Delta Pilots Vote to Kill Airline

The Delta pilots union has voted to authorize a strike against their bankrupt employer, despite assurances that doing so will cause Delta to go under.

Given that most of the other airlines are going under, too, this is a rather odd strategy.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Fersboo says:

    Made me think about the Scorpion and the Frog.

    The Scorpion and the Frog

    A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
    scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
    frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
    says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

    The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
    the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
    paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
    but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

    Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”

    Found here.

  2. McGehee says:

    If the pilots want bankruptcy, Delta is ready when they are.

  3. DaveD says:

    McGehee, Good One!

  4. liberty says:

    I will never understand pilots who strike knowing that it will kill the airline.

    It’s not like there is a very large job market for them, and they hardly have any transferable skills.

    Like the students in France, they just don’t understand the basic mechanics of the free market.

  5. Herb says:

    If you know anything about Airlines, you would put the blame for this situation squarely where it belongs. Right on Deltas Management.

    For years now Delta has managed their stock prices rather that managing the airline. Management has run this airline for their own benefit and not for their customers, employees or anyone associated with the airline.

    Just look at what Delta Management has done to Comair. Comair was the only part of Delta that made money, and now Comair is losing money for the first time in over 20 years.

    I knew years ago, when Delta almost eliminated “customer service:, that Delta was a doomed venture.

  6. Stevely says:

    I have a scrillion frequent flyer miles with these guys from when they held government routes (eh, last year). Better use them while there is still a Delta, I guess.

  7. Sam says:

    Actually, Delta is already in bankruptcy, a pilot strike would probably change it from reorganization to liquidation. Technically, the pilots union authorized a strike which would take place in the case that Delta got the bankruptcy court to void the current labor agreement, which Delta is seeking to do (and not just with the pilots, but pretty much all their union agreements).

  8. Robert says:

    Delta Management: Like the students in France, they just donâ??t understand the basic mechanics of the free market.

  9. floyd says:

    delta must have seen how united fared, monkey see…;anyway united now wants four thousand new hires, some bankruptcy!!profit= good economy; wages= theft of profit. right?

  10. McGehee says:

    Like the students in France, they just don’t understand the basic mechanics of the free market.

    Well, it’s not like they ever operated in one.

  11. Sterlingman says:

    Don’t blame Delta management who must make business decisions in the real world environment instead of the fantasy world created by the Delta Pilots union. A pilot making $250,000 for 12 days of work and one month of vacation is not productive in a competitive market place.
    Three years ago when Delta management started warning Delta pilots about a possible bankruptcy, the pilots scoffed at Delta managements concerns. When Delta management asked the pilots for some financial relief from the highest salaries in the airline industry, the pilots were unresponsive. Now the pilots are suffering the consequences. They deserve their present state of affairs, but the other Delta employees do not deserve problems created by the pilots. Delta pilots would rather put Delta out of business and cause suffering and pain amongst the all the members than to work for $125,000 a year. This tells you a lot about the spoiled and self absorbed character of Delta pilots.
    A 50% reduction in pilot income is justified while it is not justified for mid-level Delta employees to take a 50% pay cut. If the pilotâ??s income falls 50% to $125,000 per year, they are still making more than 98% of the people in this country. $125.000 a year is a good income by anyone’s standards. However, if you take a mid-level management person at Delta that was making $70,000 and reduce his income to $35,000 the incentive to stay with Delta during this crisis is substantially reduced. There would be a mass exodus of quality mid-level employees.

    Quite frankly, It is time to open the pilots union to the market economy and allow all the pilots that are presently out of work compete for the union jobs. If the free market economy works, I can assure you the Delta pilots will wish they had jobs making $125,000 a year.

  12. Natalie says:

    Airline employee’s wages and benefits have been cut in half over the last 4 years. Expect nothing more than to arrive at your final destination in one piece and MAYBE with your baggage.