Contract Airline Services

"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Motivation: Job Security

“Better to die on one’s feet than willingly live on one’s knees”
American Airline Pilot

 American Airline Pilot's feelings about the contract:

“Coming soon to a theater Near You…

The Sell Job

Bums the Rush and John Q. Pilot.

Date: August, 2012.
Location: Paris, France, Marriott Hotel Crew Room.
Discussion: State of the Industry.

Last week we spent an evening with some of our friends over at American Airlines who shared some interesting facts on the proposed contract—which was voted down. I’m not surprised after reading the terms of the offering.  

Stress is apparent, and with reason, shaking up and penetrating many of our flying counter parts at American.

The current offer was not just voted down by a slight margin, it was voted down with 61 percent saying, “no.” The battle has just begun. One captain said, “Shoot ourselves in the leg, or give the company the gun to shoot the other leg.” Either way, they are left without a leg to stand on. And so goes their struggle.

How far can you push a pilot before they break?

Frustration and anger are brewing—with reason.

A few interesting concepts on the proposed contract:

Fatigue pay—not granted.  Sick leave—not granted. Loss of military benefits. Give away 50% of their domestic code share. Six-year duration. Pay cuts due to increased health care costs. My personal favorite is that “the pilots cannot protest bonuses given to management because of management’s sacrifices.”  Speaking of sacrifice…The proposed pay was well below industry standards.

Another interesting fact—we were told that just over 10% of American Airlines Pilots have filed personal bankruptcy.

Does this sound like a chapter out of

As the American Pilots say,  
“No Pilots. No revenue. SWA would love to be in DFW.”

From your friends in the sky worldwide, we all are standing with you in the interest of job integrity and ultimate safety. It was great to share the evening with you guys… fly safe, and enjoy the journey. May your future be bright. Remember, nothing worth having comes easy.


  1. I'm shattered. Yes, there's a chapter that says everything about that. There was a program passing on BBC NEWS saying that American was rising again... I knew something was wrong, and not surprised for what it is. Good post, Karlene!

    1. Thank you so much Alex. I think the company likes to spin it on the good side. I had heard they signed, but after talking with the pilots, it turned out to be the Flight Attendants. I also think the media bites and skews things far too often.

  2. This does not surprise me one bit. Even though from the surface everything looks red as roses and the water blue, but beneath the surface there is another view that many do not see. I would have given both my legs to be at the Mariott just to simply listen to what these pilots had to say. Keeping in mind they are the ones flying thousands of passengers daily. And yes, Karlene, your book speaks volumes.

    1. Yes... so true. They are the ones flying thousands of passengers daily. I think we forget that when we push the pilots too much.

      Not only did we hear what was going on, I was able to receive a copy of the contract. This would be a fascinating case study for a business major.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. Karlene, you know how much I care about this issue and I know you care too. We have to stand together, all pilots. We have to stand up for what is right, and fight against what is wrong.

    Rising costs for the airlines is a consequence of the aging group of pilots now that have earned (and well-deserved as well) their pension benefits.

    A big issue in Europe now is contract-employed workers, working in another country than where they reside, creating tax issues. Where do they pay their taxes? Country of residens? Country of base? Country of where they are more? A common EU regulation for all nations in Europe would solve those problems, and make the rules more predictable. I think the European Union will play a vital role in the coming years, when it comes to work regulations, laws and directives.

    1. Cecilie, yes... I know how much you care and how active you are with speaking out about this issue. A common EU regulation with a common Union would play a vital role.

      That's what National ALPA was supposed to do. But, as we all know, there is no such thing as National.

      The entire world is going to be standing by to see what happens with American. They could set the future.

  4. How really, really upsetting. And yes, it does sound familiar to a reader of your book. Sounds like brinksmanship's the order of the day, which usually is a scary place to be, not only for those who's livelihood depends on the outcome, but for those of us who depend on the people involved. Thanks for a great post, Karlene.

    1. Linda, this is so very true. So in essence, this will be impacting all of us. Pilots and passengers. I feel for all those pilots and their families. I watched Branif disappear, and it wasn't just a company, but a family and a life for many. Thank you for your comment.

  5. It never amazes me how badly US pilots are treated by their companies. This is just more fuel to the fire. Australian pilots beware, coming to an airline near you!!.

    1. Capt Daags... Yes. The only way to fix this issue is for pilots to take a stand. Not allow work rules to be cut. Not force pilots to fly when they are fatigued. What the bean-counters don't understand is the pressures that pilots face... on and off the job.

      When you start breaking their ability to survive, that will leak into the flight deck. Hopefully American Pilots will hold strong and set the example so the Australian Companies make take another look before this tactic comes your way.

      Thanks for the comment.


Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!