Salaries at the Majors: headed lower permanently?

EFC

New Member
Hello all,

I heard an interesting story on a talk radio show this morning. The story was about airline pilots and the public's perception of them. The jist of the story was that the public still thinks that all airline pilots have a glamourous and high paying job.

The reporter then interviewed a furloughed US Airways pilot who has been doing part time office work and hasn't flown in almost 1 year. The furloughed pilot basically said that the public's perception of an airline pilot is still stuck in the 1960's and that it would probably be 6 years at best before he would be re-called.

Another point of the story was the airlines are struggling to survive and pilots are giving up benefits and upwards of 23% of thier salaries. The story went on to say that lower salaries at the major airlines will likely be the new norm. permanently.

As I see it, the major airlines are the dominant force in fueling pilot employment. If lower salaries at the major airlines become the new norm., it will most likely mean that the flow of jobs below the major airline level will slow way down. This would affect most everyone below the major airline level.

So what do you guys (& gals) who are working at the majors think? Any validity to this story?

At 36, my hopes of working in the aviation industry in any kind of flight capacity seem to be getting smaller every day....

Regards,
Mark P. - AKA "EFC"
 

Olympic

Well-Known Member
"The story went on to say that lower salaries at the major airlines will likely be the new norm. permanently."

I would also like to know if this is true... I pray it won't.
 

MissedApproach

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]

Another point of the story was the airlines are struggling to survive and pilots are giving up benefits and upwards of 23% of thier salaries. The story went on to say that lower salaries at the major airlines will likely be the new norm. permanently.


[/ QUOTE ]
Everyone's making sacrifices right now (well, almost everyone), we just have to make sure that when things do get better, we take back what was once ours and don't let it pass by. Now really isn't the time for the unions to be militant, but when things do get better, they'll need to fight hard to get back what they once had.
[ QUOTE ]

As I see it, the major airlines are the dominant force in fueling pilot employment. If lower salaries at the major airlines become the new norm., it will most likely mean that the flow of jobs below the major airline level will slow way down. This would affect most everyone below the major airline level.


[/ QUOTE ]
I dunno, wouldn't competition for those jobs go down as well, making them easier to get. And if the majors are down anyway, then does it really make a difference to be below the major airline level?
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
I have to admit - it concerns me too... but, doesn't deter me. I want to be able to (a) make a comfortable (read: not just "get by")living for me and my family; and (b) pay off these loans...

As for the "public perception"... I was in that "public" up until the end of 2001. I had the thoughts that an airline pilot's job was "glamorous" although I had NO idea what airline pilots made....

...What's more - I had no idea the sacrifices it takes to be an airline pilot:
1. Time away from the family (okay, I knew about that);
2. Medical exams every 6 months that could end your career
3. The amount of $ and time that must be committed just to be CONSIDERED;
4. The YEARS of living paycheck to paycheck to build those hours;
5. The unvbelievable standard that airline pilots are held to;....

.... and the list goes on. I'm sure Doug, A300Capt, Moocow, Seagull, Jason & Eagle can add more.

The bottom line is that the American public is not educated at to what it takes to be a pilot.

All they see is the shiney uniform and hear about the big $$$ that the 30 year guys make.

Not the nitty gritty.

Everybody knows what it takes to be a doctor or a lawyer and have NO problem with what they make...

Maybe there should be some kind of "public awarenes", you think?
 

MissedApproach

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]

The bottom line is that the American public is not educated at to what it takes to be a pilot.

All they see is the shiney uniform and hear about the big $$$ that the 30 year guys make.


[/ QUOTE ]

Yeah, and movies like "Catch Me If You Can" sure as hell don' t help.
 

EFC

New Member
Although I don't have any plans to go to a major airline, (more drawn to corporate or civilain government aviation) my concern is that if the major airlines cut salaries & benefits, stop hiring,etc. it will disrupt the "flow" of experience building positions people need to qualify for better flying jobs. Making it harder for everyone in the industry - Airline or Corporate.

I.E. - people stuck for years as commuter FO's, charter pilots, flight instructors, etc. - waiting on things to improve at the majors and move up on the "foodchain".

Alas, there are certainly no guarantees in this industry except than it promises to be hard !!!


Mark P.
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
I think if unions stick together, they will over come the corporate communities attempts to scare the workers. Just about ever industry has seen the unions broken apart by union busters that are paid by the same corporations trying to get their ways. Everyones too wrapped up in the moment and needs to take step back and realize the big picture. The airline industry has existed for a long time, it will continue to exist.

The corporate communities excuse is that the airlines can not continue to operate at these high levels of employee wages. Well you can tell them the same answer when the unions discuss the upper managements pay scale.

Having discussed this issue with a current AA seniro pilot, I feel as though the problem lies in that the upper management is not in such a corner because they have their "networks" in which they sit on the boards of several different companies and are easily able to forfeit their positions at one or two companies.

The flip side to this is if the company goes under, the employees will ahve to start over, and in a case like AA, that could mean the end of your career.
 

JaceTheAce

Well-Known Member
Yeah, most people's perception on airline pilots is that they they've got this glamerous job where they work 2 days a week, fly to the Fiji and Hawaii all the time and have nice layovers where they stay at 5 star hotels, sip margaritas on the beach until their next flight, get laid with all the hot FA chicks, and make $300,000+ a year in a plane that "lands and flys itself." Little do they know how much time, money, and dedication they put to EARN their Bachelor's degree, pay for EXPENSIVE flight training certificates, do ongoing studying and learning, have varied sleeping schedules, have lack of job security...etc...
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
This is by no means glamorous in any sense of the word.

I've spent more time at airport area Holiday Inns, airport hot dogs and arriving at the terminal before security even opens.

Or 23 hour 'freeway hotel' layovers in Jackson, MS...

When you're actually in the cockpit, it can be a lot of fun, but the surrounding "ground duty" with an airline career is the pits.

Plus, being away from home starts to really stink after a while. I had some good days off this weekend and planned to attend one of my pals birthday parties this weekend, but in the name of "efficiency", I'm spending 5 days in ATL for recurrent training, and only three of those five days are spend doing anything productive. Tonight is a 3 hour MD-90 refresher course taught by an instructor who has probably never seen the aircraft, tomorrow is 9 hours of security briefings, "re-learning" how to open a door, a mock evacuation with the flight attendants and about four hours of MD-88 ground school (this part is good though).
 

av8sean

New Member
What we're seeing is a narrowing of the gap between regionals and majors. While overall major pay is going down, regional pay is going up.

Also, 10 years ago, during the last downturn, the same thing happened -- massive pay cuts, B-scale wages, etc. Once the economy picked up, wages went back up as well.

I'm personally not worried.

-Sean
 

Prospective_Pilot

New Member
I'm not really concerned about it. The economy is down what can anyone expect to be making in these current conditions. Most people with high paying jobs have had salary cuts even Glenn Tilton, CEO of United airlines has had his salary cut from $900,000 to $700,000 so I heard. Another example could be my father who had his 6 figure salary cut literally in half. So my point is people can't expect high paying jobs right now, and then when the economy goes up again salaries will also go up with it. What are the unions there for?.........And if salaries went down in the ealry 90's and then back up again, why can't the same happen this time? I've also read alot of pilots will be retiring over the next 10 years so I don't believe it has anything to do with too many people on the same boat.


-Amos
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
What we're seeing is a narrowing of the gap between regionals and majors. While overall major pay is going down, regional pay is going up.



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I'm not quite sure it'll result in a "narrowing"... Primarily because salaries are usually highly affected by the lowest-common denominator on the most recent contracts.

There is a tremendous amount of pressure on the majors because of the concessionary AMR and UAL agreements and keep in mind that the new Mesa Airlines contract is barely a month old and the negative reverberations haven't even started.

The big pressure in the regionals is going to be market dilution -- one airline using multiple regional carriers to serve the same city pairs. For example, If both Mesa and Air Wisconsin served the DEN to SLC market for United, United is going to promise a lower "fee for departure" and Air Wisconsin is going to be under tremendous pressure to match Mesa's low rates/profit margin.

Largely, the old adage of a "...rising tide raising all ships..." is true conversely. I think the next couple of regional airline union contracts (not concession, but regular contracts) is going to be the "crystal ball" for the regional industry.

Wage-wise, as an airline pilot, regional or global, never relax!
 

Snow

'Not a new member'
[ QUOTE ]
(b) pay off these loans...

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Well that's the reason we all get jobs isn't? to pay off all those student loans?


Well one reason I want to be a pilot is because I don't like office work. If salleries went down I'd probably still want to be a pilot even if it was a bit below an office job, if it got super low heck I'll just become a cop, somthing else I've wanted to do hehe But somehow I don't see pilot salleries dropping below police wages any time soon.
 
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