Up in the air

Should I go to see “Flight”? I’m a nervous flyer, and Denzel Washington wasn’t exactly going all-out to sell the film in his interview with Simon Mayo. (Or was it just that it was his 200th Q&A of the day?) Then again, James Fallows — no slouch when it comes to all things airplaine-ish — clearly had a good time at the multiplex, even if he had a few technical quibbles. I wonder what the flight attendants in this LA Times piece thought of it all? Life is a treadmill up there, by the sound of it:

Airlines used to pay their flight attendants when they showed up for duty at the airport. Not now. That changed to getting paid when the cabin doors closed, then to when the plane’s brakes were released and now, often, when the wheels leave the ground (“wheels up” in airline parlance). There can sometimes be hours of delay between the time they show up for work and when they’re airborne. Different airlines have different policies, but it’s a way for them to save money. So when flight attendants greet you at the door, it’s very often for free. No wonder the smiles sometimes seem fake.

If a flight is late, the airline might have to pay overtime. If the flight is going to be late anyway, flight attendants have been known to delay it even further in order to make sure overtime kicks in, which can mean up to double the hourly pay.

Are things any different here in the UK? I hope so.

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About clivedav184z

Journalist and reviewer for The Times & Sunday Times.
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