Alaska Airlines pilot pickets snarl travel in Northwest

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Those traveling in and out of Alaska this weekend should prepare to bring their patience. Approximately 120 Alaska Airlines flights were canceled on Friday, affecting 15,300 passengers, and it looks like Saturday will also be as difficult for travelers in the Northwest, with over 77 flights by the Seattle-based airlines already canceled. Sunday cancellations for the main air carrier serving Alaska are beginning to build as well.

The customer service desk in the N Terminal in Seattle is crowded with customers trying to make alternate arrangements Saturday morning. About 11 percent of all of the Alaska Airlines Saturday flights were canceled as of 7 am on Saturday.

FlightAware’s live flight cancellation page is at this link.

The disruption is due to worker shortages as pilots picketed the airlines in locations around the west, including at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Three years of negotiations are, according to union reports, getting nowhere.

Pilots from other cities and other airlines came to Anchorage to participate in the picket, Must Read Alaska has learned, including pilots from Jet Blue. Other airports targeted included the Alaska Airlines bases of Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to a news release from the Air Line Pilots Association, the union representing pilots.

“A new pilot contract remains a top priority for Alaska,” said Jenny Wetzel, vice president of labor relations for Alaska Airlines. “We’ve put a package on the table that’s competitive and addresses the issues most important to our pilots. It’s a significant financial investment in our pilot group while recognizing that we are still working to recover from $2.3 billion in losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are eager to conclude negotiations quickly so our pilots can enjoy these new benefits as soon as possible.”   

Among the highlights:  

  • Alaska is offering a top of scale wage of $280 per hour for captains and a market wage adjustment a year after the contract is ratified to keep pilots’ wages competitive with that of other airlines. An Alaska captain’s average salary is currently $341,000 per year. For first officers, the airlines has proposed a rate of $100 per hour, which would be the top rate in the nation. 
  • Any aircraft operated by Alaska Air Group that has more than 76 seats will be flown by Alaska’s seniority list pilots.  
  • The airlines has offered flexibility so pilots can set their schedules. Alaska Airlines pilots currently work 16 days a month on average.   

The two sides have been in negotiations since 2019, including through 2020, when air travel stalled, with planes grounded for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement from the Alaska Airlines Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association was released at the launch of the system-wide picket.

“Alaska Airlines received a $2.3 billion bailout from American taxpayers during the pandemic to weather the economic downturn, retain its workforce, and be ready to take advantage of the recovery we are now experiencing. It has one of the strongest balance sheets with industry-leading profit margins and came out of the pandemic with less net debt than before it.

“Yet, despite all of this, Alaska Airlines failed to properly plan for increased travel demand and take the steps necessary to ensure it attracted and retained pilots. In fact, just this week, ALPA met with two corporate vice presidents who made clear that they have failed to adequately retain and staff up to meet a predictable return to flying.

“Now, they’re trying to distract the public from their mismanagement and blame the pilots who helped save their company. Pilot leaders have been warning for years that pilots will choose to fly for other airlines due to an inadequate contract that will only exacerbate existing staffing challenges.

“Hundreds of Alaska pilots will be exercising their lawful right to conduct nondisruptive informational picketing today in five cities around the country to highlight Alaska’s strong financial position and urge the company to get serious about concluding a contract. Alaska pilots are more than ready.”

It’s unclear exactly why flights were canceled and whether the picketing pilots had been scheduled to work those flights. Other pilots from other airlines participated on the picket line, indicating there was a type of “sick-out” under way.

One pilot for Alaska believes the pilots’ union is pushing too far and that wage inflation will have real consequences for the entire air travel sector. Read his opinion here:

68 COMMENTS

  1. The picket had nothing to do with the cancellations. No pilot called out from work to picket. Alaska is cancelling flights daily from crew shortages. And it’s difficult for them to attract be pilots because of their subpar contract. The one pilot you refer to might be fine for doing the job for 20-30% below what his peers make but the rest of the pilot group is not okay with that. If Alaska airlines doesn’t match the rest of the industry with a competitive contract then they won’t get pilots over Delta, United, American, or Southwest and the cancellations will only get worse.

    • The article says top pilots were offered $280 per hour, and 1st officers were offered the highest wage in the industry. It sounds like they ARE offering competitive wages. How much does Spirit Airlines pay?

      • There’s more to compensation then just hourly rate. A Southwest Captain can make upwards of $200k more then an Alaska Captain. Same for Delta and United. Both of which are in negotiations right now so without making large strides today Alaska falls further behind. And frankly the Alaska pilots are faced with the most challenging flying of any major airline in the United States. If you can’t get pilots with a competitive compensation package and set of work rules then the other alternative is lowering requirements to get hired. Do you really want less experiences flying into 5000′ strips in poor weather in Alaska?

        • If the rumor I heard is correct that Alaska is pulling out of Alaska and leaving the state in the hands of Horizon’s E175 jets, then that is exactly what we are about to get : less experienced pilots flying into high risk environments.

      • Year 1 pay is of little incentive. A carrier that pays $5 an hour less but won’t outsource jobs and has greater flexibility is worth that first-year “sacrifice” at slightly lower pay.

    • Per the article “Alaska is offering a top of scale wage of $280 per hour for captains and a market wage adjustment a year after the contract is ratified to keep pilots’ wages competitive with that of other airlines.” Seems like by leaving a year long market wage adjustment designed to keep wages competitive they are matching “the rest of the industry with a competitive contract”, no?

    • Those pilots stood on a street and held a sign ON THEIR DAY OFF.

      This had exactly ZERO impact on the Flight Schedule.

      Why do you advocate firing them for exercising their Constitutional right to Free Speech?

      • There is no right to free speech in private enterprise.

        More, the right to free speech does not mean freedom from consequences. It means the government can’t lock you up.

        Exercise of “free speech” often costs people their jobs.

        Public education (another union infested enterprise) is a joke.

    • These pilots stood on a street and held a sign on THEIR DAY OFF.

      This had exactly zero impact on the Flight Schedule.

      Tell me, Bucket, why do you advocate firing Hard Working Americans for merely Exercising their Constitutionally Protected Freedom of Speech?

  2. As stated, the picketing pilots had nothing to do with flight cancellations. That would be an illegal work stoppage and could have resulted in termination.

    With pilots leaving Alaska Airlines by the dozens to go to the other major airlines it does not take a rocket scientist to make the determination that things are not on par at Alaska. Flying in arguably the most demanding conditions in the world were scheduled airlines operate for a company that has the highest profit margins going should result in pilots being able to have a quality of life equal to their peers.

    No contract and unfortunately it will get much worse. No one wants that.

  3. Hmm…Monday I’m flying Alaska to visit my grandkids on the east coast who I only get to see occasionally. A surprise birthday visit for a grand daughter. Strikes don’t always elicit sympathy. For either party in the dispute.

    • No one is on strike. Flights are being cancelled because Alaska doesn’t have enough pilots to meet the demand because pilots are leaving and new hires aren’t showing up to class.

    • Nobody is on strike. These pilots merely stood on the street on THEIR DAY OFF and held a sign.

      It had exactly zero impact on the schedule.

      Management is attempting to shift the blame for their own failures.

      Don’t fall for it.

  4. Wow, what a misleading headline.
    Every single picketer is doing so on their normally scheduled day off. Not a single flight was delayed or canceled due to the pickets.

    I thought you were more honest than that Suzanne.

      • I did. And nothing you wrote explains or justifies “pickets snarl travel”. The pickets have NOTHING to do with cancelled flights, and your Clickbait title is wholly dishonest.

      • “Alaska Airlines pilot pickets snarl travel…” is factually wrong. You know that most readers don’t make it to your disclaimer “at the bottom of the story”.

  5. $348 @ hour? It’s really hard for the average Alaska Airlines customer to have any sympathy for those pilots.

    • Do you know how pilots get paid?

      Do you realize the liability as pilot takes every time they operate an aircraft?

      Do you work a job that if you have a bad you potentially put 100’s of people’s lives at risk?

      Do you work a job that tomorrow where you are forced to have a medical evaluation every 6 months and an EKG annually?

      Does your job test and evaluate you annually to determine your ability to keep your position?

      Most people just get on a plane and it magically leaves one city and arrives in another. Il BECAUSE of all the moving cogs behind the scenes it’s easy to take air travel for granted. But it’s because of all that they layman doesn’t know about that makes that happen. And it’s why pilots deserve every penny they earn.

      • Capt. Blo,
        If I have a bad day at my job society will crumble, your plane will never be airborne again, you’re job would be worthless. While you control 100’s of lives for a few hours, some people control virtually everyone’s lives all the time. Get some perspective.

        People who keep the water you drink safe and available at a moments notice are far more important than you. People who remove your waste and keep disease away are far more important than you. People who keep your lights available at the flip of a switch are far more important than you. People who build the planes you fly are far more important than you. People who make the fuel for the planes you fly are far more important than you. People who keep your food cold and safe to eat are far more important than you. People who transport your food to eat are far more important than you. People who cook your food so it is safe to eat are far more important than you.

        You are a glorified bus driver. Your job isn’t a necessity of life, it is a nicety. Get some perspective.

        • While there are many integral ppieces in the machine to make the world turn I highly doubt you alone have as much career exposure as a typical airline pilot. And if you do you deserve to be compensated as such.

          • Capt. Blo,
            Thanks for your concern about my compensation I do well enough and my union sees to it that I have safe working conditions while being well compensated.

            The point you seem to have missed is that if you and all the pilots in the world fail to show up to work people don’t get transported from point A to point B, it’s not the end of the world. There are many, many other professions that if workers do not show up modern life as we know it ceases to exist. Water becomes unsafe to drink, if it comes out of the tap at all. Your food does not arrive on store shelves or does not get cooked. Your refrigerator no longer keeps food cold and safe to eat. The fuel for your plane doesn’t get into the plane and among other things, your job is meaningless.

            I’m not sure what you mean by “career exposure”, but I can assure you that my daily impact upon humankind far outweighs that of a typical airline pilot. If the comments of many of the typical airline pilots posted on this site, it seems the typical airline pilot takes a great and seemingly twisted satisfaction in holding the lives of hundreds of people in their hands for a few hours each day. There are people, myself included, who hold tens and hundreds of thousands of lives in our hands on a daily basis…it’s just that we don’t use that as a bargaining chip and instead view our positions as a service to our fellow man.

            All that being said, had I known how lucrative being a pilot is I might have pursed that field. Anyone who has a child getting out of highschool or college nowadays would be remiss if they didn’t try and guide them into the aviation field.

  6. It looks like things are not all hunky-dory with Seattle Woke, er, “Alaska” Airlines.
    .
    I’m sure that increasingly pushing their blatant neo-Marxist political agenda has nothing to do with it.

  7. The cancellations have nothing to do with the INFORMATIONAL picket. Not one single pilot who is picketing is on leave, or in any way affecting the schedule. It is disingenuous to imply that a picket is affecting schedules.
    HOWEVER
    If you want to explore one possible reason they are short of pilots, look at the unprecedented number of pilots who are out on long and short term disability! Many of these pilots are young, healthy males, who were forced to inject themselves with an experimental vaccine. Coincidence?

    Pilots are subjected to rigorous biannual physical examinations. They are only hired if the are healthy and in good shape. Suddenly, this demographic is suffering from the highest level of disability since the inception of Alaska Airlines? I find that very curious…

    • Correct. There’s already almost 100 cancellations today and there’s no picketing going on. This issue falls squarely on Alaska Airlines management not having the airline in a position to be properly staffed.

  8. Like most readers of MRAK, I am not a commercial pilot. I am sure that long haul truckers are disgusted with the greed displayed in this article. As a customer, I am disgusted with Alaska Airlines treatment of their customers. I purchased a ticket two months in advance for my son to fly home to Alaska from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for Christmas break. Alaska Airlines unethically sold more tickets to the flight than available seats, and bumped him off the flight, even though he probably had farther to travel than most of the passengers. They gave him no compensation, no hotel, nothing. He was forced to spend the night in the airport, and took over 30 hours to get home. So, yes I hope a competitor comes in and drives Alaska Airlines out of business, you greedy bastards.

  9. Maybe the management is too busy getting Seattle woke. Alaska airlines really is Seattle woke airlines… they lead the charge of stupid; they are the airlines version of the cutting edge of Bernie Sanders socialism CRT, yet the woke unions are now trying to put them out of business. Ironic. Alaska Airlines is trying to make money (capitalism) yet out of the other side of their mouth trying to be Bernie Woke socialists. Doesn’t work so well. The woke unions will turn on them and destroy them in 10 seconds if it benefits the union bosses. They sad thing is they are just a microcosm of what America is becoming. A bunch of whining pilots making 350K a year with great benefits and 15 days off a month demanding they get a living wage….. HAHAHA. What’s the difference between a jet engine and a pilot? The jet engine quits whining at the end of the flight!

  10. What am I missing? The article states that First Officers are receiving “the best rate in the nation,” but later on, the article states that Alaska is in danger of losing pilots to other airlines due to insufficient compensation. Which is it?

    • They are offering best first year pay rate but that’s not total compensation. Furthermore every year after that is well behind industry standard. A top Alaska Captain makes $150,000-$180,000+ less than his counterparts at Delta and Southwest. Over the course of a career a new hire pilot would lose millions of dollars choosing Alaska over Southwest, Delta, United, or American.

      • Well, Cap’n Joe. If Alaska pilots are making less per year but more per hour what could be the problem? I see you poor babies are working an average of 16 days a month. Perhaps if you got off your lazy butts and worked a few more days a month, like the rest of us who have to pay the sky-high prices to fly, you would MORE money than the Delta pilots.

        Do you really expect sympathy for a group of people that whine because they tried to negotiate a wage increase for 3 years during a worldwide crisis? Oh, Joe, you union people are all the same. Nothing trumps you wanting more money and fewer hours. And if you have to destroy the company you work for and rape your patrons to get it, you’re all in.

        • You do realize that pilots are capped at 100 hours per rolling 30 days right? Also Alaska Airlines won’t let their pilots pick up flying over 90 hours per month. That forces everyone into 80-84 hours of pay. So “just working a couple extra days” isn’t an option.

          As for your ticket price pilot compensation is accounts for about 2-3% of the ticket revenue. It’s insignificant.

        • A pilot’s days off are affected primarily by scheduling be it efficient or non-efficient, and the Part 117 of the CFR’s that regulate the number of hours a pilot can fly, and the rest they receive. It is broken down by flight duty periods, 24, 168, and 672 hour periods, as well as circadian issues regarding time of duty and global theater of operation. The regs say you can’t fly more than 100 hours in any 672 hour period so with 7-8 hour flight days (which usually mean a 12-14 hour duty day) it is very easy to see this would be 12-14 days of flying per 30 calendar day period. Limited completely by FAA regulation.

          It’s much more than wages that are involved.

          Hope this helps with your understanding of how things work.

        • Contracts ebb and flow. Prior to 2006 ALK had it pretty good.
          The pilot earnings difference has more to do with work rules than hourly rates. Other airlines incentivize people to pick up additional flying on their days off. ALK limits our ability to do so. Per FAA we can fly 100 hours in a rolling 28 day period. An average month is between 75-85 hours. If I want over 90, ALK scheduling rules won’t allow me to easily do it. An average 4-day trip equals approx 23 hours.

          On another note from alaskajournal OCT 2021:
          CEO Ben Minicucci said the turnaround exemplifies the success of Alaska Air Group’s approach to maintaining discipline in its balance sheet and operations. He noted the final pre-tax earnings margin beat internal projections of 10%for the quarter.

          “Our 12% pretax margin solidly led the industry and was just six points shy of our third quarter 2019 margin,” Minicucci said. “I’m proud of how our company is recovering strong from the pandemic.”

          Alaska Air Group netted $397 million in the second quarter — it’s first after five consecutive losses totaling more than $1.5 billion — but that was the direct result of more than $660 million in federal pandemic relief loans and grants the company accepted during the period. Without the federal aid and other special items, Air Group would’ve reported a $38 million second quarter loss, according to company executives.”

          The “industry-leading profits” come in part from industry lagging wages. Should any workgroup ever settle for that?

          Another metric that should be eye-opening is that ALK pilots are leaving in record numbers for greener pastures at other airlines. Why? Us “poor babies” as you put it have probably been here 10 years or more, are north of 40 years old and things here are better than if we started over elsewhere. But the guys under 5 years of seniority are not on here complaining, they are interviewing and moving on.

          Your gripe against pilots originates from pilots not being happy with the company…
          …because the company has a lousy pilot contract.

          Do you compare industry standard contracts and ever think to tell ALK to step it up?

          Big picture, most of us are thankful for our income and the ability to fly airplanes for a living. Our beef with the company is centered around getting our contract into “industry standard” territory.

  11. Considering how poorly AKAirlines managed the storm at Christmas, and how many passengers they stranded for a week or more even when they knew the storm was coming, I can’t imagine them being able to manage their pilots like a business. They are much too busy bullying people about masks and kicking them off planes for not sharing their particular brand of politics to actually manage much of anything.

  12. So Seattle aka Alaska Airline pilots will picket for more money, but have had nothing to say about employees being forced to take an experimental vaccination that isn’t even FDA approved just to keep their jobs? How in the heck are the pilots even meeting the “FIT FOR DUTY” standards required by the FAA while wearing a stupid face diaper that doesn’t work for a 1 micron virus? Does 14 CFR 61.53 mean nothing?
    The pilots can’t even turn the heat down on flights between Anchorage and Seattle. Why are they keeping the heat so high on those flights? It sounds like some of the flight attendants have enjoyed their new found authority and turned into prison guards, barking orders at anyone who dares to keep their mask below their nose or down to long between bites of food.
    Glad I haven’t flown since all this nonsense started. I won’t be flying until they drop all the mask requirements either. Not much sympathy from me on this one. Start treating the customers with respect by taking care yourself to make sure you are fit to fly, and ensuring we are treated with due respect while in your care.

  13. Ever since Alaska Airlines went to Seattle, they have descended into political correctness, now covered with a layer of (marxist) wokeness. The logo needs to ripped of their tail and returned to this state. Having said that, the alternative is flying on Delta or United or American which seem to be in a three-way race to the bottom in (already miserable) customer service. Seattle wokelines will be joining in, I’m sure. There are some new initiatives happening in Alaska–but unfortunately, they are NOT Alaska based as well… It might help if Alaska could work at being a better place to be based, but our ‘leaders’ are too busy with social engineering programs for that….

    • Please provide an example of ” political correctness, now covered with a layer of (marxist) wokeness”.

  14. Question for Capt Joe Blo. I read the Airline Pilots Association has experienced an increase in pilot deaths from 1 per year to about 160 last year after the vaccine mandates, with some even dying in-flight. Any info on that? Thanks.

    • I do not know of any deaths. But I know of several pilots that are out on medical with enlarged hearts and one flight attendant that’s paralyzed from the waist down. My Flight Surgeon told me there’s been a significant increase in vaccinated pilots with AFib as well.

  15. I’d like to offer some information for the many readers who aren’t familiar with airline operations or the way pilots are paid since a pay rate of $280/hr sounds like a lot more than it actually is.

    To a large degree, pilots are only paid while the engines are running. This means that the myriad of pre- and post-flight duties required of us, the layovers between flights (which can be anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours) and the multiple days away from our homes and our families are all “off the clock” in a sense. Here’s a personal example: Tomorrow I will be leaving home for a 10 day trip (I don’t work for Alaska Airlines) which, according to my contract, pays 49 “hours”. That’s an average of 4.9 hours per day, as opposed to the typical 8 for a normal job, and I don’t get to sleep in my own bed at the end of the first 9 of those 10 days. The “hourly” rates we are paid (which accrue only when the engines are running, a holdover from the very early days of commercial aviation) must be higher to compensate for this.

    I have no position on whether the demands of the Alaska pilots (or, perhaps more accurately, their union) are reasonable. My goal here is simply to place those demands into context for those who have never lived the life.

    • AK Pilot,
      I’m not sure that your explanation helps further your point much. Making $14,000 for 10 days isn’t slave labor, even if you aren’t sleeping in your own bed. My job often requires that I not sleep in my own bed and I don’t make anywhere near $14,000 for 10 days.

    • AK Pilot, Stick Jockey, Capt Jo Blo (not an English major), et al.: We understand. Being a pilot is drudgery and Alaska Airlines is a ruthless, callous employer. Regarding the so-called rigors of the job, you all made the choice to fly, so don’t complain that the job is “tough”. Regarding the slave labor camp that is Alaska Airlines, you all profess to be “highly skilled” and “professional” pilots so your skills should be in high demand. Leave the chains of slavery at AK Air for greener pastures and don’t look back. Let the vile beast wither and die.

      • Uncle Jimmy,
        Alas, the reason we have a union.

        As for the grammatical errors you’ll have to excuse them. Swiping and autocorrect on this phone of mine sometimes take on minds of their own. And for whatever reason this forum doesn’t let you edit your posts. Regardless, I’m sure you get the gist of what I have posted.

  16. Correct! I may go to work at 2:00 pm to drive to the airport, preflight for an hour, fly a 3.5-hr leg, spend the night in a hotel away from my family, the ride in the back of the plane home the next day. Total paid time?…5.5 hrs.
    Anyone who thinks working “15 days a month” is a piece of cake, is woefully ignorant as to what that means in the aviation industry!

  17. There is no right to free speech in private enterprise.

    More, the right to free speech does not mean freedom from consequences. It means the government can’t lock you up.

    Exercise of “free speech” often costs people their jobs.

    Public education (another union infested enterprise) is a joke.

  18. As others have stated, most of us are looking at this from the outside. I’ll accept that point as valid.

    What is being ignored or overlooked by the union/pilot shills is the optics and timing of this flat out suck. Most Americans are hurting financially. Prices are climbing everywhere ahead of wages. Damn near none of us non pilots make anywhere near $300 an hour, or live in the luxury most pilots do.

    At the same time air travel is an abysmal experience. Seats are too small, almost everything that used to be included in the ticket price is now “available for purchase”. If they have it. Fights in the air and in airports are as high as I can remember. And those damn face diapers.

    Worst of all flight attendants have become mask Nazis often singling people out for political reasons. Argue with them, even politely, and you risk expulsion or worse. Pilots seem to always take attendants sides in these issues.

    Your union is unusually tone deaf to call for a strike or slowdown right now.

    A family of four has to save for months to afford a flight to Orlando. Pilots make that by the end their Anchorage to Orlando and back turnaround. With lots to spare.

    Most people who fly know we, the passengers who had to scrape together this fare, will be paying your raise via higher prices.

    Most regular flyers yearn for the day when a viable option to air travel out of Alaska is available.

    Right or wrong, AK pilots look, paraphrasing Natasha Von Imhof, “greedy and entitled” considering an action at this moment. If you’re being lead by Seattle based advisors, that doesn’t help either.

    If AK Airlines pilots are smart they will:
    -Read the room. The public is NOT on your side right now.
    -Start a smart PR blitz that doesn’t come across as rich people wanting to be richer.
    -See pilots publicly advocate for a better passenger experience
    -Have their union shills stop with the “you don’t get it” attitude to the general public. Honestly the general public doesn’t really care. You don’t know or care what goes on in our lives either.

    We just want to be able to get from point A to point B safely and as cheaply as possible. As more and more of us find we can’t afford to fly, more and more of you will be out of jobs.

    As I said, I don’t know inside your world. But I do know PR very well. Your union and industry are out of step with the country at present. It’s a grossly bad look to be publicly advocating for an action when the country is in a major economic downturn.

    You want us on your side? Give us a reason to be.

    • Well said MA !

      Let’s hope your ideas permeate the skulls of the union and the airline both
      If there’s not sufficient pushback on Alaska Air after the crap of the last couple years well we Alaskans deserve whatever they serve up
      I cannot fathom how the picketers figure on the publics support with the situation now
      Once you lose someone’s trust it’s hard getting it back

    • You do realize that the canceled flights were not due to the pilot picket – it was due to lack of staffing at the airline. Why is there a lack of staffing? Well, there are several reasons, but two significant factors are attrition and lack of new hires.

      Attrition of existing pilots is more than expected due in no small part to pilots leaving for better opportunities at other airlines (more pay, better benefits, better schedule, etc). In the past it was unusual for a pilot to bail on a major airline for another one, because they start out at the bottom of the new company. But in the current market, a pilot with 2-4 years at Alaska (or more) can leave for a new employer and be making more money a year after getting to the new company – and ultimately make more over the duration of their careers and work a better schedule.

      Similarly, new hires are not showing up to class, or quitting during initial training, because they got a better offer from someone else.

      Pilots with the requisite experience to work at a major airline have their choice of employers. There is a significant shortage of pilots in the world. If Alaska Airlines chooses to not be competitive in their compensation package, then they will continue to shed pilots and be unable to attract new pilots who will make a career at Alaska. Alaska Airlines is competing for the same limited resource as every other airline. Supply does not meet demand, which drives costs up.

      So, Masked Avenger, my question to you is this: should the government step in and set pilot wages so it’s more “fair” for the traveling public? Or should the government stay out of it and let the market set the price for hiring and retaining pilots?

  19. Might be helpful to understand why people who’re lucky to have jobs, for whom inflation is a super inconvenient truth, should give a damn about problems of those who make $300K+ a year
    .
    … or problems of the Woke union-management cartel who turned Alaska Airlines into the mask-obssessed, money-grabbing mob it is today.

  20. It was not a strike or work slowdown. All pilots were there on their day off. I agree with you that I’d like to see a greater push for “…pilots to publicly advocate for a better passenger experience”.

    ALK management reserves the right to outsource our flying and wants to keep it that way in this new contract.

    New hires are leaving in record numbers because ALK has willfully (neglectfully?) allowed the grass to be greener elsewhere.

    Many of the improvements we seek are related to working rules and not pay.
    ‘https://alaskapilots.org/

  21. To the commercial airline pilots providing comments for this article. You all do realize that this is a ‘public’ forum and that all can see what’s being written…right? I’m just a passenger that sits on a commercial airline about a dozen times a year in and out of Alaska for business. Add to that one and maybe two personal trips with my family out of state if I’m fortunate. I like the confidence of flying that has been instilled in me over the years due to the many round trips being successful other than for a few delays or cancellations from time to time.

    Some of you who’ve identified yourselves as commercial pilots for Alaska Air for this forum have made clear and rational arguments why there is a disagreement between you and your union and the airline. Good for you as you’ve added something of value to the discussion, although I’m still a bit confused as to how the pay all adds up. Others, however, seem to be very angry, perhaps even bordering on being irrational. This frankly makes me somewhat concerned as to who it is that’s flying the airplanes I’m on.

    You argue that you’re due the pay because of your experience and expertise. Won’t argue with that. I do find it somewhat confusing, though, how you can take home over a quarter million + a year along with added benefits that the average ‘joe’ could only dream about yet complain that you’re not earning enough for what one commenter suggested was 1000 hours a year. Others seem to suggest that you’re due the pay in part because of hardships (divorce, long periods away from home, etc.). You truly think you’re the only ones to experience such because of your job? I won’t get into the comparison and argument of commercial airline pilot versus a surgeon, only to say that I suspect the patient who’s having five feet of intestine removed or a critical organ replaced might take exception with the pay comparison.

    Point is that what some of you are displaying here might be akin to airing dirty underwear and might be best kept out of a public forum that all can see. You have a right to say it but just know that it may come back on you.

    • You should become a Airline pilot instead of complaining about them. What do you do for a living

  22. I stopped flying Alaska Airlines years ago because of its management. Now that I know how arrogant its pilots are it further validates that decision.

  23. No love for AK Airlines or their pilots here. Imagine that.

    Here’s the deal. As soon as AK Air’s pilots decide they want to hold the airline hostage over earnings the passengers pay.

    Flight to ANC yesterday,..

    Delayed for hours and make up your own pilot’s nonsensical excuse (I particularly like the one about ‘oh yeah, all of our picketers are on their own time’). Once that delay was resolved the tug attached, moved a few feet, and broke down for another significant delay. What was the other one you guys like so much? Oh yeah… it’s that once all the other delays you’ve orchestrated have been addressed you’ve then found an indicator light w/ a cracked lens. Certainly a legit potential hazard after you’ve befouled everyone’s plans to an irreparable degree.

    Connectors blown, no chance of AKAir helping w/ alternate flights, and all because of our benevolent pilots who of course ‘din do nuffin but they do so need an extra few hundred grand a year.

    You’ll find that those of us that have been harmed by your childish hijinks are not sympathetic. Potter off to one of those other better paying airlines and be kind to those of us that paid for a seat while you’re doing it. That, or just potter off. No one outside your little cabby’s coffee clatch has any interest in whatever excuse you have on tap next.

    • Hi Trouser,

      Many are “pottering off”. 2022 attrition to date is more than all of 2021. ALK needs 300-400 more pilots than they currently have. Why can’t they retain pilots?

      And, ALK has been outsourcing our flying for years. They want to keep doing so without tangible restrictions. What workforce would be happy to watch that happen?

      The union was emphatic that we would be fired for calling out sick to attend the picket. All volunteers were indeed on their day off.

      Most of us don’t want to potter off. We’d like to attract pilots instead of seeing new ones potter off for better conditions. Who is responsible for setting those conditions?

    • So your solution is…ignore the market, dictate what the “appropriate” compensation is for a pilot, and they should just shut up and do their jobs? That sounds very…anti-free market.

      Which professions, in your mind, should be allowed to have the market set their compensation? Which should not?

      • That’s one way of interpreting my comment, Jon. The more accurate way would be that as a business manager you determine what makes affordable sense and if you can attract competent pilots at that rate, post it. To later have your feet held to the fire by a group of pilots you’ve hired that then create problems until you see things their way is bullying and I would recommend finding a way to eradicate those pilots and the vehicle they used to bully my company.

        A month or two off to strategically downsize and starve the miscreants a bit would be on the menu for sure if I were at the helm. Might not work though as they’re already grossly overpaid and tough to starve out. I’d definitely be ridding myself of any union influence that placed my company at risk though. Count yourself lucky that your boss may have a higher tolerance for your bs than I.

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