Airline Culture: International Flight Attendant Service Design
The author is Japanese. She became interested in service development for airlines while employed as a member of the cabin crew by an airline (here called H), which while based in Europe flies to Japan. Based on that experience combined with subsequent fieldwork, the research reported here explores changes in the culture of cabin service, paying particular attention to the personal agency exercised by a subset of cabin crew members who are Regional Flight Attendants responsible for providing local language and culturally sensitive service to passengers from their homelands, as they have responded to a changing airline industry environment.
Today’s airlines are deeply embedded in the global circulation of people, goods, and capital. They have also been primary actors in promoting changes in their own global culture. As the process of creating a global “airline civilization” has unfolded, they have been forced repeatedly to restructure their organizations in response to changes in their business environment. These changes have strongly influenced both the nature of cabin service and the working conditions of cabin crew members. On the one hand, their jobs have become more demanding. On the other, they have, through service design, maintained a certain distance from their work and continue to enjoy the freedom it offers. They face increasingly stiff demands but remain grateful to the airline for providing the opportunities they enjoy.
KeywordsWest Nile Virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Airline Industry
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