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What's Up With DL's Pilots?  
User currently offlineRwSEA From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3107 posts, RR: 2
Posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2699 times:

Let me start by saying that DL is one of my favorite airlines and I have a great deal of respect for all of their employees and what they are going through. However, I am wondering why DL's pilots are continually a thorn in the side of managment, especially compared with other legacy carriers. Consider:

- DL's pilots were the last of the majors to accept pay cuts, and the negotiations were much more difficult than with other carriers.

- Due to DALPA and pilot-wage issues, DL cancelled remaining 777's on order and now has only 8 in the fleet for the foreseeable future.

- According to another active thread, DL can't fly its 764's across the Atlantic due to DALPA issues. Additionally, DALPA contracts essentially stated that DL's 764's had to have seats similar to BizElite due to the contract with pilots.

My question is this: What is the deal with DL's pilots? Why and how can they throw their weight around in influencing everything from fleet make-up, fleet usage, and the airline's planning in general? Why do the 777 / 764 in particular seem to have all kinds of restrictions on usage and other "quirks" due to DALPA?

4 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLaxintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25737 posts, RR: 50
Reply 1, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2663 times:

Let me tell you, its not only Delta that has issues with trying to work around union contracts.

For instance once United replaced its DC-10 fleet, the carrier had to drop its decades long running ORD-HNL service, for the simple fact that the union contract in place had no provision for domestic augmented crewing (over 8hr flight) which would be required on the airlines remaining two member aircraft fleet (767. 777, 744) It was not until after 9/11 and the airline able to attain concessions via a side letter the route could be resumed. Now keep in mind UA had been operating all 3 fleet types with augmented crew serving international markets for years, however the contract just happended not to have a provision to allow for domestic augmenting.

I know some other airlines that cannot introduce services in specific markets with the right equipment as their happens to be some stipulation that restricts the use of an aircraft or crewing combinations.

Besides these obvious examples, let me tell you there are hundreds of other such examples that come up dealing with crew rest, meals, hotels, transportations and much more. For example ALPA a few years back began an initiative to have airlines to place crew members in hotels meeting a certain new fire safety standard. On the surface this looked fine and many airlines agreed to this clause in their contracts. The problems soon became apparent that only a limited number of often newer and quite expensive hotels complied with this restriction. All of a sudden airlines found themselves with crews staying in places like the Ritz Carlton versus the previous Courtyard by Marriott eventough the Courtyard might itself be a new property, however for one reason or another was not required to be compliant with the higher fire standard.

So far I have only mentioned crew contract limitations, as you mentioned DALPA in your post. However be aware nearly every collective bargaining agreement has limits to one extent or another that can tie the hands of the business.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineDLKAPA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2646 times:

Let's not forget the pay cuts they've had to endure.

User currently offlineTu154m From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 683 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2589 times:

"Let's not forget the pay cuts they've had to endure"

Yes, poor DL pilots............still the industry's highest. Back to reality, in my employee group, we are now 7th in the industry..........only ahead of US and UA, and, one of only a small percentage of airline employees that have to be federally licensed. Poor pilots. I hope they don't get tendonitis rotating the knobs on their autopilot.



CEOs should swim with cement flippers!
User currently offlineDAL767400ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2541 times:

Quoting RwSEA (Thread starter):
- DL's pilots were the last of the majors to accept pay cuts, and the negotiations were much more difficult than with other carriers.

They indeed were. Had the pilots accepted the paycuts earlier, it would not only have saved DL some additional $500+ million at least, but also the paycut would have been several percent smaller. In the end, it was a lose-lose situation.

Quoting RwSEA (Thread starter):
- Due to DALPA and pilot-wage issues, DL cancelled remaining 777's on order and now has only 8 in the fleet for the foreseeable future.

That is not entirely correct. When Delta was about to receive their first 777s in 1999, DALPA was complaining about the payscales for those new aircraft and demanded more pay than management offered. So as a result, after DL had gotten their first 2 777s, deliveries of the next 5 planes were put on hold, with DL even thinking about dropping their two 777s, and not having any 777s in their fleet at all. But in the end, a compromise (read: more $$$ for 777 pilots) was reached, leading to Delta taking delivery of 5 777s in December 1999. About the cancellations: Those have happened because of Delta's disastrous financial situation after 9/11, which lead DL to cancel 2 777s on order, and further delaying delivery of the other 3 on order. That had nothing to do with the pilots.
An interesting side fact: Back in 1999, MAS was trying to offload their 777s due to the economic crisis in Asia, and wanted to sell/lease them to Delta. Needless to say, it was the dispute over pilot pay that killed that deal.

Quoting RwSEA (Thread starter):
Why and how can they throw their weight around in influencing everything from fleet make-up, fleet usage, and the airline's planning in general?

Simply because they are unionized, being the only (!) unionized group at ATL, and thanks to DALPA, they have that power.

Quoting RwSEA (Thread starter):
Why do the 777 / 764 in particular seem to have all kinds of restrictions on usage and other "quirks" due to DALPA?

They are not only the newest fleet members at Delta, but also the biggest and most prestigeous one's at Delta, and therefore pay has to relate to the fact that pilots on these planes have more responsibility for more pax, and therefore paylevels had to be way above pay for those small 763s with only 252 seats.


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