Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Did that really happen?

Here I am, back at work and sitting at my desk. I've ploughed through all my emails and just about got back to normality.

I arrived at Heathrow last night at about 10.00 PM after Sri Lankan Airlines, surely an oxymoron, managed to get my flight airborne a mere 2.5 hours after it was scheduled to be. They said that the flight was delayed because there were technical problems and another plane had to be used. Judging by the state of (dis)repair of both their planes I have been on in the last few days I can only imagine that it must be fuck of a serious problem to stop a SriLankan Airlines' one from flying. It would have been sitting there at BIA waiting for all of us to board when one of the more eagle eyed airport staff spotted that a wing or a tail had dropped off and thought that it might be a good idea to tell someone. Really, we were all at the gate waiting to board when told it wouldn't be for another 2 hours.

I got talking to a medical student who was on her way home to Northern Ireland after a stop over in Colombo and her luggage appeared on the conveyor belt exactly 35 minutes before mine did. Why is this? It can only be because the luggage chaps sort it according to how attractive the owner is. She was a fine looking cute blonde and I look like well, me.

I was thinking about air crew on the way over. I see them a lot at the hotels and regular haunts in Colombo and I am intrigued and fascinated by their lifestyle. But, the thing I wondered was if they are all paid roughly the same salary regardless of which airline they work for. I know that the chap who pours the tea and coffee will undoubtedly get paid less than that woman who gets to wear the badge to say she is a highly trained childcare specialist, but you know the principle I am getting at here.

When my kids were young and crying their eyes out on the plane the lady with the badge would very occasionally come over to us and smile. Then, when they had stopped crying and settled down into a far happier mood, she would come back with the Airline's special child pack, which consisted of a model plane and a crayon (purple). She'd usually give it to said daughter and pinch her cheek, which would make her cry all over again. It's quite an achievement to be the childcare specialist, no ordinary person would possess those skills without special training to overcome natural human instincts.

So, I thought about this pay thing because, if all airlines pay similarly to their crew, it would result in SriLankan Airline staff being far better off than British Airways staff, in a purely financial sense and assuming they live in Sri Lanka and the UK respectively. On the other hand, if they were paid in proportion to their Country's cost of living, this would mean a vast difference in salaries. This would probably result in many of the better people seeking employment at the airlines of the more affluent countries, a kind of plane drain.

What happens? Does anyone know? Is anyone bothered?

I'll tell you all about last week another time.


sach said...

Hehe love the part about the childcare specialist ;) About 15 years back I also used to throw tantrums and I also got the crayons but don't really remember if there was a 'specialist' those days.

Interesting point you make there. I have lots of friends who work for Sri Lankan, mostly cabin crew but this never crossed my mind. Shall investigate.

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indi said...

I had a friend who was a pilot and he left for Qatar because the pay was much better. In fact, there's been a mass exodus of pilots from SLA 30/200 I read. When he was working for SLA he made a fuckload of money regardless. Drove a gas-guzzling Benz

Anonymous said...

One Steward used to oblige people to carry parcels and make a small charge for it.. some others bring in ciggies from CMB and sell it to the little newsagent near their hotel! Very enterprising money making schemes some of these stewards and stewardesses have come up with. Child care thing.. I took my baby with me to CMB and HKK last year and they were fine. Infact when my MIL took my baby home to CMB last month the stewards in particular had been very helpful to the extent of carrying him while MIL had her meal etc etc.. so that was positive!!!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Sach - please report back with your findings!

Pat - If your comments are real then thank you, I can't figure out if it's a "spam" comment or genuine.

Indi - That's interesting, I wonder what the scenario is for cabin crew and whether the variations are in line with costs of living in each country.

Anonymous (T) - That's reassuring to know about the childcare thing as, all joking aside, it really was appalling when my kids were younger.

Abracadabra13 said...

From what I know they are def. paid according to the payment country. For eg: Emirates crew gets paid much more than Srilankan airlines crew.

It all boils down to the earning power and salary scale of the country of hire and residence. If you get hired in SL you get paid SL wages, in Dudai you get paid on their pay scales etc..