|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
Post Flight Customer Feedback
The post flight customer feedback from the first Tel Aviv flight was amazing for both sectors. The cabin crew had worked incredibly hard to make the flight a success and it paid off.
The following screenshots come from the Voice of Customer post flight questionnaires.
As an onboard manager I had access to these surveys. 453 is London to Tel Aviv, 454 is Tel Aviv to London on 27th September.
Bear in mind when I was made redundant I was told I was an underperforming Flight Manager. That was eight months after this flight but I was off sick from December until being advised in June. The scores given in Voice of Customer questionnaires were used in part to assess my performance.
The comments and scores reflect how well customers were looked after. Having been asked to look after a blogger travelling in Upper Class, I introduced myself soon after take-off. I had been advised he was a friend of the CEO.
The blog he wrote following the flight was outstanding. I’ve included a snippet but the full review can be read by following the link.
The only person I heard from after landing from that first flight was “very experienced manager” Hayley. That was to tell me the grievance against me was being upheld.
Having asked her to be mindful about when she sent me the outcome she replied; “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 know you don’t send something like that on landing day.
I’m assuming the greeting he refers to was my welcome onboard announcement which I made in Hebrew and English. He may be referring to the pre-recorded P.A’s which were also in Hebrew and English but from what he says about my announcement after landing, I assume he’s was talking about my P.A.
His full review of the flight is here.
In Bart’s grievance he made several complaints about my announcements. Anna his now ex fiancée and crew members Ven and Peter also made some pretty unpleasant remarks. Nobody else on the crew had anything negative to say about them.
A private chat room on Workplace had been set up by the Product and Service Delivery team. The airline use Workplace as their communications platform. The room was set up so onboard managers doing the Tel Aviv flights could share feedback, ideas and suggestions.
I didn’t join immediately because I’m not a fan of social media and had stopped using the company communications platform a few years earlier. I did eventually join because I felt it would be beneficial.
It was nice to be involved and to be able to make a worthy contribution. I was really enjoying operating the route and tried to make it fun for the crew many of whom were visiting Israel for the first time.
I always made a short welcome and landing announcement in Hebrew and had some great banter with many customers, both Jewish and non Jewish. I often joked with some of them in Yiddish which always went down well.
With many men wanting to pray after meals, finding somewhere quiet can be difficult. Prayers at certain times are said in a group of at least ten men. The group is known as a minyan.
On some of my flights it was taking place in the centre of the aircraft adjacent to emergency doors. The gathering took up space at a time when the cabin crew were still in the aisles clearing the meal service. I therefore explained in an announcement that after the crew had finished the service we would curtain off the back galley area so prayers could be said there.
On one of my flights I spoke to an elderly man who wanted to pray. He said he was struggling to find enough men to form a prayer group. On that particular flight there weren’t that many visibly orthodox men. I made an announcement asking for a minyan. The response was overwhelming and everyone involved was blown away by the gesture.
A few days after returning home I received this email. It was copied to the company’s Chief People Officer and also Head of Cabin Crew.
A customer from my flight had commented in his Voice of Customer post-flight survey about the announcement.
Just before I get onto the exchange between myself and CEO Jack, I want share a photo with you. I love this picture because it’s a really happy photo. Despite everything I had been dealing with for the past year, I loved being in Israel and always felt happy and relaxed. I also loved flying with this Cabin Supervisor.
The weeks and months after losing my dad should have been a time for reflection. I had really struggled with mental health over the previous nine years. With my dad having passed away very peacefully at 96, I believed the time had finally come to make a fresh start.
I had swapped onto the flight to Atlanta over Christmas so I wouldn’t be away from home for longer than necessary. I was aware before leaving my dad was coming to the end of his life.
I considered calling in sick but with everything my manager had done for me didn’t want to let him down. Sickness is always high over Christmas which makes it difficult to crew flights.
On that trip to Atlanta I met a five of the most vile and despicable people I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. They included Bart and his fiancée Anna. Both had been with the company for less than twelve months.
I genuinely believe Bart suffers from a behaviour known as mythomania or pseudologia fantastica. In plain English that’s an abnormal or pathological tendency to exaggerate or tell lies. With Anna also being a compulsive liar, a fantasist and a sociopath they were two peas in pod.
As if defending myself from false allegations made by these degenerates wasn’t bad enough, things were about to take a turn for the worse.
Like many Flight Managers I always read Voice of Customer comments after my flights. The cabin crew management team used these post flight questionnaires to rank our performance.
Customer feedback on a new route is often not great for the first few months. This tends to be because of a wide variety of teething problems. Within a few weeks of the launch of the Tel Aviv route the Product and Service Delivery team told us the scores overall were the highest the airline had ever achieved on a new route.
The cultural training day along with an enormous amount of work from many people behind the scenes had paid off.
As well as reading feedback comments from my own flights I also read those from flights operated by colleagues. That enabled me to see what customers liked and what they didn’t.
Whilst people generally seemed happy with the crew, a whole host of other issues were being raised.
These included the aircraft not being clean, toilets being a mess, the cabin being too hot or too cold. There were complaints about prayers being carried out in front of people who had paid for extra legroom seats, about children wandering into Upper Class and about them running around the aircraft.
There were complaints about the noise in the cabin and people cutting across in front of passengers who were sitting at partitions.
Some complained the meal service was delivered too quickly whilst others said it went on for too long. There were numerous comments about entertainment screens which at times could not be switched off.
From one of my flights there was a complaint about the blankets being too thick, on a flight a few days later someone said they were very thin.
Many of the issues were totally out of our control as cabin crew. There were loads of negative comments in relation to food. Just a few days earlier I had flown with someone from catering. He’d spent the entire flight talking with the crew about what was well received and what wasn’t.
With me being Jewish and having grown up in a Jewish community I know we’re not always the easiest people to please. I’ve become more aware of that in recent years because my partner is not Jewish. British Jews often share similar traits so as a community we’re all quite similar.
Kvetching is typically Jewish. The word which literally means “squeeze” in Yiddish commonly refers to the way Jewish people in particular, complain. On Chabad.org which is a website about Judaism they state “to kvetch is Jewish”.
I read an article online by an American Orthodox Rabbi called Mitchell Wohlberg that really made me laugh. I found it funny because what he says is so true. I see this behaviour in myself and it drives my partner nuts.
In an article called “kvetching” Rabbi Wohlberg says “we just can’t help it, we’ve been like that since the start.” He says there’s a Jewish story about Moses parting the Red Sea. As the water parted and the Israelites passed through they complained the seabed was muddy. He goes on to say there’s always something to kvetch about.
Since the launch of Voice of Customer post-flight surveys I had read hundreds of customer feedback comments from flights to and from various destinations. Whilst there was no shortage of negative comments, they weren’t the same as those written by people on the Tel Aviv route.
At first I couldn’t put my finger on why they were different but then realised, it was Jewish people being typically Jewish. We’re all the same and it’s something many of us do. It was en masse kvetching. Despite all the complaints the crew were still being marked “very good” or “excellent”.
There were 48 people in the Workplace chatroom set up by the Product and Service Delivery team. The vast majority were onboard managers like myself. Most of us had known each other for many years. Someone from catering had also joined the room. I noticed the Chief People Officer had joined but didn’t see the CEO was a member as well.
Having spent an hour or so reading Voice of Customer feedback I posted a comment. Part of it was regarding complaints about food and I tagged someone from catering.
He responded quickly. Having gone back into the group to acknowledge his response my partner read my post. He told me to delete one line because he said someone will probably take it the wrong way.
I’d written something that I saw as harmless banter that poked fun at my own community. I agreed it could be taken the wrong way and tried to amend it on my phone. It wouldn’t allow me to make any changes so I just deleted the post.
Whilst returning home from a social event some days later, whilst on my phone I found a private message from the CEO. I remember it clearly because with everything I had been dealing with in the previous months, we rarely went out.
The event was a Filipino cultural event and many of partner’s friends were dancing there.
The following screenshots are the messages exchanged between myself and the CEO. I’ve given him the name Jack to distinguish who’s talking.
Having received the first message I signed onto Workplace to see what I could possibly have said that caused offence. I didn’t post that often so it didn’t take long to scroll through my posts. I couldn’t find anything at all.
I had forgotten about the post from a few days earlier and having been deleted, it was no longer visible. I thought maybe it was something from the article I had written on Judaism to share with my crew.
With the Jewish New Year being a few days earlier I wished Jack Shana Tova. It’s a New Year’s greeting in Hebrew. People usually respond with the same greeting, he didn’t.
New Year is an important period in the Jewish calendar. It’s a time for doing good deeds, reflecting on past mistakes and making amends with others.
Later that evening Jack responded to my message.
His message shows the importance of context and what happens when it’s removed.
I couldn’t believe what I’d just read. I said to Laurence (my partner) someone has posted something on Workplace about “bloody jews”, that’s outrageous.
Then came the rest of the message;
VoC refers to the Voice of Customer post flight surveys. The black mark obscures the name of the person from catering who I tagged.
The context of what I had said had been completely misunderstood. Everyone in the group knew me, my humour and that I was Jewish. They were also aware of how much effort I had put into making the route a success. The emoji’s further confirmed the nature of the comment and that I was just being cheeky.
This line was the reason why I tried to amend the post but ended up deleting it, or thought I had.
I didn’t hear another word from Jack.
Understandably with me having upset the CEO it was playing on my mind. A few days later still not having heard from him I decided to send him an email. I then changed my mind because I knew he was on the press launch flight in a couple of weeks. I was rostered to work out of rank on the same flight.
The UK press launch flight for the Tel Aviv service was on 23rd October. Richard Branson, the CEO and many other VIP’s were on the flight. Knowing I’d see Jack meant I could apologise once again for what had happened. I believed once we met he would see what I’m like and understand my comment really was not intended to cause offence.
With him being Israeli I thought he’d enjoy hearing announcements being made in Hebrew by one of the crew.
I completely understood why my comment had been taken the wrong way and felt really bad. The way he would have read it would have been nothing like the way I would have said it, especially with him not knowing I was Jewish.
In the days that followed I operated two further flights to and from Tel Aviv. Whilst on my layover during the second flight I participated in a conference call with the Product and Service Delivery department regarding the route.
All onboard managers who were part of the “core crew” had been invited to participate if they were at home.
The Cabin Service Supervisor and I decided to dial into the call. There was no requirement for us to do so. Just an hour earlier we had been sitting on the beach watching the sun go down. It was our rest day.