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Old Sep 9, 11, 7:25 am   #1
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Southwest cuts strand US Airways employees

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When Southwest Airlines eliminates its nonstop flights from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia in January, the ones who might be hurt the most are not business or leisure travelers but the employees of a top competitor, US Airways.

For years, many US Airways flight attendants, pilots, mechanics, ramp workers and agents who live in Pittsburgh have jumped on Southwest flights to commute to their jobs in Philadelphia, a large US Airways hub.

That will end Jan. 8 when Southwest drops the flights, leaving US Airways as the only carrier flying nonstop between the state's two largest cities.
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11252/1173259-28.stm
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Old Sep 10, 11, 8:28 am   #2
 
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Are these employees commuting on a daily or weekly basis?
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Old Sep 12, 11, 7:47 am   #3
 
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I'm surprised that there are still 500-1000 people still doing this. It's been more than 7 years since US began cutting back in PIT.

One other thought - if you are going jump on a plane to get to work, doesn't CLT or LGA work as well as PHL?
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Old Sep 12, 11, 7:51 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by Yuengling View Post
One other thought - if you are going jump on a plane to get to work, doesn't CLT or LGA work as well as PHL?
I guess not if you still live in PHL.

ETA: I just noticed the blurb that kipper posted was talking about employees commuting from PIT to PHL for work...which is ironic because every Monday, I was seeing US workers commuting from PHL to PIT (flight attendants, pilots and ramp workers).

Last edited by bitburgr; Sep 13, 11 at 8:37 am..
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Old Sep 12, 11, 1:56 pm   #5
 
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Definitely ironic...and you can't help feeling their frustration...but the fact is that they were living in a somewhat artificial scenario. For workers in virtually any other profession, getting transferred to a different city hundreds of miles away means you have to either make the move, or get a new job. Airline employees don't have to play by those rules, given the option to fly free. The US Airways employees in the Pittsburgh area can either suck it up and settle for a longer commute...or look for work closer to home. It's too bad for them, but welcome to the real world...
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Old Sep 15, 11, 12:55 pm   #6
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Originally Posted by fairviewroad View Post
Definitely ironic...and you can't help feeling their frustration...but the fact is that they were living in a somewhat artificial scenario. For workers in virtually any other profession, getting transferred to a different city hundreds of miles away means you have to either make the move, or get a new job. Airline employees don't have to play by those rules, given the option to fly free. The US Airways employees in the Pittsburgh area can either suck it up and settle for a longer commute...or look for work closer to home. It's too bad for them, but welcome to the real world...
This is a good point. Most people don't have the options they currently have.
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Old Sep 23, 11, 10:49 am   #7
 
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This is a good point. Most people don't have the options they currently have.
Welcome to the real world? Most don't have the options they currently have? My reading was that the article was not about people who were able to utilize free flights on US Airways and are now losing that benefit, but about those who paid for flights on Southwest (it says most in fact do NOT have the option to take US Airways flights), so the benefit of free flights is largely immaterial (and where those are available, they are usually limited). Did I miss something in the article indicating that they could fly on Southwest for free?

There are also people who get free meals, free rides on public or private local transportation, free parking, even health benefits. Those can be considerations when taking a job. When those are cuts, it is like a cut in pay. Maybe you didn't get the same benefit but you may get others they don't have. I agree it's unrealistic to commute that distance on a regular basis, and now they have to quit or move, but I don't think we have enough info to regard criticize them or say they are currently getting some special benefits (maybe they are, but I didn't see it in the article). And, BTW, such long commutes are likely more common than you think, though typically it's on a weekly not daily basis (e.g., one household member gets a job they need but can't afford to move the whole family, or the other spouse has a job in the first city). If someone was paying for the flights on Southwest, I'm guessing it was in fact on a weekly basis (just my guess). Note: I have no connection with any airline and have never worked for one.

Last edited by SoCal; Sep 23, 11 at 10:57 am..
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Old Sep 24, 11, 6:57 am   #8
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Welcome to the real world? Most don't have the options they currently have? My reading was that the article was not about people who were able to utilize free flights on US Airways and are now losing that benefit, but about those who paid for flights on Southwest (it says most in fact do NOT have the option to take US Airways flights), so the benefit of free flights is largely immaterial (and where those are available, they are usually limited). Did I miss something in the article indicating that they could fly on Southwest for free?

There are also people who get free meals, free rides on public or private local transportation, free parking, even health benefits. Those can be considerations when taking a job. When those are cuts, it is like a cut in pay. Maybe you didn't get the same benefit but you may get others they don't have. I agree it's unrealistic to commute that distance on a regular basis, and now they have to quit or move, but I don't think we have enough info to regard criticize them or say they are currently getting some special benefits (maybe they are, but I didn't see it in the article). And, BTW, such long commutes are likely more common than you think, though typically it's on a weekly not daily basis (e.g., one household member gets a job they need but can't afford to move the whole family, or the other spouse has a job in the first city). If someone was paying for the flights on Southwest, I'm guessing it was in fact on a weekly basis (just my guess). Note: I have no connection with any airline and have never worked for one.
From the article (bolding mine): "US Airways employees usually are able to fly free on the Southwest flights if seats are available as part of arrangements that airlines make with one another. However, at peak times, such as holidays, some workers have paid full fare to guarantee that they would have a way to work."
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Old Sep 27, 11, 7:27 pm   #9
 
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Wow. That must be such a hassle to have to rely on air travel in order to get to your job.

If I had a job on the other side of the state I'm living in, I'd just relocate there.
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Old Oct 13, 11, 7:12 am   #10
 
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Wow. That must be such a hassle to have to rely on air travel in order to get to your job.

If I had a job on the other side of the state I'm living in, I'd just relocate there.
Easy to say if you are single and have no children. Not so easy if you are the second (that is, the lower) earner in a two-income family or if your spouse's job is non-transferable. These people had a system that worked - perhaps not so well as when they crewed directly from PIT but, it obviously worked well enough for so many of them to do it. Commuting by plane makes sense the cost is low and your job is at the airport.
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Old Dec 22, 11, 11:16 am   #11
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A), I used to work for an airline, and B), most of my work since has involved commuting long distances.

Yes, most airlines have agreements with other airlines regarding passes for the employees of one to travel on the other. It's usually 'space available'. We were stuck one time in London for three days because there was no space available. Wound up packing everybody on a flight to MIA and, once in the states, I was able to finagle transportation home.

Depending on your status in the company, you may be able to wangle business passes. These are quite often also space available, but they don't cut into your allotment and are pretty much unlimited. Doubtful that the ramp rats, GA's, etc. had that option. I was sort of a professional class employee. so I commuted BUF-LAX every week for about 8 months. That's where I learned that even First Class (and it was a lot better in those days) gets old pretty quickly.

FA's and pilots often got 'must fly' passes, which means they had to be at the final end in order for a flight to leave. I think that was the only class that could bump revenue pax.

Since then, most of my work has been on a known temporary basis - that is, we all knew I wouldn't be working at location X for more than some relatively short time - say six months to one or two years. With a house and family at home, there was no way I'd move and then have to pack up and do it again. So, if I couldn't drive, I'd fly. Somewhat inconvenient, but I sure got a lot of miles and points out of the deal.

A lot depends on what your position is in the emploment strata. The suits get a lot of bennies while the hourly types have to make out as best they can.
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Old Dec 22, 11, 11:25 am   #12
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Originally Posted by You want to go where? View Post
Easy to say if you are single and have no children. Not so easy if you are the second (that is, the lower) earner in a two-income family or if your spouse's job is non-transferable...
Well, I'm sorry if you feel that your family is holding you back ... but that is a burden for the individual - not the company.

Southwest never owed these folks a free ride in to work (in fact - neither did US Air). They're fools if they believed that they could depend on it indefinitely.
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Old Dec 22, 11, 11:29 am   #13
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Originally Posted by fairviewroad View Post
Definitely ironic...and you can't help feeling their frustration...but the fact is that they were living in a somewhat artificial scenario. For workers in virtually any other profession, getting transferred to a different city hundreds of miles away means you have to either make the move, or get a new job. Airline employees don't have to play by those rules, given the option to fly free. The US Airways employees in the Pittsburgh area can either suck it up and settle for a longer commute...or look for work closer to home. It's too bad for them, but welcome to the real world...
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Old Dec 22, 11, 12:14 pm   #14
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The empathy in this thread is just heart rending.

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Originally Posted by TBD View Post
Well, I'm sorry if you feel that your family is holding you back ... but that is a burden for the individual - not the company.

Southwest never owed these folks a free ride in to work (in fact - neither did US Air). They're fools if they believed that they could depend on it indefinitely.
Uh, people aren't born into the jobs they have. I'm sure you are in your current position because you felt the position/company offered you something you thought was valuable.

A very big attraction the airlines use to get people to work for them is the lure of free/reduced travel. When I worked for them, we used to have people offer to work for us for free in order to get access to the flight benefits.

Working for an airline can be a very stressful job. I'm sure that without the flight benefits, quite a number of employees would just leave, which is not what the airlines want to happen. So, no, they are not 'owed' flight benefits, any more than they are 'owed' health benefits, a living wage, safe working conditions, paid holidays, vacations, and so on. But without these things, they will find it much more difficult to attract any talent.

I guess when your company tells you that you're on your own when it comes to health care, we can't afford paid vacations any more, no more holidays, no more overtime pay, and by the way we think you're overpaid, so you're taking a pay cut more in line with our profit goals, I'm pretty sure you'll just suck it up. After all, the free ride couldn't last forever.
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Old Dec 25, 11, 3:23 pm   #15
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Working for an airline can be a very stressful job. I'm sure that without the flight benefits, quite a number of employees would just leave, which is not what the airlines want to happen. So, no, they are not 'owed' flight benefits, any more than they are 'owed' health benefits, a living wage, safe working conditions, paid holidays, vacations, and so on. But without these things, they will find it much more difficult to attract any talent.

I guess when your company tells you that you're on your own when it comes to health care, we can't afford paid vacations any more, no more holidays, no more overtime pay, and by the way we think you're overpaid, so you're taking a pay cut more in line with our profit goals, I'm pretty sure you'll just suck it up. After all, the free ride couldn't last forever.
Uh - apples & oranges? If my company took away healthcare, holidays, money, etc, I would still be able to physically do my job (if I choose to) because I would physically be able to go to work. The travel benefit is just that - a benefit. It isn't a right. Don't like that it is going away? Quit.

USAir must think they can easily replace you if you can't adapt. Otherwise, they'd have provided an alternative.
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