Workers on Cathay Pacific Airline threaten to cut drink service and smiles

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways’ flight attendants are threatening to cut back drink service, and even stop smiling, if the company doesn’t agree to a 5% pay raise.

Hmm, no liquor and surly service.  In America, I think we call that “flying any US-based air carrier on a typical day” (other than Virgin America, who’s too new to be jaded).

The airline industry in America seems to pride itself on lousy customer service and a bad attitude, with high (remarkably similar across multiple airlines) prices to boot. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they gave out awards for employee who is the biggest jerk to customers each month. Thanks to help from Congress, the US industry remains noncompetitive and flat out nasty.

While service is famously high on many Asian airlines, treating customers like dirt in the US is just another day.

Cathay Pacific AirwaysThe Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union will soon announce when the action approved in the vote will be carried out, General Secretary Tsang Kwok-fung said.

“We may not provide alcoholic drinks to our passengers, or we may not even provide meals to passengers,” in which case the union would advise travelers to bring their own food and drinks, said Tsang.

Limited service could also include withholding smiles and greetings from passengers.

“We cannot smile because of the situation, because of how the company treats us,” Tsang said.

In all fairness, this is a union dispute.  But still.  This does sound like a good day on a US-based airline.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    What next?—an attitude tax?

  • Drew2u

    I’ve always chosen Sun Country when I could, before the merger with Delta.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    For the last couple of years, I have flown Sun Country. Their employees may be overworked, but they treat their customers with respect.

  • Kenneth C. Fingeret

    Hello Chris in Paris,

    To borrow and modify an old (really old) line of an airlines advertising about the current state of US air service “fly the unfriendly skies”.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Many of us in the U.S. have lost the means to fly on airlines at all.

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