|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
Almost Finished but Not Quite
Of the course the anti harassment and bullying statement excludes the complaint written by Bart and witness statements written by Anna, Ven and several others. The fact I proved without any doubt they all lied throughout their statements also made no difference.
I’d love to know what would have happened had I written the same report and delivered it to Bart during the flight. Alternatively had I advised him I would be documenting his performance and copying in his manager. Do you really think his response would have been any different? I very much doubt it.
By sending him a constructive report by email I didn’t give consideration for his feelings. In the same way crew manager Hayley didn’t give consideration for my feelings when she sent me the outcome of her investigation three hours after I landed despite being asked to be considerate regarding when it was sent.
Or the way the Head of Cabin Crew had consideration for my feelings when she instructed a second grievance to begin against me despite knowing I was struggling with anxiety and depression because of dealing with Bart’s fictitious grievance.
At the meeting with Lana I was asked whether I felt I was better at delivering feedback in writing than verbally. I said I can express myself well in writing but always address performance issues with crew at the earliest opportunity or at the time of delivering an appraisal. Most issues in Bart’s report were addressed with him as soon as I became aware of them.
My comment regarding employing people with great personalities is fact not my opinion. The following comes from an interview given by the company’s Chief People Officer;
The personalities of the airline’s crew have always set the company apart from other airlines. This characteristic was once referred to as “flair”. In mandatory performance reviews “flair” was for many years a competency the crew were scored on.
Bart had been aloof and unfriendly from the second we met although I didn’t know why. Here’s what I wrote in his performance review;
Being the narcissist that he is my comment was very difficult for Bart to take in. I felt this point was valid and needed to be mentioned.
Admittedly I should have spoken to him about it at the time. I may not even have remembered the incident had we not received feedback in a Voice of Customer survey that said “the stewardess was professional but not very engaging”.
The customer was sitting in Economy so could only have been referring to Anna, Mia or a third crew member who didn’t return her witness statement.
During my pre-flight briefing I asked the crew to engage with customers whilst serving them. A copy of my briefing was submitted as evidence.
Whilst I accept I should have spoken to Bart having noticed his lack of engagement, I chose not to. That’s a failing on my behalf. Following his performance on the inbound sector which was well below average and having decided to write a review, I included other performance related issues I had noticed.
Lana asked me whether I felt my review would jeopardise Bart’s twelve month review. This was someone who had no idea what he was doing despite telling me he had worked in this cabin including the galley position many times before.
Let me recap some of his failings;
- Took drinks/meal orders prior to take-off during a short delay which is not how the service should be done. Didn’t speak to anyone before doing this and didn’t advise anyone after having done it
- Copied customers’ full names from his iPad onto his aisle order sheet which is not necessary. Irrespective of what he says, this is definitely what he did
- Having seen both names on his order sheet I explained only surnames need to be written down. At the time he offered no response and did not tell me he had asked everyone for their name and asked how they would like to be addressed. In Lottie’s witness statement she says Bart told her ONE customer asked to be addressed by his first name
- In his complaint Bart states all customers asked to be addressed by their first name which is why both names were written down
- Bart did not secure his cabin to company or UK Civil Aviation standards prior to landing into Heathrow. Having addressed this in his review he responded with “derogatory comments regarding my performance”.
- In his complaint Bart refers to a conversation that took place between him and customers Mark and Jason in First Class. Customer Relations confirmed there were no customers with these names sitting anywhere in the cabin
- Having asked Bart to clear rubbish from the right side Premium he ignored me. In his complaint regarding this incident he told more lies. The story he made up made no sense at all.
- Bart asked me to reset a customer’s entertainment screen for him because he said he didn’t know how to do it. In his complaint he says when Katrina showed him he remembered he did know how to do it. I didn’t ask Katrina to show him, she offered because she was standing next to me at the time
- Bart struggled to keep up during all services
- States in his complaint he told Katrina he would need help with the breakfast service because everyone on his side was eating
- Bart did not deliver the breakfast service in First as the service should be done. This led to a customer being missed out who subsequently complained. In his complaint Bart lied about what took place and said Katrina told him to do the service that way
- Took off his tie before walking through the cabin to the rest area. Stated he came back ten minutes early to ensure he was back on time. The cabin crew are always woken up ten before they’re due back in the cabin
- Didn’t check on the Cockpit Crew once during either sector despite it being a safety requirement. Claimed he served them their food but it was completely impossible for him to have done that
- Having said goodbye to Bart and Anna as they left the aircraft and subsequently as they left the bus in the car park at Heathrow, both ignored me
I did not tell Bart off or even speak to him about addressing a customer by their first name because I wasn’t aware he had addressed anyone by their first name.
Katrina and Claire were present when I discovered he had taken orders on the ground. Having told him that’s not the way we do the service I then explained it’s not necessary to write customers’ first and last names on the aisle order sheet.
Although he told me people had started giving him their orders so he wrote them down, he didn’t say he had asked everyone for their name and then asked how they would like to be addressed. He didn’t say that because he knows customer names are on his iPad and they need to be copied onto his order sheet before he introduces himself. That’s the standard way of doing the service and always has been.
The following screenshots come from Claire’s witness statement. She was serving customers sitting in the middle seats so worked in both aisles. She worked alongside Bart and I on two long sectors.
I was told my use of the words “quite why” breached the company’s Our Standards and Anti Harassment policy. Bart said he felt ridiculed. His complaint was upheld throughout the grievance.
You may recall during the pre-flight briefing when I said Bart was looking at the floor he said he was reading his iPad checking for any special meal requests or frequent flyers. He would therefore have been looking at each customer’s name because that’s where the information is stored. Yet when he started taking orders he claims he asked each customer for their name.
When you tell so many lies you end up catching yourself out.
Having addressed several issues with Bart verbally during the flight and subsequently documenting them in my own time in an assessment that was sent to him and his manager, I was now being asked whether I felt it would jeopardise his twelve month review! After almost twelve months with the company he had NO IDEA how to deliver the service correctly in the First Class cabin and didn’t take kindly to guidance.
Bart says he felt I was being patronising by giving him a cheat sheet which I believed he would find useful. The only reason he felt that was because it bruised his ego.
Most normal people in a new job want to learn and are happy to be mentored by someone more experienced. Being the narcissist that he is, Bart believes nobody could be any better than him.
I did concede my cheat sheet could be seen as patronising. I was up against crew manager Lana and Employee Relations Consultant Pedro. Standing my ground was really very difficult. I didn’t ask a union rep’ to be present because I believed the company would see through Bart’s lies.
I’m someone who loves to learn new skills and am always happy to be coached. I learnt many new skills during my time as a Flight Manager and most came from people in lower ranks than me. In many cases they were much younger and far less experienced.
I was trying to mentor Bart and assumed albeit incorrectly that it may be appreciated.
Just like the Head of Cabin Crew, Lana says she would expect me to deliver feedback verbally which I did for most issues that were addressed. She also expected me to discuss Bart’s performance with someone who was the same rank as him but was for one flight only was working up in a supervisory role. She had been in the company for a similar amount of time as Bart. I should also have told him I would be emailing his manager despite it being company policy that line managers are copied in on all written feedback.
At no point throughout this entire “investigation” was I given one iota of credit for what was an extremely challenging flight. I know of a Flight Manager who a few months after my Atlanta refused to take a flight because he was the only onboard manager.
That person who had been in the company for around the same time as me was taken off the flight and served with a disciplinary. As far as I am aware he fought it and won.
Not only was I the only onboard manager but I had an extremely junior crew. Apart from Lottie, Ven and Bruce (in the galley) everyone else had been with the company for no longer than twelve months.
T who worked up as Purser in Economy was on his first operational flight after being away from flying for a year.
No complaints were received by Customer Relations after the flight and Voice of Customer questionnaires returned for First Class on both sectors stated the crew were “excellent”. That’s the top mark a customer can give.
Lana closes this section of her investigation by saying “I am of the view Laurence’s choice of words was poor when he delivered his feedback to Bart. Bart felt ridiculed, intimidated and uncomfortable when reading Laurence’s feedback.”
He felt ridiculed, intimidated and uncomfortable because it’s not always easy hearing the truth.
Had the company crewed the flight correctly with two Pursers the service may have been led very differently. A trained Purser would also have completed Bart’s performance monitoring after discussing it with me because that’s what we’re trained to do.
I would also not have been as tired because I would have taken a break. Being stupid and far too loyal I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the cabin.
The problem on this flight was Bart had no idea what he was doing and had no sense of urgency. I don’t have a problem with someone never having worked in the cabin before, there’s always a first time.
Had he been open and honest instead of saying he had worked there many times before including the galley we could all have given him the support he needed.
And this is someone who took a dislike to me before we had even spoken because he wasn’t given the opportunity to work up as Purser.
So I basically hurt Bart’s feelings.
I’m being accused of being condescending yet despite discussing many of Bart’s failings with him and writing a performance assessment that could not have been any more courteous and professional, I’m being told my manager will offer me support on how to write and deliver effective feedback.
My manager who pressured me into dealing with a second grievance whilst I was on long term sick with anxiety and depression.