspondence

Throughout his grievance he attacked every aspect of my behaviour in an attempt to build a picture of someone who was angry, unprofessional and a bully.

I had been a Flight Manager for nineteen years, in the company for almost thirty and had a clean work record. I had also only been back at work for ten months after being off for almost two years with issues relating to my mental health.



The crew members who complained about the different style of delivery of my pre-flight safety briefing in their statements were Bart’s now ex fiancée Anna, Peter and Mia. Peter had been in the company for six months, Anna less than twelve and Mia very slightly longer.

Katrina and Claire who had been with their previous airline for thirty years and crew member T who worked up as Economy Cabin Supervisor had no complaints.

A statement made by Lottie was also quite interesting. I’ll share all the responses with you later in the blog. This was the backlash from asking the group as a whole a handful of basic safety questions.


In Bart’s grievance he said he wished for “a suitable sanction to be put in place“. He then said he “was happy for that to be as severe as loss of employment”.

Something else he said can be seen in the screenshot below which comes from minutes taken during his meeting with cabin crew manager Lana. Pedro was the Employee Relations Consultant. His purpose for being present was to take minutes and ensure correct procedures were followed.


""
From minutes taken during the meeting with crew manager Lana and Bart

The Employment Relations Consultant who is no longer with the company is a solicitor in employment law.


The following screenshot comes from the outcome of the initial investigation carried out by crew manager Lana. What’s interesting is that she states in an earlier section of her investigation that she could find no evidence of bullying or harassment having taken place on the aircraft. She then says words I used in my appraisal amount to bullying and harassment.

Those words were “quite why”.


""
From the appraisal I wrote on Bart

The following comes from the outcome of crew manager Lana’s investigation;


copy of written correspondence


Regarding not giving consideration as to how Bart may feel when reading the report, how does anyone feel when they’re given a constructive appraisal irrespective of when it’s written?

The only way to progress in your career is to learn new skills and be developed by those with more experience than you. Bart had been flying for eleven months and had never flown previously. Part of my role as a Flight Manager was coaching and developing and that’s exactly what I did.

On our flight together he had no idea how the service in Upper Class should be delivered despite telling me he had worked in the cabin many times previously.

If I’m totally honest, knowing what I know now I don’t think he had ever worked in Upper Class before. I think it was his first time but as someone with an overinflated ego he didn’t want to admit it. That’s why he had no idea how the service should be delivered. He also made some really basic mistakes, mistakes that any crew member who had ever worked in Upper Class even once, would never have made.

During the investigation I asked the company to check whether he had worked in that cabin before. Crew working positions are recorded electronically for every flight. I’m certain they never looked.

When you read the appraisal I wrote on Bart you’ll see it was written in a courteous and professional manner and with the aim of trying to help him.

Reading the last paragraph in the screenshot above regarding treating colleagues with dignity and respect is a complete and utter farce. I’ve already shared several extracts from Bart’s complaint which are rude, disrespectful and highly offensive and there’s plenty more to come.

Anna and Ven’s statements were also in breach of the the so-called “anti harassment and bullying policy” yet the company were not interested. They’re primary focus was to ensure the grievance against me was upheld.

The fact Bart said he was “happy for the sanction against me to lead to loss of employment” speaks volumes about the nature and character of this devious and malicious narcissist.

The union rep’ who accompanied me to several of the meetings said she had never heard anyone say anything like that before.

Company policy recommends disputes initially be dealt with through mediation. Despite Bart being in probation he refused this option. That’s because having told a pack of lies there was no way he’d be able to support his diatribe in a face to face meeting with me.


red letters spelling the word coward

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 3


Table of Contents

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 2

Page 1 – When Cabin Crew Tell Lies
Page 2 – Hideous Bunch of Misfits 
Page 3 – Writing Performance Appraisals 
Page 4 – Incompetent Middle Management

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 4


When Cabin Crew Tell Lies

The publication of my blog was first announced on a Facebook group widely used by cabin crew past and present. It attracted a huge amount of interest and the moderators didn’t feel it was appropropriate for the nature of the page which I understood.

Shortly before being removed crew member Peter who was on my Christmas flight to Atlanta in 2018 posted a comment. I responded but the thread disappeared soon afterwards.

At the time of our flight together Peter had been cabin crew for six months. He was upset at what I’d written and said “a man is doing a blog about being bullied and attacked whilst attacking and bullying people who were only asked to do a witness statement. The situation was nothing to do with me yet he felt the need to slander my name. Things that have been written about me are hurtful and upsetting and I was only being honest and truthful.”

In this chapter I’m going to share sections from Peter’s witness statement as well as sections from those written by other members of the crew. I want to show that he was being anything but “honest and truthful”.

Links throughout the blog enable you to refer back to certain pieces of information. They open in a new tab. You may need to scroll up or down to see the relevant text or photo.


copy of written correspondence
From crew member Peter’s witness statement

Peter is referring to his best friend Mia. In her witness statement she accused me of touching her leg. She’s also good friends with crew member T who worked up as Economy Cabin Supervisor and with Bart’s ex fiancée Anna.

Considering she “mentioned” to Peter I had been “quite physical on a few occasions” you would have thought she would also have said something to T who was her friend and supervisor on the flight. Peter, Mia, Anna and T all worked together out of the back galley in Economy.

Mia and Anna spoke to a crew line manager together prior to their next flight about “my behaviour”. Having spoken to that manager I was advised the only thing they complained about was an email I sent them on their days off.

The following screenshot comes from Mia’s witness statement;


copy of written correspondence
From Mia’s witness statement

This is from T’s witness statement;


copy of written correspondence
From T’s witness statement

Regarding placing my hand on T’s shoulder, take a look back at what I said in relation to this during the first investigative meeting regarding Bart’s complaint. That meeting took place before witness statements had been compiled. Here’s the relevant paragraph.

Regarding Mia saying she didn’t find me particularly approachable, she was friendly enough when I did a drinks service in Economy with her on the outbound sector and praised her manner towards customers. She was also very chatty when she sat across from me at breakfast on Christmas morning in the hotel. She also felt comfortable approaching me during the inbound dinner service to show me the portion size of the Christmas dinner.

She could have spoken to Katrina who was the Cabin Supervisor but instead approached me.

On our return flight to London once the dinner service in Economy was finished I asked T to send someone to the front to help us in Upper Class. The service was very busy and wasn’t running smoothly.

T, Mia and Anna arrived a short while later. With there already being seven of us working at the front which included Ven who was looking after Premium, I didn’t need three additional crew.

I asked Anna to go back to Economy, Mia to help Bart on the right aisle because he was struggling to keep up and T to remove service items customers had finished with.

Despite so many of us working together in such a small area, according to witness statements nobody saw me or was aware of me touching Mia’s leg. She says she thought I may have dropped something or was having a laugh and then says “I don’t wish this to be taken further”.

If this incident happened which it didn’t, why didn’t she mention it to anyone? And if she didn’t want it to be taken further why mention it at all? The answer to that is because I believe Anna persuaded her to make up the story to support Bart and her allegation of inappropriate touching.

If a man old enough to be her father genuinely touched her leg, having found out he also allegedly touched other members of crew why wouldn’t you want it to be taken further?

Mia was in Upper Class helping Bart out on his aisle for about forty five minutes. So she worked with him during that time. I was also busy helping in the cabin. Here’s another screenshot from Mia’s witness statement.


copy of written correspondence
from Mia’s witness statement. FSM = Flight (service) Manager

She’s right I was stressed because the service wasn’t going well and the galley was in a mess. I had Bart on one aisle who was struggling to keep up and a crew member in the galley plating food like it was school dinners. Despite being a night flight, with it being Christmas Day it was unusually busy.

Katrina who was working up as Cabin Supervisor could not have worked any harder but wasn’t directing or leading the service. She was just being another pair of hands. The role of the Cabin Supervisor is to lead and oversee the service. When it’s not going well you have to step in.

This was her first time working up and she hadn’t been with the airline for that long. It was just very unfortunate the service was much busier than normal and there were plenty of challenges to deal with. Although I was supporting her as much as I could which she confirms in her witness statement, I didn’t want to take over completely.

Whilst all this was going on Mia claims I touched her leg and thought I had “dropped something or was having a laugh.”

T was also helping in the cabin at this time yet was unaware of any inappropriate touching.

The following photo is the Upper Class cabin on the aircraft we were flying on. You can see the width of the right aisle that five of us were working in during the service. Those people were Bart, Mia, myself, T and Claire.

Bart and Mia were serving customers in the window seats on the right aisle, Claire was serving the centre seats. T and I were helping in both aisles. By this time Katrina had moved into the galley to help out.

Towards the end of the service once Ven had finished in Premium he also helped in Upper Class. Nobody other than Anna who was working at the opposite end of the aircraft and Bart, saw me or was aware of me touching anyone inappropriately at any time.


Virgin Atlantic Upper Class  cabin
Upper Class Cabin

At the back of Upper Class is the bar area which is also a tight space. The galley which I don’t have a photo of is also very narrow. The galley wall can just about be seen in this photo. I’ve included it to show how narrow the walkway is behind the bar stools.

This is where I was sweeping the carpet prior to landing when I touched Ven’s ankle to give him a fright. He was sat on the middle bar stool talking to Katrina who was sat to his left. Lottie was standing at the end in front of the toilet.


Virgin Atlantic Upper Class bar area on the aircraft
Arrow pointing to the dividing wall between the cabin the galley


In Bart’s witness statement he says “Laurence constantly touched me and other crew members on or below the hips. Excessive and unwanted touching especially by a manager who has not created good rapport was not welcomed and was commented on by many members of the crew.”

In Anna’s statement she said “I witnessed FSM Laurence touch crew member Bart below the hips while negotiating a tight work place (I think she means workspace). Crew member Bart looked uncomfortable with FSM Laurence’s hand placement as his posture straightened and he looked surprised. FSM Laurence also touched me below the hips and it made me uncomfortable.”

Take a look at what Ven said in his statement about me touching his leg. It’s here.

Having arrived at the front of the aircraft with T and Amy, Anna was present for a few minutes before being asked to return to Economy.

With seven of us working at the front nobody saw me or was aware of any inappropriate touching. Anyone who has ever worked as cabin crew will know you continuously have to squeeze past colleagues or physically move them out the way to get by.

The very nature of this working environment makes working alongside malevolent and devious individuals like Bart and Anna very dangerous.

Both used the situation to their advantage and colluded with other members of the crew. Although Ven, Mia and Peter were naive and stupid enough to go along with their lies, these three ignoramuses were not able to confirm in their own witness statements they saw me touch anyone inappropriately.

Crew members T, Lottie, Katrina, Claire, the First Officer and Captain of the aircraft all stated they were unaware of any inappropriate touching. Lottie, Katrina and Claire worked alongside Bart and I on two long sectors.

Despite eight out of ten crew members confirming in witness statements they didn’t see me touch anyone inappropriately or were even aware of any such behaviour, the allegation was upheld by both crew line managers and by the Head of Cabin Crew who heard my appeal.

Two crew failed to return their witness statement. One was Bruce who worked the Upper Class galley, the other a female crew member in Economy.

I even supplied a letter from a doctor of clinical psychology who stated it’s “unlikely” I would have touched anyone inappropriately. He could say that because of things we had discussed in the months prior to this flight.

What makes this situation even more damning is that Bart was a serving police officer for eight years. Anna also came from a police background.

With regards to Ven’s allegation of me squeezing his waist, take a moment to think about that. How do you squeeze someone’s waist?

In his witness statement he accuses ME of being “touchy feely”. In this photo Ven is on the left. Peter who’s standing next to him has his arm around his waist. I wonder whether he’s squeezing?


Virgin Atlantic crew member wearing a Christmas sweatshirt
Look at the position of Peter’s arm, he’s behind me on the right.

I look very tired in that photo. I had just spoken to my dad who was extremely poorly. I knew he was in the last days of his life and hoped he’d still be alive when I landed home. He passed away just over a week later.

My dad had lived with me since my mum died in 2010. I was his carer for almost nine years. He was now living in a lovely care home but it had been a long and difficult fight to get him a place.

Little did I know when leaving Atlanta on this Christmas afternoon in 2018 with this seemingly happy bunch of cabin crew, that life would never be the same again.


In Ven’s witness statement he says when he arrived for our flight he didn’t know anyone on the crew. Less than twenty four hours later him and Peter are extremely good friends. Whilst that’s common for cabin crew I have a good reason for mentioning it.

In his comment on Facebook regarding my blog Peter said, “I would never lie maliciously to hurt someone.”

The following comes from his witness statement;

“Laurence spent a lot of time in the flight deck”.

Were this to be true it would have been extremely damaging. My role on the aircraft was to be in the cabin and not to be spending long periods of time chatting with the pilots in the flight deck. By making this statement Peter knew what he was doing.

The comment can only refer to the inbound sector because the outbound flight was half empty and very quiet. He’s basically accusing me of skiving.

Peter didn’t come to the front once on either sector. He states several times in his witness statement we saw very little of each other during both flights. Therefore he can’t possibly know what I did with my time.

The only other person who made a comment regarding my availability in the cabin or apparent lack of it, was Ven. Peter was working at the opposite end of a very large aircraft.

Not even Bart and Anna made reference to me spending time away from the cabin.

This comes from Ven’s witness statement;


copy of written correspondence
From Ven’s witness statement. CSS = Cabin (service) Supervisor


It seems very clear why Peter wrote what he did in his statement. So much for “only being honest and truthful”.

Ironically this comes from his social media page;


copy of an instagram post with text


As you’ll see when I talk more about what he wrote in his witness statement, he doesn’t have a clue about being kind or mental health but these are great buzz words for “likes”.


Ven worked position CM7 (CM = Crew Member) which looks after the Premium cabin. He worked from the front galley alongside me, Bart, Lottie, Katrina and Claire. We were all in Upper Class.

I asked him on the inbound flight once he finished his service to help us in Upper. Katrina was the Upper Class Cabin Service Supervisor so I don’t understand why Ven believed he was doing that position.

According to his witness statement, on our inbound flight as well as working in a full Premium cabin looking after thirty eight people, he not only helped out in Upper Class but actually ran the service. He also claims to have done some aspects of my role which was Flight Service Manager.

Anyone who has ever flown as crew for Virgin Atlantic and particularly with me, will see through his ridiculous lies. His rank is Cabin Crew which is the same as the other eleven crew members on this flight. Furthermore he wasn’t even the most senior member of crew.

Since writing this section of my blog he has been promoted to Cabin Service Supervisor. The lies he told in his witness statement contributed to me losing my job.

The following screenshot comes from documents submitted as part of my defence. The blue font is the question being asked by Lana the grievance investigation manager. The orange is Ven’s response. The black is my response.


copy of written correspondence
FSM = Flight (service) Manager. CSS = Cabin (service) Supervisor

Ven had recently attended an event known as “The Incredibles” and it has clearly gone to his head. The truth of the matter is he’s an arrogant deluded buffoon.

Maybe he thinks he worked the Upper Class Cabin Supervisor position because I asked him to show Katrina how to do the drinks bar paperwork.

I asked Ven to help out because he was competent and experienced. Unknown to me at the time he was irritated at not being able to work up in the rank he was told he would be working when called on standby.

Regarding his comment about making a seat belt sign P.A, each time I read that it makes me laugh. The onboard managers make all PA’s and always have done. They can if they wish delegate them to one of their crew.

During the flight the seat belt sign announcement is made by one of the Cabin Supervisors, usually the one working in Economy. It’s mandatory at least one announcement be made so if not done within a few minutes the other Cabin Supervisor or Flight Manager will do it.

With there being three onboard managers on our flight even though two were working up, Ven claims he made the announcement because “due to lack of experience it wasn’t made.”

Each time the seat belt signs are illuminated a mandatory chain of events kicks in. The crew check customers in their section have their seatbelts fastened. The crew then pass their “checks” to their Cabin Supervisor. Each Cabin Supervisor then advise the Flight Manager who in turn advises the Captain.


Ven also stated I didn’t make a welcome announcement after take off. That’s odd considering Bart criticised my after take-off announcement.” This is the reason why as part of the witness statement requested by the company the crew were asked;

“Please share any observations on Flight Manager Laurence’s PA’s.”

Considering Ven believes he was working as Upper Class Cabin Supervisor and also did parts of my position as Flight Manager, I’m surprised he didn’t claim to have made the after take-off announcement himself. Afterall, in his deluded mind he believes he went over the head of all three onboard managers and made a seatbelt announcement because it wasn’t made.

Part of my responsibility as a Flight Manager was to ensure safety procedures were followed.

If Ven had genuinely made an announcement because it wasn’t made by me or one of the CSS’s, you can bet your bottom dollar it would have been addressed by Anna and Bart in their correspondence. Needless to say it wasn’t.

Even Peter makes reference to my announcements in his witness statement. He says his travelling companion thought they were “were really long and didn’t need to be”.


Ven cites “lack of experience” as being the reason why the seatbelt announcement wasn’t made. He also said I should have taken charge but didn’t. That’s a strange comment to make considering Bart accused me of being a bully and of “overbearing supervision”.

I had been flying as cabin crew with this airline for 30 years, my last 22 as an onboard manager (first Purser then Flight Service Manager). Katrina and Claire had both flown previously for another airline for thirty years, twenty as Flight Managers.

Lottie was the longest serving crew member, she had been with the company for eight years. Making an announcement regarding the seatbelt sign is not only company procedure it’s a requirement laid down by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

The most junior crew member in Upper Class was Bart who had only been flying for eleven months. According to minutes taken during his meeting with the crew manager investigating his grievance, he complained he wasn’t given the opportunity to work up as Cabin Service Supervisor.

As you’ll see from his performance appraisal he wasn’t able to do his own job properly let alone run the entire service in the cabin.

I even had to compensate one customer because Bart had woken him for breakfast but didn’t go back to serve him. He was completely missed out during the service. He subsequently complained to me mentioning Bart by name.

I spoke to Bart there and then about why the customer had been missed out. Having asked how he did the service he told me he first woke everyone up on his side who was having breakfast, converted their bed back to the seat position and then started serving breakfast. I explained that wasn’t the way the service is done.

I wasn’t present in the cabin for most of the breakfast service because I am required to do the service in Premium.

In his complaint Bart told more lies about why the customer was missed out. Needless to say he refused to take any responsibility and blamed Katrina and Claire.


finger about to touch a button on a keyboard which says lies


The next screenshot comes from evidence submitted as part of my defence. It’s regarding the buffet dinner arranged for us in the hotel on Christmas Eve, the day we landed in Atlanta.

Three tables had been set up. Bart, Anna, T, Peter, Mia and their two companions sat at one table along with another two crew members from our flight. I sat on a separate table with the Captain, First Officer, Lottie, Katrina and Claire. The third table was occupied by the Manchester crew.

The crew member I was asked to speak to by the Captain was Peter.


copy of written correspondence
From evidence submitted as part of my defence


Despite having seen so little of me during both flights and the entire trip according to his witness statement, Peter says “he (Laurence) came across professional towards customers but to crew I feel he came across unapproachable and not so professional, his attitude made me feel awkward around him”.

On our outbound flight whilst half the cabin crew were on their rest break, I went to the back to check on Peter. He was in the galley alone and we spoke for about ten minutes. He told me he was best friends with Mia, that she had persuaded him to apply for the job and that he also worked in a gym.

Making conversation wasn’t easy which I put down to the age gap and him still being very new. That was the only time we spoke one-to-one or spent any time alone.

In response to another question he says “I don’t feel he took his time to engage with his crew”. In another, “If I’m honest I didn’t find Laurence approachable in the slightest, mostly because of his (pre-flight) briefing and he didn’t take much time to engage with myself.”

Here’s his answer to another question;

“Please share any other information you feel may be relevant to the performance and behaviour of Laurence and crew member Bart on this duty.”

“He (Laurence) also sent an email to all the crew regarding the flight and Voice of Customer which was very unnecessary and long” (just like my announcements then!).

Bearing in mind he’d only been cabin crew for six months and had never flown previously, his comment speaks volumes about his interest in his performance and development. This is someone who was being asked to comment on the performance of someone who had been flying for almost thirty years, nineteen of which were as a Flight Manager.

The email he’s referring to was only sent to the four crew working in Economy plus crew member T who worked up as Cabin Supervisor.

Although I occasionally wrote performance appraisals from home after a flight, I had never contacted a group of crew in this way. I did so on this occasion because they were all relatively new and I was disappointed to see a customer on our inbound flight had marked them “Good” on their Voice of Customer questionnaire. An accompanying comment said “the stewardess was professional but not engaging”.

In my pre-flight briefings I always asked the crew to engage with customers whilst serving them. This was something I also addressed in Bart’s performance review.

The following screenshots come from my pre-flight briefing. These sections come from evidence submitted as part of my defence;


""
copy of written correspondence

Cabin crew management had been putting huge pressure on onboard managers to achieve high Voice of Customer scores so being marked “excellent” was really important. Anything less pulled down our scores.

With the outbreak of Covid these scores were used to assess our performance. They were used to decide who would be made redundant, who would be offered a place in the holding pool and who wouldn’t.

The holding pool was set up with help from the union so when the business picked up, crew who had been made redundant could be re-employed. The company initially wanted it to be valid for twelve months but after extensive negotiations agreed for it to be valid for twenty four months.

Not everyone was given a place in the holding pool. Many crew including myself were made redundant with no opportunity to be re-employed.

Covid was a worrying time for many people. I believe several airlines used it as an opportunity to get rid of employees they no longer wanted. The furlough scheme was set up to save jobs yet the airlines used it selectively.


I had always taken a keen interest in my performance and was concerned my scores had dropped slightly in the previous month. Even though I was still above average I wanted to get them up as quickly as possible. I always wanted to perform at an optimal level.

During the inbound pre-flight briefing the Flight Manager shares with the crew the scores from the outbound sector. I therefore felt there was no reason why I shouldn’t share them with this group of crew from our inbound sector. Only on-board managers have access to the scores and comments.

The reason for doing that was because three out of the four who worked in Economy had been with the company for less than twelve months. Crew member T who had recently been turned down for promotion was also working up in a supervisory role.

I was initially only going to email him because I thought he may be interested to know the scores for the flight but then decided to include Anna, Mia and Peter as well. I also copied in their line managers plus my own. Only one out of the four Crew Performance and Development Managers (crew line managers) replied.


copy of an email
Email from a Cabin Crew Manager (MPD = Manager Performance and Development)

Take a guess who the only crew member was to reply. The same person who I said shone brightly and had the potential to go far in the company.


The only crew member who replied to my email.

It was Mia, the same Mia who accused me of touching her leg and who didn’t find me to be approachable.

Crew member T who worked up didn’t reply either. As you’ll see lower down, I even said in the email “T did an outstanding job working up as Cabin Service Supervisor”.

Mia and T are still employed by the company.


As I share more extracts from Peter’s witness statement you’ll see how his tone changes when he speaks about Bart. They worked at opposite ends of the aircraft and Bart spent almost no time at all in Economy. On the outbound flight it wasn’t necessary and on the inbound he was far too busy.

You’ll be surprised how much Peter knew about how he worked and how highly he spoke of him. Peter didn’t come to the front of the aircraft where Bart and I were working once on either sector.

Anna who had been with the airline for less than eleven months complained about my email to a crew line manager whilst checking in for her next flight. Although she says she spoke with Julie on the 27th it was actually the 28th.

Guess what the name is of the CM (crew member) whose name I’ve obscured? It’s Mia. Now scroll up and have a look at the date on the email Mia sent to me thanking me for my feedback. Don’t bother I’ll save you the time, it was the 28th December 2018.


copy of written correspondence
OMB should read OBM – On-board manager

The only thing Anna and Mia complained about was the email they received on their days off. Julie told me had anything been mentioned about inappropriate touching, bullying, overbearing supervision or anything else mentioned by Bart in his grievance, a full investigation would have been launched immediately.

The emails she refers to were not included with the paperwork I received as part of the outcome to the initial investigation. Therefore I don’t know the content.

The following screenshot comes from evidence I submitted as part of my defence;


copy of written correspondence
From evidence submitted as part of my defence

In October 2021 I submitted a Subject Access Request to Human Resources. In accordance with British law they’re required to share all information that I request from my personnel file. I have asked for everything from December 2018 to the time I was made redundant.

To date I have still not received this information. I filed a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) in January 2022. Failure to provide this data is a criminal offence. It should be provided within one month although they can request an extension of two months.

The following screenshot comes from an email I received from the ICO on 12th May 2022. Today is the 9th July.


""
From an email I received from the Information Commissioners Office

The next screenshot comes from crew member Lottie’s witness statement. She worked alongside me and Bart in Upper Class. After me she was the longest serving crew member on the aircraft.

Her statement was very honest. Bart had not colluded with her or with Claire or Katrina both of whom also worked alongside us in Upper Class.


copy of written correspondence
Lottie’s witness statement

From what she has written you can imagine what Anna and Mia said about the content of the email. Her comment about me laughing and joking with the crew is a reference to me touching Ven’s ankle whilst on the floor behind him sweeping the carpet. The only crew members present at the time were Lottie and Katrina.

I want to end this page by sharing the email I sent to the Economy crew.

I know it’s longer than it could have been but at the time of writing I wasn’t in a great place. Losing myself doing something I enjoyed was a good distraction.

The purpose of the email was to share some of my experience with four crew who combined had been flying for less ten years. Three out of the four had been flying with the airline for less than twelve months.

VoC is the Voice of Customer programme. These questionnaires are sent to customers after their flight.


copy of an email
copy of an email
copy of an email
CSS = Cabin (service) Supervisor / FSM = Flight (service) Manager

Peter and Mia thought my email was totally unnecessary whilst Anna claimed it had a negative effect on her mental health and was a further attack from an overly critical Flight Manager.

It’s worth mentioning I hardly spoke to Anna on our outbound or inbound flight to/from Atlanta. I had no reason to address any performance issues with her because as far as I was aware she was doing a good job.


Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 2


Table of Contents

Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 1 

Page 1 – Retaliation, Making it Personal  
Page 2 – Performance Management System 
Page 2 – My Performance Management Record 
Page 2 – Combining the Rank of Junior and Senior 
Page 2 – Completing Onboard Appraisals 
Page 3 – The Early Days at Virgin Atlantic 
Page 4 – More of the Good Old Days
Page 4 – Cabin Crew Life Downroute
Page 4 – Pre-Flight Safety Briefings
 
Being Cabin Crew | The Ugly Truth Part 3

Retaliation, Making it Personal

The response to the first chapter of my blog was truly overwhelming. In just a few hours it received a huge number of views and messages of support from friends and colleagues many of whom I’d not seen for years poured in. I was blown away by all the love and kindness.

The managers dealing with the grievance raised against me by ex police officer now cabin crew member Bart showed little interest in establishing whether he was telling the truth. The entire focus of the investigation seemed to revolve around proving my guilt.

From documentation I received following the initial investigation I was able to read all correspondence associated with his complaint. That included minutes of a meeting that took place between him and grievance investigation manager Lana.

At no time was he advised verbally or in writing should it be discovered he has made false or baseless claims he could face disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

That’s surprising considering the Employee Relations Consultant present during the meeting is according to his LinkedIn profile, a qualified solicitor in employment law.

The following screenshot comes from those minutes. The purpose of the Employee Relations Consultant being present is to ensure company procedure is followed and to take minutes.

Regarding Bart not being happy with the way his ‘performance management’ was delivered to his manager, I sent her a copy which is standard practice.

All cabin crew training manuals state an employee’s manager must be copied in on any performance management that’s written. Bear in mind Bart was still in probation having only been flying for eleven months.


copy of written correspondence
from minutes taken during the grievance investigation meeting with Bart


With all allegations being upheld by the manager who carried out the disciplinary, I filed an appeal. It was dealt with by the Head of Cabin Crew.

This was an opportunity for her not only to look again at the evidence, but to also investigate what I had been stating from the start, that Bart and five members of crew one of whom was his fiancee were lying.


copy of an email
Reply to an email from my manager who asked me about the appeal meeting


At the start of the appeal meeting the Head of Cabin Crew said because the case had been going on for so long she would try to deal with it as quickly as possible. I asked whether she had read the appeal or the entire case. It was made up of more than five hundred pages of evidence. She confirmed she had read the entire case.

It took her almost eight weeks to reach an outcome. During that time she didn’t speak to any of the crew involved. The statements written by those who worked alongside Bart and myself in Upper Class told a very different story to those written by those he colluded with.

As part of my evidence I made reference to a WhatsApp conversation I’d had with a friend/colleague following the flight. It had been included as evidence and I’d sent a screenshot to crew manager Hayley via her work WhatsApp account.

After crew manager Lana found there was a case to answer the matter was passed to Hayley. She dealt with the disciplinary.

Hayley did not add a copy of the WhatsApp conversation to the case notes. I’d also sent her a photograph of the hotel corridor. That hadn’t been added to the file either.

Despite making reference multiple times to both pieces of evidence, the Head of Cabin Crew didn’t ask to see them.

The following is a screenshot from an email I sent to her regarding this matter;


copy of written correspondence in an email
Real names have been replaced with pseudonyms


Prior to doing my ‘return to work’ course after being off for almost two years in 2016 I had to be cleared by Occupational Health. As well as wanting to talk about my mental health they also wanted me to have a hearing test. That’s because I now have tinnitus.

Despite having worked for this airline for almost thirty years, when I arrived at the training base for the first day of my course I was terrified. It had been a long time since I’d socialised with anyone and was no longer the bubbly, confident and outgoing person I once was.

I wore a dark suit and whilst waiting for the day to begin sat in the corner watching apprehensively at everything going on around me. I really wasn’t convinced I would get through the course.

Driving out the car park three weeks later was an amazing feeling. I couldn’t wait to get back on an aircraft.

Nine months on to be accused of bullying, harassment, overbearing supervision and inappropriate touching by a bunch of ignorant misfits set me back enormously.

Their poisonous lies took me on a journey so dark I don’t believe I’ll ever fully recover.

Throughout the investigation I struggled to understand why there was such determination for this grievance to be upheld. Proving Bart and his accomplices were lying took over my life and became an obsession.

In the end I was able to prove all twenty complaints against me were lies. I was also able to prove Bart had colluded with other crew members. It made no difference.

Once in uniform no matter what I was dealing with at home or how I felt I was representing Virgin Atlantic. I always tried to do that to the best of my ability.

In my role as an FSM (Flight Service Manager) I was responsible for ensuring safety procedures were followed and to lead, motivate and develop a team of cabin crew. From performance appraisals I received from those working alongside me I clearly did a pretty good job.

I felt personally responsible for ensuring each and every customer had the best experience possible. I loved my job and always gave 100%.

Many people do this job to travel the world and see wonderful places. Whilst I have always loved travelling, I can honestly say I enjoyed being on the aircraft as much as I enjoyed being away.


Male Virgin Atlantic Flight Manager
Taken at some point in 2019 whilst fighting a grievance I never had any chance of winning