As United Airlines seeks to increase customer satisfaction scores, it is asking flight attendants to deliver four basics on every flight. While these service reminders are plainly obvious, they mark a return to a pre-pandemic mindset on inflight service.
United Airlines Asks Flight Attendants To Focus On Being Visible And Attentive
United Airlines has zeroed in on raising its net promoter score (NPS), a “would you recommend United to others?” score that it views as a baseline for boosting loyalty and winning long-term business. These questions appear in post-flight surveys delivered via e-mail.
In a memo to flight attendants from John Slater, United’s Senior Vice President Inflight Services (and former flight attendant), shared with Live and Let’s Fly, Slater actually goes beyond asking and instead tells flight attendants:
Here are the basics we must deliver on every flight:
- Provide a warm welcome to customers as they board
- Show a positive and friendly attitude
- Be visible and attentive throughout the flight
- Thank customers as they deplane
As a frequent United customer, I must say that most flight attendants already do 3/4 well, though the third element (“be visible and attentive throughout the flight”) is the most hit or miss.
There have been a handful of flights in which I’ve just been ignored while entering or the flight attendant is handing out wipes while turned and chatting with a colleague, but those instance are few and far between.
Same with showing a positive and friendly attitude. Some flight attendants are certainly just going through the motions, but all have been courteous this year and far more often than not I do experience a “positive” and “friendly” attitude onboard.
I’m also routinely thanked while deplaning. The only instance where I may be skipped over is when a passenger in front of me stops to chat with the flight attendant stationed at the door.
But the third point is a tricky one, especially in the coronavirus era. For over a year, many flight attendants have rushed through a drink service in the back or meal in the front cabin and then kept to themselves in the jump seat or galley. This was not necessarily laziness, but by design. Indeed, some were still very attentive, but that was the exception, not the norm.
Now flight attendants are being asked to be visible and attentive again, which I interpret to mean constantly patrolling the cabin to see if passengers are in need.
I think it is an important step forward from the pandemic mentality and hope that flight attendants are willing to engage, especially after all have had access to months to the COVID-19 vaccination.
Flight attendants are being asked to deliver four basics on each United flight. While nothing extraordinary, the instruction to be “visible and attentive throughout the flight” marks a return to pre-pandemic thinking on service.