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State Of The Regionals, Dangerously Cheap?  
User currently offlineprimetimeDC9 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 67 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6067 times:

I am a pilot for a large regional airline that is in the middle of negotiations. We are in the midst of voting on a concessionary contract. The regional airlines, specifically pinnacle and now PSA have made it difficult to compete because they have signed basically rediculous contracts to keep their costs low. Not only has the pay gone down but the quality of life has as well. Years ago when Colgan crashed the q400 in Buffalo the FAA determined that the pilots weren't making enough money to afford commuting safely by paying for either hotels or crash pads. The first officer commuted overnight on FedEx to avoid paying for a hotel that she could not afford on her salary. The pay was ordered, by the FAA, to be increased so that pilots could afford to live their lives in a manner that allowed them to eat and sleep as close to correctly as possible. Somehow this sentiment has dissapeared. The pay is again going down, even in the midst of the major airlines making massive profits. I know that if my concessionary contract is voted in I will quit, I can make more money doing virtually anything else. At some point we will lose alot of the good pilots as they likely have some sort of standard of living and are generally intelligent and will have options other than flying to turn to. The bottom feeders will attract only pilots who don't have other options for whatever reasons and the quality of the personell will degrade. These airlines are already having trouble filling classes because the pay is awful and the quality of life isn't very good at all. IF things don't change alot of good people are going to turn their back on the industry. When pay goes down, discord goes up and motivation to strive to be great at what you do dissapears, this job takes alot of work to maintain proficiency and an F you attitude towards the company you work for is a dangerous thing in a safety sensitive environment. At what point does this need to stop, aren't the airlines dooming themselves in the face of a looming shortage? When will safety again be brought to light, cost cutting absolutely comes with a price. If you are thinking about becoming a pilot, I'd seriously consider weighing your other options, flying is fun but its not worth the sacrifices that you have to make in all other aspects of your life.

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinecompliancecheck From United States of America, joined Nov 2013, 103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 5964 times:

Quoting primetimeDC9 (Thread starter):
The pay was ordered, by the FAA, to be increased

I remember that this accident began the serious push for increased pilot rest rules ... but where did they order pay to go up?


User currently offlineEaglePower83 From United States of America, joined Oct 2011, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 5900 times:

Very very sadly..........I don't think anything is going to change the current path unless more people die.

User currently offlineluv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12090 posts, RR: 49
Reply 3, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5842 times:

You can always not commute and thus a savings of both money and time.


You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineMasseyBrown From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 5363 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5793 times:

The complaints about regional salaries are certainly justified if you compare the job to mainline pay and responsibilities. The trouble is so many people keep applying for regional jobs that there is little incentive for the carriers to increase pay.

So applications keep coming in; pilot retention at the regionals, however, may be a different story, . I bet you see longevity increases soon become much more dramatic than they are now.



I love long German words like 'Freundschaftsbezeigungen'.
User currently offlineDTW2HYD From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 1727 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5749 times:

I understand the already cheap part and the reason why mainlines using regionals to cut cost and liability. So, why they are asking for more concessions from employees? Is it coming from mainline carriers? Still not clear.

User currently offlineLittleFokker From United States of America, joined Sep 2013, 261 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5724 times:

The new 1500 hour minimum hiring requirement for 121 carriers is going to do far more damage to the regional airline business (and eventually, the industry as a whole) than will any low pay contracts. Exactly how are pilots supposed to accrue 1500 hours in a manner that won't bankrupt them, considering the military doesn't crank out pilots at the same rate it used to?

Oh, and on a side note:

Quoting primetimeDC9 (Thread starter):
Dangerously Cheep
http://thereleasedates.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/angry-birds.jpg

[Edited 2013-12-13 07:53:35]


"Toughest wind I ever played in....straight down!" - W. C. Fields
User currently onlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22715 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5669 times:

Quoting primetimeDC9 (Thread starter):
When will safety again be brought to light, cost cutting absolutely comes with a price.

The trouble is that it isn't showing up in crashed airplanes. Most regional crashes in the past decade or so have involved experienced, well rested pilots. The 9L captain was not that experienced but as I see it his bigger issue was incompetence.

Quoting primetimeDC9 (Thread starter):
ears ago when Colgan crashed the q400 in Buffalo the FAA determined that the pilots weren't making enough money to afford commuting safely by paying for either hotels or crash pads.

Yet she found the money to go skiing. As the NTSB report, which I'd commend to you, makes amply clear, money really wasn't the issue. Lifestyle and, arguably, sexism was.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2820 posts, RR: 45
Reply 8, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 5490 times:

Quoting primetimeDC9 (Thread starter):
I know that if my concessionary contract is voted in I will quit, I can make more money doing virtually anything else.

I'm confused. Your profile says you are a 21-25 year old sales rep. Have you already resigned your position with a regional airline? By all means if you want to do something else for more money, feel free to give up your seniority number. I know some pilots who have done that, but a whole lot more who've threatened to do that but kept their jobs for three primary reasons: 1, they like to fly; 2, they are keeping their eye on the long game expecting to eventually land a high-paying job at a major; and 3, they aren't sufficiently qualified at anything else to make more in another industry (I am not implying any application to you.) Very few of us entered the profession wanting to be a career regional pilot; most expected the years of sacrifice and low pay to eventually be rewarded with a position at a better carrier flying bigger aircraft for more money.

This is a business, and after years of rapid expansion in the regionals they are contracting due to the poor economics of small turbine aircraft. Major airlines are interested in keeping their costs low and maximizing profits, and in combination with safety and reliability those items dictate minimizing what they pay for regional services. Most pilots of more than a few years have gone through hardships, some severe, to remain in the profession. I have spent years on furlough, and know people on their second furloughs. If anyone ever told you this was a gentle industry or the big money would come fast and furious they were lying.

Regarding the Colgan accident, Cubsrule is correct in his fundamental analysis, as is compliancecheck in his comments regarding crew rest vs. pay. Guess what? The new rest rules (FAR 117) start in January, and they are a mixed bag at best, and some would say a worse set of rules that what we had before. We can now fly MORE block hours in a day in some cases, yet the inefficiencies they produce in multi-day trips may make some pilots (mostly domestic) fly more trips per month (and have more commutes) as a result. I have read the rules (though they are very confusing to apply) and think they will have many unexpected consequences, most of which will not be good.


User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4234 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5400 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 8):
This is a business, and after years of rapid expansion in the regionals they are contracting due to the poor economics of small turbine aircraft. Major airlines are interested in keeping their costs low and maximizing profits, and in combination with safety and reliability those items dictate minimizing what they pay for regional services. Most pilots of more than a few years have gone through hardships, some severe, to remain in the profession. I have spent years on furlough, and know people on their second furloughs. If anyone ever told you this was a gentle industry or the big money would come fast and furious they were lying.

How about pay what it takes to attract top talent and keep the industry safe first, then let the profits come from that? It has worked for Southwest, it works for Costco, and I have no doubt it would work at some of these regionals.

I blame ALPA as much as I do the regional companies though. There is a clear conflict of interest involving ALPA as it represents DL and UA pilots, as well as the pilot groups at several regionals (Eagle, PSA, Endeavor, Air Wisconsin, Compass, Trans States, and Expressjet to name a few). ALPA is currently run by Lee Moak, who is a career Delta pilot. A lot of what ALPA national has done lately seems to benefit the Mainline pilots at the expense of the Regional pilots. It was ALPA who convinced these groups to ratify these bad deals. In the case of Endeavor, I don't blame them because they were looking at being the next Comair. In the case of PSA, there was absolutely no reason for the LOA. They had a steady contract already, and basically were mesmerized by the flowthrough carrot and SJS with the bigger RJs. There has been a grassroots effort at the regional level called Stop the Whipsaw, which is trying to unite regional pilots in an attempt to unite all the pilot groups against ratifying any more of these deals. The big test is the current Expressjet vote. If this goes down, it sends a message, but one issue they have is that OO can just have all the flying sent to the OO certificate, and gradually close down the ExpressJet certificate.

There are other things out there that will have an effect. RAH is still in negotiations with the IBT and they have made no progress after five years. With the current administration being pro labor for the most part, you wonder if the NMB will release them from mediation anytime soon to begin the 30 day cooling off period. If this happens, I don't see how a strike by RAH pilots will be avoided, and that will affect all three legacy carriers. OO is still non union, and they have a history of being pretty good to the pilot group, but something will have to give there in the future. 117 coming online will have a big impact on staffing levels, as will the Major hiring spree currently going on. And the 1500 hour rule is already having an effect, as Great Lakes is now having staffing issues and is having to cancel flights due to lack of coverage. The general rule is that when supply goes down and demand goes up, the money goes up too. Lets see if that holds true.


User currently onlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21502 posts, RR: 56
Reply 10, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5363 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 9):
I blame ALPA as much as I do the regional companies though. There is a clear conflict of interest involving ALPA as it represents DL and UA pilots, as well as the pilot groups at several regionals (Eagle, PSA, Endeavor, Air Wisconsin, Compass, Trans States, and Expressjet to name a few).

  

Quoting apodino (Reply 9):
The big test is the current Expressjet vote. If this goes down, it sends a message, but one issue they have is that OO can just have all the flying sent to the OO certificate, and gradually close down the ExpressJet certificate.

Better that than have it go to a GoJets or Republic. Skywest knows how to competently manage an airline and keep the majors happy while not completely screwing over the employees. Plus, they own their own fleet, which is huge.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2820 posts, RR: 45
Reply 11, posted (7 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5322 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 9):
How about pay what it takes to attract top talent and keep the industry safe first, then let the profits come from that? It has worked for Southwest, it works for Costco, and I have no doubt it would work at some of these regionals.

I'm not against good pay, I'm just pointing out reality.

With multiple providers to choose from, mainline carriers will tend to favor lower-priced suppliers, as the ultimate consumers of the products (passengers) want low prices more than anything and accidents, while horrific when they occur, are so uncommon as to have little to no influence in the larger marketplace. My point is this: if you don't like the compensation try to improve it; if you can't then find something better. For entry-level turbine pilots, the regionals are still the ticket to the majors. If you want the money the majors pay, get your experience and start interviewing at better companies. Thousands before you have done so, and thousands after you will too.

Quoting apodino (Reply 9):
I blame ALPA as much as I do the regional companies though.

I definitely agree. I'm no fan of ALPA myself.

Quoting apodino (Reply 9):
There is a clear conflict of interest involving ALPA as it represents DL and UA pilots, as well as the pilot groups at several regionals (Eagle, PSA, Endeavor, Air Wisconsin, Compass, Trans States, and Expressjet to name a few). ALPA is currently run by Lee Moak, who is a career Delta pilot.

Again, no disagreement from me.

Quoting apodino (Reply 9):
A lot of what ALPA national has done lately seems to benefit the Mainline pilots at the expense of the Regional pilots.

The key word there is LATELY. When the giant scope relaxation started about 20 years ago the shoe was on the other foot (despite the bigwigs in ALPA routinely being from the majors.) Regionals grew at exponential rates while majors had negative growth and massive furloughs. Only in recent times with higher fuel prices making smaller RJ's totally uneconomical for most routes have majors began to reverse the trend.

I had my four years on furlough and 18-year upgrade, thank you very much.

Quoting apodino (Reply 9):
There has been a grassroots effort at the regional level called Stop the Whipsaw, which is trying to unite regional pilots in an attempt to unite all the pilot groups against ratifying any more of these deals.

Yeah, good luck with that. Seriously. Good luck. The regional pilots are their own worst enemy.

Quoting apodino (Reply 9):
OO is still non union, and they have a history of being pretty good to the pilot group

Absolutely. I've been on the jumpseat of about every regional operator multiple times, and have been most impressed with the OO pilots as a group. Very professional and generally upbeat.

Quoting apodino (Reply 9):
117 coming online will have a big impact on staffing levels, as will the Major hiring spree currently going on. And the 1500 hour rule is already having an effect, as Great Lakes is now having staffing issues and is having to cancel flights due to lack of coverage. The general rule is that when supply goes down and demand goes up, the money goes up too. Lets see if that holds true.

You are correct. I too hope that the traditional supply and demand effects apply in this case.


User currently offlinetwinotter From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 200 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 4925 times:

Quoting primetimeDC9 (Thread starter):
the FAA determined that the pilots weren't making enough money to afford commuting safely by paying for either hotels or crash pads

It always amazes me that pilots don't know that most people actually live near the cities they work in.

(My company doesn't pay me enough to afford a hotel or crashpad!).


User currently offlinepilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3144 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (7 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4830 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 10):
Better that than have it go to a GoJets or Republic. Skywest knows how to competently manage an airline and keep the majors happy while not completely screwing over the employees. Plus, they own their own fleet, which is huge.

Not correct. A number of the 175s Skywest will be flying are owned by United, while ALL aircraft flown by RAH are owned or leased by RAH.



DMI
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5970 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (7 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4798 times:

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 13):
Not correct. A number of the 175s Skywest will be flying are owned by United,

Incorrect. SkyWest will own all of the 175's that they are currently slated to fly for UA. Mesa, on the other hand, will be flying 175's owned by UA.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlinemcdu From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1448 posts, RR: 17
Reply 15, posted (7 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3218 times:

The regional pilots that complain about pay and working conditions weren't complaining when they all signed up to take mainline flying and quick upgrades. If you don't like regional life you probably shouldn't have taken a job at a regional. They have never been career locations and were stepping stones to the majors. However, they have worked their way in to become the B-Scale airline the majors always wanted for their own pilots.

User currently onlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21502 posts, RR: 56
Reply 16, posted (7 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2702 times:

Quoting mcdu (Reply 15):
The regional pilots that complain about pay and working conditions weren't complaining when they all signed up to take mainline flying and quick upgrades.

Before they signed up to take mainline flying, the mainline pilots took concessions on scope that indicated they ultimately didn't want that flying.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinemcdu From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1448 posts, RR: 17
Reply 17, posted (7 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2603 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 16):
Before they signed up to take mainline flying, the mainline pilots took concessions on scope that indicated they ultimately didn't want that flying.

The large jets were forced upon the major airlines pilot groups during Bankruptcy contracts. The mainline pilots wanted all the flying in house. The companies said this would be additional lift in markets to offer more options to the customers, NOT replacement lift. The Regional pilots all swarmed into those growing companies that came at the expense of mainline jobs and now they want mainline pay and benefits. They can't have it both ways and the major partners know this. They will continue to farm this flying to the lowest bidder. In the case of the gentleman he is talking about Expressjet. An airline owned and operated by Skywest. Skywest is manipulating the divided pilot groups and they will siphon from one bucket to the next to keep their cost low. The 50 seater is dying and jobs will be lost thanks to the mainline pilots finally able to negotiate in a period of non-economic doom. The new scope clauses will hopefully rid the airlines of some of the carriers. The benefit to the OP is that there will be more mainline jobs in the future.

As far as ALPA goes the mainline pilots have been subsidizing the regional carrier MEC's for years. They take the dues dollars of the legacy pilot and use them to support carriers like Expressjet in their quest to take flying away from the legacy pilots. If the regional pilots feel like a they are on the short end of the ALPA stick for a change then welcome the club.


User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5970 posts, RR: 14
Reply 18, posted (7 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2002 times:

Quoting mcdu (Reply 15):

The regional pilots that complain about pay and working conditions weren't complaining when they all signed up to take mainline flying and quick upgrades.

So, let me get this straight: Regional pilots TOOK mainline jobs? As in, in order to get a job working for an airline, they all got together and held a gun to the mainline pilot's collective heads and said "Give us regional jet!"? Is this what you truly want us to believe?

[Edited 2013-12-14 21:35:50]


Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineWayfarer515 From Honduras, joined Dec 2013, 199 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1827 times:

It is kinda funny and sad that both "mainline" pilots and "regional" pilots seem to put the blame on each other, which IMHO is just plainly stupid and tells me that they are missing the big picture here.

Pilots are pilots, and airplanes are airplanes and airlines are airlines. Since pilots in the USA were dumb enough to let the airline owners to categorize them as premium and non-premium cattle, who work for big farms or small farms using big or small tractors, and to milk them through stupid laws stating what is a regional and non-regional airlines are they weakened them by the good old adage of divide and conquer.

Please tell me that you are not that stupid, both groups are playing into their hands and this is exactly what the airlines wanted in the first place, 911 and the 2008-2009 economic crisis just gave them an excuse to finally pull it off.

If flying 100 PAX or 50 PAX jet airliners is not profitable this is not the pilot's fault, and I very much doubt this is actually true in the first place.

You are working for corporations my friends, and corporations are only driven by greed. If you don't get that and stick together to fight these corporations then you will be screwed more than what you already are.

In no other place in the world I know of any pilot making the kind of wages I have read some of the wrongly called RJ's pilots are earning in North America, and believe me I do live in one of the poorest regions in the world.

The first step is to stop sneering at your fellow colleagues that fly smaller airliners, ask LOT, Aeroflot or 4O if they pay their pilots any less if they fly E190's or SSJ's. I even know some ex- A320 pilots that now are flying the SSJ in both AFL and 4O and they all view it as a promotion in their careers. It shouldn't be any different in the USA.


User currently offlinemcdu From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1448 posts, RR: 17
Reply 20, posted (7 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1642 times:

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 18):
So, let me get this straight: Regional pilots TOOK mainline jobs? As in, in order to get a job working for an airline, they all got together and held a gun to the mainline pilot's collective heads and said "Give us regional jet!"? Is this what you truly want us to believe?

The legacy pilots wanted the flying in house. Legacy management didn't want to pay a wage and benefit structure that would support a family. The airlines like Skywest and expressjet found thousands of pilots that were willing to work for these lower wages and benefits. They flocked to these jobs and now that they have been in place at these carriers for 10+ years they want mainline wages and work rules. All I am saying is they took these jobs knowing full well the terms and conditions were second rate. If it was cost effective to pay mainline wages the mainline pilots would have these jobs. Too late to put the toothpaste back in the tube, but the new scope clauses at the majors will hopefully help reduce some of the damage that has been done.

Ideally in the mid 90's when the proliferation of RJ's had taken these same regional pilots that want these new wages would have refused to fly the airplanes for the rates offered by these companies we wouldn't be having this conversation today. Too many RJ pilots are afflicted with the mythical SJS. Still recall seeing eagle pilots with badges that said "I'd fly an 80 for 80" meaning they would fly an MD80 for 80k. Well below the going rate when APA was in negotiations. Very had to have sympathy for RJ pilots.


User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5970 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (7 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1565 times:

Quoting mcdu (Reply 20):
All I am saying is they took these jobs knowing full well the terms and conditions were second rate. If it was cost effective to pay mainline wages the mainline pilots would have these jobs.

They took these jobs believing that they would eventually move on to a major once they put their time in. That didn't happen. Don't fault them for following the defined career path. You were one of the lucky ones who went the military route and skipped the regional/commuters entirely, which is really admirable, but then it also makes it really hard to take you seriously when you rail against something that you yourself have never had to experience.

You don't know that some regionals are great companies to work for, have long histories, have good labor relations, and have always paid their employees fairly. Yes, perhaps it's not as much as you might get at a major, but it's still a good wage when you factor in cost of living. If you want to live somewhere expensive, great, but how much it costs for you to keep up your lifestyle is none of the company's concern.

However, you, like many other mainline pilots who have never flown for a regional, always reach for the lowest common denominator when it comes to reaching your pay/work rules/company philosophy arguments, and it simply needs to stop. You're right, there are some sub-par operations out there, but you DON'T need to lump every single operation in with them.

Quoting mcdu (Reply 20):
The airlines like Skywest and expressjet found thousands of pilots that were willing to work for these lower wages and benefits. They flocked to these jobs and now that they have been in place at these carriers for 10+ years they want mainline wages and work rules.

10+ years? If I remember you correctly, you rant and rail that all regional pilots are fresh ticket wanna-bes with zero experience.Why the about face?

Quoting mcdu (Reply 20):
If it was cost effective to pay mainline wages the mainline pilots would have these jobs. Too late to put the toothpaste back in the tube, but the new scope clauses at the majors will hopefully help reduce some of the damage that has been done.

This still doesn't excuse you from the fact that you claim over and over again that regional pilots STOLE your flying.

[Edited 2013-12-15 08:07:43]


Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineJoeCanuck From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 5402 posts, RR: 30
Reply 22, posted (7 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 1390 times:

The USA isn't the only game in the airline racket. There are airlines expanding all over the globe and they all need pilots to drive their thousands of aircraft on order.

I really don't see any way that the situation will change in the near future unless minimum wages are mandated...and that's just not going to happen. I think part of a solution is being willing to work overseas as soon as you have the ratings and hours.

While that would still keep the new pilots in the stream, regionals would suffer from a shortage of experienced pilots and the majors hiring pool would dry up. That only works, of course, is if pilots from the USA leave the country by the droves.

There's an old saying, "the best way to move up, is to move out".

Unfortunately, it's been going on forever and will probably continue. Tens of thousands of pilots have somehow made it work...and tens of thousands more are lining up, more than willing to suffer.


As for the 1500hr rule...have these guys let pilots in on the secret to paying a hundred thousand or more dollars it would take to pay for those hours on wages not even as high as regional first officer pay? I can really see this being the cause of a pilot shortage.



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