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April 07, 2008



Skybus pilots were paid $60,000 a year for a captain and $30,000 a year for a copilot and they made no per diem and paid all their own expenses including training upon hiring-- $20,000. They had some stock options, whoopee. Obviously, as the wife of a pilot (American), I have a biased view, but I really think these guys and gals are worth a LOT more, for the number of years of training, and the costly flight hours as they work their way through the ratings to ATP, Airline Transport Pilot ("Doctorate of Flyology," my husband jokes), and their relatively rare skill set and ability.

Flight attendants made $9 an hour and got a cut from the bottles of water and other stuff they could sell to the captive audience on the plane. Meanwhile, I have yet to read how much CEO Diffendorffer left with (just in time) or how much the top guys made. They sure suckered Columbus (and Portsmouth to some extent) into millions and millions of dollars worth of airport upgrades and tax breaks and incentives, all for 18 months of direct service to a few cities. I hope the Skybus/ Ryanair "business model" is dead. People need to pay what it costs to fly in giant gas-eating metal machines (through all sorts of occasionally quite challenging weather) from one place to another. And it costs a lot more than $10.


In re-reading this post, I realize it looks like it was aimed at the employees, but that was not the intent. It was aimed at Diffendorfer and management who clearly put the banks ahead of the employees and the customers. There's some indication that they could have made this model work, but decided to bail early and save money for the big guy, totally hosing the employees and customers in the process.

As I said in my post on Saturday, Skybus flight attendants and pilots were unfailingly polite, professional and always a pleasure. They were left with one final paycheck, no severance and no benefits. I feel for them. I firmly believe that we need to pay pilots and flight attendants a fair wage for the extremely difficult jobs they do.

I flew Skybus, not because of the fares, but because it was more convenient for me and the employees weren't crabby. There were only 10 $10.00 seats on each flight. I usually paid about $200.00 per ticket, but I would have gladly paid more. Even doubling that fare is much better than the $898.00 I just paid, three weeks in advance, to fly from MHT to CVG. When I pay $900.00 for a ticket, it kind of ruffles my feathers to have to deal with nasty gate agents and flight attendants.

(but I still can't believe those planes took off, knowing folks were going to be stranded--which they did. The folks who were stranded were some of the least able to pay last minute one way fares to get home)


Melissa, I didn't think you meant employees, I was just venting in general, and particularly at management. Fares are crazy and seem unrelated to reality, in both directions-- cheap and expensive. I'm sad for employees (and at other airlines too) who represent their companies so well, and have pride and dignity and try really hard then get shafted while upper management is unbelievably enriched. Executive compensation has hit the stratosphere in the past few years, but we never see those numbers in print in stories like the ones you've linked to. And I've been looking around the 'net and can't find out either. I think it's relevant, especially when they make the decision to pull the plug so quickly with no warning to employees or passengers.


I think we're on the exact same page here.

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