As I posted about just yesterday, United sent out an email to some of their frequent flyers encouraging them to approach pilots in airports. Being the natural skeptic I am I questioned how the unions would feel about this, and not surprisingly they responded. How they responded, though, is beyond disgusting in my opinion. Here’s their press release. Please read it. Read the whole thing. Every filthy last word of it.
Let’s look at some of this together:
“Now when you see our flight crew in the concourse or at the gate area, ask them about our airline, the plane, the flight in general, or even questions regarding their own travel experiences and adventures as pilots.”
If our customers engage you, here’s a good ice-breaker: Remind them that if they can see a pilot, then that pilot is not being paid.
Please tell me you’re kidding. The union’s trying to be funny here, right? No human would ever say this to someone paying their salary, would they? (just to clarify the part above in quotes refers to what the UA email said)
This program is yet another example of United, without consultation or consideration, asking its pilots to extend goodwill for free.
Extend goodwill for free? Are you fa’riggin’ kidding me? One time I asked someone on the street for directions. I guess I was being completely and utterly out of line in asking a total stranger for goodwill, eh? I see where they’re coming from, but I think goodwill is a very poor choice of words.
And remember, if you decide to autograph a fleet card as suggested by the company, Glenn is spelled with two n’s.
Good thing I have 24 segments on United in the next week. Thanks to Captain Flanagan for giving me a box of these trading cards. I will ask the pilots on my flight (nicely) to sign the cards and engage in conversation if they have time. Let’s see if any of this comes up. God, I hope not!
So what are the pilots going to tell us, according to this?
Yes, it will be a long flight, but the video is inoperative. You can listen to Channel 9 though.
Wow, awesome! If we get Channel 9 instead of video I’m a happy camper. Do I see the union actually encouraging positive behavior?
I could go through just about every comment and make a sarcastic, snarky remark, but that’s really not my intent. I have a serious problem with this though. I understand the frustration of the pilots to a large extent, and you could say for the most part I’m on the side of the employees. I understand their conflict with management. At the same time having this as a press release from an organization that claims to be “the voice of the professional pilot” is very sad.
That being said, we (loyal customers that treat employees with respect) are NOT the enemies. The fact that they’ve chosen to get us involved is absolutely disgusting as far as I’m concerned, and reflects very poorly on the union. Now let me for a moment assume the best of the union in thinking that they didn’t mean to get us involved and won’t say that kind of stuff to us. Well, I just can’t picture it. Some pilots take the union line as gospel. Just look at the little Hats On/Hats Off game they play. It’s about as mature as something played in an elementary school, yet 95% of pilots comply.
Like I said I’m flying 24 segments on United between Saturday and the Saturday after that. On every flight (assuming the pilots have time) I’ll ask them to sign my trading card, which I would have done regardless of whether or not this fiasco came up, and I’m curious to see whether I get any smart comments. I’ll be very nice and my intent isn’t to be hostile (like I said I like collecting pilot signatures anyway), but if any pilot decides to say “you know I’m not getting paid right now?” United isn’t exactly in the most secure financial situation as it is, so the last thing they need is more people hating their company. Of course I’m irrationally loyal.
Now I guess my attitude here might be taking everything just a little bit too literally. I can see how ALPA is trying to be humorous, and in a way it’s funny, kind of playing to issues we can all relate to. At the same time I don’t think it’s the union’s job to be a comedy club, but I sure hope that’s their intent.