Southwest vs US Question #1

All, SWA pilots are payed by the mile...not by the hour like all of the other majors. I believe that their pilots make as much if not more on their W2's. How does SWA compare as far as utilization of gate agents, rampers, mechanics, etc? Remember, METROJET failed because it was bleeding the company dry. And what employee group was the only group to participate in METROJET (as far as givebacks)?
The "spin" here is really incredible. It's seen as a good thing that U has older planes than SW as that would mean that SW maintance costs will rise relatively higher than U's in the coming years.

But doesn't it also mean that U will have to replace their planes sooner than SW as well?

Next, some partisans will tell us that U benefits because many of its planes don't acquire any service time/ maintenance costs unlike SW planes. They will conveniently neglect that many of U's planes are parked in the desert.
I agree Airplanefan about the "spin". Spin can do wonders to change, hide or downright fake the true meaning of things at times.

As I have said earlier, please refer to the first post in this thread for its true topic.

If no one can or will post the information, please send me a private message and I will post it without your screen name. Be advised it will also say that the information came from a source who would not post it on their own.

A second way is to post a link to SW's and US's Pilots contract page that does contain the pay rates for a 737-300 front end crew.

If we are as productive as we say we are, why not show the board members that and put to rest once and for all the question.

It's like pulling teeth isn't it.....
On 8/22/2002 5:45:50 PM

You are exactly problem with the company cutting jobs is that they usually are the junior people, who are the cheapest and most productive.

Wait a must be junior. Juniors are the cheapest, but as far as productive? I'll take on any junior person in a productivity match and we will see. True, there are some senior slugs, but there are also alot of good hard working seniors.[:(]
"Go west young man, go west!" If you don't understand that most American phrase of all...then enjoy your misery and wallow in pitty. MAKE YOUR OWNE DESTINY!!! Stop whinning!!![:(] Socialists!

The silence to your query is deafening, and quite telling. I asked this question a month ago (interestingly, using the same 737-300 analogy - great minds![;)] ) and Chip actually was semi-helpful. The gist of it was, WN pays by the mile, and their pilots can volunteer to exceed the minimum.

Can someone help? Please compare a WN and U senior captain on a 737-300, 85 hours flight time a month( at some point, if you fly enough miles, you also fly 85 hours). WN guys, feel free to jump in! Many thanks.
I don't know how much Southwest or anyone else pays its pilots. But I can speak for my own company (U) and how I am/was utilized as a 737 Captain (my downgrade class starts next week).

I have been on reserve for 3 1/2 years. during that time I have NEVER passed a trip, I have worked into my off days many, many times and called in sick once for three days. I love to fly and have begged for a trip many times to no avail due to "scheduling limitations".

Also during those years I have exceeded my monthly gurarantee of 76 hours of pay (short call reserve) only three times. Coincidentally those three months were the last three. It was not uncommon during those years to get only 10 or 15 hours of block time. I don't think pay rates are the issue. I believe it is utilization of pilots the company has available. If you're gonna pay a pilot to fly, you had better use them.

Good luck to all U employees.
So what would you have them to do. It was a somewhat worthy attempt by U to hold off SW. U might have had a bad strategy but at least they weren't napping. I think the Metro Jet strategy failed because they U was trying to make sure that the MJ service was below the standards of U. If U had attempted to run a low-fare operation that was on SW standards they might have had a decent chance of holding its own against SW. But its water over the dam now.
Oliver Twist,

The simple answer to your question is "yes" the LUV pilots are more productive for a variety of reasons. Please digest these facts:

A. LUV flys 376 aircraft with 4124 pilots, on 2700 flights per day

B. USairways will fly 280 aircraft with 4241 pilots for 1300 flights per day

The pay issue is also weighted in LUV's favor(for the moment) with a LUV Captain making $140 VS a USairways captain making $160 per hour. However, with LUV's recently adopted contract, that same LUV captin will make $168 per hour in two years, surpassing the USairways captain, who is locked in until 2008!! The USairways pilot has excellent benefits(medical, retirement)vs the LUV pilot who is given very lucrative stock options and pay raises tied to profitability.

The productivity differential is complicated but suffice it to say, that the reasons fall into one of these categorys:
1. The hub and spoke creates inefficencies for crews and aircraft
2. Different types of aircraft pull pilots off the line for training
3. Contractual differences in the working agreement like flying/pay caps, reserve systems, bidding system, and work rules.

In summary, I would say the LUV pilot will be paid more than the USairways pilot in a few years, but he will be much more productive, unless ALPA and management can work together to make changes. Understand that these productivity issues involve job losses and are very difficult to reconcile without new growth.
Remember how everybody and his brother poo-poo'd agents wanting credit for the frozen pension? A summary of the feelings were, 'that's in the past; get over it.'

Remember Metrojet? U gave the pilots stock options for taking a paycut to fly those planes.

As of summer of '02, all of the options had not been exercised.

Now you can make a pretty good case the unexercised options are worthless, or near to it. But using a 'black shoals' accounting, a value was assigned to those options, and ALPA got credit towards their bogey number for them.

Nifty, and very shifty.
How refreshing to actually get an answer to the ORIGINAL question. I need a few clarifications if I may.

If I understand your response, the current pay for US pilots for that seat is 160/hr and that appears to be AFTER the current consessions since you state they will be at that rate until 2008. That being the case, for now, even after the rate reductions, our Capt's still will be making more for almost 2 years over SW's new contract? What was the rate Before the reductions? To me at least, that was and is the revelant number when discussing relative "pain" in all our pay reductions does it not?

As for hours flown, your figures for daily flights are intresting to say the least, but if you can supply the average hours flown by both groups, it will greatly further my understanding of this issue.

Thanks again!
Oliver Twist,

The pay rate on the 737/A319 was approximatly $219/hour on June 1,2002 prior to the concessions. This represented the parity plus 1% that Mr. Wolf insisted upon. The decrease to $160 is a 27% paycut. As you know, due to the downsizing, a good portion of the pilots incurred additional paycuts because they downgraded to First Officer (Additional 40%) from Captain, or because they became reserve pilots who can be paid up to 17% less than their "line holding" brethern. Remember, this hourly rate is strictly for "hours flying", not "hours worked".

Now, we need to be careful when comparing LUV's pay scale because they are not paid on an hourly basis like the rest of the industry. They are paid by "trips". Under certain cicumstances, they are actually paid time and one half, which has the effect of making their hourly rate signifcantly higher than the $140, but more importantly, it keeps them very productive! I do not have the expertise to explain their contract, so i must stop here.

So, if the purpose of your thread is to compare sacrifices by employee groups, feel confortable that the pilots took a haircut, and as Mr. Siegal said recently, " The pilots did their share". Also, feel comfortable that on an hourly basis, the USairways pilot is now very competetive with the Luv pilot.

If, on the other hand, your purpose is to understand how it is that Luv is so much more profitable than we are (despite the fact that we have the highest yields in the industry), look to the utilization or productivity of each group. Lets take the pilots for example and just use publicly available data, since thats all I have access to.
LUV: Assume utilization on aircraft of 12 hours per day times 357 aircraft times 365 days divided by 4124 pilots equals 379 hours per pilot per year.
USairways: Assume utilization fo 9 hours per day times 270 aircraft times 365 days divided by 4241 pilots equals 209 hours per pilot per year.

This very cursory analysis is a gross oversimplification but suggests that the LUV pilot group as a whole can fly 179 hours per year per pilot more than the Usairways group per pilot and it serves to show the magnitude of the productivity differential. By no means is anyone to deduce that the USairways pilot is lazy, or inefficient. In fact, we probably have the most capable pilots in the industry. The problems are structural in nature and fall in the categories of my previous post.

The figure of $140 per hour was gleaned from a NY times article by Micheline Maynard titled "Pilots at Southwest Airlines Approve a contract Extension" Aug 20 2002.

Since the LUV pilots were negotiating a contract, they had to derive figures that accurately compared there work to other carriers like United and Delta. The figure of $140 per hour is their figure and may or may not be self serving.

You certainly are correct when you imply that it is difficult to compare a LUV contract to a USAirwys contract and I have tried to make that clear.