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A pilot’s job is nothing to scoff at. It is hard work and long hours. Unfortunately low morale is becoming an industry wide issue among pilots.
Currently, airlines are able to change crew schedules with short notice. This enables airlines to keep their planes off the ground and in the air making money. However, it comes at a cost. Pilots are tired and unhappiness is increasing.
Airline unions plan to make this a top priority when addressing new contracts for pilots. The union representing American Airlines‘s pilots has already started pushing for earlier contract negotiations.
American Airlines’ Pilots Had It the Worst This Past Summer
Pilots on American Airlines had a 33% chance of being switched to a new (or longer) flight this past summer, according to the Allied Pilots Association. However, being flexible is part of the job description for a pilot. The current contracts are structured to allow for this as an exception, but it is being abused as a routine option by the airlines because switching pilots and other crew around is an easy way to minimize delays and maximize profits.
Along with pilots, flight attendants are reporting similar working conditions of long hours, short overnights, and low morale.
As consumers, this should concern us for a very simple reason. Pilots should be in best working condition to perform their job to get travelers to their destination safely. When a pilot is exhausted, that poses a potential risk for error. It seems that as airlines are continuing to expand and air travel is becoming even more popular, companies are trying to manage larger operations with outdated systems and a growing shortage of pilots.
I hope that the latest round of contract negotiations can bring a solution that works for the airlines, their employees, and travelers like us.
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