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JetBlue joins Air Line Pilots Association

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What are some thoughts of your about the news that jetBlues pilots are joining ALPA (investor.jetblue.com) さらに...

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PhotoFinish
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-04-22/airline-mergers-pushed-jetblues-pilots-to-join-a-union
PhotoFinish
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-04-22/airline-mergers-pushed-jetblues-pilots-to-join-a-union

[This poster has been suspended.]

joelwiley
That is like comparing apples with orangutans. Somewhat different clientele and different goals. The pilot transports the cargo (autoload or not) from point a to point b and is done with it- a relatively straightforward task. The doctor's task list is 'somewhat' different - working to keep the 'cargo' from shuffling off this mortal coil prematurely.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 2
Apes and oranges...

[This poster has been suspended.]

THRUSTT
THRUSTT 2
I don't think it'll ever get better Phil, it started downhill in the 90's with this pay for training crap and morons who were willing to work for free!!!
PhotoFinish
Absolutely not true. A teenager can undergo a limited number of hours of flight instruction and get a license to fly a plane solo.

A doctor must complete 13-14 years of basic schooling followed by four years of college and four years of medical school. Then their training isn't even over. Then they start by earning $25k-$45k for several years as an intern/resident to continue their training on the job.

Pilots don't spend 21-22 years of schooling followed by 3-5 years of on the job training (making under $50k) before they can fly solo. A physician must undergo all that training and experience before being able to practice medicine in a solo practice.

So the oxlong's comments are just plane wrong. Completely and absolutely wrong connivery measure. Physicians put in 11-15 years of trianing after high school (most of that time having to pay tuition for the medical education received) before seeing more than $50 grand a year.

It is possible to create a pilotless flight deck that would fly the entire flight from airport to airport. (Not that it would be well received by the flying public but the function is easily mechanized.)

The judgment of a physician in accurately diagnosing a wide variety of patients with all kinds of ailments takes much greater knowledge, analysis and judgement.

I would even go so far as to compare pilots with bus drivers and truck drivers.

1) Many buses have many more passengers (55-100+) than a largest proportion of planes including most business jets, private planes and regional airline passenger planes.

2) There are many more accidents on surface roads that a bus can encounter than crashes mid-air that Coukd potentially foul up a plane's flight.

3) There are many more idiotic drivers of other vehicles that travel in much closer ptoximity to the buses, that a bus striver had to contend with every day, and that most pilot will not ever have to deal with in an entire career of flying.

So if anything, by your criteria most bus drivers should be paid much more than most pilots. but as far as your comparison to doctors, your commentary was completely off-base and just plane wrong.
preacher1
This is kinda outa character for you. I would agree on the Doctor's time needed but a solo pilot's license in the hands of a teenager is not anywhere near an ATP flying big iron. By the time one gets thru the regionals and into a decent job, there is not near the disparity in the time frame. There are a lot of RJ drivers out there that would love to be making 50k. I have the utmost respect for the road too but I don't think it is good for comparison. There is a lot more complicity to sitting in the left seat of a 767 or such as there is behind the wheel of a big rig, although all modes have their own challenges and I also doubt you see pilotless stuff around for a good while, regardless of the bean counters and technology. My rant for today; have a good 'un. LOL
canuck44
canuck44 2
LOL Wayne...I must have been a slow learner as I took 14 years after high school interrupted and expanded by three years serving Her Majesty. If I had just hung in with Her, I could have retired at age 60 like the 76 pilot.
PhotoFinish
My apologies to any whose sensebilities may have been offended in showing the absurdity of comparing the pilot to the doctor.

I figured a comparison of the regional pilot's job to the charter bus driver's job is much less absurd than the earlier comparison of the pilot to the doctor. Personally, I like having access to the services of both when I want to travel or need urged medical care respectively.

Plus, I'm in no rush to get on a pilotless plane anytime soon, not even for half the fare. I just noticed that auto pilots have been designed to fly planes for nearly all if not the entirety of a plane's flight.

Bus autopilots are not far behind. They'll first have to get the technology right first on cars. The task of automating the tasks of a bus driver has proven to be a substantially more challenging task than the creation of autopilot technology for planes. That would lead credence to the idea tbat my absurd comparison of pilot to bus driver is not so ridiculous and a bit closer than most of us would want to admit.

Clearly I have been a strong advocate of good pay for our regional pilots. I'd like to go on the record as a proponent for better pay for the guys and gals shuttling most of our commercial airline passengers around (the regional airline pilots). You can cleary count me as one who would not be a proponent of physician pay for pilots, not even on big iron.

Pilots should be well paid. But thank god for competition. It brings reality back into the equation whenever some push things out of balance. Airline bankruptcy and wage concessions have largely resulted from collective bargaining's distortion of the industry.

And don't get me started on CEO pay. I don't have the answer on that one. Executive pay in many cases seems to be adsurdly out of balance, and I don't know which mechanism will eventually bring much needed balance in that area.
preacher1
Well, if an auto pilot and the resulting automation is used correctly, a comparison to a car or ground transport would be cruise control. Although tying a bunch more crap together, that is a glorified name for cruise. You are still supposed to drive the plane. The pay issue will eventually work itself out what with supply and demand and the unions. I won't get into the CEO thing either, but they are answering to that top 1% and doing just exactly what those folks want them too. You really can't blame them for trying to get all they can, but some blame goes to the boards for paying it.
PhotoFinish
Agree, except that cruise is not even in the same league as the many autopilot settings and modes available on a plane.

With autopilot a pilot can get the plane 99% of the way to the destination, from minutes after takeoff or less, and then just land the plane on final approach. And if the minimums are near zero, the pilot can choose to use the autoland instead. This has been available for a good long while.

We still don't have a bus cruise contol that will get a bus from New York to LA, without substantial and continuous manual control of the bus. If the bus driver takes hands off the steering wheel or takes eyes off the road for more than a few seconds, the likelihood that someone will die quickly becomes extremely high.

In contrast, pilots can relax for hours on end on long transcontinental or transoceanic flights. It is prudent for pilots to stay alert and keep on eye on the panels, and be ready in case of an emergency, particularly one in which the plane computer disconnects the autopilot because the conditions and/or inputs are insufficient to continue flying the plane.

There are no buses that have any similar kind of automation available. There just isn't the technology yet. It's coming but not yet here. With all the truck drivers and bus drivers and car drivers for business, commuter and personal uses; if it were easy, it would've been done already. There is much need.

All the major automative companies and even tech companies like google are working on autodrive. It's just an extremely complex problem. Only now are they getting close to being able to offer an autodrive technology that is close to the reliability of autopilot technology that has been available for decades.

Humans are extremely capable. Computers are still far behind being able to perform tasks like driving on roads, that may seem simple to experienced drivers. But the difficulty of trying to automate driving shows how extremely complicated the activity is. It is a continuous and endless series of tasks from the moment driving begins until driving ends either intentionally or in a crash.

Also, the market will eventually push starting pilot pay to a level that is commensurate with the responsiblity. Regional pilots flying regionals with 35-100 seats (similar to charter bus capacities) shouldn't be paid less than charter bus drivers, aprox $40-$90k.

But I disagree that unions will be the primary means of creating a balances system. At least the history of collective bargaining in aviation seems to indicate the opposite.

Airlines with unions have tended to have higher top level pay for the most senior pilots, but also the most bankruptcies, most wage concessions, most benefit concessions, most pensions concessions, greatest use of regional airlines to mitigate the higher cost of bargained labor.

Airlines without unions have historically had the happiest workers, the most satisfied passengers, the least use of rwgional airlines.

So if you include the flights handled for the majors by regional airlines (which these regional flights are in many cases often the majority of majors' flights), the majority of pilots for majors start lower than the larger non-union shops, and work for less for many years at the regionals with the hope to someday move up to big iron.

To be clear, the collective bargaining has been a huge part of creating the mess that we have now, with many, many pilots toiling away at substandard wages carrying passengers for the majors while flying for the regionals.

Pilots who have started at JetBlue (the subject of this article) and places like Southwest and VirginAmerica, are immediately doing much better than their regional breathren working for the majors.

I won't go as far as stating that the unionization of JetBlue pilots is bad for those who voted for the measure. But if history is a guide, it will be horrible for future JetBlue hires, for future JetBlue passengers, for JetBlue investors, and for JetBlue.

But we can wait and see how it shakes out. Maybe, JetBlue pilots will be more honorable and treat their future colleagues at the airline, better than than their colleagues at other airlines have historically treated new hires, just starting out in the commercial passenger airliner piloting business.
preacher1
I would agree that CRUISE is a very crude analogy but it was the best I could do on short notice. LOL. That said, while an AP takes a big workload of rather mundane stuff off a pilot, if one is properly doing their job, they should be doing a lot of monitoring on that long flight, and know exactly where they are if Mr. Murphy walks in and flips the AP off, without having to spend an inordinate amount of time figuring it out.In other words, they still need to be flying the plane, rather than just getting by. The few that don't are the ones that usually make the bad headlines.As far as the unions go, it is a tossup. You have good and bad, with most gaining a bad reputation on account of the actions of a few. There are even some majors right now with pilots flying that are not under union contract. It is a toss up, depending on the union and the size of the company, as to which is best. In all my time, I never had the pleasure of belonging to ALPA and like representing myself; sometimes that is not possible as a company grows and individualism is lost. As you say, it will be interesting to see how all this shakes out and how the local and company performs. Years ago, A friend of mine was in management in the textile business. The company had 84 plants. The union got into 4 of them. At that point, the company froze wages and bennys for those 4 plants and continued annual increases for the rest. The dug out contract negotiaions for the union plants for a couple of years, finally agreed, and they brough those 4 plants up to where the other plants were. Those folks were out 2 years worth of union dues and 2 increase that had come along. Sad
PhotoFinish
One of the issues with airline unions is that at many shops, the union membership colluded with management to screw new future pilots (both at the mainlines as well as affiliated regionals) in exchange for massive wage increases for the more senior fliers.

This reality undercuts the notion of brotherhood, which it turns out, too often is just a talking point, and quickly sacrificed when at odds with the self interest of some members.
joelwiley
Sort of like eating your seed corn, or worse, selling it for a couple of cigars.
CaptainFreedom
Hey don't trash the bean counter for trying to craete pilot-free flight decks. The engineers are the true culprits here :)
preacher1
Everybody's just got a job to do. Some things will mesh and some won't. LOL
PilotEricB
Might I suggest allowing your head to cool off a little before posting next time.

"It is possible to create a pilotless flight deck that would fly the entire flight from airport to airport. (Not that it would be well received by the flying public but the function is easily mechanized.)"

Show me an autopilot or other mechanized system that can determine the best deviation around convective activity, how to avoid turbulence, or land with a gusty, unstable crosswind (even autoland has crosswind limitations.)

I use my professional judgment each and every time I fly an airplane - in ways too numerous for you or I to list, let alone have an automated system replicate. This isn't an either-or proposition of who has the bigger sexual organ, but please don't insult my intelligence by suggesting my job is no more difficult or intellectually involved than navigating a bus down a city street. Your response is ludicrous on its face.
nasdisco
Chris B 2
Most Doctors I know take home $200k plus once they our out of residency at the start. Sure school debt kicks in but they can buy pretty nice homes. I should know, I'm their mortgage guy!
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
Do us a favor, hit them up with a higher rate!!!

[This poster has been suspended.]

joelwiley
Also, a pilot can kill more people in one day than a doctor will in his or her carrer.

[This poster has been suspended.]

joelwiley
Remember than when appendicitis strikes, or crushing chest pain.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
Think holistic, there's a berry or a leaf out there at whole foods to fix that!!!
joelwiley
That reminds me of the Tom Lehrer line
"feeling like a Christian Scientist with an appendicitis"
preacher1
As I said above, everybody has a job to do. Even in the Bible, there were them that sat at the gate and there were them that swept the streets. Each one, whether big or small, makes a hard way to go without the other. The pilot is definitely going to need the doctor at some point and time, and the doctor will have to travel some, whether by highway or air. Life is just one big interaction.

[This poster has been suspended.]

joelwiley
res ipsa loquitur
preacher1
What is sad is that the company should have seen it coming and done something if they had wanted to prevent it. That said, if a JB pilot ever wanted to change companies, he'd about have to join ALPA anyway. Even some companies that are largely non-union have their pilots unionized.
preacher1
DAL is another, ain't it?
preacher1
No, I was thinking Delta, DAL
jcatherton
Must be due to the fact that JetBlue started flying into Detroit last October...the pilots, obviously, realized what great benefits Union membership would bring them...
Moviela
Just what are the great benefits? Paying a hefty initiation to indulge the left leaning political propensities of the union leadership? Having their pay reduced every month by a not inconsequential amount to pay for the ALPA to engage management in collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining only works if the pilots have something management dearly needs. The real truth is if there is a strike (the only bargaining chip) management will stand at the door and say "Bu-bye." There are too many RJ wranglers willing to step into and do the job.

They would do better to hire an agent.
preacher1
Whether it is right or not, whether agreed with or not, you have spoken the truth my friend. I expect a sharp dose of reality will set in after a while.
preacher1
There went the neighborhood. Moak's goons strike again.
preacher1
There went the neighborhood. Moak's goons strike again.
jcatherton
My comment intended irony and sarcasm....
joelwiley
LOL Where is that sarcasm font when we need it?
JakeWythe
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

JetBlue Pilots Vote to Join Union

Pilots at JetBlue Airways voted to join a union, the first-ever such move at the New York-based airline, which was founded in 1999. After twice voting against a proposal to join the Air Line Pilots Association in 2009 and 2011 respectively, 71% of pilots at JetBlue said they were in favor of joining ALPA in the current round of voting, according to a statement released by the National Mediation Board.

http://www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com/2014/04/jetblue-pilots-vote-to-join-union/

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