3 Links I Love: Delta’s Hypocrisy, Sully Haters, American Pilots Integrate

Accidents/Incidents, Delta, Links I Love

This week’s featured link:
Delta’s “Fly America” complaints get stranger the closer you lookATW Editor’s Blog
Delta’s still mad at the Middle East carriers, and now it’s mad at JetBlue for using an Emirates codeshare to win Fly America contracts. (Those are the government contracts that must be awarded to US carriers, even if it’s just a codeshare on a foreign airline.) The problem is that Delta does the same thing. Karen calls Delta out in this editorial with specifics. Delta can split hairs here if it wants. JetBlue won’t fly any part of the Emirates route while Delta could operate part of the routes it won, but that’s just ridiculous.

For example, Delta could fly people from Honolulu to Seoul on Delta metal to Tokyo connecting to a codeshare on Korean to Seoul. But let’s be honest. Nobody is going to do that. They’ll all take the nonstop on Korean with the Delta codeshare. Further, Hawaiian flies that nonstop itself, so if flying your own metal nonstop is important, then Delta should go ahead and hand that route over to Hawaiian now.

I really don’t understand how Delta chooses which battles to fight. This one is just silly.

Links I Love

Two for the road:
Crash Investigators Pan Their Casting as Villains in ‘Sully’Bloomberg
No, you read the post title wrong. It’s not that people hate Sully the man. It’s that some people hate Sully the movie, which is in theaters today. And those people are the well-respected NTSB investigators who are cast as villains. I’m really not sure if I’m going to see this movie or not. It’s just not grabbing me.

American Pilot Seniority IntegrationJetCareers
American’s pilots (including the America West, American, and US Airways groups) now have a single unified seniority list. If you go to the 10th comment on this thread, someone attached the entire award there, and it’s a pretty good read. I can’t remember where I read it, but one pilot mentioned in a discussion group that if everyone’s a little pissed off, then the integration is a good one.

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27 comments on “3 Links I Love: Delta’s Hypocrisy, Sully Haters, American Pilots Integrate

  1. Regarding the GSA awards, the hypocrisy in writing about Delta is multifold
    1. American and United also complained about JetBlue’s award
    2. In standard industry pricing policy, the US big 3 can and do fly the longest segment of the route awards it receives but JetBlue cannot.
    3. Carriers regularly win GSA awards by offering a less convenient schedule and the same principle applies to non-government pricing. By the logic above, should airlines other than Delta and Southwest not bother to compete in the Atlanta to San Diego market since they don’t have nonstop flights?
    4. JetBlue has already said it plans to start competing in long-haul international flying within a few years. The Middle East 3 airlines are subsidized but JetBlue is not. It is guaranteed that JetBlue will whine incessantly when the US 3 aggressively compete with JetBlue in the international market segment where the big 3 have a clear advantage and multi decade head start.
    5. A major part of JetBlue’s current business model including bidding for international GSA awards has come from providing regional feed for multiple foreign carriers, a model potentially at conflict with offering its own service

    1. Re your points 2 and 3: did you read the article Cranky linked to (or Cranky’s summary), which explicitly address and, by my reading, disproved your points? DL has the contract for a number of city-pairs for which its foreign codeshare partner operates nonstop service, so most or all passengers flying under the GSA contract will not use DL metal at all and will certainly be using the foreign partner for the longest segment. With the nonstop operated by a partner, DL does indeed have the most convenient schedule (or at least an equally-convenient schedule) on these partner-operated flights.

      Re your point 5: What is wrong with a domestic US airline partnering with foreign carriers to get some extra traffic onto its domestic network? The costs to developing a long haul network are very, very large, and this helps domestic airlines (notably jetBlue and Alaska Airlines, the most successful practitioner of this strategy) provide strong competition to the big 4 on domestic routes.

  2. The issue I have with “Sully” is we are simply too close to the events. Do we really need a movie about an event that happened less than 8 years ago? The contrast with Apollo 13 is stark here, where at that time the events had happened 25 years before. That seems to be a reasonable time to me.

    I guess there is a case that if you are going to get an artistic statement on these events out of Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks that now is the time…

  3. Did the original American Airlines keep any of the TWA pilots or were they all furloughed and therefore are not part of the integration of USAir, America West and American?

    1. Howie – There are still TWA pilots flying as far as I know. But they were integrated into the American seniority list (or, uh, stapled on to the bottom) years ago. So this integration was solely between American, America West, and US Airways pilots, none of which had been integrated previously.

      1. Not all TW pilots were stapled. Some were but a certain group were blended. There are many on the 767 out of MIA and others are scattered around bases and equipment types across the system.

      2. Thanks, I always feel that the TWAIN Pilots got screwed by ALPA!

        Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

      3. There are still PSA pilots flying!

        Its disgusting that the USAirways pilots could go against an agreed upon arbitration, form their own spite union and thumb their noses at something they agreed to, then acted like children after they didn’t like the results.

        Ah, forget it Jake…..its Chinatown.

        1. What is more amazing is the USAir East pilots were little more than regional airline pilots. Their pay was less than several puddle jumper airlines, but they got a windfall with this merger. They belonged on the bottom of the list.

          1. Thank you for clarifying this. I had no idea that flying A330’s and B767’s to cities such as London, Rome, Paris, Tel Aviv, Rio, Sao Paulo, Dublin, Manchester, Glasgow, Shannon, Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfort, Munich, Zurich, Milan, Venice, Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon was characterized as “regional flying.” I guess the world is shrinking more than I thought……..

  4. The whole ‘Fly America’ act does nothing but cost the American tax payers a lot of money needlessly since while space must be booked as a U.S. carrier, it’s often the actual airline flying the aircraft that has the lower fare. And since some airlines in alliances share revenue U.S. tax payer dollars are still going to the foreign carrier anyway. The act either needs to go away and government workers fly the lowest priced carrier or changed to really mean fly american and only on a U.S. carrier operated fly were possible.

  5. When I saw the Sully Haters headline, I was expecting a link to Patrick Smith at “Ask the Pilot.” He seems to be on a long, unrewarding quest to convince people that Sully’s actions were of no particular note.

  6. One of the signs of a good compromise is that everyone complains about part (not all) of it.

  7. @Tim Dunn – you seem to have a grievance against JetBlue for some reason. “It is guaranteed that JetBlue will whine incessantly”? Not sure where you’re getting that idea – what has B6 “whined” about competition before? (Well, wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve complained about the Feds’ past favoritism toward Southwest, but who hasn’t?) JetBlue already competes with the network carriers on lots of shorter international routes already, they know how it works.

    As for “Sully”, I have to admit I’m really tired about hearing about him, and the whole “Miracle On The Hudson” thing. It sounds like the movie carries on in the vein of all the past coverage where it’s suggested that he was somehow gifted with skills far beyond mere mortal pilots, and the first officer gets little or no credit. Patrick Smith may bang on about this a little overmuch, but he has a point.

  8. T@AlexHill
    The example used was a Delta fare from Honolulu to Seoul with CF noting that Delta is the carrier to Tokyo which is a much higher percentage of the journey than JetBlue has of a journey to the Middle East. Tell me what percentage of GSA awards are for routes to the US big 3 are for journeys that the big 3 cannot operate any overwater segment. That is comparable to the JetBlue situation. I’m not sure I see it as ridiculous if a carrier codeshares on a foreign carrier in order to meet a US law (good bad or indifferent) and can’t serve any part of a journey
    You did hear the whining from JetBlue about the Delta- AeroMexico joint venture, slots at LaGuardia and JFK, and divestitures as part of the American/USAirways merger… just for starters

    1. Honolulu to Seoul has a KE-operated nonstop; the article noted that most passengers will use that instead of going one-stop via NRT. And it listed five other DL-marketed, partner-operated routes:

      • Los Angeles-Brisbane (nonstop flight is operated by Virgin Australia; Delta does not serve Brisbane with its own aircraft); • Honolulu-Seoul (nonstop is operated by Korean Air); • Washington DC-Seoul (nonstop operated by Korean Air); • Los Angeles-Taipei (nonstop operated by China Airlines); • New York-Shanghai (nonstop operated by China Eastern); • Washington DC-Paris (nonstop operated by Air France).

      The article lists a number of other examples in which the US carrier won’t, in practice, operate the overwater segment in most cases. You can argue whether or not you think that’s a good thing, but B6 is not appreciably more egregious if you think it’s a bad thing and is clearly within the (current) law no matter what you think.

    2. Alex,
      Delta publishes a routing to Brisbane via Sydney on its own metal and lists that connection above its nonstop codeshare partner flights. Again, the difference between the big 3 US global carriers and JetBlue Is that B6 can’t carry a passenger one single mile off the N American continent on its own metal toward the Middle East

      And the hypocrisy remains that if JetBlue believes it can compete in a global region via its codeshare partners, it has no right whatsoever to complain about access to Mexico City, LaGuardia or JFK if codeshare service on its partners is good enough with no service at all on its own metal on the journey

      Southwest’s strategy of not codesharing on a journey that it can’t fly itself makes far more sense than JetBlue’s

      Once again, the complaint regarding the Emirates/JetBlue GSA award like the ME3 complaints were made by American, Delta and United. It says very little about one’s values if you stop complaining when someone objects. If you don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen but all of the big 3 started both of these complaints

      1. B6 figures they can get a slice of revenue on some flights via the codeshare, and it’s entirely legal. Why shouldn’t they? They’ve never claimed that a codeshare flight is as profitable as flying their own metal. Own-metal access to MEX is a completely unrelated issue, and there’s nothing hypocritical about wanting access to a city they’re capable of flying too while using a codeshare to win a contract for a city they’re not capable of flying to in the near term. (I admit to having never heard of B6 complaints about MEX access, and can only find one subscriber-only article about it.)

        If you don’t like the way the Fly America Act is written, that’s fine (that makes two of us, but not for this reason), but calling jetBlue “hypocritical” for taking advantage of an opportunity afforded by the law is silly.

        I too am generally not supportive of the ME3 for a variety of reasons (including indirect structural state subsidies/advantages but most importantly their mistreatment of labor), but B6’s GSA contract isn’t a reasonable place to fight that fight.

        1. That makes several of us that don’t like the Fly America Act. I agree with the above to either make it meaningful or get rid of it.

          We can disagree but I believe it is highly relevant that JetBlue chooses to compete in some regions of the world solely with codeshares but then argues against commercial arrangements and historic strengths that the big 3 have and demands that JetBlue be given similar access.

          Alaska and Southwest haven’t put themselves into the same strategic quandary of trying to compete in international markets for which it cannot serve one mile of the journey while also arguing for greater access to limited access airports. Remember that JetBlue once had a codeshare arrangement with American that provided significant access to markets JetBlue couldn’t serve but that relationship ended. JetBlue can’t pick and choose among relationships it wants to maintain and then call itself slighted when its once partners gain an advantage even while JetBlue does the same thing. And the same thing works in reverse for the big 3. Either the GSA award complaints AND JetBlue’s complaints about the Delta and AeroMexico JV and US airport access are all ridiculous or none of them are.

  9. 1) We all know that DL has a pathological hatred of the ME3. I think there is some justification in why they feel the way they do, but they will go after them anyway possible.

    2) Has there been a movie about UA 232 and their heroic pilots? I still think it’s the most amazing story of a pilot saving passengers even though not all survived that disaster. Also Clint Eastwood is someone who has a very libertarian view of the world, so I guess it’s not a surprise he made the NTSB into the bad guys even though IMO they are one of the best run organizations in our government.

    3) I never understood why it is so difficult to come up with a combined seniority list. Just list them in the order they were hired. Why is that so difficult?

    1. Southbay –

      2) Well, there’s been an attempt at one: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104020/

      No idea if that’s watchable at all, but it’s certainly not getting the Tom Hanks treatment.

      3) Them’s fightin’ words. Pilots can give you a million reasons, I’m sure, but not all airlines are equal. So when you bring them together, pilots at each airline think they should be treated better than the other. It’s a very complex thing.

  10. I agree with southbay flier that it should be easy to integrate pilot seniority lists based on date of hire but I’ve had pilots try to explain way it is so complicated. It is something you have to take on faith, I guess, since I’m not a pilot and don’t have either the time or interest to understand the issues.

    As for “Sully,” I thought it was good, although they obviously had to take a few liberties with the story to make the film fit into an interesting 90-minute story. Considering the crap in theaters these days, this movie is a success. Cranky, why not see it and write a review?

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