Cabin crew roles and pay rates

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Melburnian1

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mannej, I concur: QF (and JQ) have indeed been 'lucky.' Whether their luck lasts is unpredictable.

It is more than 13 years since PR has had a fatality, and that was one person, not a large number - still tragic. Since then, PR has operated thousands of flights a month without incident. Maybe its luck will change tomorrow, but this long number of fatality-free years should earn it some credit. The EU must think so as it is now allowing PR to again fly to and from Europe; the FAA of the United States may soon deliver a similarly positive verdict.

Perhaps mannej is referring to many years ago when PR had a spate of hijackings (at a time when civil aviation generally was subject to such incidents). Thankfully, this has long since ceased.

MEL_Traveller, foreign crew members' wages are usually related to the cost of living in the country in which they are based. Like Norway, Australia is now an expensive place to reside: housing costs are expensive, as is food and many household goods (although petrol, while more expensive than in the USA, is cheaper than in Europe). Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and similar nearby southeast Asian nations will generally be a lot cheaper to live in, particularly in rural areas or smaller cities away from the Jakartas and Metro Manilas of the region. So to talk of a 'cut' is misleading in that sense.
 

nlagalle

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mannej, I concur: QF (and JQ) have indeed been 'lucky.' Whether their luck lasts is unpredictable.

May I suggest you read through the incidents posted on AVherald so you gain a bit of an insight to how many incidents happen daily worldwide. Remember over here the Australian media is only interested in local stories like that, unless it involves a crash and or fatalities.

All airlines have incidents, it's the nature of flying
 

medhead

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Right so pr gets credit for 13 years and qf gets no credit for 60 odd years.
 

BAM1748

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'Fair Work Australia' must be the most inaccurately named organisation in our wide brown land. It certainly isn't 'fair' to employers (or to Australia's growing number of unemployed or under-employed residents, many of whom are effectively 'locked out' from securing a job because our wage rates are so uncompetitive). It's a union-led cabal.


I think you're off the mark. I work in the private railway sector and the increasing govt regulation is driving our costs up, not wages. When the sconomy is static, our profit is static and wages are static. But that doesn't stop the regulator from be risk adverse and imposing more and more rules requiring more people and more hours spent on the same task.

Unions have their place all you have to do is look at the clothing manufacturing sector, those poor buggers need a union.

Matt
 

anat0l

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Right so pr gets credit for 13 years and qf gets no credit for 60 odd years.

I see you were careful to try and dodge the period during the war. ;)

That said, PR has been operating for an awfully long time too (but not as long as QF).
 

erkpod

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I think you're off the mark. I work in the private railway sector and the increasing govt regulation is driving our costs up, not wages. When the sconomy is static, our profit is static and wages are static. But that doesn't stop the regulator from be risk adverse and imposing more and more rules requiring more people and more hours spent on the same task.

Unions have their place all you have to do is look at the clothing manufacturing sector, those poor buggers need a union.

Matt

I always have a laugh when someone outside an industry says "ABC Union is running XYZ Industry" - in the current environment, that's usually untrue.

I have never been on a full day strike in the almost 20 years I've been at my Place of Employment.
 

medhead

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I see you were careful to try and dodge the period during the war. ;)

That said, PR has been operating for an awfully long time too (but not as long as QF).

I think you'll find I was careful to compare on a like of like basis. 13 years since pr has had a fatality was the claim. I made a random guesstimate of the equivalent period for qantas. By definition that has to go back to the last fatality which was post war, IIRC.
 

The Rok

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Not having a fatality does not make one airline safer than another. Luck plays a huge role, as does culture, training, budgets And management.

I can name a few airlines who have new fleets, good management and ZERO fatalities yet I still don't consider them safe!!!
 

harvyk

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In regards to pay rates, here is some food for thought. In society who is worth more? A professional football player, or a nurse? Despite the fact that in terms of usefulness to society the nurse is far more valuable, the pro footballer will typically be paid much more. Why is that? Well as a society we have deemed that we are prepared to pay certain amounts to have certain jobs done, and this pay rate has little relation to the value of the job.

Now don't get me wrong, if the proverbial hits the fan, I want my cabin crew to be as skilled as possible. Just like if I was to wrap my car around a tree I'd want my ambulance officers to be as skilled as possible, because in both situations my life is now depending on their training. But here is the thing, in certain towns been an ambulance officer is a purely volunteer role (I was surprised to find that out), and even when it's not it's not exactly the greatest of pay, and for those guys, having a bad day means that someone is most likely going to die. For an FA, having a bad day is typically going to be limited to spilling someones drink or dinner over them, hardly life and death. (Yes I realise that for an FA a really bad day does involve an emergency evac, but that it's very rare)

This is not to say that I don't appreciate the behind the scenes stuff which cabin crew do, and I understand that their training goes way beyond how to pour a glass of wine, it's just I also know that in society money is not often doled out based on how talented or well trained you are, or how important your job really is.

As a final aside, flight crew do get perks which goes beyond money, such as the ability to see the world on the company dime. No doubt that was the original drawing card which attracted cabin crew to the job in the first place, as if it was purely money, well there are loads of other jobs which are well known for been far better pay.

PS, Yes I realise that I have just guaranteed when the choice of beef or fish comes around, the beef with have just run out, as will the cans of coke.
 
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JessicaTam

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In regards to pay rates, here is some food for thought. In society who is worth more? A professional football player, or a nurse? Despite the fact that in terms of usefulness to society the nurse is far more valuable, the pro footballer will typically be paid much more. Why is that? Well as a society we have deemed that we are prepared to pay certain amounts to have certain jobs done, and this pay rate has little relation to the value of the job.

Now don't get me wrong, if the proverbial hits the fan, I want my cabin crew to be as skilled as possible. Just like if I was to wrap my car around a tree I'd want my ambulance officers to be as skilled as possible, because in both situations my life is now depending on their training. But here is the thing, in certain towns been an ambulance officer is a purely volunteer role (I was surprised to find that out), and even when it's not it's not exactly the greatest of pay, and for those guys, having a bad day means that someone is most likely going to die. For an FA, having a bad day is typically going to be limited to spilling someones drink or dinner over them, hardly life and death. (Yes I realise that for an FA a really bad day does involve an emergency evac, but that it's very rare)

This is not to say that I don't appreciate the behind the scenes stuff which cabin crew do, and I understand that their training goes way beyond how to pour a glass of wine, it's just I also know that in society money is not often doled out based on how talented or well trained you are, or how important your job really is.

As a final aside, flight crew do get perks which goes beyond money, such as the ability to see the world on the company dime. No doubt that was the original drawing card which attracted cabin crew to the job in the first place, as if it was purely money, well there are loads of other jobs which are well known for been far better pay.

PS, Yes I realise that I have just guaranteed when the choice of beef or fish comes around, the beef with have just run out, as will the cans of coke.
I got the impression that you were supporting the FAs. I reckon you might get extra 'beef and coke'.
 

JohnPhelan

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Paying them adequately (at an Australian standard) for the job they do isn't unreasonable. If driving down wages is the best demonstration of capitalist 'innovation' that our country's airline managers can come up with, quite frankly the industry is stuffed!

And herein lies the problem - the whole cost structure in Australia, of which wages are the major component. I don't disagree with your sentiments, but the problem is Australian airlines are competing with those from other countries where the staff get paid less than half of what our people get. It's certainly not a level playing field. That's no problem if people are prepared to pay more to fly with QF or VA - but how many people, even on AFF, tell us that price is the determining factor in their choice of flights?
 

MEL_Traveller

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In regards to pay rates, here is some food for thought. In society who is worth more? A professional football player, or a nurse? Despite the fact that in terms of usefulness to society the nurse is far more valuable, the pro footballer will typically be paid much more. Why is that? Well as a society we have deemed that we are prepared to pay certain amounts to have certain jobs done, and this pay rate has little relation to the value of the job.

...

the other factor to consider is that one profession has been commercialised, the other has not.

a pro football player draws crowds. crowds draw advertising and sales. if you have a skill as a pro football player then you're going to demand a slice of the action.

then there is the more subtle element... a pro football player, cricket team, swimming team bringing back gold medals or americas cup team has the ability to make 100,000 or 1 million people (or more) feel good about themselves on a Monday morning after the team brings back the goods. they have the ability to bring national pride (something which someone somewhere can probably measure in terms of productivity).

unfortunately society as a whole has determined it doesn't want increased taxes to pay nurses more, or teachers, or other public servants at the front line providing essential services and care. some people are happy to spend $50, $100 (or even $500 for a rugby ticket), but wouldn't dream of paying that to a nurse in hospital if they were there overnight... or giving that to a teacher as a Christmas bonus.

thankfully we have dedicated people who choose to be our nurses and teachers.
 

yohy?!

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crew pay is such a tiny part of operating costs for an airline - screwing down these costs really has little effect in the scheme of things when fuel is considered.

if it were so crucial to QF's survival for example you would not be seeing multiple captains on legacy contracts crewing the 380 etc
 

mannej

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mannej, I concur: QF (and JQ) have indeed been 'lucky.' Whether their luck lasts is unpredictable.
Luck forms a part of every day life - i.e you make your own.

If you have read into 30,32 and 72, the actions of the crew were indeed praised. If you look at the causes (a one in a million event, negligent manufacturing by RR and an Airbus software glitch), where is QF at fault for any of these?

Also, you do hear about QF incidents more on the news due to the fact that we are in Australia. You can find info on sites such as avherald that incidents happen on a daily basis. You can't deny that fact. Perhaps the reason why some airlines (read Air Canada) feature more is due to the reporting requirements in such countries is much more stringent than other countries. Just because you hear about an airline more doesn't make them an unsafe airline. Sometimes it is what the airlines don't report is what is much more worrying.

I think we can agree to disagree on this one, as I don't feel that the level of knowledge is of enough expertise to come up with the definitive answer regarding airline safety...
 

harvyk

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the other factor to consider is that one profession has been commercialised, the other has not.

a pro football player draws crowds. crowds draw advertising and sales. if you have a skill as a pro football player then you're going to demand a slice of the action.

then there is the more subtle element... a pro football player, cricket team, swimming team bringing back gold medals or americas cup team has the ability to make 100,000 or 1 million people (or more) feel good about themselves on a Monday morning after the team brings back the goods. they have the ability to bring national pride (something which someone somewhere can probably measure in terms of productivity).

unfortunately society as a whole has determined it doesn't want increased taxes to pay nurses more, or teachers, or other public servants at the front line providing essential services and care. some people are happy to spend $50, $100 (or even $500 for a rugby ticket), but wouldn't dream of paying that to a nurse in hospital if they were there overnight... or giving that to a teacher as a Christmas bonus.

thankfully we have dedicated people who choose to be our nurses and teachers.

I won't argue that a pro-athlete has the ability to pull in the big dollars for sponsors / advertisers, and don't get me wrong, I love sitting down and watching sport on the weekend (I love motorsport and will think nothing of driving 7 hours to see Bathurst in a couple of months). But again in terms of helping society, it is a roll that if it ceased to exist, society would continue on unharmed. Unlike say Firefighter (another role that is extremely important, and yet sometimes staffed by unpaid volunteers).


Edit: I should probably mention that my own role is one that which is important to society as it stands now, should society need to pick some representatives to hide out in a bunker to survive untold horrors, I'd be stuck on the surface with the pro-athletes.


crew pay is such a tiny part of operating costs for an airline - screwing down these costs really has little effect in the scheme of things when fuel is considered.

if it were so crucial to QF's survival for example you would not be seeing multiple captains on legacy contracts crewing the 380 etc

Airlines operate on raiser thin margins, every 0.1% saving is actually pretty significant on the bottom line. The only reason why I can think you'd want to be an airline owner is vanity, it's hardly a quick and easy road to riches. Of course the public demand for very cheap but high class travel has dictated these raiser thin margins.

If the legacy airlines could, I would expect they would slash the wages of all their staff, esp those (non executive) staff on the big salary's. Of course if (when) they try they suffer from unions downing tools. For proof of this show me one new start up airline that pays as well as the old contract legacy airlines.
 
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Mogul

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crew pay is such a tiny part of operating costs for an airline - screwing down these costs really has little effect in the scheme of things when fuel is considered.

if it were so crucial to QF's survival for example you would not be seeing multiple captains on legacy contracts crewing the 380 etc



It may seem a small part of the total operating cost's, but it all adds up.

Lets look at it a bit closer. A380's have around 22 FA's per flight.

Pay them $10 per hour less and that equates to $220 per hour, around $3,000 per flight to to LA. Based on 2 flights per day to LA equals almost $2.2m per year extra. Put this extra cost across the whole international fleet and it certainly add's up.
 

medhead

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It may seem a small part of the total operating cost's, but it all adds up.

Lets look at it a bit closer. A380's have around 22 FA's per flight.

Pay them $10 per hour less and that equates to $220 per hour, around $3,000 per flight to to LA. Based on 2 flights per day to LA equals almost $2.2m per year extra. Put this extra cost across the whole international fleet and it certainly add's up.

That same A380 has a max fuel capacity of 320000 litres. Reduce fuel cost by 1 cent and you've saved $3200. Make engines 1% more efficient and you've saved 3200 litres. I have no idea of the cost of the fuel, hypothetically $2 a litre = $6400 saved.

Much bigger savings to be had on fuel and fuel efficiency. That why planes like the 787 are important.
 

Mogul

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That same A380 has a max fuel capacity of 320000 litres. Reduce fuel cost by 1 cent and you've saved $3200. Make engines 1% more efficient and you've saved 3200 litres. I have no idea of the cost of the fuel, hypothetically $2 a litre = $6400 saved.

Much bigger savings to be had on fuel and fuel efficiency. That why planes like the 787 are important.

There are certainly many area's in which savings can be made, but in the context of this thread each operator of the A380 has the same fuel cost in Syd and Mel for example. With FA's each operator has a different base cost and some of these differences will be quite substantial.
 

MEL_Traveller

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It may seem a small part of the total operating cost's, but it all adds up.

Lets look at it a bit closer. A380's have around 22 FA's per flight.

Pay them $10 per hour less and that equates to $220 per hour, around $3,000 per flight to to LA. Based on 2 flights per day to LA equals almost $2.2m per year extra. Put this extra cost across the whole international fleet and it certainly add's up.

it seems staff wages are an easy target? are the [cabin crew] staff responsible for fleet investment decisions? are the staff responsible for the fines flowing from illegal activity such as price fixing? are the staff responsible for the erosion of benefits under the frequent flyer program which drive some customers away? are the staff responsible for decisions such as no through-check of bags unless all on the one ticket? (qf loses three round-trip business class tickets MEL-SYD a year from me on that basis alone), are the staff responsible for not putting full flat beds into business class on regional flights, or for not offering premium economy on a330 flights? all of which drive some customers and revenue to competitors?

as far as I am concerned it should be an equal day's pay for an equal day's work. if you are doing the same job as an Australian, working alongside that Australian, you should get paid the same wages as the Australian. we don't stand for women being paid less (even though there's a way to go on that yet), nor should we stand for cheap labour on any other reason if that is indeed what is happening.
 

harvyk

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as far as I am concerned it should be an equal day's pay for an equal day's work. if you are doing the same job as an Australian, working alongside that Australian, you should get paid the same wages as the Australian. we don't stand for women being paid less (even though there's a way to go on that yet), nor should we stand for cheap labour on any other reason if that is indeed what is happening.

Well this is a pretty broad statement, between 2 companies (both Australian) there can be a massive discrepancy between the pay rates on offer for the same job. It even happens internally within the same company. So saying "everyone should earn $x to do job type x" is living in a fantasy world.

Of course there is also the argument that if say JQ hires people from Asia who then works on a SYD-MEL at Asian not Australian rates prior to heading back home, is this really any different than a manager outsourcing some of their IT work to a call center in India?

Not saying I agree with off shoring, but there is a strong argument for paying people a fair wage based on where they live, not necessarily where (or for whom) they work.
 
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