Let’s not pre-judge, no age discrimination here…and they certainly look happy enough to be heading to Hawaii (some of them anyway). Here’s an email just received from a Point Me to the Plane reader:

Hi Adam, thought I’d send these in for your readers. We are on our first flight ever to Hawaii flying from LAX – Kauai (LIH) on pre merger UA 757 in Economy Plus. I’ve lived on the East Coast for a few years now and rarely flew with pre-merger United, but I think this might be the oldest flight crew I’ve ever had. All three are certainly over 50 and two at least are in their 60s. Prior to moving to the East Coast I lived in Singapore and flew with Singapore and Cathay, as you can imagine, this is a culture shock. No judgements on age though, if their service and ability to provide safe travel is still top notch, then I have no qualms. Will report back on their service attitude upon landing later. PS, included a pic of our Economy Comfort seats as well. Thoughts?

What say you readers? Let’s hear both your positive and negative experiences with the more experienced flight crews on the US legacies. I will say that despite my annoyances with SkyPesos, my Delta flight crews, even the older ones, have always appeared to be somewhat happy and eager to help passengers. Also, what exactly would be considered “senior” these days? I’d guess that several of my younger flight attendants on recent AA and UA flights have been in their mid 40s. I’ve recently had a more senior AA purser serving first class with her own specially created OJ and Apple juice pourers stashed in her apron pockets…up and down the aisle every few minutes. I also had an experienced AA crew of three who hung out at the back of the plane gossiping the entire time and finished beverage service for the entire plane in under 10 minutes, never to be seen again.

UA Maui 1 UA Maui 2 UA Maui 3


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smitty06 November 22, 2013 - 6:44 pm

I noticed the same thing on a PEK-ORD flight. I thought to myself that if there were an emergency, the passengers would probably have to assist the flight attendants. On the other hand, there is something to be said about experience. I don’t know what the correct answer is to “how old is too old”?

Jim November 22, 2013 - 7:26 pm

I heard the Hawaii flights are highly sought after for since it’s a longer flight and one of the better domestic destinations. Considering flight schedules for FAs are based off seniority, this isn’t surprising.

A Flyer November 22, 2013 - 9:16 pm

My usual comment after flying tend to reflect positively on the crew, especially when warranted with their names. However, I always submit when the equipment is not modern. These photos clearly show the aircraft still uses the ancient cathode ray tube overhead TVs for the media system instead of the personalized audio visual onboard display system in the seatbacks. Yuck!

traveler November 22, 2013 - 11:26 pm

That is nothing compared to some UA routes I have flown. Flights to SYD the stewardesses – yes I said it, because that is what they were when they signed up 50 years ago, were in their 70s. The steward may have been 80. Lovely people, but still I could not see them carrying me from a burning crashed aircraft.

Michelle S (Miles, Points, and Mai Tais) November 22, 2013 - 11:27 pm

Before I switched over to Alaska, I used to routinely fly to Hawaii with the PMUA. They usually had an international crew, because at least during the day flights, they’d do a direct turn requiring longer hours than what the domestic crews are authorized for. Service was hit and miss. Sometimes you’d get the old cranky FAs, and sometimes you’d get the absolute best in the business. Either way they were usually very senior and “experienced”.

Andrew November 22, 2013 - 11:35 pm

Remember…each FA has to be rectified on an annual basis. AS long as they can handle emergency evacuations – they are OK to fly. Personally – I’d rather have a “seasoned” FA to a hong FA that only cares about his or her outfit, hair, and makeup!

TH November 23, 2013 - 1:25 am

I routinely fly LAX-KOA on AA and by and large, the FA are more of the senior variety. To be fair, so are most of the other passengers in J (they like to call it first but let’s not embellish the truth).

I don’t know why that is a coveted route for the senior crew – some look like they’re pushing 65. For that route, it leaves in the afternoon, and arrives around 7:30/8:30 depending on the season, and turns right back around about 2 hours later. So it’s not like they stay even overnight (only the flight crew does). And for a while, they tell me, they didn’t get a break even though it’s 14 or so hours of nonstop work (because they land, though they don’t leave the plane). That’s changed now when the union stepped in and some can relax on the redeye segment back to LA.

In any case, they are friendly enough for the most part, so I can’t complain. Some I’ve even given those “kudos” certificates.

I think it just depends. A few are surly and really need to retire or work at the DMV. But most are pretty good and I count on their experience in an emergency. But let’s also not discriminate on the young. I can’t forget that Asiana FA who carried a passenger on her fractured back away from the burning plane.

robert November 23, 2013 - 3:53 am

Some at 35 are cranky some at 60 are more spunky — all I want is good service with a good attitude — do not care about age –maybe those who notice the “age” would like some young beauty with no idea of her/his responsibility

sw November 23, 2013 - 9:42 am

My friend has 25 years with United and doesn’t have seniority. The reason is these flight attendants never retire. Their benefits are good enough that because of the union rules they can get away with only flying once in a great while and keep their benefits. Great deal if you can get it.

danny November 23, 2013 - 12:03 pm

There is age limit for FA in Asian airlines and their service and attitudes are top notch. I think age limit is like 35. Personally, i think as long as they are capable physically and are good at it it’s all good. But … 50, 55 maybe ok but 65, 70 ? Could they carry me out of the burning plane ? I mean, seriously? They should have physical fitness test every year to keep their job, not because of their seniority or union protection. I mean , they don’t let bus driver keep driving when he cannot see ?


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