Welcome to O’Hare, American flyers. Now complain.

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The pilots at American Airlines are an unhappy lot, and have beenso for a  long time. Now they’re very unhappy as their airline goes through turmoil, some of it inflicted by the FAA, some of it self-inflicted and most of it OPEC- and energy-inflicted. All in all, it added up to a bad year last year for American and a bad start to this year. The pilots, who gave back serious money just over five years ago, have been saying that it’s time for payback. The airline has been saying that it’s hard enough just staying alive.

And each time the airline has rebuffed the union, the Allied Pilots Association, as it did just a week or so ago, the pilots have responded that American’s top management is not concerned with running an airline but with executive bonuses and the like. Now the union is taking its case to the flying public in very large type, say about 60 feet by 40 feet.

 

“Despite the airline’s poor operational performance, American Airlines management continues to receive industry-leading compensation, including $300 million in performance bonuses over the past three years,” said Captain Karl Schricker, APA communications chair.

It’s now taking its message to the people, with a billboard, 60 feet by 20 feet, right near Chicago‘s O’Hare airport; the billboard urges customers to share their ideas for fixing the airline at www.tellyouraastory.com, a website the union set up in April, when the FAA was grounding American planes, left, right and centre. The union recently gave the board of directors of AMR Corp., American’s parent, a large booklet of customer complaints and suggestions from this site. So far, the site has received more than 100,000 hit, the union says, even though a counter on the website puts the total a little bit lower.

This is not the first time that the American pilots have put up a billboard; back in April they put one up near AMR headquarters in Grapevine, which is in between Fort Worth and Dallas. But the billboard’s owner, Clear Channel Communcations, pulled the board down after about 10 days. The pilots say that AMR management pressured them; the union also says in a recent hotline that management is conducting covert surveillance on its leaders.  

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4 Responses to Welcome to O’Hare, American flyers. Now complain.

  1. marty sewall June 26, 2008 at 4:22 am #

    What a stupid strategy. The airline industry is sucking wind, and these pilots are attacking their own company as a way of trying to squeeze more money out of their contract negotations. That’s not enlightened union leadership. That’s a union blinded to the reality of the industry.

  2. Jack June 28, 2008 at 3:51 am #

    When will these pilots wake up and realize that the more they work to keep money from entering the pot, the less there will be for them? What’s even more ironic is the fact that they chose to place this billboard in Chicago just as United announced layoffs of 950 pilots. AA pilots would be wise to read the writing on the wall rather than pick fights with the company.

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