The new American Airlines merger was strongly supported by both the pilot and flight attendant unions. Without their support, the new mega airline would have been a much harder merger to happen if even possible at all.
The merger of Delta and NWA, that is flying under one operators license, is old news. However, the integration of the NWA and Delta flight crews is a much more recent event. In fact, for a long time, NWA and Delta crews never mixed.
I have flown with both for years. The Delta crews are still very Delta loyal and customer appreciative. The NWA crews are still very old school and there is much “bad blood” still over the merger results. ex-NWA crews miss the old culture of NWA and miss the power they had under union support (they say it is NOT about money, but about control of their jobs).
The vote to keep Delta nonunion was very very close last round. Now understand I am not taking a pro or con union stand, I am talking about what I see next. Clear? Also some personal feedback.
I am clearly a Delta loyalist and supporter. While I do miss much of what NWA brought to the table, I also feel the Delta crews are far superior in customer service over the NWA crews. The Delta crews care about the flyers more. They are willing to do what it takes to make sure a Delta flyer feels “special” and appreciated. They “GET” that air travel, basically, is a bus taking people from point A-B and making a passenger feel special will bring them back. Honestly, who cares if a tiny rule or two is broken along the way if it earns the loyalty of a passenger for life.
Now to NWA crews. What I have seen is a culture of “me-ism”. Of worker rights. Of frustration over HVC passengers demanding “things” and attitudes. Of don’t bother me now I am on a break. If you are a frequent Delta flyer, rather than bristling over what I am saying, you can spot a NWA crew over a Delta one. Not saying there are not good ones, but I see more smiles and joy from the job with Delta crews.
So now back to the point of today’s post. I feel Delta’s FA’s will very soon vote to go union. Why? Now that crews are “fully” integrated I see ex-NWA crews have been “talking-up” the glory days of NWA and the golden days of union support. Remember, the vote last time was very close. Now I think it is just a matter of time.
What will this mean for Delta CORP? Delta is doing their best to reward employees with profit sharing for sticking firm to the bottom line to make sure the company makes as much cash as possible. The problem I see comes from the clash of corporate cultures. After all who cares if you upset flyers as it does not really matter when the union “has your back”.
So what is next? Delta stands at a crossroads. There have been many of the “old guard” to take an early retirement from both sides. Think about the BIG picture. Delta is making moves to reward $$$$$$! MQD’s, the “buy it ALL right here” web site redo, the change in consolidator fares and on and on and on. Delta is 100% banking on rewarding those who spend BIG money with the airline. Agreed? Good or bad, we can agree that these are the FACTS! Now think of this; the FA’s go union. How will a culture towards flyers, especially those ‘”whiney” Platinum & Diamonds, impact the bottom line.
Can you see the literal “train wreck” that is on the way. In poker, when you go “all in”, you are 100% confident you will not just win, but win BIG. That is the bet Delta has made. But I fear for the airline I love to fly. These are unique times in the airline industry. I hope for the good of the airline, employees and management all get it right! – René
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