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Flying's Glamour Fading for Pilots, Attendants

After 24 years of flying for Continental, Jones knows it takes him exactly 24 minutes to get out of bed, dress and walk out his hotel room door. He's a professional traveler, and to him the life isn't that glamorous. ( More...

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AccessAir 0
Blame this on the caliber of passengers that now fly. The want cheap everything, they ARE cheap and they all dress like they are going to a redneck family reunion. Flying used to be an event, not as mundane as city bus ride....Perhaps if the airlines would stop trying to automate everything from phone service to airport ticket agents to online this, online that. Heck, they are even trying to automate the airplanes so much that even the Pilots are along for the ride just as much as the passengers.
Its PEOPLE and CUSTOMER SERVICE that make for a great Airline, not how many way you can automate your airline. And please dont get me started with the Off-Shore Call centers that "attempt" to handle Airline Reservations.
I can see why its not glam anymore for ANYONE, when youre an F/A and a full passenger cabin is akin to having to corral a bunch of rebellious kindergartners or drunks who the heck would love that? We need to remember that flying is a luxury not a right!!
Michael Fuquay 0
I agree with the article. I don't see how any pilot or flight attendant can have any sort of meaningful relationship or family, much less kids. From the outside looking in, the aviation industry sure looks desirable. But as with a lot of things, it's not always glamourous when it's your job.
Still kinda hard to feel pity for those guys.
n111ma 0
I recently heard an airline Captain say that "years ago, an airline pilot was regarded as a notch below an astronaut...however now they are basically a notch above a bus driver". Gotta love the view though!
preacher1 0
That "notch above a bus driver" holds true with a lot of professions. Nobody has any respect for a profession/position anymore. It's all me first and make more money. Regardless of the job, it's all about money now.Couple that with the fact that all forms of transportation, air, rail and highway, are getting so congested it has taken all the fun out of it.It used to be halfway relaxing to make a long flight somewhere and rather enjoyable, but now, if you are on a popular route somewhere, so is everybody else, and just like a long freeway drive somewhere, you are wore out at the end because you have been on your toes the entire trip. As the one said in the article, seniority governs everything and after you pay your dues and gain some, it gets a little easier but somebody is always paying their dues.
The guys that really have it hard are the ones flying Part 135. Double clocks running, ie you're on call and resting at the same time, using on call days as days off. The useless FAA still doesn't address the gray areas in the rules until something happens, then it's the pilots that get nailed, the guys that need the money to feed their families. It's a cutthroat business. Glamour? Maybe sometimes, but it still beats manual labor, at least for me. I still enjoy flying, but in recent years it has become a job!
preacher1 0
Maybe they'll take a que from the DOT and their attitude toward truck drivers. They used to be in the same shape, having to grab rest while waiting for a load and showing that time off duty in the bunk. Maybe still goes on some with smaller companies but nowadays, when time is up, it's up. If a dispatcher calls a driver during a break/rest period, off duty time can start all over again if the driver wants to push it. It costs a little more, and is inconvenient as hell for a dispatcher trying to put a "what if" together but, you have a fully rested driver. After the learning curve for dispatchers and company, it ain't that big a deal.
Rick Welsh 0
Hey Jones,
Well my son, I am a retired airline pilot. Altho' it took it's toll as I got older I do really miss the people, the places, the thrill of putting the thrust levers to full tilt on my way to TLV or GRu on a midnight ramble from YYZ. I did 33 years and I do miss it so my advice would be "stay with it until you're good and ready".
Per Ardua Ad Astra,
R. Welsh
Glenn Werner 0
J.J. Lasne 0
I cannot stand flying anymore. It is like surrendering your pride, privacy and civil rights before even entering the security area. I cannot imagine the job of ferrying passengers everywhere anytime is glamorous either. Maybe, it never was glamorous before, just well advertised by airlines and the media like that Pam Am TV series. I used to fly to Los Angeles all the time; now I drive. Even at the risk of getting a speeding ticket, I have "freedom", flexibility and a choice.
John Hopkins 0
'One notch above a bus driver'. Bus driving involves 100% concentration 100% of the autopilot on a bus! It is quite easy to cause a lot of damage and kill many people driving a fully laden vehicle weighing maybe 20 tons carrying 50 passengers. All transport occupations are under appreciated, and involve long anti social hours, and in the case of bus driving very poorly paid in relation to the responsibility of the job.The glamour may have gone out of flying, but I think a pilot receives a lot more respect than your average bus driver.
ArmyAV8R 0
Re-read "High Flight" and tell me the glamour of taking a machine off a runway into the sky is fading. ...been flying since '77 and it's still a dream come true.
airborneryder 0
Wow this article is SO true. My girlfriend is a FA for a major airline (I won't say which one) I just flew with her yesterday. I go with her on her flights for free because I am on her benefits. Sometimes it's hard to because there's no seats available. She has been doing standups for a month and yesterday was the first time I flew with her since New Year's eve. When we go travel somewhere it's so hard to get to and from our destination because of the flight being oversold. We weren't able to get on maybe 2 out of the 20 flights we've been on. Next time we're buying tickets to go to Mexico to make sure we get back home in time. It's hard for her as well to go home and visit her family as they live in NY and the flights are always bad. We have been together for 3 years now and it was hard at the beginning not seeing her everyday only about every ten days or so because she was on reserve all the time. Now I get to see her everyday with her schedule. When she goes away on trips it is very hard for her to grab a bite in between flights, especially if they are delayed or something. But I will support her just like I have since day one. I'm used to her being gone a lot. Absence makes the heart grow fonder I guess.
erniekovacs 0
When you have a is a "job". They all have their bad points. But none of you/us have it as bad as the service members in a war zone. But no matter how bad a job is........ its beats unemployement. Unemployment = what is next???????? Think about before you complain.
northrop 0
Well what some people fail to realize is that after 100,000 put into the industry to become pilots. You just can walk away for something else. You have been trained to fly an airplanes. So given there is only one technical job you understand. You have little else to do but work for nothing and if you complain there is another poor sap that is 100,000 invested, willing to work for coffee and peanuts. Just to get out of his 10.00 per hour job teaching a 16year old to fly a c172. Just so they can put their foot in the regional door for that chance to fly and gain hours for 30yeasr just to get that chance at 777 slot to earn 300,000 a year so he can retire. And as people cry about how expensive it is to fly and the airlines need to lower the price I wonder how long it will take the airlines to knock down the 777 pay grade to 25,000 per year to cover cost. As the same criers complain that pilots lack experince in the future. Because no one will become a pilot. There will come a day we teach are grandkids that if you drop out of high school you will either have to work at Mcdonalds, a gas station attendent, or be a pilot. And when your grandkids look you stund in the eye saying a " pilot why is that bad" Because you will only earn 22,000 a year so people can fly from JFK-LAX for 32.81.
Buz Page 0
Timing is everything people...I flew for an air carrier for 37 years, started in the DC-3 and finished doing wide-body international. Top pay and big retirement bene.(thanks to ALPA.)I had the best years the industry had to offer..No bragging or struting here. I just happened on the scene at the right time. Go to medical school if you want glamor and money..By the time you're established that will be a mess too..I'm eternally gratefull for my luck. (and the checks that come every month)
mvpgold 0
I suppose its like any other job...we all look at the same thing day after day and would like to believe the grass will be greener somewhere else. At least we have jobs.....
brian finney 0
Glamour, that ship sailed a long time ago.
kyle estep 0
I have been mistaken for a skycap (who makes more than I thanks to the tax free tips) multiple times... This is no longer a career, just another example of the destruction of the middle class job....
tim mitchell 0
My original intentions were to become an airline pilot...Now with the cost of training, missed home time and security I see that becoming a reality less and less...I have and friend that flies for United and his wife flies for US and the fact that they raised a daughter really makes me ask myself where in the heck did they ever find the time to do all of the normal parenting things like vacation, teacher conferences etc..I am currently a trailer mechanic and make around $20 per hr and everytime I go on airline websites to view current pay for FO's it sickens me that they get paid so little after paying so much for their education..In my opinion I think our truck drivers actually have a less stressful live; heck at least they know what their schedule is going to be from week to week.Eventhough I would really love to get back in the air, finish my training, build time, and fly for a living I really don't have anything to complain about(eventhough my job is a job and not a career)..I work 4 days on with 3 days off....Why do I complain SO much?
richard weiss 0
Actually, at the top of a pilot career it's not that bad from a schedule standpoint. Working your way to the top is miserable. Everything described in this article has a big layer of sugar on it compared to the real world. My biggest complaint in the past ten years has been the total and complete lack a respect offered to the airline crews. Pilots and flight attendents are the last line of defense in the air war on terrorism, yet are treated with the same contempt as the enemy. To earn a living crews are required to forgo all constitutional rights. If you speak up, your detained. If you complain about being groped by a TSA goon you are given days off. If a crewmember says enough of this B.S., they are fired. The idiots at the checkpoints are stealing pen knives from crewmembers, knowing full well that every cockpit is equipped with a crash axe capable of cutting down a large tree. As long as this level of stupidity is allowed to stand, part 121, and part 135 flying will be a bad career choice
Milt Reel 0
Well said Richard. I enjoyed it for 25 years and fortunately retired in 1989 prior to all the BS occurring today.
john stein 0
+ 1000 Rick. 35 years of it was enough for me. You must have more patience than me.
Toby Sharp 0
I do love a sunrise from the cockpit myself
ATCguy1 0
On a recent flight, we landed with a strong crosswind along with some heavy rain. The pilot put the aircraft (A320) down about as good as you can, given the weather and airport conditions. On my way off the plane, some smart-a$$ said a rude comment to the pilot, attempting to make it sound like the worst landing ever. I can't get over the lack of respect the passenger showed him and how easily the captain was able to shrug it off. Flight crews really deserve more respect.
richard weiss 0
When I received that level of disrespect from a passenger, I would smile at the person and say "If it was an easy job(to fly this jet) you would be doing it.
J.J. Lasne 0
Can' t you just throw the bastard out?
The last phrases of the article say it all, no homework your flying a luxury jet around the world. You may not get the chance to visit Paris, but they still have it great, better than most jobs I can think of. And the proof is is that there is so much competition for the job. You have to admit you see a lot of different and cool places. I'm sure they can find seats during Sep/Oct and winter months for vacation? What about flying youself to the vacation? Really a great job...
Michael O'Quin 0
"A notch above a bus driver." But I remember big city Greyhound stations in the 1950's. The drivers strutted in like pilots of today. They were well-dressed, neckties and classy hats, well-paid, and good luck getting one's attention. Check out the one at the end of "Midnight Cowboy". Today their's would hardly be called a "profession", with sharp decline in pay and respect. This is all part of the general attack on the working class.... But who has time to read Karl Marx, eh?
Owen O'Mahony 0
My Mother always said "If you don't study Son, you'll finish up
as a pilot" - I wish I had listened to her!!
dakotadoc 0
You mean it's not like in the commercial???
If you are looking for glamour, go to Hollywood or pose for Cosmo or GQ. If you love flying and want a decent paycheck, then maybe you should become an airline pilot. If you are doing it because of a desire for glamour or you think it is sexy or for an adoring passenger’s appreciation / approval of your awesome flying skills then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. I also would be concerned about ones suitability for the left seat if those were his motives.

Not sure when airlines pilots were considered a notch below an astronaut. Never were to my knowledge. Test pilots were maybe a notch below astronauts if not on the same level. Fighter pilots a notch below test pilots. Bomber pilots were a notch below fighter pilots. Transport pilots a notch below that. As airline pilots are basically transport pilots, there you go. A few notches down. Of course, this was in the old days before NASA had mission specialists or teachers going into space. In recent years, the only astronauts who were at that level would be the shuttle pilots.
TWA55 0
I suspect those "glamorous" years produced todays situation to a large extent. Still having been in the industry at various levels, it is still the best job I ever had. And if the captains didn't feel that way, the door is still there.
phil gibson 0
All of us knew what we were getting into in the beginning! No one dragged us through the door kickin' and sreamin'.
We went in with our eyes WIDE open.......we were and are Aviators! We accepted the offer of employment......and should not change the game once we are in. Maybe some of the pay sucks.....but you knew it going in... That part will never change........the choice to fly for a living is yours.......nobody made you do it.....if it doesn't suit you, quit. Unfortunately, there are people that will do for almost nothing........especially Green Carders(imported) foreigners.
That started with the regionals in the mid eighties........low cost crew. Don't believe it check it out. Back then they expected you to pay for training.......then go to work at the poverty was really sad. Many folks just could not afford it.......there is a lot more to this story...........enough one promised you a Rose Garden.
We fly for the love of flying........there is no perfect job, no matter what you. Just be thankful that you can make your choice.
J.J. Lasne 0
Can you really leave out the door while aflight?!?
Yes, it is either called bailing out or skydiving depending on the person's objective. Been going on for a long time.
Q Roberts 0
Please try not to over use the (...) It takes the Glamour out of your wrighting.
Q Roberts 0
Eheh, and so does my spelling errors. The word I was intending to use was writing. My mistake wont happen again.


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