There is an interesting story in the British media that caught my attention. An easyJet cabin crew member was fired for eating a bacon sandwich. The article is filled with interesting details such as the fact the person concerned received the sandwich from her on board manager. The manager gave her the sandwich as she has a nut allergy and was unable to find suitable food before flight.
It is all headline grabbing stuff, however it made me think about what some cabin crew face on a daily basis.
Hard Work and Mediocre Pay
Cabin crew in Europe have a legal limit of 900 flying hours per year and shifts can feature up to four sectors a day. Note the 900 hours is flying hours and does not include time at the airport before and after a flight.
Salaries vary. British Airways advised new recruits back in 2011 they could expect to earn around £20,000 per annum. It is reported to now be between £21,000 and £25,000 depending on commission and flying pay. This is similar to other carriers. Ryanair advertise an average of €1,400 per month after tax to new recruits which is broadly similar.
The salaries are nothing like what cabin crew used to receive in the past. There are reports of senior British Airways crew on the old contract on £50,000 plus. A very tidy salary indeed!
Airlines offer staff travel schemes for their employees. These come in the form of excellent discounts on flights. For the once or twice a year trip away it is a great benefit. It is not that amazing though. Many crew are so tired from flying that they would rather sleep at home than fly for pleasure.
This is why the bacon sandwich dismissal struck me. Surely the crew should be allowed to take the occasional sandwich to eat? The actual cost of the food is negligible to the airline so why the big deal?
Obviously the food is there to sell and running out would be pretty poor form. That being said, rules could be put into place allowing the food to be taken only after serving the passengers.
I have a huge soft spot for cabin crew and the service they provide. I feel the bacon sandwich dismissal is a huge over reaction on what is reported as a first offence. The out of court settlement suggests the airline believes court action would go against them. Either way, I think crew should be allowed to do things like eat the food sold on board as a perk of the job. It just seems right to me.
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please let me know.
Featured image by Alan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons.