Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Under Fire For Stealing Ice Cream

Cathay Pacific has cracked down on cabin crew stealing ‘company supplies’ that include popular items such as Häagen-Dazs ice cream, catching several in the act.

The airline claims that over the years their own staff have stolen millions of dollars worth of product from them, and is forcing new policies such as searching crew as they disembark.

Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific cabin crew will now be searched when getting off their planes. Source: Cathay Pacific

What are the details?

Back in January, Cathay Pacific released a memo to all staff explaining a new zero-tolerance policy aimed at reducing ‘petty theft’.

In view of an increasing number of reported losses of company property, we have informed our cabin crew that random inspections will be carried out,” a company spokeswoman said to South China Morning Post.

And we bet you would like to know what Cathay Pacific defines as ‘company property’. This list includes items like ice cream, bottles of champagne wet wipes, pens, towels, soaps, bread, in-flight magazines and much more. To make themselves very clear, the memo specifically said that even peanuts being taken offboard would be constituted as breaking the law. Flight crew are only allowed to consume and remove items specifically flagged for crew, such as fruit, sandwiches, and water.

Cathay Pacific
The airline aims to reduce costs over the next three years. Source: Cathay Pacific

Zero tolerance means you are not permitted to take off the aircraft any item other than what the company has authorized as per the policy, If anyone removes company property, irrespective of the value or if you believe it will be thrown away, you will be subject to discipline which may include termination.” – Statement from Cathay Pacific

And it seems that petty theft by the crew has reached epic proportions, with it being commonplace and many staff having entire freezers full of ice cream. Many of the crew have justified this by saying that much of it is food that would go to waste regardless.

Cathay Pacific is currently undergoing a financial and corporate restructuring plan that includes reducing costs. As part of this, they are examining areas that might be costing the company far more than necessary, such as petty theft or perhaps several hundred jobs.

But zero tolerance only works if you carry out the threat if someone gets caught…

Cathay Pacific
Your next cabin crew could be criminals who steal leftover bread rolls. Source: Cathay Pacific

What happens if someone gets caught?

Well, it seems someone has. Specifically, six flight crew members (a mix of junior and senior crew) have been caught stealing. They were disembarking from the plane when a random security sweep picked up them carrying items classed as company property.

This ‘crackdown’ has caught the attention of the union official, Vera Wu Yee-mei, who represents 7,000 out of the 10,000 Cathay Pacific cabin staff. She has said that whilst company policy is pretty clear on petty theft, there was some doubt to the legality of these searches. A suggestion offered is that in future an independent witness should be there to ensure that they are conducted fairly and with dignity.

As for the caught crew members, they are awaiting an internal hearing to determine if they will remain with the airline or not.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. 

3 comments
  1. Pathetic!!!! Shame on you Cathay pacific higher ups ! Do you have any idea how hard crew members work Eating peanuts and ice cream is a crime ?
    In such a case I would buy it from you and give it to the crew members !

  2. They are talking about preventing petty theft. But it sounds like ‘petty’ is the operative word here – it aptly describes this stupid and denigrating treatment of their staff. Such petty behavior sounds very similar to the way the Ryanair boss, MOL also treats his staff. MOL has paid for his bullying by suffering repeated strikes and a share price which has fallen by 36% since the discontented staff started to push back. It will be interesting to see this plays out for Cathay Pacific! It would have been so simple to simply warn staff that on board supplies should not be removed for private consumption.

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