Learn to Fly
7 day IFR Rating
Capt Anonymous: Race to the
by Captain Anonymous
Note from Darren: I'm happy to
welcome "Captain Anonymous" to the pages of cfidarren.com. The
Captain is a pilot for a major airline which is considered by many to
be the largest in the US. He holds the position of Captain in a
widebody jet, just a few years from retiring, and is now getting things
off his chest.
He is considered a very senior pilot at his airline and holds a
schedule which has him traveling approximately 11 days per month.
The rest of the month, he spends thinking about the things he now
writes here. A little warning... he can come off as a little
opinionated and abrasive. I would expect nothing less from a true
gentleman who's been flying for 36 years. I am not responsible
for his opinions and they may not represent my values or opinions.
We're headed down the road to disaster in the domestic airline
industry. In our race to the bottom we are peeling away all the
layers that keep your bottom safe in the sky. In fact we've been
lucky. We've got a bunch of consumers in this society who are
They look for the lowest fare in their race to the bottom without any
regard to safety records. Ever notice that airlines don't
feedback rating? If there was an ebay style ranking on these
you'd probably never fly again.
Notice I won't dare mention Flight Attendants because I married a
Japanese girl 23 years younger than me. She's a breath of fresh
compared to the psycho girls we have here. I'm on my third
have high blood pressure, and yes Viagra is an FAA approved drug.
Ok folks, listen up as I brief you for this month.
In our efforts to give you the very best ticket fares, we've gotten rid
of anyone with experience. We've fired pilots and hired them back
1/2 their original salary. We've either threatened or declared
bankruptcy so that we can break the unions and destroy retirement
pensions. Who cares, the pilot's pension is now the government's
problem. That means you taxpayers will now cover the pension for
pilots at Delta who lost everything. What a bunch of suckers you
We now have gate agents who can't close the door to the aircraft.
They've only been on the job 2 months and instead of the month long
training program, they now go through 5 days of training.
We've got mechanics who look at a maintenance write-up and can't even
check the basics. Why? Well they were working on Cessnas
for 3 months
before we hired them. You tell them about a problem they should
is near the engines and they come into the cockpit with WD40.
"Hey Seniorito, the thrust reversers are outside hanging on the side of
the engine cowling."
Well that's not as bad as the blue man who brings the poopy
truck. I watched one of our little airplanes coming in with a
chunk of blue ice attached to the toilet drain. Why? Blue
man didn't close the toilet drain at the last stop. You know the
engines on the MD are at the back of the aircraft. When that blue
ice breaks off the side of the aircraft its going to go straight
through the engine. Guess what's going to happen. And I
promise you this... its going to happen at the most critical
moment. At least maintenance will have some extra replacement
parts for the rest of the fleet.
Speaking of the MD aircraft, we had a pilot several years back who was
so fatigued that after her sixth leg that day, she made a declaration
in the cockpit voice recorder just before landing. She said, "If
we die, its because I'm so fatigued. I have been awake since 4am, we
have been flying all over the place on short hops all day, everything
is rushed, and customers are angry. While I only got 7 hours of
flying, it took me 13 hours today to get it and its now 9pm."
Very typical considering the new work rules these folks are now dealing
with. More work for not much pay. And did you know that
pilots are paid only when the wheels leave the ground. We got you
safety onto the runway for free. Isn't that comforting.
We've got Bosnian baggage smashers who dont even speak english.
bother writing FRAGILE on your package. To them it means
Goods." Why did we hire them? Because the original baggage
handlers unionized and then demanded
a living wage. How stupid of them. And when you complain
broken stuff to the baggage claim handlers, their response is "Show us
the receipts for everything that was broken." And be ready to
communicate with them in Spanish.
We've got this airline with little brown and red 737s at our hub whose
obviously told to taxi around the airport at 50 knots. I guess
that saves them money. How safe do you think that is? Well
a lot of near misses with them and sooner or later their little
going to touch my ship and it'll be 'on'. Everyone already thinks
these cowboys are reckless, but that's ok, everyone luvs a
least they do a good job shoving you folks into the plane in about
We now have foreign contract workers who are there to push us back from
the gate. They are supposed to push, then give us the signal that
we're all clear to start the engines and head out to the runway.
So one day, the tug
driver decides to clean his fingernails while the other one waves us to
the runway. Well guess what happened? We killed the tug
driver because he was still attached to the plane. We tipped the
tug over top of him as the plane started to taxi. That 8,000lb tug
landed right on top of him. I would imagine the airline paid off
quite a bit on that one. I guess they'll learn to follow
the proper procedure. At other airlines I have heard of
airconditioner hose sucked through engines costing hundred of thousands
of dollars because they put it too close to the footprint of the
My airline is actively getting rid of folks with the proper experience
in favor of hiring people without any experience. Why? Because they
will work for 1/3 of the salary. Ok airline management, get a
clue. These lower paid workers are costing you more! Just
pay people properly and hold them to higher standards of years
past. It doesn't matter. If you complain to management they
tell you they hear you but that everything seems to be ok.
Until the airline industry starts killing more passengers, no one
cares. Perhaps we need to repeal the 1978 Airline Deregulation
Act which started this RACE TO THE BOTTOM.
And you passengers: Those tickets
you're buying are too cheap for us to do this stuff safely. Our
profit margins are razor thin and we're barely making it. If an
airline that's just scraping by, lots of stuff you can't see get
cut. That includes all those safety programs which add layers of
protection for our passengers. All the
airline personnel you'll meet are ticked off, overworked, and almost at
the edge. A good tip for you... don't cause any trouble because we'll
give your name to the feds and you'll be on the "extra screening list"
for the rest of your life.
Well that's it for this month... lets spool up these engines and get
the hell out of here.