Airline passengers who travel frequently have come to expect flight attendants to provide a variety of services and ensure their safety during flights.
Before takeoff, flight attendants provide passengers with information such as safety instructions and flight duration.
While in the air, travelers can expect attendants to offer them food and beverage service, headphones, blankets, pillows, and other amenities. They are also prepared to handle emergency situations, such as medical emergencies, fires, and evacuations.
Unfortunately, it has also recently become increasingly necessary for flight attendants to deal with difficult passengers and maintain order on flights.
But on United Airlines, passengers should begin seeing flight attendants engaging less in one activity.
A United Airlines aircraft is seen flying above clouds. The carrier has issued a memo to its cabin crew about consequences for inappropriate use of mobile devices.
Use of personal cell phones is prohibited
A recently leaked United Airlines company memo contained reminders to cabin crew that they are required to be seen as attentive to customers.
And the point of the memo was clear: If they are preoccupied with smartphones, being attentive to customers is not possible.
“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,” it said, according to Live and Let’s Fly.
Further, the memo explained the harsh consequences flight attendants who are seen engaging at the wrong time with their personal devices could face.
“Any crewmember found in violation will be subject to performance discipline up to and including termination,” it said.
Being ‘approachable’ while in uniform
The memo contained a number of other items United wanted to communicate with its cabin crews.
“Customers look to flight attendants for great service,” it said. “How comfortable would you be asking someone for help if they were engrossed in their cell phone? What impression would that give you?”
“Even in public, you should always remain approachable in uniform and display courtesy to customers and other employees,” the memo added.
The document warned about three unfortunate situations use of a mobile device in a jump seat could elicit, according to Live and Let’s Fly:
“Missing an onboard security incident.””Causing personal injury or injury to a jumpseat partner on landing if not properly braced.””An inadvertent slide deployment if the personal device is held during the disarming of aircraft doors.”
Live and Let’s Fly author Matthew Klint offered some thoughts on the issues addressed by the memo.
“For better or for worse, we live in a world in which people are glued to their mobile phones,” he wrote. “On the street. In restaurants. On trains. Certainly on aircraft, too. And in my experience, this is true for flight attendants too.”
“The harsh punishment for failing to abide by the rules suggests the seriousness of this problem,” he added. “As a frequent United flyer, it will be interesting to see if there will be less use of personal mobile phones going forward with the threat of discipline now clearly laid out.”
At the time of publication, United Airlines has not responded to a request for comment.