Airline Pilots Plan Pickets Over Working Conditions


Pilots at major airlines may put up information pickets at hubs around the country to protest working conditions. American Airlines pilots, members of the Allied Pilots Association, say they’ll be hitting the bricks at Miami and Dallas/Fort Worth “in coming weeks” to complain about scheduling issues and the lack of hotel rooms for members. The Southwest Pilots Association says it’s considering picket action too and for similar reasons, but it hasn’t committed to the plan. 

“Our airline needs scheduling practices that support the safety margin, respect pilots’ and passengers’ needs, and de-risk American Airlines to protect and improve revenue,” the union for American said in a note to members. The industry is struggling to recover and react to the fractured recovery that has been complicated by a recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Most of the issues that prompted the suggested picket action resulted from a rapid increase in airline bookings last spring but ticket sales have lagged in recent weeks and that may bring about its own issues. Flight attendants have also expressed similar concerns but haven’t announced picket plans.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. I think the informational pickets are a waste of time. Most passengers since they are all looking for the cheapest fare cannot relate to employees who make 6 figure salaries. Those pilot unions need to do their job in protecting crews on these issues. Although I do sympathize with the pilots on the hotel issue, it is limited as long as the mask wearing remains as a requirement on board airliners.

  2. What are they hoping to accomplish? That passengers will boycott the airline, or otherwise pressure management? The reality is that most passengers choose the lowest fare.

    While I sympathize with them—I don’t see picketing as being effective—perhaps “informational banner” or press releases might help—Explaining their position—and CHALLENGING AIRLINE MANAGEMENT to defend THEIR position.

  3. @Eric W: Home, yes, that is a real draw for some pilots. The Allegiant pilots go home every night; no overnights in their schedule system.

    • I thought so. This is why I’m not a fan of preserving our current crop of airlines. They simply seem incapable of innovation. I’ve often wondered if strong unions don’t become the cause of many of their issues rather than the solution.