United Airlines Plans To Lay Off More Than One Third Of Pilots

Filed Under: United

United Airlines has just become the first major US airline to concretely lay out how they plan on laying off pilots… and it’s not pretty.

United plans to “displace” 4,457 pilots

While United can’t lay off any pilots until October 1 (as a condition of accepting CARES Act funding), the airline has made long term plans clear.

This weekend United’s chief pilot sent a note to pilots outlining what the future will look like:

  • As of June 30, 2020, United’s bid for work slots will be displacing 4,457 of 12,250 positions, which represents over a third of pilots
  • While United will have to keep paying pilots through September 30, what this means is that as of June 30 there will be no opportunity for nearly 4,500 pilots to bid on a schedule
  • As of October 1 those will likely translate into job losses, unless travel demand rebounds much quicker than the airline is expecting in the short term
  • To give a sense of the scale of the issue, it’s noted that United has more pilots than daily passengers right now

United will be cutting nearly 4,500 pilot positions

How will United go about pilot lay offs?

Come October 1, presumably nearly 4,500 pilots will be laid off. This will be done strictly on seniority, meaning that roughly the bottom third on the seniority list will be laid off.

Why laying off pilots is complicated

The actual process of laying off pilots isn’t that complicated, since they’ll be going based on seniority.

What’s going to be ridiculously complicated is the process of retraining pilots in light of this. Generally pilots are only trained on one type of aircraft, or in some cases two types if there are enough cockpit similarities (like the 757 and 767).

When United lays off their least senior pilots, this means that the remaining pilots are going to be losing a lot of seniority (with the exception of those at the very top of the seniority list). After all, your seniority is all about how many people are underneath you on the list.

What this means is that:

  • Many captains will be downgraded to first officers
  • Many captains and first officers will be downgraded to smaller planes
  • There may be a lot of domicile changes, because seniority is different around the system; in other words, pilots may choose to commute so they can stay captain on one plane, since they’re no longer senior enough to hold their current position at their base

The process of getting certified on a new plane can take several weeks, and when you consider that there are limited resources and that a large percentage of pilots may be looking at plane changes, this is going to get mighty complicated.

It’s not like airlines have hundreds of simulators ready to go. Rather they have enough simulators to plan for usual training needs, not accounting for a third of pilots being laid off.

An Air Canada 737 MAX simulator

Hints of United’s future fleet & base plans

A couple of other interesting things were revealed as part of this note:

  • United doesn’t plan to fly 787s from their Los Angeles hub for up to a full year
  • United’s 777s will be focused solely on Newark and San Francisco for now, and at some point in the future we may again see them in Houston
  • Of 767s, United only plans to fly 767-300s in the foreseeable future, and not 767-400s

United is grounding 767-400s for the foreseeable future

United’s approach: ruthless or realistic?

Throughout this entire pandemic, United’s management has taken a doom-and-gloom approach, much more so than we’ve seen at American and Delta.

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to respect Scott Kirby’s honesty, or if the whole thing is just kind of disgusting. Suffice to say that United employees haven’t gotten any reassurance regarding job security or anything else.

The same day that CARES Act funding was finalized to keep employees at the company through September 30, the airline announced that we should expect layoffs on October 1. That’s not exactly the spirit of the CARES Act.

And that’s just how management has treated employees — suffice to say that they haven’t treated customers any better, from MileagePlus devaluations, to redefining the word “cancelled.”

Bottom line

United Airlines will be “displacing” over a third of pilot bid positions as of June 30. While pilots will continue to be paid through September 30 (in light of the CARES Act), we can expect a similar number of pilots to be laid off as of October 1, unless things change drastically.

How awful for those pilots who finally landed their dream job at a major carrier in the past decade, only to soon find themselves unemployed…

Comments
  1. Seniority is measured based on how far you are from the top of the list not from the bottom. The only thing that has any bearing on your choices is what those above you on the list do, not below. Although, as you say, the range of those choices will be very much circumscribed for everyone on the list.

  2. @ Ed — I think we’re saying the same thing. The point is that if being number 8,000/8,000 will get you a vastly different experience (in terms of bidding, aircraft type, etc.) than being #8,000/12,500.

  3. I am a UA employee. While I am worried about my livelihood, it is patently ridiculous to expect any sort of reassurances about job security. There is no demand, and we will be lucky if demand is 50% of previous levels by October 1. If UA does not survive, everyone will lose a job, and there will be much less opportunity for employment in the industry in next few years. It is both a smart business decision and a move for the greater good, from the employee’s perspective, to reduce expenses, including labor. Frankly, there isn’t anything left to cut but payroll expenses. My pay has been reduced for a month now (am not based in the US), and I don’t know how anyone can expect to be paid for a full schedule when we are flying 12% full with a 90% capacity decrease. The CARES act has secured a large portion of our salaries until September, and for that I am grateful.

    DL and AA are just providing less transparency; make no mistake, they will be making cuts of a similar scale. The CARES act is just a short-term measure, made when the demand outlook wasn’t so negative. Maybe this decision violates the spirit of the CARES act, but it has to be made if anyone is to have a job at UA in six months.

  4. I see this as setting the stage for the political fight over continued government assistance for the industry once the CARES Act funding runs out.

  5. This is mind blowing….especially the comment that the pilots being laid off (4500) are more than the total daily passengers the airline has right now….in 2019 they were flying an average of 445,000 passengers a day. So 99% of the business is gone right now.

  6. Did United address the future of their hubs? If 777s are only going to fly out of San Francisco, Newark, and (maybe later) Houston, it doesn’t bode well for the future of Los Angeles and Washington DC as international hubs.

  7. I would truly like to understand the rationale for being disgusted at Scott Kirby. As an airline employee, it’s nice to *hear* reassurance about our jobs, but that doesn’t change the *reality* of the situation. Unless demand rebounds substantially in the very short term, it’s unlikely the industry will be stable enough to support current size come October.

    The scenario at Delta, American, or carriers around the world may differ situationally, but is structurally very much the same. Whether they choose to be as transparent about it is another question entirely.

  8. @Alan Very much agree with you – transparency and honesty is (or should be!) de rigueur in these times, particularly from employers! While the numbers are staggering, none of this should be a surprise, unfortunately.

  9. @Ben:

    United is Displacing 4500 pilots. That does not necessarily mean 4500 furloughs. More likely 2000-3000 initially (Oct 1.)

  10. United is certainly being more realistic and honest in this circumstance.

    Even if much of the US is open for business again by late September, there will almost certainly still be social distancing measures of at least some sort in place which will likely deter people from traveling. On top of that, the deep and broad economic effects are going to leave a huge swath of the population with depleted savings accounts and no desire to further endanger their financial stability with a quick trip to Hawaii. And I doubt this will all wash over so quickly worldwide, so many foreign countries will maintain their travel restrictions too.

    All of which means that it will likely take years to get back to the kind of passenger figures we saw in 2019. And none of the airlines can hold on to their full workforce for years while flying at a fraction of the capacity that workforce is designed for.

    Delta and American probably think they’re serving their shareholders and employees by trying to be upbeat in the hope it encourages people to get flying as soon as possible while maintaining employee morale. But United is probably more responsible by laying the groundwork now and giving employees months of notice that these layoffs are coming, so at least they can start saving and looking for other work. And if demand somehow magically rebounds by October and they don’t have to lay off that many people, then people are hardly going to complain.

  11. I would hope that at a minimum we can expect those in charge to be honest about the hurt and suffering that needs to happen…here and in government.
    But given it’s United and it’s OMAAT, it’s called disgust.

  12. I wonder how much all of this doom and gloom is a strategic attempt to get the government to extend the CARES Act provisions.

  13. @Alan There is demand however people are NOT allowed to fly or it is not allowed to enter the country your flying into. Personally, I would jump on a flight for instance to USA only currently I’m not allowed to enter the country. I fly mainly United So I will support you
    Hang in there, we will survive!

  14. Things have already “changed drastically” and those at the top have already taken drastic pay cuts and many of their own support personnel will also not be in attendance in several months. Executives at UA are now in a direction to try to save the company as airline travel is not expected to come back anytime soon. They may be better positioned than AA and Delta but SouthWest being smaller and having more cash will be picking up the scraps.
    Rather than hiding and whistling through the graveyard, acting realistically is acting responsibly

  15. My wife is a FA with United flying predominately international. She has about 9 years seniority but speaks 7 languages which she gets some kind of exception for special circumstances on flight bids due to language requirements. She had to quarantine 14 days at her mother’s before she came home after her last flight. With no international flights, her work future is somewhat in doubt in the short term, her seniority is still fairly low although due to her language skills she will likely get called to service in some capacity (either in the air or ground) at some point. She may end up having to fly domestic for a while. A potential concern if she is assigned ground work it will be at a station in one of the major east coast cities requiring her to commute. She may be allowed FA accommodation everything is sort of a moving target right now.

  16. My husband is a 25 year united airlines pilot. Your number is off about the number of pilots UAL has. It’s somewhere between 13,500-14,000 Just wanted to point that out since your number you state in the article is inaccurate. Everything else you stated is fairly accurate.

  17. What general hire-date represents 1/3 up the UA master pilot seniority list? Anyone with a reasonable date?

  18. I hope this comes back and bites them on the rear in years to come when they find they have the wrong amount of pilots to operate their planes.

    Do these plans account for the amount of time and cost to retrain pilots?

    Will they really retain someone due to retire in a couple of years on a different plane type just because they have seniority? That does not seem very sensible.

    Might be cheaper in the long run to offer those at the top of the list early retirement if they are in that position.

    First in first out is fine for generally non skilled jobs but not for those with specialised skilles

    But UA aren’t the only ones acting in this cynical way. Just look at BA and what they are doing to their cabin crew.

  19. @ChrisC

    First in first out is the way it works at all the major US airlines. If UA or DL or AA… cut pilots, the newest ones always get kicked to the curb first.

    Those that have spent more years at the company are more safe from being laid off or furloughed. It’s an agreement between the company and the union.

  20. Hoorah! This is very good news in terms of bringing mass-tourism down to a healthy and sustainable level again.
    But in terms of business these seniority rules are disastrous. It would be much better if United could lay off the older, more expensive employees who already had enough time to save up their own emergency fund instead of the younger, cheaper employees.
    The online airline who is not restricted by these stupid rules is British Airways who are going to layoff their older expensive cabin crews.

  21. To those stating the seniority issue, keep in mind that the decision isn’t made only by United. The union also has to agree to this and the union is very likely a factor in deciding to use seniority versus another approach. Just wanted to throw that out there.

  22. @Max:

    you are cheering that (potentially) thousands will lose their jobs and health insurance?

    douche bag.

  23. @Max:

    What kind of turd cheers people losing their livelihoods? Zero respect for people like you.

  24. @jeff
    I’m not cheering about the job losses, they are just a mere collateral damage. But I definitely cheer about the reduction of damaging over-tourism. The levels we have seen previously have not been healthy to local ecosystems and societies.

  25. Jeff, ur right! Max here doesn’t get it! Seniority is everything at the airlines and it is a contractual thing that comes with tough negotiations for our livelihoods as safety professionals! There is a very fine line between ignorance and naivete! Thanks Jeff for standing up for us!

  26. Serious question, not being flippant:

    Is United management taking pay reduction / being cut?

  27. @MJ The problem is that older pilots with very high seniority are sucking the airlines dry at the cost of the younger pilots. If pilots and cabin crew salaries would be adjusted according to market rate, older pilots would earn less and younger ones a bit more.

    But as this is not happening, airlines like Lufthansa have essentially stopped employing new pilots and have created Eurowings to get the opportunity to pay the market rate for new hires instead of outdated, too high salaries.

    British Airways has 3 cabin crew groups and is laying off the 2 older, more expensive ones.

    Something similar should happen at United, preserving 3 jobs for younger pilots instead of 2 for older ones.

  28. @ Seth Goldman:

    I have heard it is about a 2000 Legacy UA hire or a 2007 Legacy Continental hire. When the 2 airline seniority lists merged, it was not strictly by “date of hire”, hence the discrepancy. Some of the 2000 LUAL pilots are looking at their 3rd furlough in their UAL career.

  29. Is the upper management at United Airlines completely stupid or what?!? Here’s a novel concept…lower your prices!!! This is Economics 101: Supply and Demand. When supply exceeds demand, lower the price point. This will drive demand, increase revenue, and eliminate the need to lay-off any employees. It isn’t rocket science. I’ve been searching for over a month for discount airfare on UA from CONUS to Europe, South America, and Oceania, with nothing amazing to be had to date anytime this calendar year. The current economic environment doesn’t justify $1000+ R/T coach airfare from the US to Europe or even $600+ R/T airfare from the east coast to Hawaii. I’m blown away that the airlines have the audacity to continue to charge business-as-usual prices for future airfare given their current [alleged] once-in-lifetime crisis. I would be more than willing to drop $10,000+ *today* on reasonably priced airfare or discounted electronic travel vouchers for flights in the late fall, over the holidays, or even next spring. But…prices are still way too high to offset the risk of canceled flights, ridiculous last minute schedule changes, or closed venues upon arrival. It is clear that United’s leadership is either incredibly stupid or incredibly greedy. Plenty of opportunity exists to generate near-term revenue w/o incentivizing near-term travel (e.g., selling discounted travel certificates that can’t be redeemed until 60+ days from issue, maybe even selling lifetime status, or even — remember way back — lifetime 1st class travel). Get creative! I’m confident that United is just putting all its employees and customers at risk to build up a sob story for another Government welfare check. Scott Kirby is a total piece of garbage — my 11 year old daughter would make a better President/CEO than him!!!!

  30. @Max at BA the pilots **do** have a seniority based system and although the company may **want** or **try** to furlough narrowbody and widebody Captains alike to save costs it’s likely the union will not allow it to be done this way and will instead insist on furloughs from the bottom up of the combined seniority list.

    @Max not sure what good it does to cheer layoffs. Pilot salaries **are** adjusted based on market rate. That’s called market economics. When a company can’t hire the quantity or quality of pilot candidates they require, they are forced to raise salaries, particularly entry level salaries and retention bonuses, as we have seen across the board over the last 3-4 year.

    At United and American, both companies **are** offering, and many hundreds of pilots have already agreed to take, early retirement packages. In other words, taking some of the more costly, more senior pilots off the payroll so as to save the jobs of more junior, lower paid, and often younger pilots.

    I have both EASA and FAS atpls so I’m aware of how the training and hiring works in both places. I fly the b767 for a major. Sounds like you might be over in Europe, Max. It’s not quite the same in the USA. In particular, in terms of the personal cost outlay for pilots to get qualified and certificated. Also, commercial airline pilots in the USA as a general rule don’t get pensions. Therefore they have to save for retirement through their wages, which go up commensurate with their years of service and experience.

  31. Employees are paying the price for the stupidity United Managements. United or other airlines never learned a lesson what happened decade ago. With all profits they have been making for the past 5 years, they could ground all the aircrafts and manage paying all expenses for one year. But they have been wasting the profit like there is no tomorrow. At the end, the hard working people are the one who pay the price. The CEO, Board members and their families will continue to live with no economical suffering.

  32. @Catherine

    United has 11,438 pilots. Displaced without a position to fill is furlough. Expensive to retrain and business case is furlough for a minimum of 2 years for breakeven.

  33. @Ben – Scott/Oscar are foregoing 100% of their salaries, and the VPs have a 50% last I’ve heard.

  34. @Roger. No demand exists. Airline provide a SERVICE…a uniquely PERISHABLE SERVICE w/o diversification (“A” 2 “B”). Consider a local grocer…spoiled apples go in the dumpster, but they still got Banana’s!! The complexity of an “airline” doesn’t jive w/ Economics 101. Consider the cost of, & number of, assets (i.e. Ting’s w/ Wing’s..ignoring Real Estate costs, etc) UAL requires to provide the service (“A” 2 “B”). C19 “ain’t” a shrink to profitability circumstance, & possibly come Fall when you’re ready to drop $10K….the believed 2nd C19 wave occurs. If you got $10K disposable, dump it into Artal Luxembourg, S.A (weight watchers owner)…then in 2yrs w/ initial investment & gains, buy >$10K in airline tik’s…don’t toss $10K into a service from a brand that could be Chap 7 in 2yrs (I doubt it….but…FYI @Ben, @Roger is stating lack of demand drives priced downward…if applied to UAL’s Boeing 787 “buy”, YA they prob $$$ fantastically low…@Roger, I was shocked by the # of daily pax’s being less than the # of UAL’s active pilot’s…Economics 101 “don’t work” if UAL is paying one of it’s greatest expenses (Labor) & the cost of doing so is higher than the return from offering the service (& that “ain’t” even less all other costs…oil…wait, oil is free post C19…maintenance, flight attendants, etc).

    @Ben…on re-train/certify of displaced pilots….it’s gonna be real slow….slash about 1/4th of “usual available” sim time due to the daily industrial cleaning of the sim & “softer” cleaning between sessions.

  35. While I feel bad for the pilots losing their jobs, what’s worse is that you and I and the American taxpayers are footing the bill for the pilots to sit around and collect handsome checks until the stroke of midnight Sept 30 when the Cares Act requirements are met and then lay-off. What was the point! Shameful!

  36. @David

    Actually Catherine was correct. You are wrong. The last seniority list shows 13574 pilots. I should know as I am ~8500. I am being displaced off the 787. I have around 15 years seniority and from Legacy Cal side. Like someone said Legacy Ual pilots around my seniority will have 20+ years and have multiple furloughs.
    I fully expect several thousand furloughs Oct 1. A good way to tell is if Intent to furlough letters go out July 1. Contractually they have to be given a 90 day notice.

    You really have no idea on the training footprint as there are several factors. So don’t act like you do. Is it a Captain to F/O seat swap, have they been previously on aircraft and if so that falls into a few different training lengths. Is it a full course required or a requal. Oh and don’t forget there still has to be the normal 9 month training and (my favorite) landings class on certain aircraft. Oh and don’t forget now the sims have to be fully cleaned after each use. So where we might have run 5 sim sessions a day now it’s 3. Oh and don’t forget that the flights to TK (we call it Training Kingdom) have been all but removed from most schedules so getting out to TK is a chore.

    I could go on but feel I Hope you get the point. Unless you work here (and even if you do) you really have no idea what is going on. That includes United hater Lucky as well

  37. I flew United last week, as I have done almost every week since January.
    United dropped prices after the outbreak and I snapped up many cheap flights.
    But after the bailout United raised prices above pre-pandemic levels and has kept them high.
    United is making money off transcon cargo routes using 747s and other widebodies.
    Maybe United has decided they don’t need as many passengers, pilots or flight attendants as before.

  38. What comes first? As soon as I can travel to a location that isn’t on lockdown I will do so. But with current flight schedules I can’t go anywhere.

  39. @David. I understand that no demand exists. So create the demand. Airlines don’t generate most revenue by flying airplanes. They generate most revenue by selling tickets — sometimes up to 330 days in advance. Sell more tickets! Sell more miles (need to do better than a 100% bonus). Sell some PlusPoints while you’re at it. Sell lifetime United Club memberships. Negotiate some creative contracts for future discounted airfare with existing corporate clients. Bring in more revenue today to ensure the Airline will be around to provide services in the future. Work harder and stop waiting for a handout.

  40. I believe a lot of the problem seems to be lack of positive like commercials for the public. Show people in airports complying with new guidelines and safety distance in airplanes. All the American people see are pictures of empty airports and empty planes. That sends a very negative message to air travelers. If more time is spent promoting positive in air travel people would start to book air travel again. Summer is around the corner and people want to travel by air. Promote positive to get the public back to flying !

  41. james,787 said it well, I am currently a 30 yr plus UAL employee. And have never seen anything like this ! Most people on this website have no clue what it takes to make this airline run. It’s far from cutting prices. They were only making money before with load factors above 85 % . How can you think they can make it buy cutting prices and flying less people ?

  42. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, a pilots actual date of hire does not equate to his or her seniority at the big 3 airlines. Due to the consolidation of the airline industry a pilot can have pilots ( thousands) with 10+ years less date of hire senior to him or her. Unfortunately, mostly due to greed of their peers, many pilots with the most experience will bear the brunt of downsizing.

  43. @Roger and others
    Yes supply and demand is economics 101 but in some cases not always. Airlines are extremely highly capital intensive. At some point it may make more sense to reduce capacity than fly full planes at such a low margin that it doesn’t cover the cost. Also many are forgetting that our frequent great leisure (pre virus) prices are usually limited to a few seats on each flight. Also the cheap economy seats exist because of business travel at much higher fares. Business travel is gone right now. Business travel may never quite rebound with the increase of virtual meetings. Leisure travel will increase but airlines will not have as much higher margin last minute business travel to help support very low margin leisure travel. Only time will tell.

  44. Feel a bit for pilots. Not that any particular job loss impacted should be minimized, but given the costs and specialization it doesn’t have many exit routes of alternative industries.

  45. @James787 (for now)

    To which “@David” posting were you responding. The 1st posting or 2nd posting?

    I’ll pause before responding….(use your 20yrs of deductive problem solving flight-bag to try & figure out why I’m distinguishing the 2 postings!)

    @Roger…I can’t disagree w/ your response to me…your optimism denotes a desire (one that WE ALL POSSESS) to return to normality. “HOW TO” create demand @ this moment in time & uncertainty might’ve been touched upon in a Micro ECO class I missed ’cause I was picking my nose :-). As mentioned, C19 has created/resulted in more uncertainty than we’ve experienced in a lifetime. Just a thought…the value of airline deliverables to pax in the form of flying ’em from A2B pre “shut down” was billions. I’d like to see data on how many pax’s got full-refunds vs those DUPID into “credits”. Based upon the lack-of “marketing” we’re currently seeing…it appears airlines are presently averse towards future booking $$$’s…if they weren’t we’d be seeing advertising/promotions & deals-deals-deals that are literally once-in-a-lifetime. Just a hunch…I suspect that “tedious” DOT Law “thingy’ ’bout full-refund due to cancellation is too consumer-protective (Thankfully!!)

  46. Very scary times indeed. Hopefully, some flying begins to rebound in the coming months. UAL is currently planning on only having a 10% schedule for the month of June. Hope that it begins to go up during the month. The 30% layoffs is only a guess at this time. The only bright news is that guys are still retiring due to age 65. 216 retirements to go this year and another 400+ retirements for next year. The other factors is how will bookings for this upcoming winter look? Management has already advertised that they’ve had more interest in spring break 2021 than they had for 2020. The other good news is people are used to traveling. They’ve gotten used to the TSA issues and want to go places. They’re rioting to be able to go places and we aren’t even close to having a cure for this bug yet. So I’m sure management isn’t sleeping well trying to guess when this comes back around, because it will likely happen in a hurry. Business travelers are known to book last minute so far out bookings don’t mean too much. You can only do so much over an internet video meeting. You can get more done in person. Business knows that and will still travel. Yes, maybe not as much, but they will. And when they know what the process is once they get through TSA then they’ll be comfortable and go.

  47. Roger said, “Is the upper management at United Airlines completely stupid or what?!? Here’s a novel concept…lower your prices!!! This is Economics 101: Supply and Demand. When supply exceeds demand, lower the price point. This will drive demand, increase revenue, and eliminate the need to lay-off any employees.” Roger, the word is dealing with a pandemic; therefore, you can drop airline tickets to $5 per person and the demand will STILL be DOWN. So, that leads me to ask you this question, did you pass Economics 101?

  48. I can’t see that discounting tickets will be an viable option to recovery, if anything ticket prices will be more expensive going forward especially with reduced competition on routes. The fact is that the economic headwinds are simply too great. I’m sure United are crunching the numbers on projected passenger traffic broken down by business/leisure and prepared these preliminary layoffs, with an eye on further cuts later if necessary.

    Business travel will be down hard for the rest of 2020 as many companies will have financial constraints and well as liability issues for business travel. I’d be surprised if any conferences are scheduled for the remainder of this year. Leisure travel will be equally hard hit until a vaccine is readily available and that is also predicated on people having confidence in their own financial security.

    All in all, travel companies (including hotel and car rentals) are going to have to make major changes to weather this severe storm. United are at least giving their employees a heads up, which Delta and American have yet to publicly acknowledge. Truly sorry to all those affected through no fault of their own.

  49. It’s interesting that there is no talk about Delta laying off 20,000 part time employees just before the CARES Act passed. The CEO was in DC and knew what was coming down the line so decided to cut all those jobs. American offered early outs for pilots and 700 or so took the out. Is that a violation of the CARES act? They asked to people to leave and some did. United asked people to take leaves and got blasted for it. They asked, didn’t tell them they had to. By United displacing all those 787 and 777 pilots to smaller aircraft and less CA seats, that will lower the overall payroll without violating the CARES Act because they are getting ready for what will be the new size of all airlines. It’s a bad deal for all of us getting cut at the airline but as someone said “we have to the airline for us to have jobs to come back to”.

  50. @Lisa – I’ve succeeded at a great many things, economic analysis and recovery being one of them. That we’re in the midst of a self-inflicted pandemic is irrelevant. If there is one lesson that needs to be learned from COVID-19, it is that we move forward as individuals, as businesses, and as a society by overcoming adversity instead of succumbing to it. United Airlines needs to innovate, they need to get creative, and they need to start searching for new and innovative sources of revenue looking forward instead of backward. Perhaps a quote from the past will provide better clarity to your thoughts:

    So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.

    Don’t fear the pandemic. Rise above it.

  51. I have always admired airline pilots as I have admired no other profession. The training, the skill, is unappreciated by the average Joe traveler. I got my private ticket in Miami in 1979 and likely would have tried to continue upward, had the situation been different at the time…….still a lot of ex-military around, hard to go forward without that background, and my eyesight was not perfect. So the dream died. I was an avgeek from about age 6, long before it was even a word; I have a black/white photo taken in a 707 on my first plane ride, at that time…….big smile on the face! By 1972 I had an English book with tail numbers/nicknames of planes, and would carefully note which one I had seen, at which airport, and when. In recent years I noted wistfully the demand for pilots…..the SHORTAGE, just months ago, and was envious of the young pilots I followed on YouTube. Now, I fear most of them will soon be without a job, after all the sacrifice, achievement. I feel for them and hope that somehow this is resolved and that more of them are able to proceed in their chosen profession.

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