US Airways Pilots Union Earns a Long Overdue Cranky Jackass Award For Using Safety as a Negotiation Tactic

I’ve written many times about the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), and it’s never been in a good light. This week, the group which represents the pilots at US Airways has once again topped itself by taking out a full page ad in USA Today talking about how US Airways is unsafe. Though there are other groups in the running, I think USAPA has demonstrated that it is the most ineffective, poorly run union group out there. For Cranky Jackass Awardthe misguided representation it provides its pilots, USAPA gets the Cranky Jackass award. This has been a long time coming.

You may already know the story. USAPA was created when the US Airways “East” (pre-merger US Airways) pilots didn’t like the seniority agreement that was decided upon in binding arbitration (yes, “binding” is apparently a loose term) with the US Airways “West” (pre-merger America West) pilots. So they marched off and voted in a new union, casting off the arbitration result. The West pilots didn’t like that (it’s been working its way through the courts), but they didn’t have the numbers to prevent the move. You can read more of the history here. In short, USAPA has done absolutely nothing good for its members, but it wrongly likes to blame US Airways management for its failings.

And that brings us to USAPA’s current strategy . . . try to burn down the company and apparently put all of its members out of a job.

The latest shameful tactic is the taking out of a full page ad in USA Today claiming that US Airways is unsafe. Let’s see. You work for an airline that pays your salary with revenue that comes in the door, and now you’re going to turn around and try to shut off that revenue by falsely claiming your airline is unsafe? Simply pathetic. It’s such a blatant negotiating tactic, but how will the general public react? That’s unclear, though this hasn’t received much press at all considering all the more important “real” news in the aviation world in the last week.

The ad itself used a single pilot incident that happened on June 16 to show the supposed danger of flying the airline. Apparently there was a flight scheduled to cross the Atlantic from Philly that evening and there were a couple of mechanical issues. There are some mechanical issues that aren’t considered crucial to be fixed, and that appears to be the case here, but the captain refused to fly the airplane and then, according to the union, she was escorted out of the airport by corporate security. The next crew refused to fly the airplane as well. Over the next couple hours, some maintenance work was done and the airplane went on its way with a third crew.

This is why the union says US Airways is an unsafe airline. It says the airline is intimidating its pilots and pushing them to fly even if it’s not safe. Then if they refuse, it has security remove them. Sounds bad, right? Too bad it’s a crock.

Now, regarding the mechanical incident itself, I don’t know whether the captain did the right thing by refusing to fly the airplane. I do know that the FAA found US Airways did nothing wrong. Here’s the statement:

The FAA manager assigned to the US Airways certificate reviewed the June 16, 2011 incident. The APU shutdown the aircraft experienced is a failure that pilots are well aware can happen and that they are trained to recognize. The battery apparently was depleted by attempts to restart the APU. Flying an aircraft with an inoperative APU is not an unusual event and normally poses no safety issues when proper limitations are applied. The Captain simply chose to exercise her pilot-in-command authority of not accepting an aircraft. Our information indicates that US Airways followed their approved MEL procedures, and all maintenance procedures were followed in accordance with the operator’s approved maintenance program. We found no violations of Federal Aviation Regulations.

That being said, if a captain doesn’t feel comfortable flying an airplane, then it’s his or her right to deny it. The problem arises when that privilege is abused just to delay or cancel flights without good reason. I’m not saying that happened here. I don’t know, and frankly, it’s not central to my point. I have no problem in theory with her walking away from the flight.

But why would security come escort the captain from the airport? USAPA wants you to believe it’s because she refused to fly the airplane. Not quite. According to US Airways, “the Captain was escorted out of the airport by corporate security (after being released from duty) not for her refusal to fly but for her comments made to customers regarding the safety of the aircraft.” Unfortunately, I don’t know details about what she said to the passengers, but it was apparently highly inappropriate. See more in this a.net discussion. I would have had her carted off the airplane as well.

In reality, there is nothing pointing to US Airways being unsafe but rather more evidence of the airline having good safety practices. It recently passed the IATA Operational Safety Audit, for example. But that won’t stop the union from trying to sully the airline’s reputation. (Get it? Sully? I crack myself up.)

In the end, USAPA simply wants to damage US Airways as if this will somehow convince the airline to throw a ton of money at the union and solve all its problems. Unfortunately, the union needs to solve its own problems regarding seniority before it can even be ready to talk to management, and it doesn’t seem any closer to doing so. I feel really bad for those pilots who never even wanted this union to represent them in the first place. This whole thing is simply pathetic and more than worthy of the Cranky Jackass Award.

[Thanks to Johosofat for the excellent Cranky Jackass Award]

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127 Comments on "US Airways Pilots Union Earns a Long Overdue Cranky Jackass Award For Using Safety as a Negotiation Tactic"

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yo
Guest

Amen! USAPA is a phony union, created only so that the East could get out of the binding arbitration they agreed to. The entitlement culture in the east is what killed USAirways. America West should have just let US die.

The planes are safe, but I don’t know about the (east) pilots. Shame on them for using safety as a cheap stunt.

Dan
Guest
Brett, You’re right for blasting the union for making this a public battle. But I think you’re drawing more attention to the incident than you should. Although you *say* you’re not sure the captain did anything wrong, the way you frame the incident suggests otherwise. Who (or what) is this corporate security that would escort the pilot off? Are these some sort of special law enforcement officers that have the power to detain the captain? Oh, BTW, the first thing they teach us in lowly pilot is “just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s safe.” It really doesn’t matter that… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest

Hey Dan,

A request. For those of us who aren’t airline industry employees, what’s a PIC? What’s a FAR? (I do know what the FAA is) Insider comments would be far more insightful to the uninitiated among us if commentators would try to avoid technical or specialized industry-specific terms to the extent it’s possible. I know it’s force of habit, but some of us often don’t know what you’re refering to. Thanks.

Rich
Guest

Most airlines, including US Airways, have their own security team that operates at the airports. They are not like TSA, but rather people in plain clothes. You wouldn’t know they were security unless they told you

David SF eastbay
Member

There are a lot of people in unions who think they work for the union and forget they work for the company that pays them. Airline pilots have always been in that group, they usually are the highest paid in the rank and file and forget their (over inflated egos) effects all the little guys in the company not part of a union working two jobs or more just trying to make ends meet.

mirabella
Guest

Whoa, CF, calm down before your readers give the Cranky Jackass award to you!

Matt
Guest

+1. This is starting to sound like a personal vendetta against USAPA.

Trent880
Guest

If the USAPA were a person that person would be diagnosed as a sociopath. They are totally divorced from reality, the consequences of their irrational decisions, and empathy for those they hurt, which most often are themselves. It’s really spectacular to watch.

DesertGhost
Guest
Cranky, A couple of questions. I read that Gary Kelly worked with the WN and FL pilots to reach their accord. Is there a difference in the law that doesn’t allow the US management team to do the same or am I misinformed? I know the airline has gone to court for guidance in this area and I’ve also read that there was a law (the name escapes me but I think the name Bond is part of it? Bond / McCaskill has come into my brain as I’m writing this, but I’m not sure off the top of my… Read more »
Steve Ly
Guest

I’m an outsider, but I’d have to lay the blame for this on the “east” pilot group. They went to binding arbitration, didn’t abide by the result and created all this mess. It’s been *6* years since the US/HP merger and they still can’t get their act together. I’d almost sympathize with Dougie here if he were not such an asshole.

Robert Johnson
Guest
While on the surface this may seem like union antics in order to get a better contract. This incident is clearly blown out of proportion. What is not blown out of proportion is the number of flight crews taken to hospital due to noxious fumes in the cabin over the last two years. There was yet another incident Yesterday on a flight from ATL to PHL, If I recall it was flight number 1476. The former America West received the largest fine in aviation history for poor maintenance. Most of the folks running the show are from America West so… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest
AWA’s fine is irrelevant in this case. The fine you refer to happened years ago under Bill Franke (and may have contributed to his ouster). The airline’s morale was very low under Franke and that definitely contributed to his ouster. His decisive but rather autocratic style was necessary when AWA was bankrupt; but once the airline was back on its feet, it wore on people. If I remember correctly (when you get old, time compresses a bit), Doug Parker was a V.P. at that time and was elevated to president shortly thereafter. One of the first things he did was… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest
To amplify: I’m not 100% sure of the time lines above. But I do remember the situation under Franke well. I have a lot of acquaintances who work at US (and worked at AWA). Living in PHX, that’s not too difficult. Are airlines perfect? No. Can they be? No. It’s not what happens at one given time that’s important in the long run, it’s what you do about correcting the situation that matters. I believe the smoke situation will be found. It’s easy to criticize from a distance. It’s harder to actually solve the problem. Armchair CEO’s know more about… Read more »
DIRK
Guest

The only jackass is the one who wrote the article, your obviously not concerned about you or anyone elses safety!

Sanjeev M
Guest

How about some facts (Robert Johnson above did a good job) rather than just accusing Cranky?

Either way, between the union (which you seem to support/be part of) and the management, its not making a good impression to the public. And that’s what matters if you want to stand out in a commodity business, which is what the airlines have become these days.

Consumer Mike
Guest
I believe that the above comments by Dan say it all. Simply as a consumer it appears that after two crews CORRECTLY refused to fly the aircraft due to safety concerns, it appears that the aircraft was fixed for the 3rd crew to finally accept. (Three strikes and you’re out?) Shame on US AIR! Does an airline have to be held with a gun to it’s head to make sure passemgers are safe? I personally do not want to hear of any more news about another mid-Atlantic disaster. I wonder if AF had advance notice of possible pitot problems? I… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest

Why don’t we get both sides of the story before we accuse anyone of wrongdoing?

DesertGhost
Guest

…especially at this point.

Robert Johnson
Guest

Because US Airways Management are documented liars. Not to mention a CEO who spent a night in Prison for his lack of common sense and self control. Who can forget Baghdad Bob aka Scott Kirby tell customers that the Reservations Migration was successful as line snaked around CLT and other cites for Hours. After those types of things you expect me to trust Robert Isom?

Nick Barnard
Member

This sort of vitrol can be thrown at a lot of people in many industries.

What someone does in their personal life shouldn’t have bearing on their professional life, unless the personal directly impinges upon the professional.

Robert Johnson
Guest

When you’re the CEO of a 10+ Billion Dollar Company I’d argure your conduct in the public eye does matter. He has 33,000 employees who look to him for leadership & guidance. What message did his actions send to the workforce?

In this day of the 60 second news cycle a CEO in effect has no personal life. Suppose you found out your CEO was a wife beater? In business and in life, trust, credibility & integrity matter.

Nick Barnard
Member

Why don’t we hear this about Herb Keller’s drinking and smoking? Oh, it’s because we all worship Southwest.

Did he fail to pay the fines? Did he run from the police? People mess up in their personal and professional lives, how they address those foul ups defined their integrity.

frank
Guest

What someone does in their personal life shouldn’t have bearing on their professional life
====================================================

@ Nick. Ohhh, but it does!!! Just look at any airline that has “issued” booklets that say, you represent the company ON and OFF DUTY.

Vailskier
Guest
“What someone does in their personal life”. CEO Parker got his DUI after attending a event where he represented USAirways. He was on duty and DRUNK. No one escorted him “OFF THE PROPERTY”. As far as the East vs West union thing, Do you think it is right to merge the two pilot groups and put a West pilot who has only been at the company for one month in front of a pilot who has been continously employed as a East pilot for 17 years. That is immoral The West operation has shut down the Vegas hub so if… Read more »
ChiFlyer
Guest
“Now, regarding the mechanical incident itself, I don’t know whether the captain did the right thing by refusing to fly the airplane. I do know that the FAA found US Airways did nothing wrong.” It might be legal, but flying an aircraft over the Atlantic without an APU is unsafe, borderline crazy. There is a good reason three crews denied the plane. The Captain definitely handled this situation in an immature manner, but refusing the aircraft was the right decision. Have you ever heard the expression, “Regulations are written in blood”? That means the only way (especially in aviation) that… Read more »
BW
Guest
It may or may not have been the correct decision, and we weren’t there so we can’t know for sure. There is a lot of (hearsay) evidence that this particular union actively encourages its members to undermine the company, such as adding extra fuel to burn or using “safety” excuses to disrupt operations. Given that, unfortunately it puts the pilot’s judgement into question when there are other indicators that the plane is ready to go, i.e. the mechanic’s signoff. I see this as a disservice the union is doing to its members. If they were more into compromise and less… Read more »
Nick Barnard
Member

Re: Compromise vs. Obstruction. Sadly this seems to be the name of the game lately..

Chuck
Guest

Operating an aircraft without an APU across the Atlantic isn’t common, but it’s far from “Unsafe, borderline crazy.” I have dispatched probably a dozen flights or more with APU inop on transatlantic flights over the past five years. There are, depending upon the aircraft, more stringent operating rules required (most commonly requiring an extra enroute alternate) but it’s far from “dangerous, borderline crazy” and I don’t recall any of the flight crews involved ever refusing the aircraft.

Bill Hough
Guest

“Why don’t we hear this about Herb Keller’s drinking and smoking? Oh, it’s because we all worship Southwest.”

Well, maybe it’s because Herb managed to keep his ass out of jail. He also managed to inspire his employees.

When did drinking and smoking become against the law, anyway?

Robert Johnson
Guest

Amen Bill,
A brief comparison of Herb Kelleher and Doug Parker will quickly show the difference between a visionary leader and a wannabe. Herb Kelleher built an airline from 3 planes into an airline that has changed the face of commercial aviation. With over 400 planes in the fleet and 30+ years of consecutive profits he also has the highest paid workforce in US aviation. Now let’s move over to US and Mr Parker. Lowest Customer Satisfaction numbers for years, Lowest paid workforce, 3 Bankruptcy’s and a DUI conviction. ’nuff said

Nick Barnard
Member
I’m surprised this has remained uncorrected for so long today. I would’ve corrected it earlier myself, but I’ve been off doing things.. America West was in Bankruptcy from 1991 to 1994. Parker joined America West in 1995. US Airways (pre-merger) was in Bankruptcy from 2002 to 2004 and 2004 to 2005. At the end of the second bankruptcy US Airways and America West merged. Doug Parker never led an airline through bankruptcy, and was at not one, but two airlines as they came out of bankruptcy. (Or one and half, if you want to be picky.) As for customer satisfaction,… Read more »
Robert Johnson
Guest
Running a better airline? when you have no place to go but up then it’s much easier to show large percentages of improvement and still be mediocre. I pay little or no attention to JD Power, I look at the DOT Stats and until right around the time I gave up on them they were 20 of 20 for years and years. Lowest apid? I’m 100% right. Starting CSR makes less than a new hire at Wendy’s in Muskegon, MI. Ramp starts at $9.59/Hr and most of the new hires can’t pass the background check so that’s the level of… Read more »
Jason H
Guest
I have to agree with Cranky’s basic premise, that USAPA is in the wrong and is deserving of this award. There are a lot of questions and not many answers in this case and yet for the USAPA to try to use the 30-second (someone said 60-second, but as a media industry person.. not so much) news cycle as ammunition to damage the company that pays their members is endangering their members livelihood and that of all other US employees because of a tiff over seniority. That is smacks of dereliction of their duty to their members. *Could the A330… Read more »
scott.wintner
Member

Pun! Love it!

Jim
Guest

I thought one of a union’s job was to protect and improve working conditions for their employees. In this case, the airline placed undue pressure on the pilot, which is unacceptable. The union is well within its rights to raise objections to this, in public if necessary. I don’t see any problem. If the union hadn’t publicized this, the airlines would continue doing it. I don’t see what the merger with America West has to do with any of this.

Robert Johnson
Guest
Dear Mr Cranky Flier, I DO NOT, have not and will not work for US Airways ever. I am one of the founders of FFOCUS. We are advocates for customers of any airline. Over the last 11 year (9 as a Chairman’s Preferred) period I’ve gained the trust of the rank and file and from time to time I’m privy to information that US doesn’t always want anyone to know. Some of it quite juicy and sadly mostly unverifiable for publication. I publish what I can in order to allow the flying public to be aware of the antics of… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest
Now we know the agenda. All I can go on is what I’ve seen on the FFOCUS site and my own experiences with US. From my experience, FFOCUS’s views are 180 degrees opposite from mine; and they appear to be a whiny bunch of crybabies. US as they want it run went bankrupt twice. Us as it’s being run now is profitable. The facts speak volumes. But as much as I disagree with their agenda, FFOCUS is entitled to its views. However … in my humble opinion and with all due respect to “Mr. Johnson” personally, I now know I… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest

And I have to echo CF on this: If you hate US Airways as much as you seem to, don’t set foot on the airline. No one is putting a gun to your head to force you to patronize the company.

Paul Ferdinand
Member

They need to bring Ed Colodny out of retirement and fix this outfit up!

JM
Guest

Now there’s a blast from the past! He’s a gentleman, all right.

But there is that issue of the Piedmont-USAir operations merger during the fall of 1989. I survived that nightmare as a customer. Not fun.

vailskier
Guest

I spoke to Ed Colodny last July and he said CEO Parker “would not even take my call”. That says enough about the class of the leader of LCC. ( LOW CLASS CARRIER )

mirabella
Guest

I am old-school, married to a medical professional who went through undergraduate, medical school and residency with an understanding of the need for delayed gratification for twelve years. Why does this not translate to pilots? It would be unthinkable for a group of medical residents to leap-frog above attending physicians,possessing more experience and expertise. What is going on with US Airways? Why are the younger and less experienced pilots unhappy that they have to wait their turn? Surely safety for any airline is enhanced by having its most skilled and experienced aviators at the helm.

Mark
Guest
You assume that the former AWA pilots are “younger and less experienced”. First, AWA never crashed an aircraft (only one hull loss on a runway overrun), nor killed any passengers in it’s 22 year existence. The pre-merger US Airways lost “5 in 5”. Five aircraft disasters in five years. Second, AWA’s pilots come from various and diverse backgrounds. Many old Eastern pilots were hired in the late 80’s, as well as TWA pilots early this century (including former US Airway’s pilots that were furloughed over the years starting in the mid 90’s). Third, the average age between the two pilot… Read more »
Barry
Guest

Mark,

Obviously your a “west” pilot. Your entire post is is rife with inaccuracies and falsities, not to mention outright lies! You just blew any chance of any credibility.

Barry
Guest

Mark,

You are obviously a “west” pilot with an agenda. Your entire post is rife with inaccuracies and falsities, not to mention outright lies. You’ve just blown any chance of any credibility.

Mark
Guest

I have no agenda. Everything I posted is a fact. The problem you east usapa supporters have is that you run on emotion and disregard facts. Enjoy the injunction that will be coming out this week.

David Z
Guest

I can imagine Sully sighing or doing a facepalm at this…

Robert Johnson
Guest

Any comment about the cabin funes on the US Airplanes from either US or AFA

Robert Johnson
Guest
In US Airways defense, these types of incidents take place on virtually every plane manufactured, sold and flown by any airline. Some of the tail numbers were “One Offs” even AFA admitted as much in the e-line. My concern in raising the issue is to me at least the number of air frames involved seemed high. None of us here has the ability to benchmark US’s performance against other fleets of similar size. For me the source of my anger is the lack of true leadership at the top. If the Executives at US had shown some leadership I’m thinking… Read more »
Yo
Guest
How would executive leadership change things? The company agreed to binding arbitration, as did the west. The company is hamstrung, it has a seniority list it agreed to but can’t negotiate. Its not going to accept USAPA’s list because of the jeopardy of implementing something that isn’t ripe which would cause a DFR. The company asked for some assistance from the court, but they can’t do anything. Nor should they, the pilots have to either accept the Nic list or get the court to allow them to not agree to their binding arbitration. The company has remained neutral, this is… Read more »
Robert Johnson
Guest

True enough. I just benchmark against other carriers. DL-NW had a successful pilot integration as did WN/FL, Ditto for UA/CO (so far). We are now into year 6 with no end in sight. I have a copy of USAPA’s response to Mr Isom if anyone would like to view let me know and I’ll post it.

Robert Johnson
Guest

Sorry to hog up the thread but one of my “Secret Squirrel” contacts sent me me the following verbatim:

“Appx. 1 hour ago,CLT-LAX Crew & pax taken to hospital in LAX for fumes. Unconfirmed but from reliable source.”

This is the third text this week.

Mark
Guest

It’s no secret that Usapa is using their “safety campaign” as a code word for slowing the airline down. Besides that, pilot’s are notorious for spreading baseless rumors. If you are interested, compare the operating stats of PHX v. CLT, PHL, and DCA. The west based pilots aren’t having any issues out of the ordinary and the stats reflect that. If there was a systemic issue with safety, it would be more uniform among the bases. It’s not.

Mark
Guest
UPDATE: US Airways files an Injunction against Usapa for their illegal job action campaign. Friday, July 29, 2011 Dear Fellow Employees, Today the Company filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Charlotte seeking an injunction against USAPA, the labor union that represents our pilots. The lawsuit asks the court to stop USAPA’s illegal job action campaign. This is not a step we take lightly, but we simply can no longer allow the labor union’s illegal and misguided actions to harm US Airways, our employees and our customers. It is important you know that this lawsuit is aimed at USAPA… Read more »
Robert Johnson
Guest

US Airways filed for a Temporary Injunction against USAPA. I have no details as it hasn’t hit the wires yet. At least not that I could find.

DesertGhost
Guest
Maybe US Airway’s management isn’t quite as incompetent as some would have you believe. Maybe there’s been some union sabotage, too. As I wrote before, and was vilified for doing so, maybe we should get the whole story before jumping to conclusions or casting aspersions. Is US Airways perfect? No. Are its unions? No. Do passengers sometimes act as if they’re entitled to more than what they paid for, or overreact if something isn’t perfect? Yes. Do crew members sometimes overreact to criticism or have bad days? Yup. There are good people on both sides of these issues. Maybe we… Read more »
iahphx
Member
Cranky, if you could somehow share those court documents, I’d appreciate it. I used to be a labor lawyer who worked on these injunctions for the airlines, so I’m familiar with the process. From an investment standpoint, I’ve been following Doug Parker’s career for a decade now, and I agree with you that he is an extremely good airline CEO. And Scott Kirby is equally talented as President. I honestly think they’re the 2 smartest execs in the industry, and the employees at US Airways are unbelievably lucky to have them (I honestly wonder why they bother, given how hard… Read more »
Mark
Guest

The company filed 22 documents in the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA, CHARLOTTE DIVISION. I read the company complaint, and it’s 43 pages of extremely damaging evidence against Usapa. The company is very data driven, and they have volumes of evidence showing that this slowdown is real and is being perpetrated exclusively by the “east” pilots, in stark contrast to the “west” pilots who are maintaining historical averages. I have the complaint in pdf. file, but there is no way to upload it in this forum.

Robert Johnson
Guest

That’s why we jokingly refer to Senior Managements as the “Spread Sheet Jockey’s”. If I recall “working to rule” or strict adherence to the FAR’s amd the FOM may not be enough to protect USAPA from damages. One is left to ponder what the USAPA’s next move will be.

NotQuiteUS
Guest

Keep the comments flowing folks! This Cranky post is a success and on its way for most comments ever. Battling it out East vs West. With a court case just announced its gonna get ugly. US Airways vs USAPA Round one fight!

JD
Guest
I have flown US Airways for numerous years, and am sure I had been on many of the airplanes on the fumes list. Come to think of it, I remember occasions where I smelt something, not more than a short whiff. It is no worse than the exhaust from a car. I really don’t see how pilots and flight attendants could be disabled for life with any one encounter of “fume”. All of sudden they become experts, spouting complicated medical terms on their health conditions. Where I am getting to is the USAPA had been feeding all these BS about… Read more »
Robert Johnson
Guest

Actually the Toxic Fumes have been reported mostly by Flight Attendants. It’s actually not an uncommon problem with any of the fleet flown and most airlines have incidents. Are these exaggerated due to union issues? We will never really know. The person who feeds me the info is a F/A, they have yet to be wrong.

Phxflyer
Guest

Robert Johnson – Obviously your a US flight attendant. A very disgruntled one at that. I think it’s time you try and find a new career.

Robert Johnson
Guest
1. Not a F/A, been a Dividend Miles Member since 1996, 9 years as Chairman’s Preferred. 2. I’d get a job emptying Porta Potty’s before I’d work for US. Worst thing ever happened to me is I got a peak inside of US due to my involvement with FFOCUS and the view isn’t pretty. Biggest mistake of my life as now I’m a bit of a Aviation junkie and I garnered a small reputation with the employees as someone who would fearlessly speak out on their behalf. While I’m on here, I’ve been trying to back into this number of… Read more »
Mark
Guest
First, where are you getting this $400M figure from? The complaint is asking for an injunction, not damages. I have heard of the $400M figure, but it came from an airline forum dominated by US Airways east pilots. What I did read in the complaint is that this illegal job action is costing US Airways about $377,000/day. Second, while you may be exactly who you say you are, I wonder about your objectivity. You appear to be regurgitating the same, vague, unsubstantiated allegations about Doug Parker/Scott Kirby that Usapa does, yet you have not put Usapa under any scrutiny. I… Read more »
yo
Guest
Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back Bob. FFOCUS is a joke. Spend a career working for an airline, you’d have credibility. The fact is, the east coast folks are just permanently pissed off, nothing will make them happy and trying to make them happy would just result in bankruptcy. If this were any other industry, they would have to individually perform well to keep their job. They are in a union, so it protects the weak and the lazy. DP and SK saved this airline, the east will never accept that, so its time to get tough… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest
I hope the cause of these fumes can be found. I’ve seen them mentioned in other blogs and news stories. But I also believe it’s quite possible that some pilots are encouraging maintenance crews to improperly use toxic chemicals when they service the aircraft, thereby creating noxious fumes. Deliberate sabotage has been used by some in the past and is not outside the realm of possibility. I hope I’m wrong. To me, all of this is probably the work of a small number of disgruntled and overly militant pilots who have gone overboard and taken things too far. If the… Read more »
Robert Johnson
Guest
F/A’s have been hospitalized for up to two weeks as a result of the fumes. Later today or tomorrow I’m due to speak with a F/A who was hospitalized and hear what they have to say. Anything interesting, I’ll post. Don’t know if you noticed but I never identify anyone even by gender. US Airways has been monitoring the internet looking for employees who violate their Gestapo like rules. The reason people speak to me is they know US can’t touch me and I won’t “Out” them. Trust & Credibility go a long way in business and in life. To… Read more »
Yo
Guest
Oh please, cut the baloney with words like “gestapo”. You lose any gravitas when you mouth off like that. You have a clear bias against US, and you let the “crazy” slip out when you post like this. If Parker told you the sun was shining at high noon on a cloudless day, you’d deny it. Fact is, US management is doing a great job with some lousy people, bad attitudes and operations they inherited from the east. As for “fumes”, it sounds more like Induced Mass Psychogenic Illness (look it up) with a touch of drama queen and pissed… Read more »
Robert Johnson
Guest
RE: USAPA, @Mike, You are correct that I haven’t said much about USAPA here and I apologize to you for that. I long ago made up my mind about the leadership of that organization and frankly it isn’t a favorable one. The history of ALPA/USAPA has not IMO been friendly to the rank & file pilots and now they have exposed their members to the potential damage assessments should US prevail in their legal actions. That’s just bad strategy and even worse tactics in what will be a vain attempt to speed up the contract process. IIRC Their own attorney… Read more »
Nick Barnard
Member

I can’t see the logic is faulting DP & SK for the ALPA/USAPA’s fracas. When this started both pilot groups were part of ALPA which has a defined process for merging two pilot’s groups from different carriers. One side just decided not to follow that defined process.

If I were in the management position I’d figure that the pilots would logically and rationally apply their union’s process and get on with it.. Getting involved inside a union’s internal processes shouldn’t be management’s problem, although it now is because of the USAPA’s wildcat tactics.

Mark
Guest
Doug Parker was warned before the merger was complete, that he shouldn’t assume that saving the east pilots from unemployment would somehow endear him to them. He ignored that advice and is now finally having to face up to it. I agree, that much of what is happening could have been nipped in the bud before ALPA left the property and in regard to the Nicalou award. He should have taken a far stronger stand on the company’s acceptance of the award (absolutely required via the transition agreement between the 3 parties). Instead, I believe he took advantage of having… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest
Maybe US Airways should emulate Delta and buy out the older pilots and other employees. The best thing for all parties this dispute is to get rid of the disgruntled old fogies and let everyone get on with their lives and business. The days of regulation and artificially high fares and high wages is long gone. People now vote with their wallets; and ultra low fare carriers like Spirit and Allegiant who offer cattle car service and charge fees for virtually everything are far more profitable then legacy carriers who offer more amenities. Southwest has also been growing for years… Read more »
Robert Johnson
Guest

Agree with most of the post. However the current CASM at the “New US Airways” is among the very highest in the industry even when adjusted for stage length and fuel.

Mark
Guest

True, but the old US Airways had the same problem, maybe even worse (two bankruptcies in just a couple of years). The old AWA had near the lowest CASM’s until the merger, where both sides were averaged. This is why US Airways closed down the LAS base, which was profitable when AWA had their base there, but when they combined the east CASM into the mix, it then became unprofitable. It’s a shame, as the AWA was very competitive against SWA in almost every market, including LAS.

Barry
Guest

Oh man!

Your version of reality is something else. US Airways closed down the LAS base because there is no money there. It is an entirely leisure market!

What is your reasoning for all the red ink the casinos are generating? Just because something was great when everyone in the country was spending like drunken sailors doesn’t mean it stays that way forever.

Mark
Guest
Typical of a east usapa supporter, just emotion and no facts. US Airways (AAA) had and and has a very high CASM due to it’s NE based routes. That’s just the way it is and was. America West had a low CASM due to not having to operate all it’s flights in the NE (and other reasons). Yes, Las Vegas was hurting in 2008 due to the economy, no one disputes that, but there is also no disputing the very high CASM for the east based operation, and how that effected the overall combined CASM, which made a LAS based… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest
I’ve seen various analyses. Most have US Airway’s costs somewhere in between UA, CO, AA’s and WN’s. A recent analysis by Barclays (on CAPA, I believe) re: Spirit showed that, too. In fact based on that analysis and others I’ve seen, US’s costs are in roughly line with AS and HA’s. So, with all due respect, I believe your information is factually incorrect. But if that’s what you want to believe (and I think you want to believe only the worst about US), be my guest. The information I’ve seen from multiple sources paints a very different picture from yours.… Read more »
Robert Johnson
Guest
An EXCELLENT Source for information regarding an airline is a website for the Airline Data Project which is funded by MIT. An institution that I think would to be an independent and reliable source. They break the data down so many ways you can easily get a very good snapshot of any US airline you choose. US Airways has the 2nd highest CASM (ex-Transport) of any carrier. Now they’re all pretty close. If you look at CASM (Ex-Fuel) US has the highest cost of any domestic carrier with a 12.70 Cents CASM. Next closest is UA at 11.47 cents. On… Read more »
Mark
Guest
@DesertGhost. I absolutely do NOT want US Airways to liquidate or suffer through a bankruptcy. And I’m pretty sure no where have I suggested that. In fact, above I stated that Doug Parker has delivered in regards to creating a new airline that is doing a good job, and that it is a pretty good success. And no where do I state my personal feelings about Doug Parker, mainly because it has nothing to do with the discussion. As far as CASM, I dont’ know how it stacks up today, but I do remember what it was when they compared… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest
Oops! My comment was aimed at “RobertJohnson” not you. I probably pushed the wrong “reply” button. ——————- I hope all of this can be resolved in an adult manner, but the prospects don’t look too good. ——————– To reitterate what I wrote to “Robert” I hope I’m wrong. ——————– To CF, the CASM debate reminds me of Mark Twain’s old bromide, “There are three kinds of lies; lies, dam*ed lies and statistics.” Most of the analyses I’ve seen are stage length adjusted. As is true of many things (sports comes immediately to mind) statistics don’t always tell the whole story.… Read more »
John Taylor
Guest
Speaking from my perspective as a British airline Captain…. It does not matter now if US Airways were right or wrong to remove their Captain from the flight… they wanted to send out a message to the union and they have succeeded. What the FAA says about MEL defects being compliant or not is all so much political BS. US Airways have now ensured that every Captain will remain silent when faced with a critical unservicability and that he will accept the aircraft regardless of the associated peril. Just go away and think about that for a while….. There are… Read more »
Mark
Guest
Unfortunately, there is much more to the story. She refused the aircraft, which falls under her captain’s authority. But the reason she was removed from the airport was because she made some very inappropriate announcements to the passengers regarding her opinion of how safe the airline was. She made an announcement on the aircraft, then later in the boarding area. She was not removed because she refused to fly. What makes this even worse is that Usapa is engaged in an illegal job action and the company has been watching everyone (east based, since that is the pilot group involved).… Read more »
vailskier
Guest
The comments “she made to the pax” is simply a lie. My source said that “NEVER HAPPENED”. It was a story made up by the management person that was in charge that night. Yes the East pilots are fed up. Are you aware the the West pilots are paid 16,000 dollars more per year; receive 10 days more vacation per year; better sick leave benefits and much more. One senior (30 years plus) Airbus 330 International Captain earns almost 100,000 dollars a year less than their child who has been flying for Southwest for only seven years as a copilot.… Read more »
Yo
Guest

Its your fault you are on LOA93. Accept the nic and then you can start working on a contract. Nic is not going away. You already forfeited years worth of better pay by trying to get DOH. The east settled for LOA93, not the company’s fault, its your fault. You could have had a contract long ago if you had just lived up to your binding arbitration promise.

Mark
Guest

@vailskier: If you really believe she was removed from the airport for only refusing to fly an airplane, you will believe anything.

Robert Johnson
Guest
According to MIT’s Airline data project US stage length is 1,447 versus 972 for US. Interestingly enough the Industry’s most consistently profitable airlin had and average stage length of 636 miles. Average Stage Length Flown of Total Large Narrowbody Fleet, US has the second longest stage length losing to CO by 3 miles. When you look at Stage length adjusted CESM, US leads the pack with the lowest cost for a legacy. They are also #1 in ancillary fees in raw dollar terms beating out significantly larger carriers. I used this chart, System Total Expense (Excluding Fuel) per Available Seat… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest

Speaking of MIT, I would love to read William Swelbar’s take on this whole mess.

Robert Johnson
Guest

Me Too!

All I did was grab stuff off an MIT website. All of the RASM/CASM numbers for US are skewed IMO due to the impasse with the pilots. I’m no airline exec but no one can tell me that a fully integrated airline would not have lower cost and better opportunities to enhance RASM.

DesertGhost
Guest

Not necessarily. A few US Airways earnings calls have included management’s opinion on the net effects of a new contract with all of the synergies and pay raises (the ones offered by US) taken into consideration. Labor costs overall will be higher by a few million dollars (I don’t remember the figure off the top of my head) when the raises go into effect and the operational benefits. Parker and Kirby have been very consistent and up front about this. USAPA is harming its members by its actions.

Have we set a record for comments, yet?

DesertGhost
Guest

I only addressed costs in the last post. I’m no expert but I guess (and that’s all it is) that higher utilization could help increase RASM. That is part of the equation. But the bottom line is this; it’s way past time to get this whole thing resolved.

Mark
Guest

The so-called “Kirby proposal” was offered sometime around May 2007. It would increase pilot labor costs by $120M. If not for the east pilots leaving joint contract negotiations shortly thereafter, an even more expensive contract would have been obtained.

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[…] that ad the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA) took out in USA Today claiming that US Airways was unsa…? There was a specific flight used as an example and that may be coming back to bite the union. […]

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