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Delta Bankrupt / Northwest Bankrupt


Derrik Draven
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Well...the company I've worked for, for almost 17 years, has finally gone belly up. :(

 

Sucks, to say the least. It's hard to sit by and watch as the news media talks about the 'robust economy', seeing friends buy new cars, all the while being knee deep in the worst industry, bar none, since the 9/11 attacks put the airlines into a tailspin.

 

I love how the media historically talked about the "highly paid airline employees" that were part of the problem.

 

There should have been a slightly more precise way of saying that: "the highly paid airline pilots". Trust me; there are no aircraft techs, or flight attendants, or bag smashers, getting rich.

 

Just execs and the flying bus drivers.

 

I swear that we are the ONLY damn industry that refuses to pass it's ridiculously increased costs of fuel, onto the customer. Hell, even FedEx and UPS cost more now, due to higher fuel.

 

NOPE. Not the airlines. We'll keep our prices at 1980 prices and take the increase in cost out of our employees pay/benefits.

 

Thank you. Thank you very much. I've always wanted to sacrifice so that others could gain.

 

Our CEO (Grinstein) said today, the we (Delta) needed to get our employee costs down to the costs of the LCC's. (low cost carriers).

 

THAT'S GREAT!!! Southwest's technicians make $1000/month more than I do. Airtran just gave their tech's a 24% payraise and Jetblu almost makes what I make now. :tu

 

Cool! Does this mean I get a payraise now that we're bankrupt????

 

Ahhh well...whatever. Guess it's going to be the year without a Santa Claus around my house.

 

Guess I should be glad I still have a house. Anyone from New Orleans would probably trade me places.

 

Still...I find myself at 17 years senority this coming October, and possibly being at the end of this career and having to start over again in a completely new one. Back to the bottom...

 

I hope that Delta can pull off a reorganization like Continental did. They're a decent airline now and, they had to go bankrupt...TWICE, before they reached that end.

 

If not, guess I'll be leaving the airlines for good...:leaving

 

Oh yeah, Northwest filed today, as well. First time in history such a thing happened.

 

Rumor has it, Delta and Northworst are planning to merge, before it's all over. God I hope not. That is one lousy company. This employee group hates that one, that employee group hates this one and management hates all of them.

 

Just my rant today guys. Been a bad one. Please bear with me...:(

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I'm an aircraft technician. I work on the flight line, where the planes come into the gates, refuel, reboard passengers, and leave. I've been on the international crew for the past 7 years. The other 10 is a mix of domestic flights and, a short stint in the hangars in Atlanta. YUCK!

 

Pretty cool job...at the moment. Ask me again this time next year. Anyhoo, working outside is a mixed blessing. Working holidays and weekends is not: it just sucks. :P

 

Responsibility level is quite high, considering everyone lives or dies depending on if I make a boneheaded mistake while troublshooting/fixing a critical system. Not too many "cloud side rests" on the way to Europe. ;)

 

Put it to you this way: when someone has a problem during a flight, they look to the flight crew. When the flight crew has a problem, they come to us.

 

That Air Alaska MD88 that crashed into the pacific, killing everyone onboard, was due to a technician making a bad call...years before that flight, on an extremely critical flight control system, while it was in the hangar for overhaul.

 

I think he's in prison. Not sure.

 

So, that's about it. Hopefully Delta survives. Most analysts agree that we will. Just not sure what we'll look like and, who will still have a job and, if the paycheck will even be worth it.

 

It's hard to bitch with so much other bad shit going on in the world. But, I am scratching my head trying to think of something else I'd rather do, than this career.

 

Railroads are hiring.....engineers make decent cash....I DO like trains! Lifestyle totally sucks ass though...:(

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Hey Derrik,

 

Not to be insensitive, but I remember reading a while back how the airline industry is all messed up because the larger carriers (United, AA, Delta) get charged way more taxes than the smaller carriers (SW, Jet Blue) so that the big ones really can't get out of the current hole. From having an inside view, is that true? If so, how exactly do the little guys get such a big advantage in profits?

 

Just wondering, I don't want to rub salt in a wound or anything.

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Hey Whooter, just read that that aircraft just got back from El Salvador, where it had maintenance done, which included the nose gear.

 

These sort of things are going to happen more and more as aircraft are shipped outside this country for heavy maintenance, due to the extremely cheap labor the airlines can get.

 

These outside, 3rd party maintenance people are people that the "legacy" carriers wouldn't have even thought of hiring because they weren't good enough. Now, all the matters is that they are "cheap enough". This is no bullshit.

 

Speaking of Jetblue, I just read an interesting article of how Jetblue is "Walmartizing" the airline industry with low pay, low talent employees. For anyone interested: http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2005/08/1718748.php

 

There is a giant, low pay, 3rd party, contract aircraft maintenance company, here in the US, called Timco. The INS (Immigration Naturalization Service), just did a second sweep and found some 30 illegal aliens, "fixing" aircraft with forged/faked federal licenses. Many of them couldn't even read or write english.

 

Yet, here they are working on the aircraft that you guys fly in.

 

Be afraid. All kidding aside.

 

To get my job, I had to go to school for 2 years. I was able to shave 4 years into 2 years because the school I went to, Pittsburgh Institute for Aeronautics, had their program setup for 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, no Christmas break, no spring break, no summer break.

 

Literally, every single minute was accounted for in that school since you had to have a federally required amount of time put in, just to take the written, oral, practical tests. We had roll call in the morning, roll call after lunch and roll call right before class let out. Every minute watched.

 

You had to pass all the written tests, practical tests and oral testing, giving by FAA examiners. If you failed any single part...no fixing aircraft for you.

 

I obviously passed and, after going on 2 separate interviews for Delta, a comprehensive battery of mechanical tests, psychological exams (hard to believe I passed that), and a "finger up yer butt" physical exam, I was hired. That just got me in the door. Since then, I've had 17 years of non stop schooling, and recurrent training.

 

Here's another example of the level of skill Delta requires. I have certain tests I have to take, every year, to maintain my qualification to remain on the flight line, working on active aircraft. Some of these test are rather, overly punishing in their grading requirement.

 

One such test is one we have to take for "Etops Qual". Etops is "extended twin operations". It's a higher maintenance level so that 2 engine aircraft can fly far from land, ie over the Pacific/Atlantic. Or, to remember it easier, Etops can also be "Engines turn or people swim". ;)

 

Anyhoo...I flunked the test 3 times in a row. Know what I scored on those test? Well...90%, 90%, and 90%. Yeah. Any other education system and I would've aced it 3 times in a row. Not here. I flunked 3 times in a row. Fouth time was the charm for me. 100%. You couldn't miss one single question!

 

...now many airlines pawn off their maintenance to people that can't speak english, read maintenance manuals, understand complex wiring diagrams, or walk and chew gum at the same time.

 

Why? They're cheap. All you need is 1 licensed guy to sign for the work that unskilled fuckheads do. And there is no way 1 guy can check everything everyone is doing, especially on VERY in depth, overhauls.

 

Hell man, back when I worked in the hangars in Atlanta, we'd remove the skin of the aircraft, xray the skeleton underneath, and start from there and put the plane back together. In. Depth.

 

Let me ask you guys an honest question: how stupid do you want the guy that the pilot depends on, to be??????

 

This little Jetblue incident is only going to get worse. This is not hyperbole. Aircraft are extremly complex, many moving parts, they go 600mph and fly around 35000ft. There isn't much room for error or shortcuts. Not much of a chance to pull over to the nearest cloud and see why the engine, that's vibrating so bad, is coming off the wing.

 

As far as your question, Snakefish...I'm not completely sure. I know that we pay a tax every single time we land an airplane and, that it varies at each airport. So, the more planes you have, the more landings you make, the more jack you get charged. Also, as far as taxes go...for some reason or another, there is NO OTHER industry in this country (USA), that pays more taxes than the airlines. We're taxed more heavily than alcohol and cigarettes.

 

Which...leads me into a little inside info for you guys that think that the FAA is watching out for your safety. Excuse me for just a sec here...:lmfao :rotflmao

 

Here's the deal: the FAA is a government entity. The FAA is paid entirely by taxes. The airlines pay more taxes than anyone. See where this goes? The LAST thing the FAA EVER...EVERRRRR wants to do, is ground an airline. NO TAXES!!!! NO MONEY!!!!! HURTS PAYCHECKS!!!!!! I have seen first hand, FAA guys turn their backs, turn a blind eye...whatever you want to call it, to shoddy, shitty maintenance practices simply because the airline was hurting, cutting corners and, they didn't want to put it over the edge with heavy fines.

 

They are doing this as we speak at Northwest. I personally know one of the scabs that are doing the maintenance work for Northwest. Todd used to work for Delta, got laid off, is up there scabbing. We've had some interesting, late night, phone conversations. And, he flat out told me that the FAA is letting alot of shit slide that wouldn't even remotely be allowed to fly otherwise, simply because it would help push Northwest over the edge into going out of business. Then...less tax dollars for the us gummint, and the FAA.

 

The FAA is one of the largest conflict of interests there is. They are supposed to police the very industry that they try to promote, that also pays their salaries, AND gives them a job to do, in the first place. The epitome of biting the hand the feeds you.

 

It's truly scary what's going on inside Northwest. Part of me hopes that one of their planes falls from the sky to blow a hole open in this grand cover up, and part of me doesn't want to see anything happen to the innocent people onboard, that don't deserve anything bad.

 

Outside this country, there is no FAA oversight, no one watching the "skill" of the people "fixing" the aircraft. It's cheap, saves money, helps get rid of more workers at the airlines which also helps reduce costs.

 

Speaking of which, I just found out today that, on top of the 10% paycut I took the 1st of the year, I now have the honor of taking a further 8.4%.

 

I'd make more cash fixing a piece of shit Camero instead of a Boeing 777. :(

 

...sorry 'bout the rant. I'm pissed. And it's a shame what little the airlines truly care for your, our passengers, safety.

 

Next time you fly, ask yourself "...so, who put that engine on the wing and, how do I know it will stay attached"? The pilot can't help you.

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It's truly scary what's going on inside Northwest. Part of me hopes that one of their planes falls from the sky to blow a hole open in this grand cover up, and part of me doesn't want to see anything happen to the innocent people onboard, that don't deserve anything bad.

 

I agree. I have tickets to fly Northwest in early November.

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Well hell Jfo, I don't want to see anything bad happen to you...maybe just your seat back recline not working. ;)

 

Seriously, have a good flight! If you want a glimpse into the maintenance world at Northwest, here's the website for their unionized mechs that were given the boot out the door: http://www.the-mechanic.com/mainbb.html

 

They're pretty pissed off so, you gotta filter out some of the bullshit but, otherwise, it gives you an idea of what's going on.

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...yeah. I'm considering it. Hate their lifestyle but, at least there is a paycheck involved, that doesn't go down each year.

 

Overheard a female pilot talking to a bag smasher, on the employee bus yesterday, on the way to work. Apparently she was one of the low pay/poor benefit pilots at one of the small regional airlines. She was complaining about their health care coverage but that it really didn't matter to her since her husband worked for the railroad and they used his coverage which was 100%, with ZERO deductible! Heard her mention that just this year, they actually started having to pay something for the coverage.

 

Damn...nice.

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