REPORT: Delta Firing Japanese Flight Attendants?

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A Delta 777 is seen from a SkyClub at Tokyo Narita airport.

A Delta 777 is seen from a SkyClub at Tokyo Narita airport.

We’re hearing reports that Delta may be firing its flight attendants based in Japan.

This follows last week’s news that Delta is packing up and leaving both Tokyo Narita (in favor of Haneda) and Singapore.

A source told us today, “Tokyo flight attendants on my Delta flights to NRT and SIN told me that the Delta pullout of Asia and dehubbing of NRT is resulting in every single Tokyo and Japan flight attendant being fired. Delta will no longer have any Japanese flight attendants; only Americans who speak Japanese.” (Bold mine).

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan

Another source mentioned, “They’re allegedly offering them positions elsewhere in the network, however they don’t have work visas, so they have no choice but retire with little to no benefits.”

Gary at View from the Wing wrote today that Asia-based flight attendants are being offered transfers to the Customer Engagement Center (fancy for “reservations”) at Narita.

I feel bad if these folks are indeed being pushed out of the company. It’s certainly important they have a job; but the flight benefits are amazing and I’m sure they’ll miss those perks. Here’s hoping they get hired on at another airline.



  1. Sad… Tragic actually. Those are the nicest FAs in the Delta world and put Delta closer to ANA and JAL in terms of cabin services. They did that to to the Taiwanese FAs as well when they abruptly pulled the TPE flight.

  2. Ah, American capitalism. Money and profits with little or no regard for human beings. Yes, these FA’s are the best Delta has, and their reward for their quality and good performance – not much. Sad. Very sad.

  3. As a frequent (100+) flier to Japan based in DTW who is American but fluent in Japanese, I think this is a big mistake.

    The Japanese FA typically provide better customer service and are absolutely necessary to draw the Japanese customers.

    Also understanding the labor markets in both the US and Japan (I was an expat in Japan for 5 years) I have a hard time believing that the Japanese FA cost more.


  4. Industry changes, business moves, capacity loads move with competition and economy. Delta is a for-profit business for the shareholder’s employees are always a second thought in a publicly-traded business.

  5. @Michael K, I agree with you. I think they “cost more” because of their seniority. Not to say the US-based FAs are lower in seniority, but you always find very young and junior FAs that are trade their ways to an international flight.

    My personal feeling is that Delta’s foreign FAs generally are much better than their US counterpart. Vast majority of Delta’s US-based Chinese-speaking FAs (LAX, SEA, DTW) can’t even speak Chinese fluently. It’s embarrassing to hear the Chinese version of PAs coming back from Beijing and Shanghai – poor grammar, poor vocabulary, stuttering, to a point I actually wish Delta just use pre-recorded announcements, at least people can understand it. I mean, they say the same thing on every flight. If their Chinese is not very good because they lived in the US too long, at least making a point to learn those phrases and sentences well.

  6. I must be missing something as those Delta flights in and out of Narita are always full. And the lounge is the best I have ever been in. Looks like it maybe time for a change.

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