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Old 10-03-2009, 11:32 AM   #1  
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Default CAL EWR LEC Magenta Line Sat, 10 3, 09 pt 1

CAL EWR LEC Magenta Line Sat, 10 3, 09 pt 1

You are at cruising altitude. The westering sun is pink on the disc. Your eyes flick the gauges. The engines are contented. Another day, another dollar.

You look down at your hands on the wheel. They are veined and hard and brown. Tonight you notice they look a little old. And, by George, they are old. But how can this be? Only yesterday you were in flying school. Time is a thief! You have been robbed, and what have you got to show for it?

A pilot. Forty years a pilot. A senior pilot.

But what of it?

Just a pilot.

The voice of the flight attendant breaks in on your reverie. The flight is running full.
Can they begin serving dinner to the passengers?

The passengers. Oh, yes—the passengers. You noticed the line of them coming aboard: the businessmen, the young mothers with their children in tow, the old couples, the two priests, the four dogfaces. A thousand times you have watched them file aboard, and a thousand times disembark. They always seem a little happier after the landing than before the take-off. Beyond doubt, they are always somewhat apprehensive aloft.

But why do they keep coming up here in the dark sky despite their fears?

You have often wondered about that.

You look down at your hands again and suddenly it comes to you:

They come because they trust you—you, the pilot.

They turn over their lives and their loved ones and their hopes and their dreams to you for safekeeping.

To be a pilot means to be one of the trusted.

They pray in the storm that you are skillful and strong and wise.

To be a pilot is to hold life in your hands, to be worthy of faith.

No, you have not been robbed. You aren't just a pilot. There is no such thing as ‘just a pilot’.

Your job is a trust. The years have been a trust.

You have been one of the trusted.

Who could be more?Author Unknown


Today is Saturday, October 3, 2009 and there are 12 items for discussion.


Item 1: The Eyes of Newark (pilots) Are Upon You; A Tale of Two Managers

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Actually, current times at Continental are just “the worst of times”.

It has never been a secret what management thinks of us; they let us know every day in all the little ways they have what they think of us as individuals, what they think of our profession, what they think of us as employees. It is perverse in its way: anyone who would work for managers like them and keep coming back day after day—they must deserve whatever management can do to them.

This concept has now been applied to our customers. This is not a new revelation for those of us who watch our management team on a regular basis but it is startling for those who think current Continental management retains (or ever had) any idea of what makes good customer service.

Still, when we are slapped in the face with yet another dead, stinking mackerel, there is that momentary wink of surprise before the feeling of déjà vu overcomes us.

It is with that prelude that we bring you a tale of two managers: vp’s Mark Erwin and Jim Compton.

We will let one of those close enough to get a good sniff of the mackerel-of-the-week tell the story; anything we add would just be showing off:

“I just worked flight 51 from FRA to EWR today and how the flight started off is totally unbelievable. Actually, it is believable considering it involved our management. I believe that this is something that needs to get out to the masses in order to once again show the total arrogance of some people in our management team.

“At approximately 1100 hours we were informed by the gate supervisor that we might be taking a delay since two of our Vice-Presidents from Houston were trying to catch a non-stop flight to Houston so they didn't have to make a connection in EWR. They would then get word to the gate if they got on Lufthansa or not. We were also informed that since this will make the difference as to where all the non-revs will be seated (BusinessFirst or coach) they were being held in the gate until these two VPs make up their minds as to which flight they were going to take. The supervisor was notified by the captain that the plane would not leave until every non-rev was boarded.

“Finally at 11:21 am, which is now past our scheduled departure time of 11:20 am, we were informed that Mr. Mark Erwin and Mr. Jim Compton would be taking the Lufthansa non-stop to Houston, that the non-revs were being cleared, and that we would be ready to depart shortly.
Finally, the doors were closed. And then we sit. And we sit while we wait on the performance data uplink from load planning which is required prior to pushback. It seems the data uplink was delayed due to the late boarding of the non-revs. We finally get our load data and release brakes at 11:36 am and push at 11:37 am. This is a 17 minute delay because two VPs want to take a non-stop to Houston. This is a delay because they wanted the flight held in case they couldn't get on Lufthansa probably never giving one thought to the 223 people just sitting on a plane waiting for them to make up their minds. Mind you that of these 223 passengers onboard that approximately 215 of them were actually PAYING Continental to depart at 11:20 am. How arrogant can this management team be to just call up and have a flight held just in case they don't make it on their first choice of flights?

“My questions to the management of this airline are: Are you going to hold a plane for me next time I non-rev? Are you going to buy a ticket on another airline for the next commuting crew member who can't make it to work because the flights are full or running late? Are you going to stop hounding this pilot group about uncontrollable delays including GSI times since on-time performance is not that important anymore? Why harp at us to save fuel when we have to burn more to make an on time arrival for our fare paying passengers after the selfish and rude behavior of a couple of VPs from Houston? Why doesn't one of these gentlemen stand up with their heads held high and admit what they did instead having a station have to hide the fact by coding the delay "83...ramp congestion." Be the proud men that you are and say "We caused a flight delay because we can. We are Vice- Presidents!!!"

“I encourage every pilot to take note and remember this when a station tries to close the door and refuses to board non-revs because they don't have time to process them. Remember this when jumpseaters are not boarded for the same reason. And remember these actions when management comes looking for the next hand out.

“I feel this needs to get out to the masses to remind everybody not who but WHAT we are dealing with: pure arrogance and greed. Personally I encourage this to be put into an edition of The Magenta Line. If you choose to publish this then I leave it up to you and your eloquent prose to refine this story. Please feel free to type me back.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.”

No, we, the leadership of the EWR pilots, and on behalf of the ever-shrinking ranks of the EWR pilots, thank you for documenting this embarrassingly egregious abuse of management power. Mr. Erwin and Mr. Compton should be forced to apologize to every crewmember, every passenger, every non-rev, and especially every employee of our Frankfurt station for having to clean up their messes by coding the departure delay as “ramp congestion”. And then they should be fired. No bonuses, no stock options, no airport parking spaces for their company cars, no lifetime first-class travel for their entire families, no offices on Smith Street—no, they should get what any of us would get if we caused a delay such as this and then put other employees in a position where they thought they needed to improperly code the delay: TERMINATION.


Item 2: Management Can’t Stand Heat—Removes Kitchen

In another appropriately desperate maneuver from a management team completely void of compassion, heart, imagination, and ideas, the order has been given: all union publications will be removed from our crew rooms.

You might think we’d be outraged by such a naked abuse by our managers—but wait: do we need any other indication that we are sinking management’s ship? That they are threatened by our union comm? That they see us gaining the upper hand?

As history teaches us, the first thing any nascent dictatorship does is take over the means of mass communications. So now, instead of being able to read something of actual value like The LEC TImes, our pilots will be treated to “Comm One Starring Fred Abbott” aka “Flying the Desk: Volume I through Volume XXXXIV”.

Do not think of this as a set-back; think of this as the amazing victory over management that it truly is. Believe us, this is just one of many victories for us to come.

Now, along similar lines, we find it odd (not really) that while management has found the time to clean the filthy union publications from the crew rooms, the filthy crew room itself in EWR remains, um, filthy. Yes, there are a couple of new recliners still with the tags attached to remind us how new they are, but the carpet is still putrid, the men’s room (2/3rds of us have not been in the ladies’ room) is still fetid, the existing furniture is covered with a variety of stains ranging from old mustard, to dried drool, to we-don’t-want-to-know-what-that-is-but-it-sure-is-a-weird-color. That plus the, um, aroma that has lingered so long it should be arrested for vagrancy.

When Fred Abbott and his entourage made their way to EWR a couple of months ago, he was grilled about the conditions in the EWR crew room as compared to those in the what used to be the more management-friendly confines of IAH and CLE. CLE has roughly the same size crew room as EWR with about 20% of the pilots as EWR, it is pristinely clean with new furnishings, carpeting and paint, and has an elevator so the pilots do not have to leave their bags unattended in the WX room. IAH has rows upon rows of comfy chairs and a men’s room (2/3rds of us have not been in the ladies’ room) large enough to serve the 1st Cavalry Regiment (and their horses)—and it’s a clean latrine. Oh, they have an elevator, too. And an escalator. And maybe valet service.

Apparently, management thinks cramped and filthy accommodations are good enough for our EWR pilots. Apparently the EWR chief pilot’s office thinks so, too. Of course, they don’t have to hang out there—they can hide in their offices. Let this serve as our notice that these accommodations are not acceptable and remind Fred (both of them) of their half-hearted commitment to fix the problem.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:36 PM   #2  
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Why so many new threads?
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:36 PM   #3  
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Did someone actually see a management pilot remove the Union material from the crew room? I have, in the past, seen some of our fellow pilots do such a thing. Our "special friends" in IAH seem to be quite adept at this.
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