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

This first excerpt comes from the letter Bart sent to his manager following our flight together. My performance review 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 Standards Policy and Anti Harassment and Bullying Policy, this didn’t seem to apply to Bart.


Being the narcissist that Bart is, it’s understandable the most difficult comment for him to deal with was the one in which I said he needs to work on his personality. I didn’t actually say that but in his fury that’s how he’s interpreted it. This is what I actually said;


Bart’s complaint was passed initially to Cabin Crew Manager Lana to investigate. Having replied in writing to the points he raised, I was then invited to a grievance investigation meeting. By this time Lana had already met with Bart.

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


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 briefing. These points 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.


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 Purser positions were filled by cabin crew working up a rank. The Pursers are also onboard managers.

On many flights the First Class Purser position has been removed. When the change was implemented the Flight Manager took over the duties associated with this position. Where a Purser is present they run the service and are responsible for completing “performance monitoring/feedback” on their crew. It only appears on their iPad.

The pre-flight briefing lasts about 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.

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

The briefing was “unusual” because I had changed the delivery following a conversation with my manager. He said the company wanted to get everyone involved verbally from the start. I didn’t change the briefing because I felt like it.

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 in the rank of Purser 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.

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, she’s a mature adult (a similar age to me). We had never met previously and there was no pressure.

I asked her because her Crew 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 on the crew.

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 by the Flight Manager 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. Despite few of the crew liking me and many talking behind my back, they enjoyed the chocolates and mince pies. None were left over.

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

Crew 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 by Employee Relations Consultant Pedro during the meeting between Lana and Bart;


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

Cabin crew work in a safety critical environment and the airline are constantly emphasising the importance of safety. There’s a mountain of information the crew must memorise so I believed that 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 of the briefing.

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

As stated in an earlier chapter, according to Hayley’s LinkedIn profile she has never flown as cabin crew previously. Although Cabin Crew Managers at this airline also fly, they do not fly as an onboard manager. She would therefore never be in a position where she was required to conduct a preflight safety briefing for the crew.

From evidence submitted to the company

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

That will make more sense when you read the next chapter.

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