What Don’t You Like About Your Airline?
Is it a loaded question? Of course it is. Unless your are brand spanking new to the airline business, chances are the shine has rubbed off the airline apple so to speak. This is a small peak as to what I find annoying at my airline (names omitted), but it is entirely intended to solicit your responses. Most of the concerns are from an operations point of view in my case, but chances are, your experiences are similar.
My Top Three:
Unorganized: It would appear from years of observation and experience at many airlines (not just one) that most airlines tend to handle day to day operations similar to fire crew at a forest fire. There is always a fire burning and most of the time there is someone there to hold the hose and put out that fire. At times ,that is all that is done, moving from one fire to the next and one crew, team or individual taking turns to hold the hose until the fire goes out. The problem is, no one is taking the role of Smokey Bear and trying to prevent the fire from the first place. I attribute this almost exclusively to management since they are removed from all this activity and are focused on something else constructive. Most airline management teams are always located off the airport so that they can do whatever they are finding to do. The problem is, all of the action, all of the focus of an airline, all of the fires, occur at the airport. But you never see much progress in these areas since the people with the power to change it do not experience it first hand. You cannot rely on your team to give you an accurate assessment and solution to the fire problems because they are too busy holding the hose. There are many different examples of crisis modes that fall into the fire example.
Under Staffed Have you ever tried to get a hold of scheduling during an irregular operation? How about a hurricane, snowstorm, cold front, deicing procedure, runway closure airport closure or ground delay program. (I will save the outdated ATC system for another day) For some reason, you cannot get through, or if you do get through, your on hold. I get it, there are thousands of crews that can be effected, but this has been going on for a very long time and someone needs to stop and reinvent the mousetrap or until that happens,,,,,,HIRE MORE PEOPLE. I know its expensive, but its the cost of doing the airline business.
Time: If someone would have told me about how much of my personal time I would be giving up, I may have choose a different line of work. Seriously, think about this for a moment. You make no money until the parking brake is released, but you are required to check in an hour early as your show time (sometimes more). If there is a delay due to weather, there goes your time. If there is a maintenance delay, that dips into your personal time too. How about this, ground delays or waiting for hotel vans to pick you up? They say they are always on the way but some how it always takes 20 minutes. Those 20 minutes add up over a 30 year career. Ground delay programs due to spacing (grrr,,ATC again), thanks for your time. Scheduling cancels your flight and will call you back when they figure out what to do with you, there’s more time. Get to the airport to find out there is a 5 hour delay with no call from scheduling, hey thanks for your time! Time is everything, airline management thinks nothing of stealing your personal time each and every week without any sort of accountability. Now granted, no one can help it if a snowstorm hits the east coast, but if an airline is properly staffed and organized you may get some of your time back.
Have something to add? Please comment below or send us an email, we would love to add to the conversation. Most likely we will not be able to change any of these things, it does feel better to vent a bit! Also see us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Airspeed-Junkie