One American Airlines flight attendant now has a target on her back after snitching on a trainee for dozing in flight. The incident underscores the sometimes-contentious relationships within flight attendant ranks over accountability and self-regulation.
Flight Attendant Snitch At American Airlines Now Has A Target On Back
A flight attendant trainee was surreptitiously photographed with her eyes closed on a training flight by a crewmember working on the flight. This crewmember ratted her out to management, who terminated her just two days before she was set to become a flight attendant.
The move did not sit well with other flight attendants at American Airlines, who took to internal flight attendant social media groups to decry the snitch, with many promising retaliation and to dig up “dirt” on the reporting flight attendant (who purportedly used to be an Emirates flight attendant). Surprisingly, the new hire was staunchly defended, with senior flight attendants noting how difficult training days are and how her violation was not a safety issue (it did break company policy).
One flight attendant wrote a note to Brady Byrnes, the Vice President of Flight Service at American Airlines, and received a very terse response:
Respectfully, you are out of line. It is completely unacceptable for someone to sleep during their flight. Furthermore, you don’t have all of the facts. Our training colleagues are consummate professionals, and when some is (sic) release from training…the decision is made with careful thought and consideration.
I’ve included [redcated] MD of Base Ops. Your FSM will be in contact to discuss your note in more detail.
Brynes really does not help himself here, dismissing the flight attendant’s concern and including a veiled threat of discipline in the last paragraph for having the audacity to write him.
As View From the Wing rightly notes, a better response would have been to thank the flight attendant for the note, certainly point out that there are additional facts at play that cannot be disclosed due to privacy concerns, and encourage the flight attendant to treat passengers with the same attention to detail and care.
The takeaway, just like we saw with a recent mask issue at United Airlines, is that many flight attendants wish to deal with discipline internally and not involve the airline. Flight attendants who “rat” out colleagues, even if totally within policy, suddenly have targets on their back.
This incident discounts the notion that flight attendants are unified – like any organization, employees jostle against one another for advantage. Here, a trainee was fired, perhaps rightly so, for briefly snoozing on the job, but the manner in which she was reported has infuriated many flight attendants at American Airlines. Flight attendants must grapple with a serious dilemma: reporting colleagues for breaking rules may carry detrimental consequences.
image: Steven Lippman / American Airlines