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UAL on U302

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Well-known member
Jan 14, 2002
Could someone please explain why U302 has met with so much UAL ALPA resistance? The argument for no B scale can only go so far in my opinion. Clearly with the advent of Regional jets the industry has forever changed. Instead of complaining about how small jets are eroding mainline flying, lets do something about it. LET’S FLY THEM.

We can all see the trend. When a competitor gets a new contract with relief for a greater percentage of small jets, that puts us at a competitive disadvantage, then UAL needs to respond. How far does this have to go before we wake up? This trend is self-sustaining. The obvious downside is that for mainline to fly them and remain competitive; we need a B scale. A price I am willing to pay.

Additionally, all carriers have claimed that the high yield pax may not return any time soon, possibly ever in the same percentage. U302 would moderate our reliance on any one traveling personality. This is the best recovery idea I have heard to date, allowing for competition on the low fare front long term.

As pilots we are by nature conservative, but in this case we need to be proactive and aggressive. Let’s not just sit by and watch the industry toss us around, things have changed and we are already behind the eight ball. What the heck is the benefit of no B scale if we cannot protect mainline jobs?

I wasn't at UAL long enough to harbor the resentment toward management which appears to be evident, so I want to see both groups successful. It seems on the surface U302 would do just that. I don't have the inside track on management’s take on this, but I fear that our pilot group may be shortsighted on this one.

Help me out folks, what am I missing?

And yes, I feel that ALPA should also protect our regional brothers in any transition of equipment.
I hear ya

You are right on track.
It is time the MEC wakes up and sees what is going on in the industry. Even before 9-11 the regionals were buying RJs as fast as they could be built. The fact is they are here to stay.
PAX love them and they make money.
Instead of sticking with the old policy of trying to limit their numbers, United has to change and start flying them themselves.
The regionals are already finding ways around the scope clause
and the number of RJs will only increase.
Love them?

"PAX love them "

I am not attacking RJ Pilots, Regional airlines, or any facet of the scope issue. In fact in my current position I like the U302 plan. I do feel that the all encompassing "pax love them" statement is a little off. The only thing I've seen from passengers concerning the RJs is that they hate them. I commute out of BNA and when mainline UAL pulled out and was replaced by RJs the reaction of the passengers was not favorable. Many that I talked with despised the headroom, the lack of storage, and the unreliability to name a few issues. Many people I talked with said they'd swap airlines to AAL to avoid the ride up on the RJ. As a passenger, if given the choice between two airlines I'd fly the one with big airplanes.

That said, I feel that RJs are the better alternative (by far) to the 1900s and other prop job typical "commuter" planes.

That's my 2 cents. Again, I don't hate the RJs or any other airline pilot for what they fly. I just feel that although the RJs are around to stay they are not the "perfect" answer the ailing industry.

True enough

The lack of glee from most pax used to mainline equipment is because most RJ's really aren't jetliners in the minds of well traveled folks. They are either stretched corporate aircraft or stretched and jet retrofitted commuter aircraft. Boeing/McD and Airbus are hard to beat in accepted standard creature comfort or large cabins with plenty of carry-on bag storage.

We will see a new generation of larger cabin RJ's coming though, with large airliner comfort and better than Boeing economy for their design use. These 90-100 seat variants are going to be the true RJ direction, not the initial CL-65's and EMB-145's we know today. Sure, the CL and EMB line fill a niche, and for that reason, they will be around for a long while, but there are more serious contenders on the way. These will truly blur the line between "regional jet" and "jetliner".

U30-02 addresses this swan song of the scope clause era by recognising this, taking economic advantage of it for the benefit of UAL employees and preparing for inevitable market forces. Personally I think we have an air carrier "Vietnam" coming, and the old guard MEC's at most majors are still fighting an outdated war using scope defense that will line the industry up for a war of attrition. Attrition meaning make the other side (management or union) hurt worse until somebody gives in. New methods and ideas will previal - I want to be on the front side of a win-win situation, not on the outside of a pissing match watching myself and everyone else getting wet.

As far as a B scale goes, I don't see it. A "B" scale would be to keep someone making XXX per year in one category while hiring a new guy and never letting him make what the first guy made at similar longevity on similar equipmet. If you add positions below the first guy, and guaruntee seats making normal pay, you are just adding new equipment at a pay rate comensurate with the equpment. Also, B scale is by way of date of hire and assigning a new pay scale to it. Someone hired into UAL and placed into U30-02 would have the option to bid whatever they wanted at the standard scale too depending on seniority. Someone who wanted advancement or a certain schedule may like the choice U30-02 would give. If it got old, they could bid back to a 747 FO and still enjoy the fact that they have a company making money on RJ's instead of the mainline paying another company a "per departure fee" to make money on RJ's. All the while, they'd have another couple thousand guys below them on the list who are happy to have the chance to have a career with lots of choices and a more defined future.
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United feeders

Does anyone have an opinion on what would happen to Uniteds feeders if the U302 proposal went through. Would ACA and AWAC stop growing, and stop feeding UNited? Just wondering if any one can speculate as to how this might turn out?
I have a speculation on what might happen to United feeders. If U302 went through, the scope clause would no longer be in violation. I believe UAL's scope clause allows for 65 RJ's under a code share agreement. With U302 coming through the growth at the feeders would stop growing while UAL shrinks. I think it is the best idea I have ever heard and I hope that it can see it's way through to the board or directors. I'm so tired of the feeders grow in violation of my unions letter of agreement, while my fellow furloughees and I sit idly by on the street. It's legalized B-scale folks. Management loves this stuff.
Anyone have an accurate number for how much a new RJ costs these days ? I am sure there are some aggressive finance packages for airlines buying up all of these planes however at some point they will need to start paying for them. I wonder what the cost is of the assumed "lower cost" RJ as compared to a 10 year old 737-300 ? Obviously the operating cost is less but by how much ? I have heard that a new RJ-700 is around 40M, seems pretty high, if the planes are that expensive then who is paying the lease payments, are they deferred for a certain amount of time ? I do know that many start up airlines get a healthy deferral allowing for aggressive marketing to get a foothold, great idea for the manufacturers. Not so good for all of the long term players. Is this US Air's strategy at this time ? I guess I am just trying to figure out how the capitol costs seem to not be a concern when comparing the direct operating cost between RJs, 737s, and MD-80s ???

I think that U302 is not a bad idea however if we were to use all of the 737s as they were originally planned for ( shuttle type operations nationwide ), then customers would have the larger cabin, entertainment, and baggage room they have come to love so dearly. There would be no additional capitol costs either. As I understand it, the 737s are being under-utilized anyway. Dutta has been quoted as suggesting the removal of first class seats in some of the aircraft to compete, is he talking about the Guppy ? Sure the RJs are great planes and I agree that props will be a thing of the past eventually so no argument there. What ever happened to the plans for some of the A320s and 757s possibly flying in the Shuttle concept ? If the people want the Greyhound fare flying coast to coast, maybe this is the answer ?
2 cents from an ex-military, freight hauling, might just be wrong kind of guy.

RJs fade a bit when one or both of these happen:

1- Regionals organize and force wages up to parity with mainline. Take a 777 Captains rate/per seat and slide it down to 55 seats....and when the cost advantage goes away the "right" plane for the market will show up. Right now the defacto "C" scales make the RJs a cheaper alternative, even if the 10 year 737 makes more sense in relation to other variable costs like fuel, etc.

2- Economy rebounds enough to get folks flying and again the "gridlock" of summer 99 shows back up. When feds start regulating (and better yet charging) for landing fees by SLOT time, then you will see larger planes again as Mgt tries to amortize those costs across more seats.

Don't think either will happen for a while. Be nice to the RJ pilots...they have better job security right now than most.

See Bluedevav8tor for insights into union issues at Regionals...he's barked up this tree before.
Let say for one second that SkyWest pilots unionize and then strike in order to get 20% higher wages. Then for additional second management agrees to a 20% raise. United a split-second later would transfer all new flying to Air Whiskey, Mesa, and ACA. After SkyWest’s contract with United runs out all of SkyWest's contract flying would be taken over by Mesa.

If Air Whiskey wants higher wages, then oooops there goes the flying to XYZ Airlines. Then XYZ want higher wages then ABC gets the flying.

It will never happen. Higher wages will never happen at the regionals. Even if all regional pilots were under one union and they had 100% solidarity higher wages would never happen. A start-up XYZ airline would get all new the flying and then slowly but surely more and more flying. And quess what: I would buy XYZ's stock and so would all of you.

Under the current system the RJ flying goes to the lowest bidder. The lowest bidders get the fixed fee for each departure and the Major partner get feed. Or, is that all they get? Today, in AA and United and Delta’s case the regional partner flies mainline routes. For instance, Eagle is going to start flying their ERJ from SNA to LAX then SFO. How does that route provide feed to AA?

I would rather have United, AA, Delta, NWA, Continental, USAir, Alaska get hundreds and even thousands of RJ's on their property. I think this better happen sooner rather than later. I am beginning to here some very interesting rumors that Washington, DC and congress are wondering if “scope” is good for America. “Scope” is good for major airline pilots, the ranks I want to join, but is it good for the American people who are bailing out the industry? Is scope good for the flying public?

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"I'm so tired of the feeders grow in violation of my unions letter of agreement, while my fellow furloughees and I sit idly by on the street. It's legalized B-scale folks."

Mainliners are not the only ones on furlough. Here at Air Wisconsin we have people on the street (I know it's not as many as United) as do most of the large "feeders". Mainline management needs to get there act together. But, what do I know, I am just a RJ pilot.


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