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UA's State From A Captain's Perspective  
User currently offlineDL767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 11821 times:

My friends dad is a Captain at UA and has been there for over 30 years, I recently got the chance to talk to him about the state of UA with the recent aircraft cuts and dismantling of Ted...

"Yes, todays plan (the plan changes often) is to park the 737 fleet within the next 16 months, and 6 747-400's. There are some 400's that are due for heavy maint. and some that have run out engines, so they are expendable...change is a constant, and it is always unsettling.

The TED operation was always just a marketing plan, and was transparent to flight operations...it was always doomed as they configured the airplanes without any first class seats...the well healed business traveler wants a first class section, even to vacation type destinations.

My job is always in a fragile state...has been for 30 years. Fuel is too expensive, fares are too low, and most corporate level airline management is second tier at best."

Just thought you guys might find this a little interesting....

75 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineHikesWithEyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 816 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 11665 times:

Did he say anything about the pilot group accepting part of the blame?

Check this out:

http://www.airlinesafety.com/Unions/LaborCostsStupid.htm



First, benzene in my Perrier, and now this!
User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 16983 posts, RR: 48
Reply 2, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 11532 times:



Quoting DL767captain (Thread starter):
most corporate level airline management is second tier at best

You get what you pay for



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineN757ST From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 340 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 11180 times:

Quoting HikesWithEyes (Reply 1):
Did he say anything about the pilot group accepting part of the blame?

Check this out:

http://www.airlinesafety.com/Unions/...d.htm

That "article" was made in 2005, UAL pilots don't even make industry standard wages anymore. Keep blaming the unions though... guess who else is unionized... southwest.. guess who the highest paid passenger airline pilots are? Southwest. United has some of the worst management in the country, and is now fighting a battle to survive due to high oil prices, but by all means blame the pilots, they are the real reason United is in such pearl. Maybe all of us airline pilots should just fly for free so United and other carriers can survive, or perhaps I should take a pay cut when inflation increased by 5% last quarter. Stop blaming the pilots and realize where the problem really exists, external forces such as oil and crappy management that is too concerned and preoccupied with their 10 million dollar bonuses to work solutions to our current crisis's.

Signed: A regional jet captain that is very much underpaid.

[Edited 2008-06-17 21:51:06]

User currently offlinePlanesNTrains From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 5291 posts, RR: 29
Reply 4, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 11139 times:



Quoting N757ST (Reply 3):
Keep blaming the unions though...

In all fairness, he said "...part of the blame...".

-Dave



Totes my goats!
User currently offlineHikesWithEyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 816 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 10906 times:



Quoting N757ST (Reply 3):
Stop blaming the pilots and realize where the problem really exists, external forces such as oil and crappy management that is too concerned and preoccupied with their 10 million dollar bonuses to work solutions to our current crisis's.

I am not saying that UAL has suffered from some bad management decisions, but
the greed from UAL ALPA also helped get them into this sorry state.



First, benzene in my Perrier, and now this!
User currently offlinePlanesNTrains From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 5291 posts, RR: 29
Reply 6, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 10892 times:



Quoting HikesWithEyes (Reply 5):
I am not saying that UAL has suffered from some bad management decisions, but
the greed from UAL ALPA also helped get them into this sorry state.

I might be mistaken, but wasn't it back in 2000 when they were basically "forced" into giving a huge increase to the pilots when everyone - even they - knew that the economy was tanking and that the cost structure would never work?

I could be off-base here, but it seems to be how I remember it.

-Dave



Totes my goats!
User currently offlineHikesWithEyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 816 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 10825 times:



Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 6):
I might be mistaken, but wasn't it back in 2000 when they were basically "forced" into giving a huge increase to the pilots when everyone - even they - knew that the economy was tanking and that the cost structure would never work?

Yep, the UAL pilots and DAL pilots were engaged in a rivalry to see who could
be the highest paid in the industry.



First, benzene in my Perrier, and now this!
User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 21
Reply 8, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 10771 times:



Quoting N757ST (Reply 3):
Keep blaming the unions though... guess who else is unionized... southwest.. guess who the highest paid passenger airline pilots are? Southwest.

Exactly ... and one of the reasons why Southwest is so successful is because its union has chosen, unlike others, to work with management instead of antagonizing them. Southwest's work rules are unlike those at any other airline, and a decent chunk of compensation in equity-based (or at-risk). Most pilot unions at other airlines have rejected this compensation in favor of cold, hard cash.

And, IIRC, AA pilots are the highest paid in the industry. I'm pretty sure a WN 777 captain doesn't make more than a UA 747 captain, although the stock/option numbers might have an impact.



"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
User currently offlineLGAUAOK From United States of America, joined May 2008, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10593 times:

What hotels are UA Captains and Cabin Crews staying at? And do you have to share rooms?

I stayed at the Amsterdam Sheraton Schiphol (which is not cheap) and was surprised to see an entire Singapore Airlines Flight & Cabin Crew check in. All this talk of pay/compensation to Pilots makes me wonder if they are at least taken care of when away from home. Would be curious to know about AA, DL, WN, and others…….


User currently offlineNwaLAS From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10574 times:

Sadly I can see them going down. That's such a shame. I remember UA in DTW a long time ago growing up. They had all of the old "F" concourse and flying with them was really a pleasure.

NwaLAS

 Angry



"But She's Sleeping"..... "Ma'am, you cannot have your 3 month old child at the slot machine with you!"
User currently offlineApodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4133 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10538 times:



Quoting LGAUAOK (Reply 9):
What hotels are UA Captains and Cabin Crews staying at? And do you have to share rooms?

This is one thing I don't get at UA. The Flight Attendants are put in different hotels than the Pilots. And the Pilot crews are often a different domicile than the Flight Attendants. Wouldn't it be easier to assign one cabin crew and have them fly the whole trip with the same pilots?

The other thing that I think the pilots should do is give up the Crew Meals. Pilots are still served crew meals in flight. I don't have a problem with this on international flights and the like, but I have seen them served on flights like ORD-PIT? I mean, can't the pilots just buy something in an airport restaurant before getting on? This added cost can't be helping UAUA's bottom line at all.


User currently offlineUAL777UK From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2005, 3356 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10502 times:



Quoting LGAUAOK (Reply 9):
What hotels are UA Captains and Cabin Crews staying at? And do you have to share rooms?

I hope nobody divulges where the crews stay but I can assure you they do not share rooms.

Quoting NwaLAS (Reply 10):
Sadly I can see them going down

You might have to wait quite a long time before that happens my friend. Apart from a relatively healthy bank balance, they have considerable unencumbered assets they could utilise to raise capital and of course sell of their FF programme.


User currently offlineTomFoolery From Austria, joined Jan 2004, 523 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10483 times:



Quoting HikesWithEyes (Reply 1):
Did he say anything about the pilot group accepting part of the blame?

Check this out:

http://www.airlinesafety.com/Unions/...d.htm

In reading the article, the fact that it was written in 2005 does not cover all of the developments since then, which has caused more strain on the industry. Secondly, there is no mention of the different strategies the carriers use in order to hedge fuel and materials. SWA and Jet Blue, and even DL hedged far in advance. DL sold a portion of their hedged fuel in order to make some money. Now they are having difficulties.
Third, anyone who is desperate enough to drop a reference to Michael Moore in any of their works lacks a firm basis for their argument, and thus looses credibility.

What no one has mentioned is that there are dozens of airlines in the US (including regionals) who all provide virtually the same product and services. With an exception of premium classes and global alliance networks, there is very little to set each other apart. Its like a fine restaurant changing to a fast food menu, to compete with the efficiency and popularity of McDonald's!
Folks, McDonald's with candles and a table cloth is still McDonald's, and the McChicken is still the same, regardless of the plastic tray or fine china.

The LCCs know which market they strive to serve, and serve them well. The premium carriers dont seem to know this, and when you loose sight of your market, you cant compete, especially when the market is going through difficult times.

Tom



Paper makes an airplane fly
User currently offlineNwaLAS From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10410 times:

Quoting Myself (Reply #10)
"Sadly I can see them going down."


How many billions did you say they have in the bank??? I think they will need more
than just a few billlion. There is an article on this web site that says they are going to
spend around 3 billion (+/-) more on fuel this year alone.

So where does that leave them financially?

NwaLAS

 boxedin 



"But She's Sleeping"..... "Ma'am, you cannot have your 3 month old child at the slot machine with you!"
User currently offlineBok269 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 2105 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 10337 times:



Quoting Apodino (Reply 11):
This is one thing I don't get at UA. The Flight Attendants are put in different hotels than the Pilots. And the Pilot crews are often a different domicile than the Flight Attendants. Wouldn't it be easier to assign one cabin crew and have them fly the whole trip with the same pilots?

IIRC the same is true at DL thanks to something life a Pilot's Wives Organization. Its possible something similar exists at UA.



"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2758 posts, RR: 45
Reply 16, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 10224 times:



Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 2):
Quoting DL767captain (Thread starter):
most corporate level airline management is second tier at best

You get what you pay for

In this case you get quite a bit less than you pay for.


User currently offlineFutureFO From Ireland, joined Oct 2001, 3132 posts, RR: 22
Reply 17, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10150 times:



Quoting Ssides (Reply 8):
WN 777 captain

Since when did WN get 777's??? Or were you trying to be funny.



I Don't know where I am anymore
User currently offlineUAL777UK From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2005, 3356 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10076 times:



Quoting NwaLAS (Reply 14):
How many billions did you say they have in the bank??? I think they will need more
than just a few billlion. There is an article on this web site that says they are going to
spend around 3 billion (+/-) more on fuel this year alone.

So where does that leave them financially?

That question could be directed at just about all airlines, certainly legacies at the moment.


User currently offlineOkie73 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 445 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9929 times:



Quoting Ssides (Reply 8):
I'm pretty sure a WN 777 captain doesn't make more than a UA 747 captain, although the stock/option numbers might have an impact.



I think you meant to say a WN 737 captain. And you would be wrong. A WN 737 captain makes 198 an hour. A UA 747 captain makes 189 an hour. Add to that WN pilots on average fly more than UA pilots and have better stock and profit sharing plans.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9894 times:



Quoting Ssides (Reply 8):
I'm pretty sure a WN 777 captain doesn't make more than a UA 747 captain, although the stock/option numbers might have an impact.

Damn! I go on vacation for 2 weeks and everything starts changing...  sarcastic 


User currently offlineIncitatus From Brazil, joined Feb 2005, 3965 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9833 times:



Quoting N757ST (Reply 3):
Keep blaming the unions though... guess who else is unionized... southwest.. guess who the highest paid passenger airline pilots are? Southwest.

There is a flaw in this argument. First Southwest did not pay industry leading wages for a VERY LONG time. Thus paying industry leading wages is not the reason for the success, it is a consequence. Second - What will it do to Southwest? There is no airline that has had sustained financial results paying a lot more for labor than competitors. At some point having more fuel hedges than any other airlines will have no value, and Southwest will be left with the biggest labor bill in the industry and a fuel bill that is like all other airlines.


User currently offlineGeorgebush From New Zealand, joined Jul 2006, 679 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9727 times:



Quoting Apodino (Reply 11):
The other thing that I think the pilots should do is give up the Crew Meals. Pilots are still served crew meals in flight. I don't have a problem with this on international flights and the like, but I have seen them served on flights like ORD-PIT?

They are served crew meals inflight because they have been working and most likely do not have time to buy something to eat. Also with the airline industry everyone on the frontline works in shifts and when a pilot is rosterd say a 0600-1400 shift and will be in the air from 1100-1400 how do you expect him/her to eat and keep a healthy balance?? Usually the f/a's are eating meals too, they just don't have to make a big deal about it and open up flight deck doors.

When your sleep paterns are constantly disrupted the best way to keep yourself on track is to eat at normal times.

Many airlines have the pilots stay at different hotels than the rest of the crew. Simply part of their contract. When they are in negotiations airlines can save a lot of money by saying "hey we wont give you the raise but how bout we keep you at 4 star plus hotels?"

Airlines get hotel rooms for cheap as it is, and hotels compete for the business like something chronic.



Al Gore invented global warming.
User currently offlineAogdesk From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 935 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9668 times:

There's plenty of blame to go around, NO ONE is immune.

It is fact though, that pilot groups represent the largest labor cost. Rest assured that market forces and various "interested parties" are working very hard to make a correction in that area. If you honestly believe as a pilot that $250-300K salaries are here to stay, you're being naive.


User currently offlineDispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1248 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9402 times:



Quoting N757ST (Reply 3):
Maybe all of us airline pilots should just fly for free so United and other carriers can survive, or perhaps I should take a pay cut when inflation increased by 5% last quarter. Stop blaming the pilots and realize where the problem really exists, external forces such as oil and crappy management that is too concerned and preoccupied with their 10 million dollar bonuses to work solutions to our current crisis's.

BINGO BINGO BINGO - you hit the nail on the head - its the damned management who is more concerned with their own golden parachutes, and them forgetting about the front line employees.

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 20):
Damn! I go on vacation for 2 weeks and everything starts changing.

You must've missed the update to SWIFT for the 777 performance, and that module about ETOPS in the last recurrent  Wink



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
25 B777A340Fan : It has worked for the likes of B6 and WN.... and they are some of the most successful today. I doubt the lack of F-seats was a problem in Ted's demis
26 UnitedSuperDC8 : To be honest, I really don't care what a captain thinks. He didn't really add anything that most informed people are unaware of.
27 Jacobin777 : UA is laying off 1400-1600 management positions, as well as retiring their entire B737 fleet. UA have $2.7-$2.8 billion in unrestricted cash/holdings
28 Bobnwa : Would you want to wager that the average pay for a mainline UA pilot is in the 90 percentile of ALL wage earners at UA and for that matter every larg
29 N757ST : First year FO pay at United: ~27,000 per year Average airbus FO pay: ~75,000 per year Top FO pay at United on the 747-400 ~108,000 per year (probably
30 Swisser : Come to the gulf carriers guys, good money, easy life style and no tax. Even the local aviation authorities are quite good for the crew. And for sure
31 N757ST : Edit for double post.[Edited 2008-06-18 10:00:03]
32 HikesWithEyes : What about work rules? You don't mention that at all. Are WN pilots more productive as far as that goes when compared to UAL?
33 Airbazar : No one is blaming the Unions blankly, only the incompetent ones. All of LH is unionized. Did you see the profits that they reported? There are good u
34 Dispatchguy : If I could get a 121-style dispatcher gig; I'd be in like flynn... Plus, I doubt my wife would go for that type of move, and something tells me commu
35 Tozairport : If they are, it can't be by much. UA's A320/737 pilots (apples to apples comparison) fly up to 95 hours a month and have as little as 11 days off per
36 Incitatus : No they don't. Cops in the city of San Francisco may make more than 100k per year. But SFO is not in San Francisco. The city of San Francisco has onl
37 Jacobin777 : Aren't pilots guaranteed a minimum of 65 hours (if so then your numbers are off)? 4.7 in stock based on what prices? Not to mention, CEO's of fortune
38 Planespotting : Yeah buddy! Just ask any SWA employee about the lovely $1 - $2 - $3 - discount at crew hotels.
39 Post contains links United1 : SFO is patrolled by the City of San Francisco Police Departments Airport Bureau.... http://www.sfgov.org/site/police_index.asp?id=19888
40 SWISSER : Thats indeed an issue, kids even worse, proper education is very expensive. But I do know some wifes who are very happy here, but at the same time I
41 TVNWZ : Top 10% of wage earners in the country. Top 5% of wage earners in the country. Median HOUSEHOLD income: $48,000
42 Post contains links and images Jacobin777 : " target=_blank>http://www.sfgov.org/site/police_ind...19888 Actually SFO is also patrolled by the Millbrae Police Department as well....I found out
43 N757st : I based it on 70 hours. airlinepilotcentral for the pay rates. That is part of total households, take the households that hold the same level of educ
44 Brilondon : Yeah and so am I.
45 Post contains images Jacobin777 : Then your numbers are indeed off (at least for B747's/B777 pilots). At 70 hours, minimum salary for B747/B777 pilots is almost $142,000. Wrong analog
46 Bobnwa : You did not address which percentile of all wage earners at UA the average pillot fits into. I still maintain its about the 90 percentile and i feel
47 TVNWZ : Median Income for Doctorate: $94,487
48 Flymd : First of all, I think that the frontline employees have given up more than enough. Secondly, while they may be eating the meal on a PIT-ORD run, that
49 Okie73 : While major airline captains may be in the top 5-10% of all wage earners in the is country, I don't think that's a valid comparison. To be a pilot at
50 Aogdesk : Gotta love it when someone "justifies" their salary. Of course ALL of our salaries are justified. Unfortunately, thats not how life works. Was Mom's
51 Tozairport : "In 2004, the median income for a commercial pilot according to the occupational outlook handbook was 53,870... " from AirlinePilotCentral.com This w
52 N757ST : And I said 158,000. I figured top scale at 70 hours a month, which for a 747 capt is likely. Minimum pay, which could NEVER happen, is 131,000 figuri
53 Okie73 : people always think someone who makes more than them is overpaid. It's easier to take shots at someone who did what it took to get into a higher payi
54 Jetstar : In the latest Professional Pilot magazine, they did their annual pilot salary survey, which includes specific airlines. As listed for UA for an avera
55 Maverick747 : How many hours a week do they fly on an average? Just trying to get a picture of how much do they earn
56 Bobnwa : They are already making over $100,000 a year. How much more would you consider adequate.
57 Tozairport : We FLY 20-25 hours a week on average, no more than 30 hours. We are AT WORK anywhere between 72-120 hours per week. We only get paid when we fly, whi
58 Jacobin777 : Ok, I wanted to make sure we're clear on it.I'll have to dig up some numbers. But those numbers aren't anything low or to laugh at as they are still
59 Concorde1518 : The average Joe doesn't need so much in terms of personal development to get his job. When it comes to market forces, one characteristic of highly tra
60 777fan : Does your statement take the recent fare increases and additional charges into effect? Doubtful, but they'll account for something on UA's balance sh
61 IPFreely : Harsh way to say it, but it's true. As a group, UA employees seem to be endlessly critical of every management group they've ever had. But it's curio
62 Post contains links Luv2cattlecall : Let's also not forget that UA Pilots were the ones who flipped a lid when United wanted to join just about every other airline in going from a 3 pers
63 Post contains links United1 : Entry level is 73-98K a year depending on experience, POST certificate ect. http://www.sfpdcareers.com/benefits.html
64 N757ST : POLICE OFFICER DUTIES INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO: Patrolling their districts, responding to calls for service, conducting investigations, writing
65 Ssides : OK, so what's your point? Should pilots be paid significantly more than these office professionals? Let's remember that most of the managers at UA al
66 Jacobin777 : I'm not so sure what you meant by that?
67 Tozairport : Huh, that's funny. The same thing is true with ANY job class, including pilots. The pilots of United Airlines, and the overall US airline industry fo
68 Ssides : I agree, but only up to a point. First, your analogy also includes pilots at the regional airlines, who are paid a fraction of the senior pilots at m
69 Dispatchguy : DING DING DING - You hit the nail on the head. When management's first goal is to NOT line their pockets, but to do something for the carrier and the
70 Bok269 : As did the pilots at many other carriers. Ansett had to order the 767 with a three man cockpit as did AF on the 737 because of union pressures IIRC.
71 Rampart : Not doubting you, but I'm curious about your source, what segment of professionals, and when this was surveyed. I think it's an interesting analogy t
72 Incitatus : One factor pushing the wages of pilots down is competition among them. If there are pilots out there willing to be a regional jet captain for 70k/yea
73 Planespotting : That is very true. I work at the corporate office of a very large, conservative and ultra established retail chain. I worked at the stores of this co
74 Tozairport : True that advancement is seniority based, but there is a safety element there too. If promotions were merit based then you would have guys willing to
75 Planespotting : V. good post. A very common misconception among pretty much anyone who's never been in an airline cockpit before is that the autopilot just does all
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