‘So we are all agreed’, said Kieran Mathieson, managing director of Rift Airlines. ‘We need to change’.
Stan Vines, marketing manager, leant forward. ‘Kieran, it is imperative. We are losing market share. The competition is killing us. We are seen as a safe but boring way to fly. Our in-flight service at best is average and our crew is seen as surly and not service-oriented. We are just not competitive.’
‘I agree with Stan’, growled operations manager, Bill Armstrong. ‘Our present cabin crew is not with it – they’re too old. They don’t present a modern image. We need people who are young, attractive, cheerful and dynamic. If we are going to turn around this airline, we need to do something. Some of the male crew looks like absolute slobs with their beer guts and some of the women have backsides the size of a barn! It’s no wonder we can’t compete with Virgin and Singapore. Their crews are attractive, cheerful and service-oriented. As a passenger, you get greeted with a smile, not a snarl.’
‘It seems to me’, snapped Linda Church, HR manager, ‘that this sorry state of affairs is a reflection of our bad management.’
‘For heaven’s sake, Linda. We’re trying to run a business not a social welfare organization. Face reality, customers prefer to be served by young, attractive cabin crew. Our competition realizes it. Listen to this. This what Malaysia Airlines corporate services senior general manager, Mohammadon Abdullah, was reported as saying in the press: “Customers prefer to be served by young, demure and pretty stewardesses, especially Asian ladies.” Who wants to be served by a bunch of ageing couch potatoes and old boilers?’
‘I can’t believe you said that!’ snapped Linda. ‘What you are saying is so blatantly discriminatory that it is not funny.’
‘It’s not just me Linda. Look at this newspaper clipping. The writer makes it clear what passengers want.’
‘What does it say?’...