View Full Version : Retirement letter

9th Nov 2006, 00:25
This just about sums it up!

"Isn't it interesting that the high school drop outs at the airport security (?) checkpoint have more authority and power than the Captain of the ship? I was certainly born at the right time - to require me to retire before being thrown in jail for telling the homeland insecurity folks what I think of them and their mothers.

Well, The good news is, Today I officially retire from Northwest Airlines and I was hired last week for a Service Advisor job in the automotive division of Sears (which is the first real job I had while going to college and loved it and it's what I want to do in my old age)--pay is good and it includes full medical, dental, 401k & profit sharing--should be more than enough even without the retirement money--may still consider the same line of work at a regular dealership at some point, covering my six for now--

I'll be home every night--no more check rides--no FEDS or commuters on my jump seat taking up my office space--no more 25% PENALTY for being legitimately sick--no more scum bag hotels--no more old bitchy flight attendants--no more 14 hour
duty days with 10 hour layovers--no more drafting my butt downline to fly the remains of somebody else's trip because they can't staff the airline correctly---no more zero/zero approaches into blinding thunderstorms or blizzards--no more strip searches at the security checkpoints by high school drop-outs (my I.D. means nothing)--no more subway sandwiches at the airport served by Somalis that can never get my order right. Can't sit down and have a hot meal between legs at a nice restaurant cause there's not enough time--no more missed recitals, birthdays or holidays--no more 3:30 am (body clock) wakeup calls on the east coast--no more number 20 for take off behind 18 little regional jets at LaGuardia--no more company bus rides from the employee lot in machines, where either the rear door doesn't work or the A.C. or
heat is out of order--no more "fear and intimidation style management" to live under.

The head honcho of the Sears store actually gave me the second and final interview (not normal) "he actually wanted to meet me" and said I should consider a position in management with my credentials and philosophies about how I believe people should be treated and that he was really happy to see someone like me consider a position with his company ..he told me I would be an asset to any organization, unlike my current employer, that has always "behind the scenes" regarded me and my peers as liabilities and prima donnas...go figure!

I'm not unique. Most pilots at this point still fit the same mold. Unfortunately that mold is slowly and methodically being reshaped by corporate robber barons into something they can shackle to a Yoke and, who they hope, will never question the methods to their madness.

The more I re-read this e-mail, the more I wonder why it has taken me so long to come to this decision to hang up flying--oh yeh, it's cause I couldn't touch my retirement money till now, penalty free....I'm finally ready for the simpler life with considerably less stress. It used to be that the Airline rewarded us for all these little inconveniences we take for granted and the time we spend away from home and family that was part of our daily lives in this profession. We made good money, had considerable time off and the benefits were to brag about. That is no longer the case. My Plumber makes more a year now than I do. His labor rate alone is $95.00/hr when he set my kitchen sink last May and he's a high school drop out. His yearly salary is based on a 160 hour work month (40 a week) -

My $93.00/hr and annual salary is based on an 80 hour month (hard time in the air) with considerably more time on duty and away fro m home. I suspect the New Airline Pilot of the future will probably be one of those kids you remember in high school that got out of classes on a 2:30pm work permit to go learn a trade because they weren't particularly bright. Of course he'll have to be on some kind of Government program to pay for his training. There's no way he'll be able to come up with the $100,000.00 in flight training costs to get his licenses, and you'll never see another Military Pilot leave the armed forces for an Air Carrier position where it will take almost his entire career to reach the salary he left behind at his Military job.

I would not recommend this profession anymore to anyone I really cared about. My guess is the Airline industry will have to lower their Standards as well as their requirements as the airplanes get more automated (the FAA will agree) if they're gonna get any applicants. Let the buyer beware when he takes his next airplane ride in the future. I have absolutely no regrets about getting out while the getting is good. I used to love my job and the adventure that every trip brought. It's just no fun going to work anymore. It's all about quality of life ---unfortunately, you don't figure that out till you're on the back side of the clock in most careers and in the Big Scheme of things, approaching your own ultimate demise.

Life is really too short to devote one extra minute of your time to a company as well as a profession that is not everything you had hoped for.. I'm baffled trying to think of another industry that has so brutally passed on the increased costs of doing business to their employees rather than their customers. Even my garbage man is charging a surcharge for fuel to me rather than rape his employees.

ps: I will forward a short movie to some of you of my Northwest Uniform going up in smoke so no terrorist can ever use it. My Eastern Airlines uniform and my Navy uniform still hang proudly in my closet.....

Clear Skies & Tailwinds,

9th Nov 2006, 01:12
As the junior guys would say - "Take four more with you!":)

The bitter retirement letter has become a staple of the profession in recent years...

Here's an earlier retiree who went out with a whine:


9th Nov 2006, 02:51
Excellent letter... concise resumé of what has become of a once proud profession... May you have along and thoroughly well deserved new life.

Should be compulsory reading for all those dreaming wanabees out there who stare skywards through a rose coloured filter and then bend over to get a royal screwing from the employers.

And a final thank you for all the correct decisions made that brought everyone safely back to earth over all those years and you to a safe retirement.

9th Nov 2006, 03:18
It's a pity I will never have the opportunity to share a cold beer with you in some layover port. Isn't it sad what our industry has come to. In my previous company we had a real CHARACTER,, one of those larger than life guys who had all the t-shirts, thrilled the passengers with his humorous and entertaining pa's etc. He loved life and his job. We always said that he would laugh himself to death. I recall saying to my wife that if I could get to retirement and still be so positive, then I will have done it right!. Sadly, as much as I still love my job, I have woken up to smell the coffee, hopefully early enough in my career to only bid for quality of life. To minimise the missed sports days, birthdays etc. So far I've been lucky..ish.
My friend I wish you all the best for your "retirement" and your new life. I have no doubt you will go into management and be a great "them".
Happy landings
Jumbo :ok:

9th Nov 2006, 07:07
Being an engineer (ground) the scenario for us is exactly the same erosion of prestige and salary more and more obscure and pointless rules a lowering of educational requirements all bodes badly for the airline industry, the further problem it is getting worse. I certainly would not recommend an airline career to anyof my 4 children.

9th Nov 2006, 07:49

I have never seen our professional decline put so well nor so even handedly. Hardly a trace of real bitterness or venom there, just an accurate analysis that crosses the Atlantic without losing anything on the journey.
I have been flying for thirty years and am now looking forward to another eight before I get to sling my bag in the corner and wake up with the birds rather than drive home as they wake after drilling another hole at thirty west.

'Long and happy retirement my friend.' Give my best wishes to our ghostly Flight Engineers cruising the shelves at Sears.

the dean
9th Nov 2006, 08:51

way to go....

excellent reading...clear ,concise and moving...:D

you want to know something...we all feel the same ( that things have changed and not always for the best ) as we get older. i'm a lawyer but i have been flying and instructing for thirty something years so i've been privilaged to see professional life as well as professional flying...and although the other mans grass seems greener..it still need to be kept cut as well...

i hope you will never loose the urge to keep flying ( as my dad said many times ) ..''.when you want to not when somebody else tells you to ...!!'':cool:

good luck and good health and thanks for sharing that with us...:D

gear up...:ok:

the dean.

9th Nov 2006, 09:06
Mr Baywatcher....I feel compelled to respond to your insightfull and interesting post. I am not close to retirement but I share most of your concerns because I have another 20 years + to go through that daily headache. Everything you have described is now entrenched into the everyday life of an airline pilot and sadly but true, due to global terrorist activities, it has become a nightmare and a way of life. We are no longer treated with the respect and admiration that we feel we are entitled to. After all. we fly these mammoth machines around the world. Some of us even constantly remind ourselves, lest we forget, that we a Captains because we are most important. Without us this mammoth Silver flying machine cannot fly.
I really do agree with you, but I lost you on your references to the use of 'somalis' as a people that you, as a majestic captain had to endure the hard ship of communicating with to buy a sandwich. I am sure you travelled around the world. Imagine the vendor having to listen to your english crap in Narita or in Kix or pvg,or hkg in wanchai, etc,etc etc. How do you think they felt? Or, Do you think they should know that you were an Airline Captain and such deserves a little more respect? Or ...maybe you felt that being in the USA a 'somalian' should not serve you or should at least left his/her accent at home?
Thats not it though....Its that we..as airline pilots feel we are better than the guys dumping the lav or the caterer or the mechanic etc. The bottom line is...We are not .We are part or a puzzle to make this airline stuff work. We are no better or no worse. There are people ...like Enron and the numerous other companies that have stolen and left their employees in financial ruins,having to deal with it.!!!!!!/
In closing I hope that you have a sucessfull second career in the Sears advisory team and not fall for the fraudelent recommendations that Sears were charged with many years ago..After all now that comission is part of you compensation you dont want to cheat..Would'nt it be ironic,though,that the first person that you are selling to would turn out to be a "somalian' .
I really do agree with everything else and I am too an Airline Captain. But outside the cockpit I am a customer at subway, a client at the doctor, an employee of an airline. Just another living stiff...Drop the Captain stuff and maybe you'll garner more respect. Most of us use that Captain stuff more than necessary, We are employees of airlines..Let us not blow our horns. I enjoy this business. It sucks because of legislation but overall its an easy way to make a living.To whine for 30+ years means youre miserable and unintelligent. Most people of intelligence takes a few years to determine whether this is the job for them.Its like driving on a road every day with major potholes and complaining for 30 years but will not take the alternate route because some challeges exist that other people use and adapted too.
I would love you to email me or place a post in about a year from now about your job as an advisor. You would wish you were shooting an ndb off centered 200 ceiling approach in Lome on a DC-8-54 with a red baron approved flight director. With a somalian controller!!! To give you radar vectors.
I do admire some of the comments that you have garnered, Humility is not thought.
Good day.

9th Nov 2006, 09:14
Sir, an excellent obituary for a once proud career.

Congratulations on even making it to retirement. Long may you enjoy it.

9th Nov 2006, 09:26
Here here! Welcome back to a 'real' life.

9th Nov 2006, 09:31
Congratulations and a great post, Baywatcher!

Excellent summary of reality!

I'm really jealous, though!

*Thinks (clang...whirr...clunk)*

Hmm......if I put the wife on the streets and sell my stamp collection, maybe...........

9th Nov 2006, 10:06
Well saiod Baywatcher.
You lucky *********
I look foreward to that day too:) (after 35 yrs)

Shaggy Sheep Driver
9th Nov 2006, 10:52
Well, the queue of wannabes isn't getting any shorter (at least in UK), so it can't be that bad.


9th Nov 2006, 11:05
This 'letter' may well be true and have actually been sent. It certainly seems to encapsulate much of what is felt in the airline biz. However, such 'letters' have been written in almost all areas of business and corporate life. I recall examples of resignation letters doing the rounds 20 years ago. What is important is not whether this one is true or not - but that it has sparked an immediate recognition. It wil be interesting to see the thread develop.

To Baywatcher, sorry if it hurts for me to cast doubt on the authenticity but that's my view this morning.

9th Nov 2006, 11:09
Well, the queue of wannabes isn't getting any shorter (at least in UK,) so it can't be that bad.

Purely because the wannabes cannot see what it is like on the inside :)

Excellent post Baywatcher

9th Nov 2006, 11:15
'Supply and demand' :sad:

Chief Whip
9th Nov 2006, 11:18
Baywatcher a sad but true reflection of what was once a great job.

I just wish instead of moaning about it we all stood together and refused to accept this continuous decline in our terms and conditions. That is why I joined BALPA, however they seem happy to accept this constant decline in conditions. I just wish we were all a little more militant that way we may just start reclaiming some of the lost ground? :ugh:

Happy retirement :D

9th Nov 2006, 11:32
As a fellow retiree, all I can say is "hear, hear!!!".

Minor query.
The pilot pay website shows the NWA pay to be a little more than $93; $113 was the lowest Capt. I found . (DC-9 year 1)
Have more cuts gone in, making the website data out-of-date?

9th Nov 2006, 12:15
the sooner the real airline pilots are willing to lose their jobs forever, to roll the dice, bet the farm etc, we can reclaim a once proud profession.

15 years ago I spoke with an engineer who held the Boeing chair at MIT...he proudly said that the need for highly skilled airline pilots was gone and that automation would allow a 200 hour pilot to do the same things a 20,000 hour pilot could.

Welcome to the land of the living friend! I've been out 5 years on medical leave and due to the complete weirdness in the industry, I make almost as much as if I were flying the line...but my costs are lower so it is a wash.

good luck at Sears, keep your standards high there too

and plumbers make that much? wow, a future in pipes!

9th Nov 2006, 12:17
Supply and demand, yes, but why at a time of extraordinary demand are we allowing this to continue?

9th Nov 2006, 12:41
It really doesnt matter if this letter is the real thing or a work of fiction, it says it all, my pension in retirment is larger than 90% of the left seaters pay at my previoue employer, god bless those who saw this comming and moved our pension out of the hands of managment. We now own a flight school /charter outfit, most of our grads are avoiding the airlines and going to other branches of aviation{survey, medivac, charter,corporate} where their skills are rewarded and they are treated with respect, growing old is no fun but Im glad I was born at the right time to have done my flying when I did and not now with F/Os on comuter airlines qualifying for food stamps!

9th Nov 2006, 12:44
If the story is true being in Asia he was an A330 FO.

9th Nov 2006, 13:44
Well said baywatcher.
It was lovely in BCAL tho.

9th Nov 2006, 13:48
Nice work Baywatcher:ok:

It is true (oyez oyez all wanabees) that you have to sacrifice more by the day to practice this job. Being a pilot you live for the job. You move were there is work, you keep fit and sober for the job, you accept erroding contracts for the job. You don't get rich and you spend a lot of time for the job.

On the other hand the view out of the window office still beats any other blue or white collar job! And will keep me happily going for another decade, time when I'll put finger to keyboard to ponder on the forthcoming retirement (retirement = preparation for the all final flight).

9th Nov 2006, 14:18
Minor query.
The pilot pay website shows the NWA pay to be a little more than $93; $113 was the lowest Capt. I found . (DC-9 year 1)

Looks like he was a 12 year A320 FO when he retired. I don't think there are any year one captains on any plane at NW these days, you do not lose longevity when you upgrade in ALPA contracts. Don't think he would be a fifth year A330 or DC-10 FO with an Eastern uniform hanging in the closet.

9th Nov 2006, 14:24
someone mentioned a suicide...not while flying...

I do think pilot suicides are up and the trend may continue.

perhaps we can start a prevention thread?


9th Nov 2006, 14:45
The industry has changed enormously over the years and if you were able to transport someone from the early sixties to the present day they would be stunned by how things have developed. The same would apply to just about any industry, well for those industries that still actually exist still in the UK. Change is an ever present aspect of life and no doubt there has always been a harking back to the "Good old days". I cannot comment on the situation of someone flying for a living in the USA but in the UK more people are employed in the industry than ever before and accesibilty has been improved (so long as you are willing to borrow the money). The Pilots taking these jobs are not school rejects by any stretch of the imagination and probably have reached a higher level of education that many in former times. There are still many more jobs which have worse terms and conditions attached and with a much more reduced chance of making it to retirement.I came relatively late to flying after 13 years in the merchant navy (and yes the good old days had long since passed along with hard tack and rum rations!) but still get £85k a year and am my own boss during the time I'm at work. If you ask the young people now what their impression of work prospects are you would get a much different answer to that in former times. They assume that change will be the norm and do not expect to work for the same employer for all their working life or be cosseted by a benign employer who will treat them with deference that has to be earned.
In short the world is always changing; the younger you are the easier it is to cope with.

Two's in
9th Nov 2006, 16:04
Life is really too short to devote one extra minute of your time to a company as well as a profession that is not everything you had hoped for..

Good letter, but somewhat unfortunate that you might get all the way to the end of a career before this dawning realization sets in. Surely it is better to face harsh realities sooner and vote with your feet, rather than let yourself get ground down to this level of motivation and lack of satisfaction. Only the big G knows if you are going to make it through to draw that pension, you might as well be enjoying yourself on the way there...

9th Nov 2006, 17:37
True, things are changing in aviation at a very rapid pace...
However, Baywatch is changing jobs, NOT retiring. Faced with a "take it or leave it" situation, he goes for the latter.
Best of luck.
Cheers :cool:

9th Nov 2006, 17:42
I couldn't agree more and as for CHARACTER'S this is a no, no in this modern world of aviation, well so management believe. I look back at the character's I have had the pleasure to fly with over the past 30 years and to my knowledge not one of them ever lost a passenger let alone an aircraft, but they sure made the job pleasurable. Well at least I have my Vodka and Vallium to take me through to my pension..........pension, WOT pension. :ugh:

9th Nov 2006, 17:50
I believe that this letter is not from Baywatcher himself, I think he is just passing it along, (please correct me if I am wrong).I saw the same letter a couple of days ago on my airlines bb, but nonetheless it sure does wonderfully summarize what many of us are experiencing these days.

9th Nov 2006, 18:03
One unarguable fact that pertains to flying as opposed to other professions... if you go into law, medicine or consultant engineering, by the time you're into your 50s your approaching the peak of your profession, often have partners and associates supporting you and can look forward to life becoming easier with a steadily rising income. A very different story with the airlines where at the magic age of 60 one's experience counts for nothing. Allowing for the very volatile nature of airline employment as witnessed over the past 20 years together with the normal aches and pains of life generally, college fees, divorce.. medical care etc.. there must be a large group of pilots out there looking at a less than rosy enforced retirement...

9th Nov 2006, 23:59
As told to me by my one of socializing buddies, after he informed me of his retirement from the U.S.'s fifth largest bankrupt aircarrier.

Left NWA on an "early-out" a while back. Been doing part time work in Aviation, pipe and powerline patroling, and doing my best to keep F-street station in business. Having the time of my life while working less hours and bringing home more $$. Just read where NWA management is tracking all crews that fly over projected trip times and hitting them with threats of job action. Also, just heard that if you work the holidays you will get a $50 dollar stippend. After Taxes and the Worthlessman's hit money, that comes out to about $27.50.

Left NWA early when I asked the lead F/A to come forward and monitor the Cockpit door (hence known as flight deck) whilst I drained the ole monkey. After waiting sometime I once again queeried the ole gal and asked where she was. She informed me that there was a considerable lineup at the forward head and I should just come back and get in line as it would be quicker. I restrained my reply and said "look darling, you are to seat all the pax immeadiately and come forward now". Several days later I received a note to go see the infamous EOE bitch in H/R, followed shortly thereafter by an early retirement.

Wish all my past fellow pilots at NWA best of luck, but until you remove the beach boy group from the front office and the "worthless man" from ALPA life will continue to deteriorate. It's a prime example of "man feeding on his fellow man" in order to better themselves at your expense.

Once you get your head out of the fan blades and look around, you'll find there are plenty of opportunities for someone that has in ther prior life been entrusted with an $80 mill A/C and 400 lives. For years the Airline has told us we are expendable at their option and we have few skills that will carry us through in another career environment. I'm finding just the opposite. If your willing to try a change, go visit a coporate recruiter and let them know that anyday last week you managed 18 employees, 400 customer's concerns, with an $80 mil peice of equipment through several continents and got the job done. You'll find that even the MBA grads don't showup those skills.

And for the "ole gal" that ended my career early, get a life sweetie. There's a reason you have two ex-husbands, three ex-man friends, and two son's that seem to always argue with you. Dr. Phil isn't taking new referrals, but in your case I'm sure he make an exception. I'd asked for a cut of the royalties though, cause he sure to cash in on your story.

Thank you. I didn't know how much better it could be.


10th Nov 2006, 00:21
It is true that most 4th grade retards nowadays drive around in Porsches, BMWs and so on and have +500,000$$$$ houses, while most crew & co. have to suffice with prefab houses and crappy mortgages!
Well that is why we all want to fly, for crappy salaries and even crappier conditions!!!


It begs the question of who the retards really are.

In the end one less whinging pilot cannot be a bad thing.

10th Nov 2006, 01:36
Well, if he was indeed with Eastern Air Lines at one time, he can thank his buds at ALPA, who walked out almost enmass due to an IAM action...which of course led to the demise of EAL.
Not Lorenzo.
Not Borman.
The IAM.

Silly boys.:yuk:

10th Nov 2006, 04:17
Well, bitchy old flight attendant's (male and female) are quite the norm these days over here on the west side of the Atlantic, it's a constant and dispiriting sign of the times in the 'land of the free'

I do empathize and sympathise completely with fellow sufferers. What is really sad is that they seem to have more right's than us mere 'drivers' and if we do complain about their unprofessional behavior nothing will happen to them, indeed it is us that may be in more 'trouble'

As to age 60 the impending change and the supporters thereof , my thoughts are:

You knew what the retirement age was when you joined.

Notwithstanding the brutal financial hits we have all had to take after 9-11, we all took those hits.

You moved up,on the seniority list in your career because those above you reached 60 and puttered off.

Now you want to change the rules, purely to (slightly) benefit yourselves financially whilst royally screwing those beneath you waiting for their 'turn'

Get a life, bugger off and live longer.

10th Nov 2006, 05:32
As to age 60 the impending change and the supporters thereof , my thoughts are:
You knew what the retirement age was when you joined.
Notwithstanding the brutal financial hits we have all had to take after 9-11, we all took those hits.
You moved up,on the seniority list in your career because those above you reached 60 and puttered off.
Now you want to change the rules, purely to (slightly) benefit yourselves financially whilst royally screwing those beneath you waiting for their 'turn'
Get a life, bugger off and live longer.

I retire in less than a month at age 60. If they changed the age I would retire anyway. But in the not too distant future when the age limit is changed, it is my speculation that all those that are now screaming and yelling about age 60 will fly over that age. My my, they were hired knowing age 60 was the limit, screamed and yelled for everyone infront of them to retire, but low and behold they will hang on to every last second. In my opinion looking at human nature over the last 60 or so years, it is always those that SCREAM and YELL the loudest about something that do that precise thing when it comes to them.

When my first carrier was severely damaged, I had to commute to another city as my base got closed. Stayed with an ex Air Force bud that worked for Frank Lorenzo. During the whole time I commuted down there we would go out to breakfast with a group of 5 or 6 friends. All except 1 would SCREAM and YELL about me not going to work for NY Air or Continental if my carrier folded even though they knew I would be out of work. My carrier folded and I found a job at the bottem of an upstart paying almost nothing. When Continental went Chapter 11 guess who crossed the line the first day. YEP.. all those that SCREAMED and YELLED the loudest. The 1 friend who just did his job and didnt tell me or others what to do quit and got another job elsewhere. I have never seen this scenario fail ever. So all you SCREAMING and YELLING about those in front of you retiring at 60, remember you signed on for the same deal and I expect you to retire at 60 even though I know you won't.

10th Nov 2006, 07:46

Wholeheartedly agree with every point you make, such a compeling read, you should write a book maybe...

Enjoy your retirement I for one cant wait.
Good luck

10th Nov 2006, 08:35
I have been saying the same thing for many years but the new breed have taken it over now.They want their political correctness and fly-out-of-a-book mentality and their no-smoking no-swearing pansy-ass flight deck and they'll pay for type-ratings and wont say shit when some mf like O'Leary tries to encroach on their dignity and self-respect.Self-respect now theres a word that sure has disappeared in this once-beautiful profession.

10th Nov 2006, 08:50
I lost my job shortly after 9/11 when my airline retrenched. It soon became apparent that no one was interested in retraining a pilot in his fifties so I took a post in the aerospace industry. What a revelation. I'm treated as a valuable asset and I have the trust and respect of my colleagues across all disciplines. I enjoy my work, get home at a sensible time most evenings and have weekends free. I can always get time off when I want it and take holidays at the periods of my choosing.

Yes, I do occasionally miss seeing the sunrise at 37 000 feet and watching the world slide by at eight miles a minute but I've done that a lot in the past thirty-odd years so the nostalgia is quite bearable and I can keep the three-dimensional fix going in a Cessna or any other puddle-jumper I can lay my hands on. The left hand seat of a big aeroplane was a great place to be, as was the sweatier environment of military jets. I wouldn't change too much of what I've experienced since starting to fly in the late sixties but I now have a quality of life that has long disappeared from the short-haul airline world. Ah, Dan-Air....

Quite the nicest thing is being regarded as a knowledgeable and experienced pilot, rather than roster fodder.

10th Nov 2006, 08:55
i have also seen the writing on the walls I have 20 years left to run and am not going to waste it in this industry. i work for a great company with great people but the job sucks so time to go whilst i have my health.

great expectations
10th Nov 2006, 14:56
Im with you, I have more than 20 years to go and its only taken me a handful of years with a national carrier to realise that the 'dream' job is just a waste of my life. Flying is great fun, and yeah we all do have to work hard and thats fine, however its a huge sacrifice and I dont, yet, have 'mug' written across my forehead. The clued up people in this job know the score. The rest are so boring I wouldn't in a million years associate with them in any circumstances other than rostering.

10th Nov 2006, 15:09
this thread has taken a nice turn, perhaps another one is in order

how would WE change the airline industry as it is now to bring back what we all thought was so great about the job.

I know I would have wanted the following:

Real Job Security, including pension, health care and the like.

Income security...decide what a pilot is worth and make sure that his salary keeps up with inflation, including buying a home near the domicile airport.

More one day trips. In the US, there is very little reason for many of the short haul trips on the east coast to be more than one day.

Similiar schedule every day to allow body clock synch.

Make an honorable living flying between 60 and 70 hours a month. (10-12 days)

Taking no LIP from crew schedulers. Or anyone else at the airline ( exception for bonafide improvement in safety)

Hire really, really nice and good looking female flight attendents.

Special access to planes without current screening.

all runways to have 1000' over runs (emas)

All copilots who have served 10 good years are given the 4th stripe, full captain pay and proper respect even if seniority does not allow the left seat.

full pay for career life if injured/sick etc.

what would you all like?


10th Nov 2006, 17:49
Airbubba, you are very quick to jump on baywatcher here and elsewhere ..... but we haven't really heard your opinion. Where do you stand on this?

10th Nov 2006, 21:49
Started at 43 years, late and grateful...on SD-330's in the middle of the night. By 49, flying A-330's, right-seat. Doing it now in my 50's, job has turned crap. Stupid and rude security people, obese or aberrant unpleasant CC without manners, filthy holiday passengers/scumbags and all the rest previously reported. Flying the plane is the only real reward for me. For how long, I wonder?

11th Nov 2006, 00:51
Airbubba, you are very quick to jump on baywatcher here and elsewhere


I don't think Baywatcher is the author of the letter if he is in Asia...:)

11th Nov 2006, 01:45

I was not the author of the letter and never claimed to be, that’s why the “This just about sums it up” title and the text started and ended with inverted commas. I thought it a very good précis and obviously other readers did too!

11th Nov 2006, 01:58
I was not the author of the letter and never claimed to be

Exactly, I couldn't figure out why Mr. Bernoulli thought I was "jumping on you" with a couple of irreverent comments about the letter. I've seen these "farewell cruel world" laments about the decline of airline flying for years now. The writer is actually one of the lucky survivors of the Eastern debacle, many of his colleagues never turned a wheel again and had no retirement. I was on the sidelines when it happened.

Anyway, I guess Bernoulli somehow thought I was being mean to you, I think he misread the situation...

11th Nov 2006, 02:08
I'm with Trinibyoy and whoever stated "Supply and Demand".

I'm not management, I am an aircraft commander - once off the jet I'm no better/no worse than anyone else.

With today's redundant systems and system reliability, the "I'm in charge of getting 200 pax to destination X safely" and expecting big $$$ is indicative how pompous alot of airline pilots are.

Don't get me wrong - when studs were dead reckoning/dealing with traffic w/o TCAS/powerplants without turbine technology - I feel they were deserving of high $s.

Complaining about "how it used to be" is certianly within one's rights - however, an adapting/positive attitude or leaving your current situation if not satisfied are the two options I instill in my kids.

BTW - my Dad is a retired 25,000+ PT 121 vet. He tail dragged in the DC-3 and left seated in the 90s. Heard it too often about the good old days.

How about writing a letter stating all the great things you experienced in your airline career. Good outweighs the bad in free world aviation.

God speed and fly safe.

11th Nov 2006, 04:06
Haha! Everybody here have been taken on a free ride. Except for a few, everyone thought it was actually Baywatcher who wrote the letter. It's funny how this thread developed with so many views and responses, accolades and praise going on the way of Baywatcher. Hahaha! :}

Good job, Baywatcher! :D

11th Nov 2006, 07:36
OK, Airbubba, you're right! I too got the wrong end of the stick. Apologies.

11th Nov 2006, 10:09
OH I forgot one thing Crisbl, Whinging Pilots are the management's worst nightmare, of course they would want all pilots & co. to shut up, it makes it easier to sink the industry even more!
Of course if you are part of the "New Generation" of "pilots" then you would bend over for Mr. CEO & co.!! (as said quite well in some posts!)

I dont think anyone these days doesnot compalin about their lot and I suspect the CEOs of the world are the same. Everything is changing too fast, respect has gone as has notions of esteems.

That is the problem of society not the industry and what ever walk of life we are in it begins to reflect society.

Maybe 30 years ago pilots were considered as gods by the public when air travel was a rare thing, perhaps too many believed pilots beieved the myth too.

Now everyone travels by air and it is so normal then the myth has gone and pilots are just "bus" drivers.

The thing I hear from pilots is the same I hear from ex military and the same as from every generation. Things are not like they used to be.

Accept it and move on. The airline industry is not immune from the changes in society and with the challenges ahead over dealing with global warming etc it is likely in for some even bigger changes. In another 10 years time people will be saying the same about how it's not the same etc.

11th Nov 2006, 11:29
Happily, you could delete the word Pilot and replace it with a number of other professions and it would equally ring true.

Capt Crash
11th Nov 2006, 12:14
Since I started flying professionally I wanted to fly the big metal. A few years ago I managed to get a job flying biz jets for Netjets and I can say I still love the job.

The passengers are generally fragrant and charming. I get to fly to great destinations usually, even the bad ones are interesting and an adventure. The planes are new and pretty reliable. I am the boss, management is a long way away and it just me and the co-pilot flying around Europe. Ahh, and I can still just handle the management..........as long as they sort out the new deal by December.

I think I will stay on the small metal for a while.

12th Nov 2006, 00:00
Hmmm, for all the dis-satisfied guys who think they are wasting their time on the FD, be assured that there are hundreds of OTHER guys who will gladly accept your position.

IE: don't let the door slap you too hard on your a@@ on the way out.

Awww, poor babies.:{ :{ :{ :{

12th Nov 2006, 01:13
Started at 43 years, late and grateful...on SD-330's in the middle of the night. By 49, flying A-330's, right-seat. Doing it now in my 50's, job has turned crap. Stupid and rude security people, obese or aberrant unpleasant CC without manners, filthy holiday passengers/scumbags and all the rest previously reported. Flying the plane is the only real reward for me. For how long, I wonder?
Bet they are banging at the door to fly with you! If you fly.
On an open forum you refer to the people that ultimately pay your wages as filthy holiday passenger/scumbags is below contept. Your comments about CC the same.
I don't fly for a living, thought about it but decided not to start when Single crew ops became the exception, not the norm, who knows if I would of made the grade.
The thought of being locked in a small room, behind an armoured door with a tw@ who thinks like you post, I made the right call all those years ago.
My rant is over and forgotten, your post will continue to harm the whole point of this thread as I see it.
That said, if you display your attitude as posted at work, I commend you for keeping at least one Customer Complaints member of staff employed.

edit below
Now back to the real thread and the issues it covers.

12th Nov 2006, 03:42
I'm not management, I am an aircraft commander - once off the jet I'm no better/no worse than anyone else.
With today's redundant systems and system reliability, the "I'm in charge of getting 200 pax to destination X safely" and expecting big $$$ is indicative how pompous alot of airline pilots are.
Don't get me wrong - when studs were dead reckoning/dealing with traffic w/o TCAS/powerplants without turbine technology - I feel they were deserving of high $s.

Zaney, I have never heard of anyone in the airlines refer to themselves as an aircraft commander ever. I assume you are a multi engine military pilot that has never flown for the airlines.

So you think that if you don't have TCAS or turbines then you should deserve more money. So when the airlines started converting to jet transports our pay should have gone down. When the airlines started getting gps and inertial our pay should have gone down. When the airlines put TCAS into our cockpits the pay should have gone down.

My time in the military was spent in single seat, single engine fighters. I was a pilot never an aircraft commander. Having been with the airlines for over 30 years I am now a Captain not an aircraft commander.

In my opinion, the flying of the aircraft with or without jet engines, gps, tcas, inertial, radar, or whatever "new" equipment comes along is just a given. If you can't fly the aircraft with whatever equipment without thinking about it, you are in the wrong profession. The current equipment on the aircraft has nothing to do with what I am worth as an airline captain. That is probably not a concept that someone that is not in the airline industry would understand.

12th Nov 2006, 11:21
each generation of aircraft type requires new knowledge...each generation of planes also usually increases the productivity of each pilot, indeed the formula for pay used by ALPA is one of weight and speed.

AS brave and skilled as pilots were in pre GPS days, a modern pilot deserves every penny and a whole lot more. Especially when one considers that many airlines are flying in the US on the backs of pay cuts taken by pilots and others that make an airline work.

I think we all know what is meant by aircraft commander...here in the US, that might be used in the military. At the airlines the captain is PILOT IN COMMAND (not to be confused with pilot flying/pilot monitoring etc).

Many times there are different terms or spellings for things we share. DP Davies had such a translation in his fine book "Handling the Big Jets".

ray cosmic
12th Nov 2006, 15:45
Zaney, I have never heard of anyone in the airlines refer to themselves as an aircraft commander ever.

The JAR-OPS uses the term "Commander", not Captain.:ok:
So officially, according the books, the guy with the 4 stripes is the Commander.

12th Nov 2006, 15:48
The current equipment on the aircraft has nothing to do with what I am worth as an airline captain. That is probably not a concept that someone that is not in the airline industry would understand.

What you are worth as an airline captain is dictated by the market. There is often nothing logical about it. Otherwise nurses or care workers would be better paid that footballers.

The notion of having hundreds of souls entrusted into your care is no reason for being high paid either. Otherwise nuclear power station workers or water treatment plant workers would be paid according to the millions of lives in their hands.

In fact there is a paradox in that those with the least responsibilty for the direct care and welfare of others are paid the most and VV.

In the first group I would put actors, footballers, city bankers, etc.

In the second category I would put health workers, sanitary workers, nurses, farmers, police, etc.

Pilots seem to do OK.

12th Nov 2006, 15:59
in the US, the FAA uses the term "PILOT IN COMMAND".

I can imagine that a pilot in the US doesn't have a clue about JAR OPS etc.

and vice versa

so, let us try to understand each other's terms and words.

taxy = taxi

color = colour

and whatever

13th Nov 2006, 00:52
Winscrn -

It used to be a convention that if you had either 5000 hours, an ATPL of some description or a Training (IRE) qualification, you were entitled to call yourself Captain. The trouble was that as smaller airlines became popular, they didn't have people so qualified and passengers were wary of flying with pilots who didn't have the shiny stuff on their sleeves. Thus, the various rank gradings have become blurred and you're a commander (small c) if you're in charge of any aircraft, in the same way that people in charge of smaller seagoing vessels are Ship's Masters, as opposed to Captains.


13th Nov 2006, 08:03
Long haul 4 man crew flights sometimes comprises of two captains,only one would be nominated as the commander for the flight.

13th Nov 2006, 09:53
OK - Once upon a time all Airline Captains looked like Dean Martin in Airport, all looked fantastic in uniforms and big-hats, the cabin crew (all female) were gorgeous and looking to find a pilot as a husband, the passengers were of a decent social class and appreciated the Captain wandering around during the cruise passing the time of day. All pilots had a good war record, drove good european sports cars, kept a labrador for good measure and of course they were all male - popsies in the rear cabin please. Yes, I'm sure the halcyon days of BOAC and PanAm were all like it was on the silver screen. The sunsets were that more golden, the night-stops were all in the best hotels, the parties went on till dawn - it was just the way you always imagined it would be.

I think some people need a little reality check - those rose-tinted glasses are obviously still available in the shops.

13th Nov 2006, 10:20
Boredcounter...get a life! Most of my FD colleagues espouse exactly the same opinions as mine, as you would have discovered had you taken my path. And I do fly, why on earth would I wish to pretend such a thing?

There is nothing sacred about customers, colleagues, and security goons that prohibits criticism/damnation on a public website. It is honest, causes no harm, and is everyones' right. Your response was quite unpleasant and personal, but I defend your right to post it publicly.

Since posting, I witnessed my colleague harassed about his 5ml eyedrops bottle, which was incorrectly packaged in his rather full flight bag. He did not appreciate the incident. This while on our way to a longish night flight. Lunatics are now running the asylum, and it provides an additional and un-necessary pressure to an already difficult job. Why should we have to put up with vindictive and stupid harassment at the hands of largely un-qualified and unintelligent people in uniforms? Orwellian situation.

Hotel Charlie
13th Nov 2006, 11:42
Why should we have to put up with vindictive and stupid harassment at the hands of largely un-qualified and unintelligent people in uniforms?
I do agree that it is frustrating but you can´t really blame the "numnuts" working the security! They are just hired help that probably couldn't get an other job. It´s the stupid politicians and crappy airline management's fault that we´re being harassed the way we are! .. And that ultimately brings it back to ourselves, doesn't it! :ugh:

13th Nov 2006, 14:08
Pilots seem to do OK.

I agree with most of what you say. In your opinion what is doing OK? Also, what line of employment are you in?

Jambo Buana
15th Nov 2006, 15:16
I do hope the so called numbnuts in security dont read this thread as you could hardly blame them for making our lives more difficult after being labelled as dropouts scumbags etc. In my experience if you treat them with the respect they deserve as fellow earthlings, remembering the rules (SOPs) they are following are not written by them, then your lives will be less stressful. How do so called educated airline commanders get so stressed out by college dropouts? There are far too many Commanders out there and not enough pilots!

16th Nov 2006, 03:02
Time has changed, and we have no recourse but to face the harsh and grim realities of life nowadays. In the pre-terrorist era life in the aviation sector would have been much easier, better and more glamorous than it is today. Damn the terrorists for changing all this! :ugh:

16th Nov 2006, 07:46
The terrorists handed airline managments a machete to replace their scalples.

The airlines then synically used the fear & insecurity that 911 brought to push through changes that would never have been considered or tolerated pre-911.

At the time I remember us 'all pulling' together to ensure the survival of the company only to find that the company, the ones that did make it back into the black, had now found a more effective technique of job insecurity & fear to replace any form of respect.

My last hope is that as demand increases and supply dries up, airlines might just see that a new approach might secure the pilots they need... then again who am I kidding?

16th Nov 2006, 22:33
It is surprising how quickly you upgrade from busdriver when the aircraft starts to rock and roll and make loud and unusual noises, or spit fire and brimstone.
Mortal to divine in no time flat.
Just doesnt happen as much with these new-fangled machines, but it still happens.:ok:

29th Nov 2006, 17:03
ZQA297/30 sure agree with that!
Mortal to divine in no time flat

Sometimes weather does the trick as well... handshakes, kisses (yeah, well) and compliments for plonking the metal on the planet when the dark sky is ripped by lightning or the trees bent forced by wind.

Could it be that pax fear is inversely proportional to pilot fun :}

29th Nov 2006, 17:38
No relation to the initial thread, but to previous posts. Many pilots in command of well respected and very big European airlines refer to themselves as "aircraft commander". Simply a JAA definition. Nothing wrong with that, maybe it's less known over the pond, but the name exists and it is accepted in Europe. Personally I don't use it, but as I said, many pilots do.

chemical alli
1st Dec 2006, 04:15
heres to you baywatcher, ill toast you with a cold one.used to be a time when management respected the fly boys and girls,the pilots respected the engineers and the cc had no respect on overnights (joke dont go crazy i love the plate chuckers) well as you say the good old days are fast drawing nay.between wannabes who would sell their sole for less to fly and then whinge in a years time about pay and conditions, go screw yourselves you know who you are.and management who would sell their grandmothers or the gold out of their kids teeth go screw as above .to the rest of us still in the game, all i can say is treat it like one, and turn it into a mind game .you screw me i screw you twice and ill raise a glass and toast the forefathers of aviation who sweat blood and tears to get what most of us enjoyed until repugnent low cost carriers and the so called leisure market reared its ugly liitle head and turned a once proud flying community into a pack of spineless whinging good for nothing backstabbing you know what "s .well thats my rant and congrats to a proud left seater enjoy sears robuks and coporate america

ray cosmic
1st Dec 2006, 09:14
hear hear!

1st Dec 2006, 10:49
But....what I think the original letter was all about = the great wonder of flying that used to go hand in hand with a a generally great experience in an airline (for pax and of course crew/cabin crew) that has somehow been turning into a generally bland and not so nice experience.

Things change, I always wanted to be an airline pilot as a youngster, but it is only now as a mature adult I have finally made it.

The reason I put it off was that in those days I thought you had to have a BBC accent, be an Old Etonian or else have flown Spitfires in the Battle of Britain.

Only in training have I met Lorry Drivers, Mechanics etc who have decided to change to piloting as a career.

In the days of the steam train every little boy aspired to be a train driver, nowadays its more likely to be done by a Polish immigrant or obtained from a postcard from the local job centre. The cudos of the train driver has well and truly gone.

Flying for joe public until recently has been rather exclusive, now with the advent of the loco's flying is for the masses and is just like jumping on a train. There is no posh English accent on the PA and pax are jammed in like sardines with non-existant cabin service and no reclining seats. The cudos of an airline pilot has diminished to that of a train driver for joe public and the voice on the PA has been replaced with a foreign pigeon English one.

On saying that I have read that more and more PAX are prepared to pay extra for premium seats even on charters, so if this becomes the norm and a more luxurious experience adopted onboard the pilot may regain his god-like status.

1st Dec 2006, 11:17
Dear Mr Smythe - ups.... Smith

Dream on - people moving is like earth moving:
In people moving - first it was a donkey, now its jumbo's
In earth moving - first it was a spade, now its massive bulldozers and graders
If you don't like all the disadvantages of technology (global warming, microwave dinners) move to the jungle and eat worms, beatles, mushrooms and leaves;).

1st Dec 2006, 13:35
What is going on here some one's retiered to join sears and we are all cheerfull about that
Flying is a passion it is nothing else you dont have the passion might as well join sears they may say glad to have you hear we love ex passionless pilots :ugh:

late developer
1st Dec 2006, 14:41
Understand where you are coming from, sikeano, but some people change. I am sure all flyers have had that passion you speak of, but it doesn't surpass all. We are all different, some change, passions fade. Others are kindled.

Today is the first day after my ATPL theory exams expired.

Why didn't I take it further? It wasn't really the cost, nor the time. I just wanted to retain my freedom I think. I was slightly scared I might spend good money and at best, just sell my existing freedoms down the river, but that wasn't the real reason.

I used to tell anyone that would listen that being a pilot was to experience real freedom. I once told an old school acquaintance he was crazy to let his PPL lapse while he built a career and family doing other things. Now I have a different perspective.

My young son wants to be a pilot and is clever and rounded well enough to be very good one, but that means he'll have lots of other career choices too.

His Dad will fly tomorrow (in the back again) but just isn't bothered about controlling the machine anymore. The windows in the back are big enough to spark my imagination. I understand a great deal of the science of it, I can even teach my son ad astra, but not per ardua! Don't get me wrong, I am not tired of flying - I just don't need to prove my ability to make it happen to myself anymore.

When I first started working I remember I looked at a job with a big oil company and decided "Woah...nice salary, but you'll be selling your life there, matey! Stuck in a desert logging a drill hole". So I got a 9-5 career and a normal home-life which eventually bored me to tears (both!)

I am still in two minds as to whether I was daft or not to have let the exams lapse...even at my age and with no sign yet of a popping of the low cost aviation balloon I could probably have made good money flying somewhere based in the UK and padded out a nice comfy role, but from what I have seen first hand, and what I have read here on PPRuNe, I don't think I made the wrong choice, certainly for yours truly anyway. So go ahead, take the space in the queue ahead...

Besides, although I have renewed Class I a number of times, and look much fitter than average, I simply don't believe I am best fitted to deal with some emergencies. My ears and eyesight have aged, my brain is still quicker than average but no longer as quick as I think a commander of airliner's should be. Flying high in a stressful commercial enviroment is not going to improve my fitness either!

So I am quite surprised to see references to age limits being increased and medical renewal requirements relaxed as they are.

That's handy for people who want to fly, but it surely doesn't help maintain any standard.

I'm much like RoyHudd I think...got started late in aviation, even been known to voice my frustrations in the same unguarded tones sometimes! I'm definitely not the right type to enjoy working for unscrupulous beancounters and their lawyers. I've upset a few in my time with my straight-talking.

I am also pretty sure that I might not see eye to eye with some ex-lorrydrivers and ex-Essex motor dealers turned PP who are probably exquisitely laundered senior captains by now. I'm not saying they can't do the job as well as most. But you don't have to actually like everybody, do you?

So instead, I've relaxed a bit and will enjoy the freedoms I've already got rather than trading them for a few tens of thou and locking myself into a tight space for eight hours a day - besides, at 50 next year, I can start thinking about how to manipulate what's left of the few tens of thou in the pension funds that built up in the good old days that ended with the last century!

My only regret is that I can't advise my son truly on what's good and what's bad about becoming a PP. I guess I can always point him here (after I have stopped posting and skewing it, of course!)

Cheers to you, baywatcher! You actually did it all!

3rd Dec 2006, 06:44
Understand where you are coming from, sikeano, but some people change. I am sure all flyers have had that passion you speak of, but it doesn't surpass all. We are all different, some change, passions fade.

Right on the mark. At first all I wanted to do was fly. Did that. Got all my licenses and then all I wanted was to fly single engine fighters. Loved doing it, excelled at it, but did not particularly like the military.... sooooo. Then all I wanted was to fly with the airlines.. Did that. After a few bankruptcies with me getting nothing and management coming out completely whole I found a carrier that is actually still in business with a retirement and I am retiring. Now at the end of my career I can say I had a passion to fly, I still have a passion to fly but my overall outlook on the last 46 years of flying is completely different than when I was 14 and , "All I wanted to do was fly."

"We are all different, some change, passions fade." How very true.

3rd Dec 2006, 22:43
Well said "Late Developer"...and thanks for the compliment. I hope your lad considers his other options seriously. The pilot market will decline dramatically within 5-10 years at the most. Environmental issues will rightly put paid to low-cost travel/holidays, along with the overdue "correction" of the financial markets, which may prove to be more of a collapse.

I love the flying, but the job is now a most unpleasant profession...thanks not only to our unscrupulous commercial management, but also to the greed-soaked environment in which we live and work. And as for the wannabees on this site, who are putting their money where their loud and critical mouths are..."caveat emptor".

4th Dec 2006, 01:36
I have more than 40 years of flying under my belt and loved every moment of it. Looking back, would I do it again? Probably not.

I was the classic aviation addict. Model building and flying, reading all available literature on aircraft and aviation.
My father, who had dropped out of a law degree at Cambridge to volunteer for the RAF when WW2 broke out, was an ex-Cranwell instructor and Mosquito pathfinder and had ended up as an airline pilot. He saw all the signs of addiction, and knew the implications. He warned me to get qualified in something else, then look at flying, but I knew best.

I was obsessed, and very lucky. I soloed at 16 , had my PPL at 17, got my first command at 19 in a Beech D-18S. A year later, I was in the right seat of a corporate Gulstream 1. This was heady stuff, and my luck and passion held. By 25, I was chief pilot for a small commuter airline, by 30, Ops manager. a couple of years later I was flying jets. I was in heaven.

Then the creeping erosion of the job started, first of all pressure on T&Cs, then a blizzard of paperwork, leaving a paper trail from before on-duty, until after off-duty, recording minute details of everything.
Then 9/11 hit and security paranoia made everything that much more of a hassle.
It was a good life up until 9/11 but by then the economic writing was already on the wall, and I was just hanging on to make retirement and qualify for retiree travel.

No sooner have I retired, than my employer decides to go out of business, and my retiree travel is evaporating. Due to several re-structurings, my pension is lousy, and I probably won't be able to travel during retirement as I had been planning. I may even have to take a "Sears job" to help make ends meet. (411A please note; no boat, no alimony, same wife for 30 years.)

Then I look at my cousin's son, who went into oil 8 years ago. He is now a directional driller, and makes nearly 3 times what an airline Capt at a major carrier makes. He can afford an airplane to play with. I think if you love flying that is the way to go.