United flight attendants and airline management are in conflict over the duration of telephone hold periods.
Flight attendants are expected to call the airline to accept changes to their rosters due to the frequent last-minute schedule adjustments, which have led to holding periods of up to four hours.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) has been pressuring United to reduce those excessively long hold times, but the airline’s head of inflight service, John Slater, hasn’t been impressed with the union’s advocacy on the matter, claiming AFA is exaggerating the issue beyond what is necessary for “political opportunism.”
The flight attendants responded by bombarding Slater with letters and emails detailing how the lengthy hold times were impairing their quality of life. This criticism hasn’t discouraged the union, though.
The point the union has been trying to make is that flight attendants are internal ‘customers’ of the airline and the United branch of AFA claims it’s just plain “common sense that in order to provide a great experience to United passengers, those people providing the experience must feel valued and supported.”
The AFA, therefore, requests that United measure flight attendant satisfaction in the same manner as customer satisfaction.
In order to determine how satisfied customers are with United, the airline has just begun using the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Airlines have truly embraced NPS as a crucial indicator of performance. NPS has become an increasingly popular method to gauge customer happiness across a variety of businesses.
You have participated in an NPS survey if you have ever been emailed a survey asking you to rate how likely you were to suggest a firm to a friend or family member on a scale of 1 (least likely) to 10 (very likely).
A score of 0 indicates that you would never suggest United, whilst a score of 10 indicates that you would. Passengers who receive a 9 or 10 are deemed promoters, while those who receive a 7-8 are indifferent and those who receive a 0-6 are critics.
The NPS is then calculated using a straightforward sum: NPS equals (percent Promoters – Percent Detractors)
The benefit of measuring NPS is that you may experiment with tiny modifications to determine which ones will result in the greatest improvement. When passengers fly on a company’s newest aircraft, NPS typically rises, which is not surprising. However, one modification might have a cascading impact that radically alters a passenger’s view.
For instance, the Portuguese flag airline TAP learned a number of years ago that customers rated food and drink higher when they traveled on WiFi-connected aircraft. It was sense to assume that the provision of in-flight WiFi had an impact on other aspects of the traveler experience.
In the case of flight attendants, the union will begin using its own “Flight Attendant Promoter Score” to determine how much flight attendants feel valued.
The findings of a series of questions posed to flight attendants, including ones about how much they believe their contributions to the airline are valued and whether they feel supported, will be put into the FPS.
The union will then make the FPS available to the public at the end of each week, and over time, we’ll be able to monitor whether internal changes significantly affect flight attendants’ opinions of working for United.
The FPS isn’t being supported by United but the union claims to make changes to improve the FPS could “make a significant impact on our work environment and have a correlating impact on United’s NPS scores.”