What’s really important when it comes to airline crew?

The CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, has caused outrage in some circles by calling American airline flight crew “grandmothers”, and pointing out that his staff have an average age of 26.

(Qatar Airways)

I don’t really wants to give too much oxygen to his ageist and, by implication, sexist comments.

But I do want to note that — for me, at least — it’s attitude, not age, that counts when it comes to airline crew.

If we are to assume that they are all equally competent and able to assist us in the unlikely event of an emergency, we’d also like them to be pleasant and helpful. Just like anybody else in the hospitality industry.

And in my experience, most of them are. However, I have had bad experiences, and not just involving more mature staff.

The fact is that airlines that employ older people are doing the right thing. They don’t have the luxury that airlines in some parts of the world have of legally being able to jetison a person on the basis of their age.

And that, to me, is a far bigger problem than having to occasionally put up with a grumpy flight attendant.

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