nasmal
Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2000 4:16 am

How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 2:55 pm

I have just flown delta across the country make stops at ATL, MIA, CVG, STL, DFW. I have to say it seems to amaze me how they can be losing money. Ever flight was full and very busy. The thing that amazed me the most is that Delta has tons of widebodies at ATL and I am sure those go out full too as did my ATL-MIA route was. How can they be losing money???? Bad managment? Too many widebodies hence having a lot of pilots being paid widebody salary????? SONG??????????Delta has to be the the number 1 american airline with most passenger service.
 
northwest 777
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 2:59 pm

Just because a plane is full doesn't mean it is making money, unfortunately. Costs are very high for airlines and with really low fares in a lot of markets, it ends up costing more to transport the passenger then the fare itself. That's not to say they don't have higher yielding, profitable routes though.
 
aa757first
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:06 pm

Because they are spending more money than they are making. Seriously, however, if it cost $93 to fly each passenger on every flight you were on, but each passenger only paid $87.

AAndrew
 
wgw2707
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:11 pm

One word: pilots.

Delta's pilots are by far the best-paid industry. A Delta pilot can expect to earn 100% more than his equally competent counterpart at American Airlines, itself not exactly having the lowest wages... With absurd payscales such as these, the question should be How Can Delta NOT Be Loosing Money?

I would actually doubt that even in a healthy economy with no simplified-structure LCCs and hostile pricewars to contend with Delta's current pilot wages would be unsustainable. I would guess that Delta's currrent wages could only really work in a command economy, like the former USSR...

-WGW2707
 
jetdeltamsy
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:12 pm

it's simple. the seats are being sold below cost. a full plane equals less of a loss than an empty plane where seats cost twice as much.

it has been said the pilots earn too much.

i worry about my future (again).
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
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yyz717
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:12 pm

Basically it comes down to unit costs: overpaid & under-productive labour. The DL pilots for instance are the highest paid pilots in the US for every DL aircraft type by a premium of 10-20% over other US legacy carriers.

DL shareholders should be demanding that DL labour costs drop to the AirTran level.



I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
Lono
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:16 pm

Better question is.... How did they ever make any money!!!
Look at their history...
some examples....
Absorbing WA back in the 80's.... gaining many cities... only to give them up to Skywest
Absorbing (some say they killed PanAm).. and they did nothing with that investment...
Failed hubs in PDX, LAX, DFW, MCO, BOS, AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA....
How could they not make money in the orient.... all the orient cities they used to fly to... and even the cities in Europe... all given up...
Spending millions on hubs and cities only to give it up later....
Wally Bird Ruled the Skys!
 
Dalmd88
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:49 pm

Besides our low yield which has been destroyed by other airlines our debt is very high right now. We extened out all the credit we could get after 9/11 so we would have cash to weather the storm and to avoid Chapt 11 like UsAirways and UAL. The storm has out lasted our cash. The passengers are back, but they now all demand travel at sub Greyhound prices. Even if our pilots worked for free we would still not make money at these fares.
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 5:14 pm

Well said DalMD88....I don't think enough people grasp your last point...but instead look to point fingers first.

Any word on when BK is *supposed* to hit?  Sad

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
rwylie77
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 6:13 pm

Why don't Delta just fire all their pilots then who refuse to take a 50% paycut? There must be loads of unemployed pilots out there who would work for a reasonable salary?

If you look in Europe at EasyJet and Ryanair, they manage to carry passengers for free (Yes Free - they give the first ten or so tickets away for free on some flights, you just have to pay the tax) and still make a profit. Maybe some airlines such as Delta, US Airways and United should just close down and start again from scratch with a lower cost base. Bailing them out all of the time just doesn't seem to be working...ok there are factors such as high fuel prices to contend with which are not helping, but even before 9-11 a lot of the American airlines seemed to be struggling. Open up the skies to a free market and let market forces operate - it has worked in every other market on this planet.
 
BostonGuy
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 7:29 pm

Besides our low yield which has been destroyed by other airlines...

Delta not adapting to a changed marketplace could be another reason. It's easy to blame "other airlines", but if these "other airlines" are making money (and that's the case in many instances) then something is terribly wrong at those airlines who didn't/couldn't act fast enough to adjust.

Even if our pilots worked for free we would still not make money at these fares.

Very sad.
 
MD-90
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 7:47 pm

Absorbing WA back in the 80's.... gaining many cities... only to give them up to Skywest

Surely they make money with the Salt Lake City hub, eh?

Absorbing (some say they killed PanAm).. and they did nothing with that investment...

Pan Am died on its own. Delta even loaned Pan Am what, $100 million that it never got back. And where do you think Delta's shuttle service across the Atlantic via 767 came from? The Pan Am route authorities. Although, in retrospect, R.E.G. Davies believes and Delta admits that they overpaid for Pan Am's Atlantic ops. The PAA name carried a lot of weight even into their dying days.

Failed hubs in PDX, LAX, DFW, MCO, BOS, AB) (AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA....

Considering that the German routes that Pan Am flew were subsidized and that Delta couldn't make a profit on them (neither could PAA), why not shut them down and downsize Frankfurt? And if a hub isn't profitable, get rid of it. Delta pioneered hubbing (although I suspect it was sort of an accidental discovery), after all.

How could they not make money in the orient.... all the orient cities they used to fly to... and even the cities in Europe... all given up...

But did they turn a profit?





I do hope that Delta avoids bankruptancy, however.
 
deltadude8
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:03 pm

If you were paid millions of dollars to run an airline....and you wanted to make even more...where do you get that money without stealing?

By making other employees in the company take pay cuts and stealing their money....

Word inside DL is that DL is in much better shape then the exec.s cook it to be....DL pilots have the support of over 80% of other employees NOT to take a paycut
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:14 pm

Word inside DL is that DL is in much better shape then the exec.s cook it to be....DL pilots have the support of over 80% of other employees NOT to take a paycut

If this is what the employees truly believe then DL is doomed.

I remember some UA employees who swore the company wasn't that bad off and that mighty UAL would never go Bankrupt........look at them now.


 
bucky707
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:14 pm

"Delta's pilots are by far the best-paid industry. A Delta pilot can expect to earn 100% more than his equally competent counterpart at American Airlines, itself not exactly having the lowest wages... With absurd payscales such as these, the question should be How Can Delta NOT Be Loosing Money?"


Are the Delta pilots overpaid relative to the rest of the industry? Sure, and it will change. But statements like this are just pure ignorance. First of all, the AA pilots make 36% less than the Delta pilots. Second, the statement the AA does not exactly have low wages is way off. AA is below all the other majors and below airlines like Frontier, Airtran, Southwest, etc. AA is very low paid right now. Third, the pilots are not the sole reason Delta is loosing money. Even if the Delta pilots were paid the same as the JetBlue pilots, Delta would have still lost money in the last quarter.

Delta has many problems to overcome. Pilot pay is one of them, and it will be addressed. But, it is not the only problem. Unless Delta management is willing to start to make real changes in the way the airline operates, Delta will never make it no matter how little you want to pay the pilots.
 
boeingbus
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:22 pm

There is a reason why United being declined the government loans - it's because they don't really need it...

I wouldn't be surprised that airlines in general are taking advantage of the current economic conditions and purposely make erroneous charges (like writing off old planes, asset values, etc...) for tax reason and to also get labor concessions from its unions.

Recently there was a Reuters or AP article on the fact that Legacy carriers are set to take off - profit wise.... It's all scam to defraud workers and to save money on taxes. Typical 'corporate capitalists' scamming the American public...
Airbus or Boeing - it's all good to me!
 
slider
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:34 pm

I can't speak for DL, but I know for CO, every $1 swing in the net crude price results in a $20M incremental cost hit!

In short, the price of fuel now, and where we budgeted for 2004 (which was already hedged a bit and budgeted higher to begin with) is about a $700 MILLION difference...

That's $700M that we might as well just set on fire. CO is about an $11B company, so it's clear to see that $700M is not just chump change.

Adding to this whole thing is something that I've only heard Gordon pound the table about: the fact that the Feds tax 25% of our ticket revenue. In other words, if a customer buys a $200 ticket, $50 of that goes to Washington off the top. INSANE!!!

It's a wonder ANYONE can make money when you add in the factor of labor and other capital costs aboev that. Scary.
 
AUAE
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:43 pm

What the hell are you smoking Deltadude8. Don't ever post figures like that... 80% of employees support not taking a paycut??? Show me the survey! I know I have not been asked through a survey and I damn sure know that 80% of my coworkers do not feel that way. Stealing...oh come on, not even worth addressing this one.

Good posts by everyone else though. When I jet around the system I can't help but to ask the same thing. It is all about costs and revenues. Costs are higher than the revenues right now, and we just can't raise the revenues. To do so would cause a decrease in pax, and it is all just a viscous cycle. Pilot costs are making the news because they are out of whack really bad. But so are other costs, the next worst is fuel (but not a whole lot you can do about that), then our debt load. The Wall Street Journal had a good article today on that. Even with pilot concessions, DL may need bankruptcy just to renogotiate all the debt arrangements. ??(just my personal opinion here!!) And lastly, lets not forget how big DL is. Big means big costs. You don't see Airtran rebuilding Boston terminals. When you fly more than 900 departures in your home city, you need a lot infrastructure to keep it going. All those things add up, and it is not so easy to just get that cost out. DL is not alone in all this either, AA, UA, CO, NW ect all have a hard road ahead.

Shawn
Air transport is just a glorified bus operation. -Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive
 
ord
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:43 pm

"Absorbing (some say they killed PanAm).. and they did nothing with that investment...and even the cities in Europe... all given up..."

Huh? Taking a look at Delta's schedule the Pan Am acquisition is very evident today. Certainly not "given up" as you say. Prior to getting Pan Am's European routes Delta flew to only a handful of European cities, and none from JFK. Now they fly to many times more cities, including 12 nonstop from JFK.

While there were many more routes they acquired to Europe, they were money losers. You don't keep money-losing routes.
 
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N707PA
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Fri Jul 02, 2004 11:09 pm

While there were many more routes they acquired to Europe, they were money losers. You don't keep money-losing routes.

During Leadership 7.5, unprofitable routes were axed. DL used to fly routes such as DTW-LGW and LAX-HKG, but all were axed because they simply didn't make money. I suppose that ATL-STR must be a cash cow.....They've operated that route for years.
 
SDFOH
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 4:08 am

One of the things to remember also about DL and ALL other legacy carriers is that even though things look good now, 2 months ago loads where pretty bad. When DL says it is losing money, they do not mean TODAY, they mean as a aggregate whole over the fiscal month/year.

Yes the summer is the money making season for all airlines, but DL was unable to hedge their fuel prices because they are already in debt up to their gills. On am flts from SDF to ATL a MD-88 mat be full with 142 pax, but if weather is even slightly bad then the a/c will leave with 8000 gallons of fuel on board. With no hedging on fuel then DL pays current market price. How many of you Americans out there are swearing every time you fill up your car at 2 bucks a gal (The rest of the world keep out of this  Big grin we know we are spoiled).

So if you just average out the loads over a one year time frame - probably the smallest reasonable amount of time due to seasonal travel differences. You will find that most carriers load factors are not that great especially now with artificially depressed ticket prices.
 
alphascan
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 4:37 am

Nasmal:

Maybe you should think about transferring to UND where they teach you some airline economics along with take-offs and landings. With the tuition you save, you can then pay for a First Class membership to a.net and read the Aviation News. There's an article in there just about every day which answers the question you pose in this thread.

I apologize for the sarcasm but you have a computer, USE IT!
"To he who only has a hammer in his toolbelt, every problem looks like a nail."
 
ScottB
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 5:40 am

"Even if our pilots worked for free we would still not make money at these fares."

Well, this may well be true, but if Delta had jetBlue's average labor costs per employee, they WOULD have made an operating profit in the first quarter. Look at it this way: JetBlue spent $77.6 million on labor costs in the first quarter with an average of roughly 5000 full-time equivalent employees (FTE's) -- that works out to $15,500 per employee in the quarter. Delta spent $1.609 billion on labor in the same quarter with roughly 69,900 FTE's -- or $23,000 per employee in the quarter. The differential in labor cost is $7,500 per employee. When you multiply that by 69,900 employees, it works out to over $524 million. Delta's operating loss was $388 million in the quarter. If the employees "worked for free", Delta would have made a billion in the quarter, but no one expects them to work for free.

The problem isn't just with the pilots -- the cuts likely will have to hit all work groups at Delta -- but it's tough to justify (and not fair) to the non-unionized employees why they're taking a pay cut if the pilots are still getting pay increases. Reductions in pilot salaries will also dramatically decrease Delta's expense for contributions to its pilots' pension fund. They've already taken action on the pension cost side for other employee groups by converting their plans into cash balance plans.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 5:46 am

Why don't Delta just fire all their pilots then who refuse to take a 50% paycut? There must be loads of unemployed pilots out there who would work for a reasonable salary?

1. Contracts. You can't just fire them. This is normally a good thing.
2. Institutional knowledge. DL pilots all know how to work with each other, and know DL procedures. Training lots of new pilots costs money, which DL does not have.
3. Morale. Shot down.
4. Loyalty. Gone. Loyal employees are one of the best assets a company has.

These factors far outweigh the benefits of just "firing them all", even if DL could.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
robsawatsky
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 5:49 am

Reminds me of the twist on the old business saying:

"We're losing money on each item, but we're making it up in volume."

 
mandala499
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 6:01 am

Even if they make a profit, they could still be loosing money! As in, debt repayment!

I say the "whole" industry needs some major restructuring to prevent the majors from collapsing... because the airline that can take the network over are already debt ridden too!

Financial Restructuring ain't enough, the labour side needs restructuring too, however, whether this will happen, God Knows!

Anyone got a better idea?

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
nasmal
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 7:39 am

Alphascan:

Ive lived in Florida all my life, and I dont think I would be able to spend two weeks of winter in UND. I enjoy being two miles within the beach instead of a block away from the fargo dome lol.
Anyways I have taken airline managment, not saying I know it all, but from what I know im still amazed how they cannot be making a small profit or at least a small loss. I mean if southwest can offer these low fares, there is no reason why Delta cant make a profit of these discounted fares. They have the capcity, the loads.

I just think if they were managed a little better Delta can be making a huge profit.
 
StarAC17
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 8:23 am

Why don't Delta just fire all their pilots then who refuse to take a 50% paycut? There must be loads of unemployed pilots out there who would work for a reasonable salary?

Because the pilots most likely have a union and will take it to court or strike which will probably cause more losses for delta. Unions create a lot of problems in this way when a company has to rusticating. If you want proof search any AC thread on this forum.
Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
 
md80fanatic
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 9:55 am

I'm not trying to be a smartazz but....why do the people that decide fares elect to sell below their cost? What freakin' sense does that make? Everyone is buying the same fuel.....paying the same landing fees....paying the same amortization structure for their assets....and nearly paying all their employees the same. I know not ALL are paid the same but the difference cannot account for billions lost per quarter.

Too bad that bailout loans are so easily had (comparitively), because this does nothing to discipline the industry to properly price their goods and services.

I'm not a businessman (thank God), but one thousand million is a good deal of dough.
 
wgw2707
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:48 am

DeltaMD88 and DeltaGuy's comments reveal the thought process being used by Delta pilots right now admirably:

"Tickets are being sold below cost, people won't travel at higher fares any more, and even if we did take a wage cut it wouldn't keep this company out of bankruptcy."

They figure financial collapse is inevitable for Delta (it's not) and hope to make things easier for their families and for themselves by being fully paid unti the last day. What they fail to realize is that they themselves are primarily responsible for Delta's financial woes. Delta's massive cost-cutting regime has slashed expenses in other areas:

*Delta's non-unionized employees are having to work harder and are paid substantially less.

*More automation in the terminals has reduced the reliance on CSAs at the check-in desk.

*Basic amenities long considered de rigeur have been trimmed from the in-flight service, with the result being that coach class passengers now have to pay for food et cetera.

*Soon, fleet rationalization will slash aircraft leasing costs, as the 737-200 and in all probability the 767-200 fleets will embark on a oneway flight for Mojave.

So, given these large (and in some cases drastic) rationalizations, were it not for the high pilot wages, Delta would have a fantastic cost structure, and would be just fine. Sure, there is a debt problem, but most airlines are saddled with debt, and Delta, according to an article in the Wall Street journal, can restructure "large chunks" of this debt without a trip to bankruptcy court. So if only the pilots could just have the common sense to recognize themselves as the source of Delta's financial problem, and for the good of everyone who depends on the company for work, transportation or who is a shareholder or creditor, cut back their pay a bit.

The problem is of course that it is often difficult to recognize problems that you yourself have created. Your mind will invent excuses like "This company is going into bankruptcy anyway" to shift the blame away from yourself.
The harsh reality however that Delta pilots have to face is that this problem is their own doing, this problem could be easily fixed by them, and if they don't do anything about it, they stand to loose their jobs and take the jobs of thousands of others down with them, as well as the investments of countless shareholders and creditors.

-WGW2707
 
OttoPylit
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 2:18 pm

WGW2707,

Well said. While anyone can agree that the pilots are NOT the only reason the airline is losing money, it is by far the biggest factor. Once that is brought down, management will be able to see where it can nip and tuck here and there without decreasing service or safety.

Delta pilots recently approached the company again for negotiations, although the company has said that the numbers provided are not negotiable by much. The company was previously asking somewhere around a 30% concession, and the pilots turned it away, waiting for the company to approach with a better "negotiable" number. According to a 732 FO friend of mine, the company has now changed the number to 40%, since waiting longer and longer is not helping any. Suddenly, the union has come back to the table to try and work something out. Apparently they realized the longer they wait, the worse off its probably going to be in the long run. Hopefully, something can be reached soon, but I am betting that the union will hold off until the eleventh hour.

I am believing in Grinstein. Mullen was a good CEO when times were good, and he certainly earned the pay that he refused after 9/11, but when times got tough, the Harvardian number cruncher in him came out. Grinstein is used to working with a troubled company. But he turned Western around between '85-'87 from a company about to go under to a profitable company, before merging the company to Delta because it was the best solution to Western's predicament. He has been at the helm of Delta's board for going on 16(?) years and has been itching to get back into the airline industry for a while now, so I have faith in his abilities. Like I have another choice anyway, right? lol
I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.
 
m404
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 2:32 pm

Another single word - YIELD

If you can't get out more than you put in. You have no yield.
Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
 
kieso
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2004 1:13 pm

RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sat Jul 03, 2004 4:41 pm

Delta just wants the pilots to make what the should! I'm sure they have lots of money we don't know about. The pilots make way to much!
Me is Kieso_I love to fly and it shows! YA
 
InnocuousFox
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:30 am

RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sun Jul 04, 2004 1:03 am

To sum up, as a stand-alone statistic, load factors don't mean crap. I could fill 100% of the seats every time if I gave them away for free.
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
Dalmd88
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Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 3:19 am

RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sun Jul 04, 2004 3:39 am

So JetBlue's Average earnings per FTE are $15,500. No wonder they are making money. That comes out to an AVERAGE wage of $7.45/ hr. We all know the pilot group makes well above that so a lot of people at JetBlue are well into the "Would you like fries with that?" range. I'm sorry but I couldn't work as an aircraft mechanic for even twice that. My ticket is worth more than that.
 
sq452
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RE: How Can Delta Be Losing Money?

Sun Jul 04, 2004 3:54 am

Because they are charging me $270 to go from BOS-DAY through Cincinnati, and $1,200 if i were to just end in Cincinnati!!!!  Big thumbs up
Just kidding, I know thats not the reason.
SIN > CVG > BOS

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