AA toxic culture

HalinTexas

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Thank God somebody finally went to that link!! Keep looking at it please. It's not super sexy, but it sure as hell has teeth. Could be a game changer. Please keep up the feedback.

Can't say that i'm all that excited about it or that it's something I'm interested in for my life. Possibly could be used for reforming SS altogether, but I'd like to have the option to go it alone. The biggest problem with SS is that it only invest in very secure, and low yield, securities, and relies on growth in the labor force in numbers and/or income. Neither is happening much right now, but it's not as bad as Europe. China will have it's reckoning in the not too distant future.
 

Flopgut

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Can't say that i'm all that excited about it or that it's something I'm interested in for my life. Possibly could be used for reforming SS altogether, but I'd like to have the option to go it alone. The biggest problem with SS is that it only invest in very secure, and low yield, securities, and relies on growth in the labor force in numbers and/or income. Neither is happening much right now, but it's not as bad as Europe. China will have it's reckoning in the not too distant future.

Ok, that's kind of all over the place.

I'd like to "go it alone" as well. Fun to talk about, but meanwhile the govt is using our broken relationship with the RLA to turn us into the maritine industry. This is real; it already exists and we have a very real right to assert the position that we be included.

Bear in mind, this has not effect on a 401k, an A or B plan, or any other savings vehicle.
 

HalinTexas

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I don't understand how it's "all over the place."

If hadn't started raiding my retirement last year, and little more lately, I'd be back where I was in '08, and I haven't contributed a dime since then. My point is that I don't know if I want to be included. I'd rather have the choice of where to invest MY money.

I don't believe the airline industry should be covered or restricted by the RLA. It's a non-sequitor. It was designed to protect the overall economy from labor strife, and I don't think we have to worry about that from the airlines. Probably not the railroads either, since we have better road to drive on since then.

The other vehicles you mention would most likely cease to exist as the increase in taxes and the lack of company matching would make them less attractive to the worker. The average worker now believes that SS will take care of them, and this is a slicked up version of SS.
 

Flopgut

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I don't understand how it's "all over the place."

If hadn't started raiding my retirement last year, and little more lately, I'd be back where I was in '08, and I haven't contributed a dime since then. My point is that I don't know if I want to be included. I'd rather have the choice of where to invest MY money.

I don't believe the airline industry should be covered or restricted by the RLA. It's a non-sequitor. It was designed to protect the overall economy from labor strife, and I don't think we have to worry about that from the airlines. Probably not the railroads either, since we have better road to drive on since then.

The other vehicles you mention would most likely cease to exist as the increase in taxes and the lack of company matching would make them less attractive to the worker. The average worker now believes that SS will take care of them, and this is a slicked up version of SS.

You push people on here for answers, but you are having trouble understanding them when you read them.

Of course we should not be covered by the RLA. But we damn sure are!! It's killing the profession. The nearest answer we have to fix this is to leverage the arguement that we either get RRB, or this industry be removed from the RLA.

I couldn't understand from your post if you are retired or not. So I don't know if you are paying or collecting SS. Yeah, it would be great to decide where to put our own money. But that's much further from reality than pressing for a proper realtionship with the RLA. The RRB is a real thing. It predates SS [around a very long time]. Your assumption that 401k and other retirement vehicles cease to exist is not realistic. At all. That is very much not the case with actual railworkers who have had this thing for generations. Talk to a rail labor leader and they will not believe what we put up with care of the RLA. The RLA is meant to be a burden that includes certain benefits. Unfortunately, the airline business is completely excluded from the benefits.
 
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HA25

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I don't understand how it's "all over the place."

If hadn't started raiding my retirement last year, and little more lately, I'd be back where I was in '08, and I haven't contributed a dime since then. My point is that I don't know if I want to be included. I'd rather have the choice of where to invest MY money.

I don't believe the airline industry should be covered or restricted by the RLA. It's a non-sequitor. It was designed to protect the overall economy from labor strife, and I don't think we have to worry about that from the airlines. Probably not the railroads either, since we have better road to drive on since then.

The other vehicles you mention would most likely cease to exist as the increase in taxes and the lack of company matching would make them less attractive to the worker. The average worker now believes that SS will take care of them, and this is a slicked up version of SS.

something tells me you like to ask the questions, but you don't like to hear the answers..... peace man.
 

livin'thesim

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Either there will be a new crop of pilots who will overthrow this insane seniority system and seniority-based pay; or there will have to be a total collapse of the US airline industry.

Any other way, and US pilots will continue to be some of the world's worst-paid pilots.


FD-

I have switched to the term longevity-based pay (I used to say sen.-based as well) because it is more descriptive. In a topped-out airline (USAir, I imagine???), the most junior CA made the same as the most senior. Because they had the same longevity.

Same with a brand-new airline. Everyone on the same rate, regardless of position on the list.

Again, eliminating the ability for new airlines to pay-undercut mature ones would help keep existing jobs more stable.

A new airline could always offer a lower TOTAL rate, but then the pilots would see that higher pay was not in the future there and decline to work there.

So an 4th-year LCC FO would still make less than a 4th-year legacy FO, BUT, but, but----

That pilot could jump ship to the higher pay of a legacy without as much sacrifice.


But the real magic would occur nearer the top of the seniority lists.

The 10-year CA at the LCC could afford to leave, and instead of knuckling under to management and getting scared into concessions, he can afford to bail.

This means that LCC pilots, even the high-longevity ones have increased bargaining power - and management would KNOW IT.

Hence, this is a way to achieve LCC pay rates that get closer to legacy (not all the way, but closer), and WITHOUT having to enforce top-down edicts by forcing a uniform pay rate either across many MECs or by legislation.

The process would be organic and more like a grass-roots effort.


Eliminating STEEPLY-SCALED longevity pay gives junior pilots a livable wage, and gives senior pilots an exit strategy.

And it moves a pilot's earning power up to the front of his career.

A dollar today is worth two dollars ten years from now.

Imagine paying off your mortgage sooner, or funding up your savings or 401K and letting it grow for more years.

Or having a huge cash cushion in the event of furlough. Or a school fund if you lost your medical.

Unionization is not the problem.

Seniority is not the problem.

Steep longevity pay scales are the problem.
 

livin'thesim

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you can say I'm set in my ways!! Been around a long time, seen enough over the years to form my own opinion! Just expressing my opinion, that's still allowed isn't it?!?!


Yep. And I am allowed to refrain from expending energy arguing with someone who is not listening to what I am saying.
 

HA25

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Steep longevity pay scales are the problem.

A truer statement on a pilot forum has not been made.

I mean really... how is a captain at the same airline worth more just because he got there first? I can see bidding a better schedule, but are you a better pilot? or taking on any more responsibility?
 

livin'thesim

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you're wrong..

first off, if EVERYONE payed that scale, then how is anyone going to be at any competitive disadvantage?


Well because not all contracts have the same provisions.

One airline may pay more, but another has a higher min guarantee.
One airline may have an entirely different business model.
Trip protection may be different among different contracts.
Some contracts may have differering trip or duty reg provisions.

Now, if all contracts were identical, THOSE issues would be solved BUT ----

What if that one-size-fits-all contract causes pilots at one airline to have a horrible QOL because the contract and its provisions interface poorly with the route structure and type of flying?

What if the contracts work great when you have 300 pilots, but don't work for 3,000? Or the opposite.

It is critical to a properly functioning economy that businesses and labor groups have a certain amount of flexibility. Mandated pay rates will probably cause a loss of many pilot jobs.


YOU MAY BE RIGHT that this would work - but there is no way such a solution would ever be implemented because everyone has to be on the same page at all affected carriers.

Elimination of steep longevity scales can start to work its effect even if only a few pilot groups adopt it.

Besides, with industry-mandatory scales, that means that small airlines in less economically affluent areas would be priced out of existence, and airlines in expensive cities would be paying pilots a wage that was not commensurate with the higher living costs in those domiciles.

One-size-fits-all can have a certain appeal, but the reality is that it will be hard to implement, and there are lots of unintended consequences.
 
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HA25

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like we have discussed above... it's not black and white... there has to be some one-size-fits-all intermixed with reasonable adjustments for those issues.... but the idea that a 747 captain can make from 260/hr to 84/hr flying cargo depending on who he works for and how long he's been there is ludicrous.
 

livin'thesim

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like we have discussed above... it's not black and white... there has to be some one-size-fits-all intermixed with reasonable adjustments for those issues.... but the idea that a 747 captain can make from 260/hr to 84/hr flying cargo depending on who he works for and how long he's been there is ludicrous.


Great point, but if you try to make that enforceable by law, you will not be able to.

You could make it a prerequisite to join ALPA, which would be easier.

But doing this would ensure that companies would fight unionization efforts even more vigorously.


I don't know any corporate pilots who work for minimum wage. The race-to-the-bottom argument, which has some valid points, falls flat if you take it too far.

Similarly, under my proposal, the scenario you propose (a dirtbag airline paying a 747 CA $100/hr) is not likely.

Because they would have to pay ALL captains $100 per hour. There are simply not enough people qualified to do the job who will work at that wage.

Steeply scaled longevity pay allows companies to purchase new labor at below market rates, and trap older employees at higher rates subsidized by the newer labor.

I understand the strong desire you have to "force" companies to pay at a certain rate. But price-fixing pay rates will lead to disaster for some of the reasons I have stated in the above posts.

The correct solution is to design the labor marketplace in such as way that the pay rates rise to the desired level.

YOU WILL NOT be able to stop all carriers from paying a low wage. THERE WILL BE people who undercut other pilots and work for less.


When you push a policy change, you have to understand that you will not get ALL the policies you want. Therefore, you must get the policies you need.

If you expend a ton of negotiating capital on minimum pay rates, you will NOT get the expected result, because companies will create leaks in the system and find work-arounds to ensure that your TOTAL PAY is less.

FMS-speed:

I am going to say, as respectfully as I can, that what you propose is too simplistic a solution and will probably backfire. Once a company cannot pay the rate (or engineers its books to ensure that it cannot) then they will threaten the pilot group with bankruptcy, and run off to BK court to get temporary pay cuts - directly approved from the government. Or, they will get the pilot group to agree to a 50 hour monthly guarantee with no trip protection.


Checkmate, my friend.

Also, you will be creating a public-relations disaster that will make pilot groups look overpaid and greedy (even if it is not true), eroding popular support and risking repeal of the legislation you fought so hard to get.


It is not the government's job to decide what companies can afford to pay. It is not our place to harness the legal system to force our employer to hand over more money. Once a carrier goes under, the news will be filled with interviews with unemployed gate agents and baggage handlers who are now out of work because of those "greedy pilots". Then, the reactionary public will demand that something be done.


But eliminating steep longev scales is an easy sell from a PR standpoint. It can be sold as "fair and equitable".

It requires no legislative force.

This proposal does not force EMPLOYERS to play ball.

It makes OUR OWN PILOTS to change what they demand from an employer.

Many people think that private-sector unionization is a violation of free markets, but this is WRONG. The voluntary organization by employees to bargain collectively is ALSO a free market solution.

Mandating that every airline be union, or making unions illegal would be a non-free market solution.

Mandatory minimum wages is non-free market (if enforced by the government).

Which brings me to my last point, alluded to earlier:

What the government gives, they can take away.

The pilot community needs to redesign the system by which we VOLUNTARILY agree to exchange our labor for money. If we change our system, employers will need to play along.

This requires adult thinking, mature behavior, and above all the ability to educate pilots on the financial literacy aspects of any such proposal. If we cannot manage this among ourselves, then what right do we have to go crying to the government to make our employers get in line with our pay demands? Weak, pu--y move in my view. We should get it on our own or not at all.

Re-design the labor supply model and YOU WILL GET the pay rates you want, and the result will be durable, not just one court's ruling away from losing everything you worked for.


Doctors control the supply aspects of their labor, and they are well paid.

So do lawyers.

So do engineers.



The coming wave of retirements gives pilots a unique opportunity to use that reduced supply of pilot labor to make efforts at changing the system.

Are we mature enough to take this opportunity? I hope so.
 

HA25

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I agree with many of your points, but I'll see your point on wage and raise you another point!

WHY are pilots paid by the flight hour in the first place?

Why?

Doesn't it make a lot more sense to be paid by the DUTY hour instead?

a) companies would more smartly use YOUR time and not have you log an 18 hour day for 8 hours of flight time as a friend of mine that flies at Kalitta often does.

b) this 50 hour, or 70 hour guarantee BS would be yesterdays news..

c) our days would be on average shorter, because management has an incentive to schedule smartly..

With a little bit of re-working of the contract language to determine what a proper number of days a month a pilot should work (say 12-16 depending on his seniority)...this would yield a system where we got paid for our TIME fairly. I mean why shouldn't I be getting paid when I show up to my aircraft, look over the NOTAMS, weather, and MEL's ... why only when the doors are closed?

As to other points you make about not doing this under law... I'd argue that a lot of the reason our unions can't get what we need is the current state of the law... i.e the RLA..
RLA has to be amended and changed to allow for proper union action. Look at France.. when a union in France takes action, the managers there take note. Here, we're one step above China in how much labor has a say in their contract.
 

livin'thesim

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FMS-

I want you to consider one more thing:

Imagine back to the days leading up to prohibition.

Imagine the self-satisfied looks on the faces of the Ladies' Temperance Movement.

They had finally made alcohol illegal.

All the nation's drinking problems were solved, no more "demon alcohol".

Imagine the discussions the night the law passed; all those stout matrons imperiously congratulating themselves on "saving" those horrible men from their childish impulses.

Of course, we know the rest - bathtub gin, speakeasies and organized crime. Slowly, these harpies began to get the facts of life shoved into their faces that simple fixes do not work. And the final humiliating blow - repeal of prohibition.

Human nature will not be corked like a bottle. Simple force tactics leave all of the exploitable impulses intact. It will work until work-arounds are discovered.

We must change the collective attitude of the pilot labor group and change the way it willingly hands over its labor for money.

If you, or we, continue to obsess about the per-hour rate (this is a dangerous distraction) we will not have change.

I might point out that we do not have minimum legal rates now, and most 747 CAs are not working for peanuts.

You have to consider the TOTAL COMPENSATION EFFECT, and design the system around that - the hourly rate will take care of itself once those other details are ironed out.
 
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livin'thesim

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I have no problem with duty instead of flight hour pay.

I have no problem with changing or eliminating the RLA.

Those are big hurdles, of course.

With regard to France, you have to understand that France has a completely different:

1) View of labor
2) Number of airlines
3) Population size
4) Pilot labor pool
5) Legal system
6) Attitude toward government control
7) On and on and on


Don't think that we can adopt ONE element of their system and expect similar results. We could end up with opposite results.

Putting a 757 wing on a King Air will make it crash, not fly. If you suggest replacing all the King Air parts with 757 parts until we have a 757, well then just move to France already.


You are proposing radical solutions that may or may not work, but will require and top-down change in the way pilots, management, and the government conducts business.

I wish you much luck - I will not participate in a battle of that magnitude, since wholesale change is - according to history - quite rare.

Organic change from within the ranks of pilots is doable. One evolutionary step at a time.

You have given a desired end result - but you have proposed REBUILDING Rome.

Work within the system to change the system. You are proposing too much in one step. I will not expend even one second of effort towards such an impossible goal.

Becoming distracted with hourly-pay numbers will lead nowhere. A properly designed market will bring the desired pay rates organically, without force.
 
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HalinTexas

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something tells me you like to ask the questions, but you don't like to hear the answers..... peace man.


I ask questions of things that I don't understand.

I question things that don't make sense.

Your supposition that airline pilots should not be covered under the RLA and that they should be covered under the RBB is illogical. The RLA predates the RBB by about 10 years. The RBB predates the SSA by one year, essentially separating out railroad workers from the general population.

401(k) is an IRS definition. My supposition is that the company matching portion would be rendered moot if the employer has to match the RBB contribution or the employee. The employee likely will be lulled by the salesmanship of the RBB that they don't have to invest further in their retirement, and would be justified if their taxes go up under the RBB. A/B funds are not standard issue in the "real," non-aviation world. They're negotiated by unions. They've also lost favor, possibly rightly so, after Enron. Anyone who puts more than 10% of their retirement in company stock, with all it's restrictions, is an idiot IMHO.

The "National Payscale" discussion is interesting, but it's implications are quite broad. National politics will be involved, unions won't lose power, so therefore the RLA will still be in play. Someone, or something, has to enforce whatever you're proposing. I do agree the "payscale slope" is out of whack, particularly those that run out 18 years.

What are the rules for hiring? Would companies have to hire from this "list?" How does one join this flying club? Would companies be allowed to hire directly into a seat, say B777 captain? Would the airline or pilot be required to pay for training for any newhire? If the company is required under this plan to train, then what is their incentive to hire someone "experienced" and more expensive, who might jump ship later, if they can run an "ab initio" or MPL program at an arguably lesser cost? This is what the Chinese are doing, and I know the MPL is gaining favor in Europe. The FAA might have to have a say in here somewhere, which means more politics and unions. With the impending increase in hiring standards, there are already flight schools out there looking for a waiver to this rule by offering an MPL course structure.

I do not wish to emulate anything the French do politically or economically. At least their food is better than the English.

Allowing for qualifications, standards and certifications, anything that puts the power or control of his career in the hands of the pilot is the most advantageous for him and the profession. Otherwise it's replacing one government regulation with another, that may be no net gain to him.
 

HalinTexas

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My supposition for pilots, specifically, would also have to involve the FAA, unfortunately, and aircraft manufacturers. To be a "professional" you have to have standards and certification, like the Nat'l Bar Assoc. the AMA etc. Schools develop their programs to get accredited by these agencies. The FAA and the manufacturers would have to agree on one standard of training for each seat on each type, with sub-ratings for variances of each type, i.e. B737-Classics vs. B737-NGs.

Each newhire must have an ATP, which might possibly need to be more difficult to obtain, at least on par with other countries. Ours is too easy to get, while their's is to difficult. A world-wide certification process may be welcome here. This is separate from immigration issues, a whole other argument, so don't get your panties in a bunch. Here's the big one that will get 'em bunched. Each pilot is responsible for his own type rating, SIC or PIC, and currency and re-qualification. I know, you say "OUCH." That's a big change. I'll come back to it. Companies are required, at a minimum, to train for indoc. They're also required to train for the area of operations, so Class II Nav, ETOPS, dispatch, MX, international ops. Cat II/III, while still remaining within the scope of the FAA and manufactures' training standards. Companies then can hire into whatever seat they need to fill, and not have to upgrade or promote by seniority or hire into the most junior seat. Openings for a given position can be advertised via the normal hiring procedures that every company follows today.

"WAIT A MINUTE!" You yell. "WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO PAY FOR A TYPE RATING? Isn't that 'pay-to-play?" Yes, it is. That's what professionals do. Sometimes companies will fund additional education or certifications and CEUs, like MBAs and CPAs, when/if it suits their needs. Otherwise, law students, doctors and accountants pay for their specialties. They have to pay for their continuing education, or quite possibly the company does if they want to keep that employee. Generally, a company hires what they need based on the market availability. Our economy is highly specialized so you better have the right education if you're looking for work. I know this first hand.

At any rate, the cost of training is reflected in the pay and benefits of the employee. If the market for the employee is scarce, the employer raises the offer to attract the needed employee or it promotes from within, sometimes both, possibly paying for the training of the employee. But, it is no longer a requirement.

Medicals. There are countries out there, namely China and Japan, that have much more stringent medical requirements than the US. This should change for the US. A "one size fits all" is not necessary and the minimums should be realistic. As an example, the BMI requirement in Japan is rather excessive in my opinion.

Retirement. I don't think that I'm in favor of a mandatory retirement age, although it has benefitted me in the past, and would certainly benefit me in the future. It should not be less than any government agency dictates as "the retirement age." With an increase in medical standards and an independent requalification standard, vis-a-vis, the training responsibility mentioned above, this should mitigate and safety issues concerning the "aged."

Merit pay. I believe you should get a raise or a promotion based on merit not because of longevity or seniority, while that may play into it. The metric for this eludes me. Safety is an issue and should remain so, but safety guidelines are in every industry. A pilot, specifically captains, should not be punished for exercising his professional judgment. That's what he's paid for. However, there should be ramifications for poor judgement, such as taking off with insufficient fuel and the like. If there's a PIC or SIC that is a moron and shouldn't be flying, the company should be allowed to do something about it. While longevity raises may or may not be there from year to year, incentive pay of some type should be considered. Again, specifically, I don't know how to make this work.

I offer this fully knowing it will never come to pass.
 

livin'thesim

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Halin-

The metric for merit is a great idea. The question is how to apply it in a way that is devoid of office politics.

Nearly any performance metric could conceivably cost safety, since it pits economics against it.

Personally, I like the "separation of powers" that occurs where pilot pay is independent of airline performance. Judges should not get paid on the number of cases heard.

Prosecutors should not get performance pay on number of convictions.

The correct policy for all of these jobs is:

1) Hire people of high character.
2) Ensure that their compensation method does not tempt their high character into compromises.

Neither 1) nor 2) is sufficient on their own.

The law is the law. Safety is safety. The system will never be perfect, but we need pilot performance to be as uniform as possible to prevent performance differences from being exploited to wedge one group against another.

This, then, commodotizes the pilot labor force. Hopefully at a uniform high level.

I'm not sure that the current system can be practically improved upon, even though it is full of flaws.
 

Jack Schitt

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You sound like a bunch of foolish, control freak pilots trying to control something that is way beyond your grasp. Airliners went from 3 pilot cockpits to 2 pilot cockpits. There will eventually be 1 pilot in the cockpit and then none. Just a "systems analyst" making $10 an hour while some computer flies it from the ground. Your job is being phased out by technology and you fail to recognize it. You can't control the pay. The market will determine the pay. You can't control the market. Get over it.
 

HA25

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You sound like a bunch of foolish, control freak pilots trying to control something that is way beyond your grasp. Airliners went from 3 pilot cockpits to 2 pilot cockpits. There will eventually be 1 pilot in the cockpit and then none. Just a "systems analyst" making $10 an hour while some computer flies it from the ground. Your job is being phased out by technology and you fail to recognize it. You can't control the pay. The market will determine the pay. You can't control the market. Get over it.

I think I'll just go jump off a cliff.....


seriously you're right... we're foolish indeed. And in time, we'll be replaced by technology... right about that same time, about 25% of all current "jobs" will also be replaced by technology... brave new world.
 

Kalifornia

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You sound like a bunch of foolish, control freak pilots trying to control something that is way beyond your grasp. Airliners went from 3 pilot cockpits to 2 pilot cockpits. There will eventually be 1 pilot in the cockpit and then none. Just a "systems analyst" making $10 an hour while some computer flies it from the ground. Your job is being phased out by technology and you fail to recognize it. You can't control the pay. The market will determine the pay. You can't control the market. Get over it.

1 pilot cockpit is still a long, long ways away for any heavy jet carrying tons of fuel and humans and cargo. All airlines in an emergency can already be flown with a single pilot and have for a long time, but for the same reasons of 2 or more engines, you're not going to see 1 pilot anytime soon. And no pilots, heck, they don't even seem close to having automatic cars on the road, except for a few safety features on luxury models. Taxiing around a congested airport would be problem number 1. The oceanic shipping industry also in their two dimensional world has not come close to zero onboard human intervention. Computers cannot account for catostrophic events such as United Sioux City, Qantas A380 over Singapore, Sulley over NYC. A UAV crashing in the desert is one thing, population centers is another.
 
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