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Airline’s Flight Attendants May Not Smile, Serve Alcohol

The airline and its union are facing off over pay increases


A salary dispute between flight attendants and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways (PINK:CPCAY) has led to the threat of a unique protest.

If the airline does not return to the negotiating table, the union says it could cut service on flights scheduled during the days around Christmas down to the most basic level, meaning that flight attendants may not smile at passengers or serve meals or alcoholic drinks, the Wall Street Journal notes.

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Despite the threatened loss of smiling service, Cathay Pacific shares rose more than 2% in over-the-counter trading on Thursday morning.

The Flight Attendants Union is demanding a 5% salary boost, but Cathay Pacific is only willing to raise salaries by 2% with an additional month of salary offered as a bonus next year. While the union is considering a strike, such a move could not take place until next year.

In addition to reducing service and dropping smiles, the flight attendant union indicated that it could become hyper-attentive to safety regulations and operating procedures, potentially slowing down the boarding process.

A Cathay Pacific executive said that the airline’s salary offer was the best it could do in the current economic environment. The airline lost $120.6 million during the first half of the year as business travel fell 15%.

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