United to flight attendants: Put away your phone or you are fired

United to flight attendants: Put away your phone or you are fired

Airline cites safety and service concerns with crews using personal smartphones while onboard

by Kurt Knutsson

United Airlines has sharpened its onboard protocols, explicitly directing flight attendants to steer clear of personal electronic devices while on duty. This directive serves as a reinforcement of United’s commitment to safety and customer service, aiming to ensure that flight attendants remain alert and ready to respond to any situation, thus prioritizing passengers’ welfare over personal screen time.  A recent memo sent to flight attendants is a direct warning with potentially severe consequences.

Use of a personal electronic device and/or accessories is not permitted while customers are on board the aircraft, with the exception of crew rest…Any crewmember found in violation will be subject to performance discipline up to and including termination.

This rule underscores the airline’s expectation for crew members to remain approachable and courteous, ensuring that passengers always receive the attentive service they expect and deserve.

Credit: United Airlines

Why United Airlines wants its flight attendants to put away their phones

The airline, in its communication to the flight crew, highlighted that attentive service is not compatible with the distractions of personal devices. This stance is underscored by the potential risks identified by United: a distracted attendant could overlook a security incident, suffer or cause injury during landing, or even unintentionally deploy an evacuation slide.

Credit: United Airlines

United Airlines’ message to its flight crew: you’re always on duty

The measures United is taking reflect a broader industry trend, emphasizing the professional image and readiness of flight attendants. It’s a reminder that the role of the flight crew extends beyond safety to encompass the entire flying experience. United’s communication suggests that the company’s values and the expectation of professionalism apply at all times, even when flight attendants are in public view but not actively on duty.

Credit: United Airlines

 

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Non-compliance could result in termination

To reinforce these standards, United has not hesitated to state the consequences of non-compliance: disciplinary actions up to and including job termination. This strict approach indicates the seriousness with which United views the customer experience and the safety environment onboard their aircraft.

Credit: United Airlines

 

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United strives to improve customer satisfaction

The airline’s action is a step further in a series of efforts to enhance customer satisfaction, including soliciting passenger feedback on crew performance and implementing new service standards aimed at improving the in-flight experience. From hanging coats in premium cabins to ensuring a quiet atmosphere and offering pre-departure drinks, United is pushing for a higher level of service.

Credit: United Airlines

United expects high standards from cabin crew

While United’s cabin crew is known for their dedication and ability to handle the rigors of a demanding job, the airline’s latest policy serves as a reminder of the high standards expected from them. United’s message is clear: the focus should always be on safety and service, and personal devices should not distract from this mission.

Credit: United Airlines

 

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United faces challenges amid labor issues

This policy comes at a critical time as airlines continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and face ongoing labor negotiations. United’s firm stance is a signal that the airline is committed to excellence in service and is prepared to take the necessary steps to maintain and improve its reputation among passengers. The airline’s crew members are now more than ever required to demonstrate their dedication to the company’s ethos of attentive and exceptional service.

Credit: United Airlines

Kurt’s key takeaways

United Airlines has made a bold move by banning personal devices for flight attendants, sending a clear message that safety and service are the top priorities for the airline. While some may see this as a harsh or restrictive policy, others may appreciate the professionalism and attentiveness that it promotes. United is not alone in this trend, as other airlines have also implemented similar rules or standards for their cabin crew.

The question is, will this policy make a difference in the customer experience and the safety environment onboard United’s flights? Will it help United regain its reputation and trust among passengers, especially after the challenges of the pandemic and the labor issues? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: United’s flight attendants have a lot of responsibility and expectations on their shoulders, and they deserve our respect and gratitude for their hard work.

Do you agree or disagree with United’s policy? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.

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3 comments

David K. February 6, 2024 - 5:40 am

Cell phones should not be used while on company time.

Reply
John February 6, 2024 - 4:18 pm

“Always on duty” but if we get hurt dealing with bags during boarding we don’t get covered and we’re not paid until the door closes. It’s okay to set expectations but when you dont even live up to yours.

Reply
Beth April 12, 2024 - 10:31 pm

Shouldn’t the flight attendants be paid from clock in to clock out then? If a flight attendant is sitting in the airport in between flights—not being paid—why should the airline care if they’re on the personal device at that point in time? If the flight attendants aren’t being paid for boarding, why can’t they occasionally check their cell phones? Why is the airline trying to police their crews, all without paying the crews for the full day they’re expected to “perform” for them…?

Reply

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