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How do we feel about the term SLF?

Passengers & SLF (Self Loading Freight) If you are regularly a passenger on any airline then why not post your questions here?

How do we feel about the term SLF?

Old 8th Feb 2010, 19:09
  #1 (permalink)  
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How do we feel about the term SLF?

As you might expect there is a discssuion on the Cabin Crew forum about BA Industrial Relations. Two posts caught my eye and I'd be interested to hear peoples reactions.
The first from Entaxei (post no 263 on the thread) who indicates he is a passenger reads:
Oh well done Tiramisu - a shot clear down the middle straight through the deliberate twisting of facts by BASSA - clean bowled.
In the mean time and thinking about various aspects of these discussions, it occurs to me that calling the source of your income "Self Loading Freight", is derogatary and, potentially downgrading the importance of your passengers in the minds of BA workers and the manner in which some may deal with problems or complaints.
The phrase is one that is very clever, in keeping with todays culture and brings a wry smile to the face, but is almost akin to saying 'throw your wallet in the basket as you board, we'll give you the residue when you get off'. All of which helps the union view that passengers have nothing to do with the reality of squeezing the last drop out of the orange.
I'm interested to hear your view from the action end.
Cheers Entaxei (Pax).
Post 268 is from flapsforty (a moderator) reads:
Entaxei, this forum is for professional cabin crew. People who actually work in the industry. As cabin crew.
The term Self Loading Freight has been part of PPRuNe vernacular for ever. Its a term of endearment.
If that offends you, then I suggest that you redirect your browser to somewhere dedicated to ex-engineers or professional airline passengers.
Like our very own PPRuNe Passengers & SLF forum, set up just for you.
Do not presume to come here and lecture us on what we call you on our own forum.
I've always accepted that Cabin Crew call us Self Loading Freight on the basis that flapsforty indicates " Its a term of endearment.". But that final comment does make me wonder.
Without actually saying it I get the impression that terms like "Trolly Dolly" are accepted by crew in the same way that we accept SLF except that crew are always careful to point out that their main raison d'etre is our safety.
Given the complaints we see on here about BA service I do wonder if flapsforty complains just a little to much and Entaxei has a point.
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Old 8th Feb 2010, 19:23
  #2 (permalink)  
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If you look at the BA cabin crew dispute, where a large majority of lemmings voted to empower their union to strike for 12 days at Xmas and are now voting again, against a grim economic background and few, if any cabin crew jobs going elsewhere, the impression one gets is that many may not have a lot between the ears.

(Not all by any means, some BA cabin cew, such as Jetset Lady who posts here are very bright.)

However, if the majority are not over endowed with grey matter, then this might explain this 'term of endearment', since it is not overbright to use negative metaphors IMHO.

I always refer the clients in our business as 'clients', as that is the respectful term. They also pay the fees that fund my salary, a fact I never forget. They may be pains at time, but they paid for my house, my cars, my kids education etc.

My belief is that the names you call people do unconsciously influence one's feelings and behaviours towards them.

So Entaxei may have a point.

Having said that, I haven't experienced the dire airborne service that some report, in fact it is normally okay to good with BA; The ground 'experience' is my bete noir.
Old 8th Feb 2010, 19:25
  #3 (permalink)  
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So long as there are those of us who are willing from time to time to fly on Ryanair & the other Loco's, whose point to point service is a quick turnround freight service, we are exactly that.

We are Self Loading Freight- deal with it.

What the airlines really need is SLB - Self Loading Baggage.
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Old 8th Feb 2010, 19:27
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Contemporary Business Culture

A banker once said to me "If we could get rid of the customers we could run the operations without costs..it would be soo easy"

I heard a "skipper" once ask operations for another steward for his flight..."Ya want a snack bash kid?" came the reply..."er kinda yeah"

Now it seems to me that something has been lost here. I can see the day when an outfit like Ryanair sticks a barcode across your forehead at the check in...
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Old 8th Feb 2010, 19:29
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Basically, as long as it is not obscene, I'm not bothered what I get called!

This question is raised from time to time and usually means an interesting discussion (search for threads yourself)

Bear in mind, though, that SLF is a non-gender term, whereas Trolly Dollies is gender related ( though most female cc I know prefer hosties), so what term would you use for male cabin crew?

In reality I can't help but feel that there are more important things in life than arguing over the use of long established terms!!
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Old 8th Feb 2010, 19:31
  #6 (permalink)  
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so what term would you use for male cabin crew?
I have heard pilots use the expression 'plate layers.'

Pretty disrespectful if you ask me.

What's wrong with 'cabin crew', for that's exactly what they are.
Old 8th Feb 2010, 19:36
  #7 (permalink)  
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As for Flapsforty's comment - she has a point about who posts on the individual forums, particularly when the majority of the post was nothing to do with the thread subject!

Don't forget that the post could have just been deleted!
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Old 8th Feb 2010, 19:47
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On the previous Chapter of the CC Thread, I ended up being banned for a few days for referring to a member of CC as a "Trolly Dolly". I will admit that I used the phrase in the midst of a heated discussion, but always understood that was one of many numerous similar phrases that have been in circulation for decades.

They include ...
Military Fast-Jet Navigator = Talking Ballast
Military ATC = The Flying Prevention Branch
Passengers [Mil AND Civ] = Self Loading Freight
Cabin Crew = [The T word]
........... and many, many more.

Personally I find Self-Loading Freight a bit derogatory, but I've been called that for so long I've become largely immune to it. Industry [and military] vernacular it may be, but I have never experienced it being used as a 'term of endearment'. The same broadly applies to the other terms cited above.

Clearly f40 has a more sensitive view when it comes to the equivalent 'term of endearment' for CC, and indeed seeing any non-CC posting on that thread, which is why I no longer risk trying to post in her fiefdom. No problem, her train-set, and that's a high-presure environment for a lot of CC on both sides of the argument. Perhaps we shouldn't have taken such a direct interest.

Does that 'deprecating' or 'endearing' SLF term affect passenger service? On the surface, I doubt it. On a more profound level, given what CC have to contend with on a daily basis from some of their passengers, it may. Whether it's a disruptive oaf in WT, or an arrogant oaf in F/J, or a full aircraft on a bad day to a lousy destination, I suspect we are a corporate pain in the rear. Yes, we pay their wages, and perhaps some of us expect too much from them. But reliable delivery of the advertised product would be nice.

[PS ... I believe this subject has been done to death on PPRuNe often in the past. Or so I was told.]
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Old 8th Feb 2010, 19:54
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It's probably fair to say that the term SLF is rarely, if ever, used by CC directly to a passenger or in their earshot. I suspect that the opposite Trolly Dolly etc. is often used by some passengers directly to crew.
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Old 8th Feb 2010, 20:51
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Originally Posted by west lakes
Bear in mind, though, that SLF is a non-gender term, whereas Trolly Dollies is gender related ( though most female cc I know prefer hosties), so what term would you use for male cabin crew?
We call them Trolly Dollies, surely? (But, of course, never to their face).
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Old 8th Feb 2010, 22:55
  #11 (permalink)  

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Weary Sigh...

This subject comes up periodically, so I'll try and resurrect the usual answer.

Long ago, back in the days... PPRuNe was a pilots only forum discussing pilot type stuff. Some pilots used the term SLF for passengers, especially those with a military background, as used to be the norm: Given that many of them have no interface whatsoever with passengers, beyond an en-route PA announcement, this is at least understandable - whether you approve or not is another matter.

As PPRuNe expanded and the number of forums increased, the SLF name stuck to this forum. For the record, in 33 years in the industry, 30 of which are as crew, I have never heard a single British cabin crew member refer to passengers as SLF - ever. The only exception is here on PPRuNe where it is occasionally used, sometimes by those claiming to be Cabin Crew, and often in an attempt to comply with perceived normal practise.

Many industries have phrases that are considered acceptable for use within a peer group, but not by outsiders - Medicine springs to mind. Another example might be the word that would be considered highly racially offensive if used by a white person, but is in common and routine usage amongst African-Americans when referring to each other - supposedly to indicate irony, although I have my doubts. The point I'm making is that language is powerful, and its' use requires care and compliance with the rules to avoid giving offence. Here on PPRuNe (originally a Pilots' Forum) the peer group viewed the term as being acceptable.

You may of course, if you wish, choose to take offence, or to read into the phrase something that in my experience simply doesn't exist: This forum is for passengers to offer their opinions, so you are most welcome to continue in this vein if you wish. I certainly won't prevent you, but I will go on the record at this point to say that in my view this is neither an issue, nor a symptom of an issue.

The BA thread(s) in the CC forum have been by no small measure the most frustrating, irritating, depressing, tedious, thankless and time-consuming work that the CC Forum mods have had to deal with in some considerable time: I'm also a mod in there, along with my esteemed colleague Flaps (who for the record is an immensely skilled and experienced Cabin Crew member). The BA thread has experienced many hijack attempts, not only by extremists on all sides, but also by other parties, including passengers, all of whom have been anxious to display their various prejudices and agendas, or simply to demonstrate their own titanic cleverness and ego: While this may be fascinating for those who are in love with the sound of their own keyboards, it has usually contributed little or nothing to the debate, except to raise the global temperature and thereby promote further irrelevant posts.

I would be grateful if this forum would not be used as a receptacle for those opinions that were deleted by mods various (including myself) on the BA thread in CC.

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Old 9th Feb 2010, 03:28
  #12 (permalink)  
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Re part 2 of your post, you have my sympathy.

Re part 1, I think you have perhaps missed Hartington's point.

You could re-read his last sentence and then reference the article below

What's in a Name: Our Only Label Should Be Our Name: Avoiding the Stereotypes

Labelling can and does create negative stereotypes, which influences the way the labeller thinks about those labelled and then deals with them.

In recent times, on here on other travel related fora, a number of people have complained about the surly attitude of some BA cabin crew.

The OP is trying to make a link between this attitude and th elabelling of passengers.

If you ask me, any such behaviour it is more probabl due to demotivation and anti management ire, but nonethless it is interesting to think about how labelling stereotypes or demonises.

After all, 'scab' is a powerful word, isn't it?
Old 9th Feb 2010, 06:11
  #13 (permalink)  
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The term in our office is "Self Loathing Freight". The reduction in business class travel may have something to do with it.
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 06:45
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F3G - Thanks, an interesting link.

The fact remains that this is a word that I have never heard used outside the confines of PPRuNe, and within, rarely. If the usage was widespread, then I agree that an issue might exist.

It is for the reasons covered in your link that I prefer to use the phrase 'customer' when discussing people on the aircraft: It re-enforces the view that there is a financial transaction behind each seat occupied.

It is worth noting that some people dislike being referred to as 'customers' on board the aircraft.
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 08:23
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Some pilots used the term SLF for passengers, especially those with a military background, as used to be the norm:
I arrived into Airline flying in 1982, and the aged RAF gentleman around me would use this phrase. A phrase I had never heard before. In the intervening years from Dan Air, Britannia, and BA I have only ever heard passengers referred to as SLF by pilots. And then only rarely by military pilots. Indeed a passenger is just that in the military. They are not paying customers. They are exactly what it says. Self Loading Freight.

I have never ever heard a Cabin Crew member in any airline that I have worked for call passengers SLF.

I think it is worth remembering that this is historically a Pilots forum. And an old one at that. Unusually for the internet it carries with it history.
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 08:42
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I am Self Loading Freight.........................so what?
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 09:40
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Having been crew for 7 years (not as long as a lot of you guys I know) I have never heard passengers been called SLF except for on PPRuNe. The problem with a public forum for people within a specific industry is that anyone can view it and see the slang terms should they actually be used anywhere. Most industries have different slang terms for their customers, rightly or wrongly however they do exist and always will, but anyone under the impression that we call all out passengers SLF, take a deep intake of breath and relax. We prefer to just call you passengers. Non-gender specific and simple. Whether or not that is superseded by another word though......
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 10:12
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I certainly don't find the term offensive, I find it amusing and assume it is used with affection (or even affectionate exasperation, on occasions!) Certainly when used by someone like Flapsforty it would clearly be affectionate, as the fact that she has the utmost respect for/empathy with her passengers shines through any of her posts in which she describes her working day.

"Trolly Dolly" is potentially, in my view, far more offensive, because it demeans someone's chosen occupation (in the same way as "quack", "desk jockey" etc).
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 11:49
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Lack of Customer Focus..............

Industry sectors can be classified in many ways. One simple classification is "Producer" focus versus "Customer" focus.

Aviation, from its birth amongst the Civil Servants and Armed Forces in many countries, has always had a Producer focus. It is concerned about itself, rather than its customers. I moved in to Aviation from the Customer-focussed Service sector, and the changes in attitudes were a shock to me.

It was a mini-revolution in the Aviation sector when South West came along. They had a clear Customer focus. Virgin Atlantic tries to emulate them.

Like it or not, any sector that has a culture that allows phrases such as SLF to survive is a Producer focussed sector. Those that adopt fully a Consumer focus are far more likely to survive.

The mods and I do not agree about this. That's fine, as PPRuNe has always tolerated different opinions.
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Old 9th Feb 2010, 11:54
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No problem with the term at all. Indeed, compared to some of the invective that PPRuNe-posters throw at one another it's a welcome and ironically affectionate nickname.
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