Are Qantas pilots and cabin crew being pushed over the edge by an
unfeeling and uncaring employer? A Qantas pilot and two flight
attendants were sent home from Los Angeles on Tuesday after a fight
over a spilt drink in the crewroom of LA’s Bonaventure Hotel.

The
fight is the third example of staff-on-staff violence in as many
months, and has sparked concerns that “tight rostering schedules,
bigger work pressures and alcohol are leading to an increase in
aggressive behaviour” says The Sydney Morning Herald. The list so far:

Los Angeles:
A pilot and two flight attendants got into a fight in the private crew lounge at the Bonaventure Hotel.
The police were apparently called and the group were subsequently stood
down.

Singapore: A cabin worker was investigated and stood down after an alleged assault in Singapore.

Tokyo:
A pilot was suspended for three months after a fight in a Tokyo
nightclub over the Easter weekend that left a cabin attendant
in hospital and resulted in a flight being cancelled and another
service being delayed 90 minutes.

The Professional Pilots Rumour Network (PPRuNes)
– an online forum for pilots and cabin crew to vent their spleen –
reveals much of the mindset of the overworked crewmembers. One
anonymous contributor “Surfside6” writes:

These altercations are symptomatic of the pressure people
are under. Instead of being able to beat the cr*p out of Dixon they are
taking their frustrations out on each other. There are now so many
subcultures amongst crew all with different opinions that clashes are
bound to occur. Since 9/11 the contact between pilots and CC is almost
non existent. LAX is the only place in the world where we share a
crewroom. Sadly this may be a promise of things to come. Maybe if we
put Dixon’s face on a punching bag…

Back in May another contributor going under the name “captainrats” wrote:

Crew are now apologising more than ever to now irate
passengers. Crews write reports. These are largely ignored. Frustration
becomes endemic. Crew can no longer do their job well and must
apologise for shortcomings caused by others. Frustration and Anger
= disengagement… I hope this gives a clearer understanding of why QF CC
are so upset. Too much change poorly managed through a lack of
communication and consultation.

Read more on the LA “punch-up” here.