Latoya Gibbs

Latoya Gibbs, Affiliate Professor, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology, Southern Oregon University

Latoya Gibbs is an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Southern Oregon University. She began her career as a flight attendant in 1997 with Air Jamaica and was promoted to Purser in 1999. In 2004, she earned a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Hospitality Management frm Florida International University and shortly after, was seconded to the In-Flight Procedures and Training Department (2006-2008).

In 2009, she graduated with a Master of Arts, in Communication for Social and Behaviour Change from the University of West Indies (Jamaica) and in 2010, she transitioned to Caribbean Airlines in the role of Cabin Crew Instructor and held that position until 2014 when she resigned to complete her doctoral studies at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Gibbs is passionate about exceptional customer experiences through employee excellence and currently researches competency-based training in aviation and the impact on employee performance.

Big Results on a Small Budget: How to Retrain for Inflight Service Excellence (R.I.S.E.)

Cabin attendants face a myriad of challenges as they serve the travelling public. For example, they face stressful situations, manage conflicts, find resolutions, display human relations skills while maintaining safety, security, and serving passengers. At times, tension between their roles as service provider and safety compliance enforcer, has been the reason for increased complaints from passengers. Recent incidents such as the father suspected of human trafficking while traveling with his child and the scuffle between a crewmember and a mother because of an oversized stroller, highlight the relationship between technical (e.g. safety and security) and non-technical (service) competences. Whereas, ICAO regulates technical training, non-technical training, like cabin service is determined by the airlines’ management and can be difficult to implement becuase of associated training costs. These costs are not limited to operations, crew pay, and training materials. Given these challenges, the question is, how can cabin crew trainers design essential, non-regulatory training and assessment that is creative, effective, valid, and cost-efficient yet minimizes operational, financial and scheduling demands? This session will review some limitations, the impact on training design and what was learned from one specific program. We conclude with how this program developed professionalism and supported individual acquisition of skills and knowledge.