US Airways is America’s most hated major airline. It’s not really a secret. What’s new and exciting is that the employees actually hate the airline more than you do, according to the New York Times, and it’s not for the reasons you might suspect. They actually hate the dirty airplanes and gross food, too.
A rich record of the employee discontent emerges from regular question-and-answer sessions held at US Airways, which is both the worst-performing big airline in the country and a company that encourages its 36,000 workers to direct tough questions at its chief executive, W. Douglas Parker.
“Doug, I watched you on CNBC today,” said one e-mail message from a worker, sent on Oct. 25. “And I hate to tell you but the interiors of our plans [sic] smell bad and they are filthy. As an employee I am embarrassed to admit working for US Airways. When are you going to quit talking and do something about it?”
The rancor is not any worse at US Airways than at most other big carriers. What is different is that Mr. Parker, 46, subscribes to the let-it-all-hang-out school of employee relations. He says management learns a lot about how the airline is actually performing through an uncensored give-and-take — and he willingly provided transcripts of the Q. and A. sessions.
And here’s our favorite part. Why are the snacks so gross on US Airways? Because better tasting pretzle suppliers can’t beat $0.03 a package!
“We’ve worked with our purchasing team,” management explained, “to bring in many companies to compete on our main cabin tidbit item (pretzels). To date, no one has been able to match our current cost, about 3 cents per package.”
We’d say US Airways was like Walmart Airlines, but we don’t want to be unfair to Walmart.