Cranky on the Web: Last Class, The Legacy of Richard Anderson, SeaPort’s Pain

Delta

The Opening Bell (Brett Snyder, Cranky Flier Interview)WGN Radio
I spoke with WGN Radio about the so-called “Last Class” idea of no frills and cheap fares. I’m not sure they expected me to actually like the idea.

Richard Anderson: Crazy or Crazy Like A Fox — Or Both?AirwaysNews
This is a great long article looking at the legacy of Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta. I was able to give my opinion alongside those of many others in the industry. I highly recommend a read.

SeaPort Airlines abruptly cancels service in several statesUSA Today
Another little airline can’t find enough pilots to fly its schedule. SeaPort has walked away from a bunch of markets, and I was asked to comment.

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9 comments on “Cranky on the Web: Last Class, The Legacy of Richard Anderson, SeaPort’s Pain

  1. It’s sad that SeaPort and other carriers have to stop flying when they don’t want to because the FEDS had to raise the hours needed to become a pilot. The FEDS are partly to blame but the news media needs to take a lot of the blame for the reporting of the CO commuter crash that started this all in the first place. It was them in the name of rating and needing to fill 24hr a days news headlines that got the public noticing this and the FEDS having to calm the public. After all, airplanes were not falling out of the sky every day with the old way. Now the public will suffer in lose of service. While military pilots can have less then the federal mandate, it’s not enough to fill the gap. Time to change the rules again to better service the public.

    1. Airlines only have themselves to blame for this one, by structuring wages in such a dual track way, where regional and smaller pilots get paid peanuts in the hopes of achieving a mainline position that makes the sacrifices worthwhile. Companies consistently complain about not having warm bodies, but then balk at raising wages or doing in house training. This situation is no different, and people had a good amount of time to adjust their schedules and business plans to meet this new expectation.

    2. The FEDS are just trying to prevent accidents. I don’t know about you, but I consider all passengers’ lives to be equally valuable, whether they are on a 747 or a Cessna Caravan. The airlines need to fix their pricing and salary structure rather than blaming the government.

  2. Great radio voice, Brett. You could definitely do a radio show or podcast if you ever wanted to.

    Disappointed about Sea Port. I flew them on an EAS flight from Dallas Love to Harrison/Boone County, AR, via a stop in Hot Springs, and it was my favorite flight of all time. Small ~8 seater Cessna, great service by the pilots, enough chop to keep it interesting (I really like turbulence as long as no one is hurt or gets sick). Best of all, I was able to snag seat 1A, and there was no cockpit door, so I got to look over the pilots’ shoulders the whole time. I really like the small planes as a change of pace.

  3. It is most unfortunate to see SeaPort Airlines forced to trim their schedule, especially against their will. They are a great, if tiny airline providing excellent service and very cheerful staff. I have flown with them several times, all in the Northwest. My first flight was simply to experience the Pilatus-12 which was later moved to a different market. (Perhaps the model will return to the Northwest?)
    I do not know the correct answer to the new pilot time requirements, but perhaps there should be some exemptions for FOs flying with such small airlines. PICs? Heavens yes; demand full qualification! Still, the junior FOs have to build hours and experience in an airline environment and they do not just wake up some morning with the magic 1500 hours. The Northwest is a demanding environment for independent commuter airlines, but SeaPort seems to thrive. And the ugly elephant in the room still seems to be the pilot’s compensation package; those ‘kids’ MUST be better paid if SeaPort and similar carriers expect to retain them for a couple-three years at the minimum. I think SeaPort could pay a bit more, but they just won’t do it. Everyone wants fully qualified, experienced pilots! In this case, I think that Congress and the FAA screwed up, big time, concerning the smallest carriers in the business. ATPs, type certificates nad more total hours ARE appropriate for a mini-carrier’s PICs, but not for the most junior of the FO group. (As for getting Congress/FAA to admit to an error and then correct it? Good Luck!) -C.

  4. OK – I know I’m going to ruffle some feathers here. Call me a fanboy, but Richard Anderson is doing what shareholders and board of directors is expecting and paying him and his upper level staff to do.

    1. Question the world economy based on competition from Middle Eastern carriers and partners like KLM/AF.

    2. Question why they pay more than others due to EMF loans. He and others have a point of lower cost financing for aircraft from Boeing to foreign carriers than domestic.

    3. What should be first, making a profit no matter what.

    4. An airline that meets customer targets. Yes I’ve flown others in my small markets, but I’ve already booked this year based on previous positive experience.

  5. Great radio interview, Brett! You definitely did not give the interview the host was hoping to get! Count me among the happy Delta customers who love flying on an operationally sound airline (usually through Atlanta). I used to fly US Air almost exclusively and switched to Delta a few years ago. There is an astonishing difference in operations. Employees generally seem much happier, too. Most of my flights out of GSP are on mainline metal now, too. I couldn’t be happier with my flight experiences these days.

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