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Rebuttal To CBS Market Watch, Re. Pilot Pay  
User currently offlineTsully From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 5979 times:

I think Capt. Whiteford did an excellent job defending pilot salaries.


Letter to the Editor, CBS Market Watch:

Chris Pummer conveniently disregarded a number of key facts in his misleading indictment of the commercial aviation profession ("The 10 Most Overpaid Jobs in the U.S.", 11/6/03.) To start, his suggestion that an airline pilot's job is "almost fully automated" is like saying a police officer's job is simply to direct traffic. It goes far beyond understatement to point out that a pilot's job is tremendously challenging and complex, incorporating unpredictable variables that can come into play without warning and require immediate and highly trained responses. This, of course, ignores the normal flight-to-flight responsibilities of the pilot for planning and implementation to ensure a safe and comfortable flight for all passengers.

Thousands of United Airlines pilots work diligently every day to deliver excellent service while ensuring the safety of the tens of thousands of travelers who literally put their lives in these pilots' hands. Professional airline pilots complete years of training before they can begin their careers. Pilots also log many years of service to attain top salary levels -- income levels which, in United's case, were slashed by a minimum of 30% and as much as 60% as the pilots have taken the lead in stabilizing the company as it works to emerge from bankruptcy.

While it's easy for armchair "compensation experts" and journalists like Mr. Pummer to pilot-bash from the safety of their cubicles, it would be interesting to hear their opinions on pilot pay the next time the aircraft they are on experiences an in-flight emergency or security problems at 33,000 feet, while they sit in back gripping their armrests, hoping and praying that the pilot upfront knows what he or she is doing.


Captain Paul Whiteford

Chairman of the United Airlines

Master Executive Council

Air Line Pilots Association, International

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 5946 times:

I think Capt. Whiteford did an excellent job defending pilot salaries

Paul Whiteford in general was probably the most realistic and levelheaded MEC chair that UAL ALPA has had in recent memory. UAL's ability to renegotiate a realistic pilot compensation package was largely due to his willingness to compromise with the big picture in mind.

Alas his tenure comes to an end this month, forced out by a group of hardliner Dubinskyites led by Mark Bathurst and Wendy Morse. God only knows what will happen with them in charge.

User currently offlineCkfred From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5898 times:

Pilots earn their pay when the weather is lousy, something goes wrong mechanically, ATC screws up, or something else happens that could cause loss of life or the aircraft, and they get the plane down in one piece.

Enough said!

User currently offlineDCA-ROCguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5889 times:

Pilots also log many years of service to attain top salary levels -- income levels which, in United's case, were slashed by a minimum of 30% and as much as 60% as the pilots have taken the lead in stabilizing the company as it works to emerge from bankruptcy.

Of course, pilot salaries at United went up 37 percent in 2000 after the pilots pulled their Summer of Hell schedule terrorism. And that was on top of the already pre-deregulation compensation structure that free market forces still hadn't been allowed to discipline. So there's another side to this story.

Neo-Dubinskyites won't find the air travel market, or the financial markets, tolerant of their mentor's tactics. The days of Goodwin and a booming 1990's economy are long gone. God help United, indeed.


User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5801 times:

Let's also get past the idea that people deserve high pay just because they can stay cool in a crisis. Airline pilots are highly trained and are trained with a procedure to handle nearly every crisis that comes along. Health care workers, esp. nurses, are highly trained to respond in emergencies and many of them do heroic acts in moments of crisis but they make a heck of a lot less than pilots. Law enforcement officers also are much less paid than pilots but also frequently make life and death situations - and they have no automation to back them up. Being useful in a crisis comes from having the intelligence and common sense to remember what you have learned and the ability to quickly think on your feet. Further, many of the highest paid pilots learned their skills while they were members of their military, compliments of their country's citizens.
There is one reason why pilots make as much money as they do: unions. It is incredible that it is legal for one union to represent most of the commercial pilots at major airlines in the U.S. just so they can play one carrier against the other. A good overhaul of the Railway Labor Act would go a long way to making pilots compete for their jobs on the same basis that most other American workers do - the value of their skills in the marketplace based on supply and demand. No company should be so afraid of an employee group solely on that group's ability to decimate the company if said employee group doesn't get its way.
Hopefully the Marketwatch article will push along the changes to the RWA that airlines have been seeking.

Go ahead, let the fur fly.

[Edited 2003-12-13 05:39:32]

User currently offlineGoboeing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5822 times:

How about this?


The airline business is an equal opportunity career field. Airlines, including Delta, American, United, and Northwest are hiring loads of pilots right now. You, too, can find yourself in the cockpit of a 767, 727, A-300 or any other commercial aircraft out there in the skies. The airlines hire regardless of race, religion, age or sex. They are literally the epitome of the equal opportunity employer. All it takes is enough intelligence to obtain an application, fill it out and send it back to personnel for
consideration. That's it!! Then you may be offered an entry level position as a pilot with any of the airlines, at a starting pay of $25,000 - 28,000 per year. Congratulations.....You're on the start of your flying career.......Or are you????

Let's see, the current qualification requirements, to even be called in for
an interview, are as follows: 4 year college degree (no problem, if you have a home computer in order to participate in this cyber dribble, then you've got that); physically able to pass an FAA Class 1 exam (assuming that you dont spend all of your time sitting on your brains at the computer, then maybe youll be able to pass.); and oh yeah, you've got to have completed the
Flight Engineer written exam, have multi-engine, commercial / instrument ratings and it wouldn't hurt to have the Airline Transport Rating (typed in something larger than your Lazy Boy recliner). Generally speaking, the current averages of new hire pilots at the airlines are: 3,300 hours total flying time, 2,700 hours multi-engine/turbo, with 1,200 hours
pilot-in-command. (Sorry, sitting on your sofa, eating pizza and surfing the channels with your TV remote doesnt count as a single minute of Instrument time!)

What??? You don't have the minimum qualifications to even be called in for
an interview???!!! Well get off your lazy can and go get qualified.
Remember, age is not a factor. You can be 60 years old and still get hired as a Flight Engineer - sorry the federal government says you can't fly past age 60, but you can be a plumber. Over 95 percent of the pilots at Delta Air Lines have military backgrounds. That's all you have to do.....join the
military, go to pilot training and spend 9 years on active duty flying airplanes. You'll be able to build the hours of experience necessary to qualify for the airlines, get paid while youre doing it and get to see the world at the same time.

What???? Can't get selected to go to pilot training because of the incredibly stringent requirements to get through the door???!!! Oh, don't want to PAY THE PRICE of having to serve your country, subject to the needs
of the service and move every 2-3 years. Even then, you don't know whether or not the airlines will be hiring when you finally gain enough experience and complete your contract with Uncle Sam!

Just what are those high entrance standards? Let's see. For every pilot slot there are approximately 50 who apply. From those selected, they enter a flight screening (aka washout) program that eliminates half of the group.
From there you go on to Undergraduate Pilot Training (for the Air Force, the Navy has a similar program under a different name) for an entire year. Work hard, because only two out of three that enter graduate. Let's do some quick math. You are in a room with a group of people who all want to become
military pilots. In fact, there are 150 of you. Guess what? Two years later only one of you will get to walk across a stage and get your wings pinned on. Ouch.

Then you get to hit the operational side. Whoa, first you've got to get through RTU (Training unit, about a 5% washout rate here). Now, you are off to the real world, training to fight or flying operational missions. Now, after nine years of this, the airline career is ahead of you. Wait a minute, I just glossed over one minor area. You see, you have to SURVIVE your time
on active duty. Let's look at one squadron and the facts. This squadron of 40 pilots lost one pilot a year for four years. I know these numbers are correct because I was in that squadron. Do the math and you see that the odds of simply surviving a four year tour is approximately 90%. Those odds
don't seem so bad, unless you are the one whose life depends on it. Those might seem like just statistics, but go to a few funerals, see the widows and children, and that 90% takes on a whole new meaning. And guess what, those numbers don't even take into account a real live war, and I'm not
alking about the wars the stock traders talk about in the stock pits. They use real live bullets in this shooting match.

Ah, no problem, if you can't or won't make it via the military route, then you can always go the civilian path to the airlines.... Remember those hours
of experience???? If not, your short term memory is in doubt which may be a factor in your abilities to fly airplanes and make life threatening decisions - reread four paragraphs previous. Those average of 3,300 hours dont come free on the civilian side of the equation either. Youll probably
need to start flying as soon as you get your drivers license in order to build those levels of hours before your life times out on the mortality tables. It'll cost you at least $2,000 to get your basic flying license: single engine, land; capable of avoiding clouds, weather less than clear and
a million miles visibility, severe crosswinds and minimum night. Now,congratulations, you've got about 40-60 hours towards that 3,300.....get going, you've got a ways to go. Start paying for some more flying time, sport.
It'll cost you 30-40 dollars per hour to rent a single engine Piper to fly your buddies around and look at the corn fields. Figure it out genius, it's going to be expensive to build several thousand hours. And don't forget, even if mom and dad are footing the bill for you, 3,000 hours
of Piper Cherokee time wont get you through American, United, Delta or anyone else's doors for a peek at the application stack!!

Thats right, youre going to have to get those other ratings. No problem.
You're a smart person. Just buy some more Instructor time, study some more stacks of books, go to more ground schools, shell out several thousand more dollars, spend thousands of hours studying some more, get that dual instruction time, take more tests, pass more physicals and you'll get that
Instrument rating - maybe in that same Piper Cherokee. Congratulations! But guess what.....tha'ts right, you still aren't close to being qualified. You
now have somewhere around 200-300 hours; enough to have the minimum necessary to go for a Commercial license. So, you pay, study, fly, study, pay, pay, pay, fly, pay, study, test, fly, pay, pay, fly, study,
test......and finally get your Commercial ticket.
Great!! Now you can be paid to fly - that'll help. But you still only have 300 or so hours flying, not enough (remember 3,300 hours) to land a seat with the Big Boys. Don't give up yet, oh Mr/Ms Wannabee, you're on your way. If you want it bad enough, you'll keep going. If you don't want it bad enough, YOU'LL QUIT, SIT BACK AND WHINE ABOUT THOSE THAT SUCCEED!!! Not you though, you press on....

Get out the check book, buy some more time. You've got to get that multi-engine experience in order to get hired by some civilian company so you can build your time. You study, pay, fly (multi-engine now - so double the hourly rate), pay, pay, fly, pay, study, fly, pay, study, pay, pay some
more, fly, test, study, fly, pay and finally - you've got that multi-engine
rating. So, with all those ratings now, multi-engine, Instrument and the all
important, Commercial ticket, you can get a job flying airplanes. Oh, not
for the airlines; hell, the commuters won't even touch you yet. But you might land yourself a job hauling canceled checks for some company. Thatll be working the boneyard shift - midnight to 6 a.m. But you'll get paid minimum wage to fly (and build those hours). Remember, youre determined to
get qualified for the Majors!! Or maybe youll get hired to fly parachute jumpers. That'll get you a couple of hours per day. It's probably not turbo prop time, but it counts towards the total. No matter, if you work real hard, fly all the time (you do have to have some minimum rest as required by the FAA) you may be able to build 1,000 hours per year! At some point in time though, my future aviation professional friend, you've got to get that turbine / jet engine time. Yep, pay, pay, study, fly, test, pay, fly, test, pay, pay and more pay.

Finally, you've beat through the trenches of aviation to get enough hours and experience to qualify for a position flying as a co-pilot for one of the commuter airlines like ASA, ComAir, American Eagle or United Express. You apply, interview and get hired!! Again, congratulations - you've made
another hurdle. Now you're building that commercial aviation experience. Oh, by the way, you're only making $14,000 per year starting - if you're lucky!!
You'll get to do this for at least 2-3 years to build that 3,000 hours of experience and at some point in time, move over to the left seat to build that pilot-in-command (PIC) time. Looking at the years of struggling to this point, youre probably wishing you had gone the military route - of course,
you didn't choose that option!!

So you press on....Now, regardless of whether you went the military or civilian route, there's been some substantial risks. Throughout your career you've been subjected to annual physicals (in some cases, every 6 months) that could have easily disqualified you, forever, from your chosen aviation
career field. On top of that, guess what, the FAA has been closely watching
you every step of the way. Fail to pass the written exams - you're history.
Fail to pass the orals - you're history. Fail to pass the flying tests - you're history. No pressure. There's more....your FAA friends have a whole stack of books of regulations governing your life as a pilot and the operation of every single airplane you lift off the ground. Here's the risk:
SCREW UP ONE TIME, JUST ONCE, AND BREAK AN AIRPLANE, HURT SOMEONE, OR JUST COME CLOSE - AND THEY TAKE YOUR LICENSES AWAY FROM YOU. FOREVER !!!! They don't care how many years and thousands of dollars you spent getting to this point in your career......they don't care how badly you want to become a
commercial airline pilot, ........you can beg, plead, get down on your whiny knees and cry.......THEY DON'T CARE !! YOU'RE HISTORY!!!! Congratulations, your lifetime of work has just been trashed for a simple mistake.
Unfortunately, there are no big margins of error in this business. Unlike working at MacDonalds, or as a marketing rep selling coat hangers, or some computer geek writing software or selling shoes at Macys, when you screw up, you stand the risk of KILLING PEOPLE! This ain't no PUSS GAME!!

But it's okay, you knew the risks, the requirements, the qualifications. YOU KNEW THE PRICE YOU'D HAVE To PAY!! And you also knew how easily it can all be jerked out from under you. So you've chosen to spend your LIFETIME studying to remain highly qualified and to get eligible for another step in the professional aviation ladder. It goes with the territory. But there are
rewards commensurate with your choice. For one: you love to fly! That's why you're here. Second: there is a chance that someday, if all goes well, you may make it to the Majors and earn a good living, again, commensurate with being a professional pilot. And besides, if this were easy to do, EVERYONE WOULD Be DOING IT!! The requirements to cut it in this business make it such that it automatically weeds out the sniffling wannabees. You either have the
mental and physical abilities coupled with the desire and DETERMINATION or youre sitting on the sideline -WHINING!! After 9 years on active duty in the military, or the equivalent on the civilian side, you've gotten the licenses and experience qualifying you to apply at the Majors. Unfortunately, the major airlines aren't like Exxon gas stations: there simply isn't one on every street corner hiring someone to pump gas. Any one airline is probably
hiring no more than 1,000 pilots per year - and that's a really big year.
You may think you have what they're looking for, but guess what, so does every other pilot applying for that position. So the competition just elevated to another notch higher. Odds are more in favor of you NOT getting hired than of getting hired!! After two or three airline interviews, you might get lucky and get hired by a startup carrier - paying less than a person on the UAW assembly line. No problem, you'll keep applying to the other carriers even though you generally only have one opportunity. A NO is generally a no for the rest of your career. But you'll keep trying.

Even if you do get lucky and hired by a Major, there's more years of dues to
pay, studying, hard work, long days, short nights and hurdles to cross. The FAA not only watches you on paper, they sit on your jumpseat and watch over your shoulder. They analyze, criticize and evaluate every move you make. They're there for your orals, writtens, simulator checks and rating rides.
They show up unannounced any time they choose. They check you and recheck you; sometimes two days in a row from different examiners. One big error now, sport, and you don't get bumped back to the Minors, you get bounced out on your ass!! You again accept the fact that youve chosen to live a life in
a profession that with any mistake you are AUTOMATICALLY GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN

But it's okay, because the risks are high, therefore the standards must be even higher!! You're no longer talking about dinging in your little Cherokee with your buds on board. Were talking about anywhere from 100 to 400 passengers (depending on the airplane) on board who are betting their lives that you MEET OR EXCEED THOSE HIGH STANDARDS. They're betting that when that
engine fails, the hydraulic system quits or the flight controls stop working that you have the knowledge, experience and highly trained skill to safely and that airplane on a short runway, in weather that you wont take your Honda Accord out in to buy your pizza. Therein lies the blessing and the
problem: passengers. Since deregulation, the prices for tickets have become increasingly competitive. In fact, the cut throat marketing schemes of some airlines have caused tickets prices to be so low that it is now cheaper to fly than to take the Greyhound bus. Hence, the business takes on the look and feel of mass transportation. More competition, lower ticket prices, more
passengers. Through the process weve lowered the standards. Average tickets prices down, thus reduced revenues, and consequently a huge reduction in the standard of service. The simple fact of the matter, people, is that you cannot expect to get 1st class service for below Greyhound prices on your
tickets. You don't go to the Cadillac dealer and expect to pay Yugo prices.

Heres an economic question for you: when you go to the grocery store, the gas station, make a long distance telephone call, buy a new modem or a new pair of shoes, do you think you pay LESS for that product or service than what it costs the business to SUPPLY it? Nope. But the marketing gurus in
the airlines business sell seats for less than it costs to produce them.

So costs are out of sight. Gotta lower the overhead. We'll cut back on our service: no meals, minimum number of flight attendants to provide service, fewer agents, etc. In fact, we'll out source everything we can to lower costs. Well lay off tens of thousands of dedicated and loyal employees so we
can contract with outside companies to fuel our planes, clean em, handle baggage and even work the gates. Those companies hire at minimum wage and with no benefits. So guess what, there is no employee loyalty, dedication or commitment. If its a rainy, cold Saturday in Chicago, the minimum wage ramp workers won't show up for work. What's the contractor going to do, fire them
and hire more minimum wage employees with the same dedication? So your bags get lost, or stolen, or just dont get put on the plane. The flight is late because there's not enough fuelers to fuel the airplane. You're pissed because the flight's late and it never crosses your mind that it might be
because of your $79.00 round trip airfare from Chicago to Miami. You don't apply the same "you get what you pay for logic" to your airline ticket that you do when you go shopping for a new automobile. You expect to have your ass kissed for the $39.50 for that flight segment. Hell, you can't buy a
hooker to kiss your cheek for that amount of money!!

Guess what you think you can do for your $39.50?? You feel like you have the
constitutional right to defecate, urinate and vomit in the seat; leaving it for someone else to clean up. You throw your trash on the floor and walk away from it. You'll change your babys diaper on the tray table, wad up the pamper full of baby crap and leave it in the seatback pocket. And then you whine that youre paying too much for your ticket, the plane's late, or that
seats are too cramped. Guess what?? I wouldn't ride in your car and treat you that way - why treat the professionals in the aviation community that way??!! Because - YOU DON,T CARE !!!! You want the most you can get for the east you have to pay for it!

Unfortunately, the airline managements have cut back their services to the point that they can't cut anymore. So they look to the only other source of cutting - employee salaries and benefits. For the non contract (non-union) groups its easy to scalp. They don't have any protection from irresponsible
management who are only interested in the bottom line. But if you happen to be fortunate enough to have the protection of a professional organization (unions like ALPA or APA) then its a little bit tougher to slaughter. You see, even though management has reduced the standards of the products they sell, the standard by which professional pilots are subjected to have not been reduced!! The price pilots have had to pay is still there. The risks and the requirements still remain.
Passengers may want the most they can get
for the least dollar, but they still want those pilots to have the experience/qualifications commensurate with requirements of operating aircraft, full of passengers, in an intense and risk filled environment! I hate to tell you this, sport, but that doesn't come FREE!! If you want it,
youve got to pay for it!!

Now let's fold in record profits being reaped by airline management. Not to mention huge salaries and bonuses for executives at the airlines. Without exception, the salaries of professional pilots throughout the business have not kept pace with the cost of living for the past decade. Simply put, airline pilots are making less than they were 10 years ago, yet you keep charging more each year for that new color TV, automobile, gallon of milk or tank of gas.

So, after 25 years of flying experience, tests, physical exams, simulator checks, military service, etc., etc, I finally reach the left seat of an airplane in the service of a commercial carrier. Yep, I also get a 6 figure income. Tell me, why shouldnt I??? If anyone could get here, then this profession wouldn't have the added benefit of a nice salary. It doesn't require a doctor the same number of years to get to 6 figures, yet, no one denies that surgeon is worth every penny when you're laying on the table with your chest sliced open and a rib splitter making a hole large enough to reach through. And a surgeon only kills them one at a time when he screws up!! I don't hear you whining about stock brokers getting 6 figure incomes.
You don't seem to have any problem with paying $100 to take your family to a
professional baseball game to watch a 19 year-old play ball for $1 million per year!! But for some reason, you are pissed off that professional airline pilots are eventually compensated with a 6 figure income.

And you want to whine about their retirement? Statistically, only 1 out of
every 3 pilots entering this profession will ever make it to retirement.
Thats a 66 percent chance that I'll never see the lump-sum numbers that you want to bitch about. And guess what, if it weren't for collective bargaining, contracts, unions and federal regulations, reckless managements would be robbing those retirement funds like Jesse James. Thank goodness there are unions out there protecting the earned benefits of professionals.

So why shouldn't the pilots at American, United, Delta or any other union carrier, fight for the survival of their profession. Obviously managements have forgotten (or selectively forget) what it took to get in the pilots seat (managements are predominately non-pilots) and what it takes to remain there for a full career. Executives would like to ignore their own high salaries, bonuses and benefits and rather ignite the public and fellow
employees against the 6 figure salaries of the professional pilots.

So you, in your ignorance, jump on that bashing bandwagon without being armed with the facts. The fact of the matter is this: If you, or any other living, breathing, whining non-achiever wants to make the 6 figure income of a professional pilot - its an open door thats available to you. I've laid it out for you. Its there for the taking. All you have to do is go for it. You
can't sit on the sideline and whine though. Whining won't get you into the Captains seat on a B-767. You also can't leap from your Piper Cherokee into the left seat of that B-777 or B-727. There are no short cuts!! But you can get there; many have made it. So can you. But if you don't want it bad enough to pay the price, or you dont have the commitment, dedication, enthusiasm or determination to get there.....then STOP YOUR BITCHING.

Because, you see, just as much as you obviously don't care what it takes for
an individual to make it to the left seat of a B-747 with 400 passengers on board, we dont give a rats ass that you don't care !! We'll do what we have to do to protect our profession, careers, benefits and salaries. It wasn't a cake walk to get here.....thats obvious because you're not among those that

Have another slice of pizza, flip to a different channel and stop bashing those who chose a tougher career.

DON'T COMPARE MY JOB TO OTHER JOBS!!! A lot has been said and written in the press concerning pilots' salaries and compensation. We have been told about how much it will cost our company, our job has been compared to others, and various subtle and not so subtle threats and intimidation tactics have been hurled at our group. In light of the current situation, please allow me, a pilot to give you a small glimpse into my world...


...How many boardrooms explode over Long Island Sound?
...How many meetings conclude with hundreds of dead bodies?
...How many trucks cost $82 million dollars?
...How many doctors spend half the month away from their families?
...Do the children of media representatives cry when Daddy puts on his
uniform to go to work because they know he'll be gone for a week?
...How many salesmen lose their jobs because they have high blood pressure?
...How many lawyers spent Christmas alone in a crash pad?
...When your wife is watching TV and the program is interrupted by a news
flash of an aircraft accident, does she momentarily freeze in fear for what
she might hear?

There is not another profession in the world where the consequences for
mistakes are so catastrophic and unforgiving.

...I pay the price when somebody loads full oxygen containers in the cargo
...I pay the price when a terrorist has a bone to pick
...I pay the price when loaders forget to set the locks
...I pay the price when engineers design a fuel pump incorrectly
...I pay the price when Mother Nature decides to shift the winds...

...Ask the CEO of Value Jet the cost of a DC-9 buried in the
Everglades...The Cost..
...Ask Fred Smith the cost to scrape a DC-10 and MD-11 from the runways at
Steward and Newark...The Cost
...Ask Korean Airlines the cost of a 747 that didn't quite make the runway
at Guam... The Cost
...Ask Fine Air the cost to clean up a DC-8 off a Miami Street... The Cost
...Ask Bob Crandall the cost of a B-757 impacting a Columbian mountain...The
...And if not for their Cool, Calm, Professionalism, what could have been
the cost of a UPS B-727 that suddenly went dark and silent four miles above
Chicago? How much were they worth to you that night? Industry standard or 25
% below? ...... The Cost

...It was I who flew Cobra gunships in the jungles of Vietnam while you worked on your masters degree
...It was I who sits alone at the tip of an F-18 in the silent instant before I am catapulted over a cold, dark sea, while you slept peacefully in your bed
...It was I who, one night watched my wings grow heavy with ice, miles from the safety of the nearest airport praying that I had enough fuel to find clear skies, while you watched Monday night football
...It was I who flew a C-130 into Panamanian gunfire, while you decorated your Christmas tree in 1989
...It was I who faced head-on the fourth largest army in the world over the deserts of Iraq and brought it to its knees, while you watched it on CNN
...It was I who landed an A-6 on a floating piece of tarmac no bigger than your backyard, while you mowed yours
...It was I who orbited in unarmed tankers over enemy territory to replenish others sworn to protect you
...It was I who watched missiles and bullets blossom in my face, yet didn't turn and run, while you watched the flowers in your garden blossom
...It was I who buried a friend
...It is I who knows a little boy who will never play catch with his Dad, so that you may play with your grandchild.

Sir, please don't try to intimidate me.

I am not your enemy, I am your asset, an asset that has experienced and
accomplished things few others dare to try. Realize this and there a few
obstacles we can't overcome.



User currently offlineWGW2707 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5786 times:

Bravo, GoBoeing! As far as I am concerned, pilots salaries are the last salaries at airlines that should be cut. Pilots are, in my opinion, the most valuable human resource at any airline. One of the things that is disagreeable about some LCCs such as the now-gone People Express is the negative view of pilots. In my opinion, the pilots really are the heart and soul of the airline they work for.


User currently offlinePiedmontGirl From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5740 times:


Great post. Aboslutely great post.

Over the well over thirty years that I flew, I experienced somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 take offs and landings. I put my life in the hands of the pilots every single solitary day I went to work for all of those years and through all of those take off/landings.

I read your profile, and if I am not very badly mistaken, you are going to make an absolutely fabulous airline pilot. I wish you all good success.

User currently offlineLt-AWACS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5736 times:

wow, 'And down goes Frazier...'

The end points alone were worth the entire read. Good for you.

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Capt-AWACS, Yankee Air Pirate

User currently offlineTsully From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5697 times:

GoBoeing, well done!! It is nice to see that I’m not alone in my support of pilot salaries.

As for the rest of them, it comes down to one word:

sheer jealousy.

Okay, two words. No two ways about it.

Best Regards,


User currently offlineBravo45 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 5673 times:

Such dark shadows of ignorance, MOST OF ALL SHEER JEALOUSY and so much more by idots of all types threatens THE MOST elite profession in the world.
One of the greatest posts I have ever read Goboeing.

User currently offlineLj From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5650 times:

GoBoeing, I haven't read such a great post for a while and 100% agree. I'm always amamzed that people forget that a pilot is a highly trained profession who can not only loose his job every 6 months but is also the one who will receive the blame for anything which goes wrong during a flight.

Such dark shadows of ignorance, MOST OF ALL SHEER JEALOUSY and so much more by idots of all types threatens THE MOST elite profession in the world.

Bravo45, I don't think it's only jealousy and idiots but also the fact that "the public" doesn't excatly know that the majority of pilots don't earn the 6 number salary and don't know what you have to do to get able to get the 6 number pilot salary.

User currently offlineNwadc10 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5643 times:



User currently offlineLeskova From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5635 times:

The majority of the flying (but probably especially the non-flying) public simply has no idea what responsibility pilots have - I doubt that a lot would complain about those "too high pay rates" after reading GoBoeig's post...

For the flying and non-flying public it's always an easy thing to point at pilots and say "What do they have to do anyhow? They just sit there and let computers do the flying!" - which is really one of the most ridiculous statements I've ever heard... after all, asking the same person(s) how they would feel if there were no more pilots on board because, as they had said, computers do everything - then they suddenly think that human pilots on board aren't so unnecessary at all...

In my view, pilots are some of the most respectable persons out there.

User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5567 times:

hope you didn't miss anything else important in your life while you typed that diatribe.

You're absolutely right about all of the risk, time, money, brains, and responsbility necessary to be a pilot. However, there's one major flaw that permeates your whole post: there are plenty of other people who want to be pilots and are willing to go through it all too.

Pilots are paid well above market wages because the pilot profession has artificially limited the ability of new pilots (perhaps even someone like GoBoeing) to enter the profession.

If you happen to be one of the few pilots who haven't had their pay chopped since 9/11, enjoy the exorbitant salaries you are collecting today because they won't be around forever. At some point, the companies that pay those wages won't be able to sustain it and the house will come crashing down. It happened at US, it happened at UA, and it happened at AA, and it will happen whenever the companies hiring those pilots can no longer afford to pay their people what the market is allowing them to pay their people.

Yes, you are an asset. But don't forget that companies buy assets for whatever they think is appropriate, discard them when they are no longer useful, and that other companies pick up those assets for whatever makes sense to them - often a lot less than what they were worth the first time around. You will note that there is no shortage of aircraft in this world which might very well explain why there are so many new airlines being started and why there are so many airline employees who are willing to go to work for a fraction of what they made when they worked for an airline who would pay them a big paycheck.

From an employee/management standpoint, airline deregulation has been an unmitigated disaster. Until airline employees are willing to work with their employers to ensure that there is a viable long-term business model, the number of companies that can pay the fat salaries will shrink and jobs will go to those companies and employees who can ensure an adequate return on investment for all assets, including employees.

User currently offline5T6 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 5513 times:


WELL SAID! I also have nothing but admiration (and confidence) in the people in the "office" every time I set foot on an airplane....and believe they are worth every single dollar they are paid!!

And by the way, "WorldTraveler"...it is NOT the pilots or the pilot unions that set the requirements for being an ATP, it's the government. And as Nick so well pointed out, they are actually very meagerly compensated for the amount of time it took for them to reach the peak of their profession.


User currently offlineLhr001 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 5480 times:

And this topic is not true why?????


User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 5419 times:

"And by the way, "WorldTraveler"...it is NOT the pilots or the pilot unions that set the requirements for being an ATP, it's the government"

Yes and no... there are really two commanding factors that set the requirements for being a pilot now-a-days.... First- competition. The government says I can fly right seat on a CRJ with 250 hours and a commercial multi-engine instrument license. I got hired with 1790 hours and 350 multi-engine. Same with the new hire first officers at a major carrier. Techincally..all that requires is that same little commercial pilots license.... but with a major, you won't get hired until you have around 3-5-7,000 hours with a few years under your belt as a captain at a regional or military experience.

Second- insurance..... they require a certain amount of hours and training to insure pilots/the equipment. This is true in the corporate and air carrier world- though it is encountered more in the corporate world.

User currently offlineAA717driver From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5347 times:

World Traveller--I have a Holiday wish for you... I hope you get to fly all your flights in the future in airplanes commanded by Third World pilots. Sleep well... Big grin

GoBoeing--My wife wrote a similar(but shorter) message in '98 as the TWA MEC was trying to sell us a lousy deal. We spend so much time in our own community, we forget what it took to get there. Thanks!

Remember, people, if we flew airplanes like most businesses are run, there would be aluminum raining down on the countryside daily.TC

User currently offlinePilotpip From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 5295 times:

Well put, GoBoeing.

I'm one of the guys on here that is paying tons of money to go to college and learn this art while I know that I'll be making next to nothing as I pay my dues and work through the ranks. Pilots with major airlines have worked hard for many years to get where they are and perhaps thousands of people put their trust into each of these aviators on a daily basis. There is no reason that they shouldn't make salaries that are high.

That being said, high pay is one of the things that has really hurt the airlines. I hope that management and workers will start to realize that they are going to have to work together and make sacrifices on BOTH ends to keep their companies running. Nobody needs another instance like that AA debacle earlier this year.

One more thing of note. It's not just the pilots that are making the sacrifices. While they are the most visible part of an airline the planes would never get off the ground without all the others that are throwing bags, fueling, and maintaining the aircraft. I take great pride in doing my job as a fueler right. On a snowy night like this one in STL I hope that everybody here realizes that while the pilots are the last ones to check everything on the plane, there are tons of other people that are doing their best to make sure that when your flight doesn't break out on the aproach it has enough fuel, power, and equipment to aid those pilots in navigating somewhere else.

User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5208 times:

Thank you for nicely summarizing the entire airline pay issue. The major US and European airlines could very well face extinction unless labor recognizes that the current business model is no longer sustainable. I also do not think that airline employees necessarily have to work for bare bones salaries in order for their employers to stand a chance of making a profit. Everything I have read said that Southwest's employees are generally fairly well compensated relative to the other majors; the primary difference is that WN employees are nearly twice as efficient as the average of the network (legacy) US carriers. It is that level of productivity that is necessary for the legacy network carriers to thrive although it will be all the more difficult to achieve given their hub and spoke route systems.
Pilots who finance their own education will probably have to think harder and harder whether a suitable return on investment can be achieved given the tremendous investment that is required to become a pilot at a legacy network carrier. However, because there continue to be plenty of people who are willing to do whatever it takes to fly, there are plenty of pilots who have far more qualifications that the government requires. I will indeed sleep very well knowing that there are many very qualified airlines employees who want to work for the airlines I fly and that the companies those employees work for will ensure that they have an economically balanced business model to serve me for years to come.

User currently offlineShark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5195 times:

You stated that everything you read indicates that WN employees are well compensated and more productive than other carriers. I'll take this to mean that you have no first hand knowledge of this. I don't work for WN but I do work for another carrier. That's a very big blanket statement to be making about all airline employee if they do not work for WN. Well now that I've had my little rant. I have not read anything from you questioning the 6 to 7 digit salaries of the upper management of the airlines. How do you feel about this. Or are you just against the employees.

User currently offlineDCA-ROCguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5131 times:

I have not read anything from you questioning the 6 to 7 digit salaries of the upper management of the airlines. How do you feel about this. Or are you just against the employees.

Thank you WorldTraveler and Pilotpip for your excellent arguments.

That said, network-airline managements deserve criticism too. CEO's Don Carty and Leo Mullin both deserved to lose their jobs after asking big sacrifices from employees, while hiding big golden parachutes for themselves. What on earth were they thinking?

Network airline managements and unions conspired for decades to overcompensate themselves. By doing so they network carriers economically unviable. Now they must share sacrifice together. Employees are right to be outraged when management tries to exempt themselves from the processs.


User currently offlineProudtoflyaa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5105 times:

That said, network-airline managements deserve criticism too. CEO's Don Carty and Leo Mullin both deserved to lose their jobs after asking big sacrifices from employees, while hiding big golden parachutes for themselves. What on earth were they thinking?

Network airline managements and unions conspired for decades to overcompensate themselves. By doing so they network carriers economically unviable. Now they must share sacrifice together. Employees are right to be outraged when management tries to exempt themselves from the processs.

While I agree with you to a point....
I'm afraid we do part ways. It is important that executive compensation packages serve to retain high level executives. It is quite turbulent for there to be a change in management. The effect is amplified in times of financial difficulty. A company tetering on the edge of bankruptcy with a management shake-up where high level execs bail out... that certainly does not instill confidence in the company with the creditors or customers. Look at Continental in the 1980's and their revolving door of presidents. Hiring top level management isn't nearly as easy as it is hiring a grocery store cashier or something. Having an absence in the high offices is never healthy for a company, especially if its repeat in quick succession and the company is in trouble. It's best to retain those folks and make it attractive for them to stay.

User currently offlineDCA-ROCguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5073 times:

Hiring top level management isn't nearly as easy as it is hiring a grocery store cashier or something. Having an absence in the high offices is never healthy for a company, especially if its repeat in quick succession and the company is in trouble. It's best to retain those folks and make it attractive for them to stay.

This is a very fair point. Talent is not always easy to find, and there is risk for an airline in not offering the kind of over-the-top compensation packages offered by many industries. But the airline industry's narrow margins mean that exceptionally close cooperation between management and employees is needed to run a tight ship and make money. This makes Dickensian disparities in compensation unworkable.

At network carriers, where the existing cost structures are not viable, management simply cannot expect employees to make sacrifices without seeing an example set at the top. Why should executives who ran a failed business model, be rewarded for their failure? And why should employees bear the consequences of this failure alone? Executives at these airlines will need to find rewards other than over-the-top compensation, principally the challenge of the job itself.

Low-fare carriers' management, by contrast, is not compensated at the ridiculous levels the network-carrier execs pamper themselves. And these airlines actually have economically sound cost structures, have good labor relations, and make profits. So over-the-top compensation is not necessary for an airline to be well-managed and profitable.


25 Proudtoflyaa : At network carriers, where the existing cost structures are not viable, management simply cannot expect employees to make sacrifices without seeing a
26 BigB : Go Boeing, I want to welcome you as the first member on my repected list.
27 WorldTraveler : For the record, I have not distinguished between management and rank and file when I use the term employees. Network/legacy carrier management needs t
28 Post contains images DCA-ROCguy : I'm sure that even you realize that monetary numbers are not the entire compensation package, and other cuts can be made to executive benefits to save
29 Proudtoflyaa : Yes, "even I" who don't think exactly like you, and thus obviously don't read anything and am utterly uninformed, am aware that compensation packages
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