Interview with Protesting United Pilots and Flight Attendants

a group of people walking on the sidewalk

CAROL: This is Carol Margolis from SmartWomenTravelers.com and PearlsofTravelWisdom.com and I’m here at the Global Business Travel Association Meeting in Denver and about to go in to a session with Jeff Smisek, CEO of United Continental Holdings, Inc. There is picketing going on outside by United Pilots and Flight Attendants. I’m here with Garth Thompson, a pilot from United Airlines.

Garth, want to tell us why you’re out here and what your message is?

GARTH: Well certainly. Thanks for coming out to meet us. It’s been 15 months since United and Continental announced their merger and although the senior managers took large compensation increases immediately after the announcement, the rest of the employees have yet to receive a contract that covers the integrated workforce.

We’re out here to say that the foot dragging needs to stop, the buzzwords such as “working together”, “changing the culture” and these kind of things need to stop and we need to have earnest negotiations at the table.

CAROL: And how does this impact business travelers sitting behind you at the back of the bus?

GARTH: Well it never bodes well for a service industry to have labor disputes between management and worker bees, and it’s gotten pretty contentious and only promises to grow unless we see some movement at the table.

CAROL: So is there anything that we can help with as business travelers?

GARTH: Certainly. Jeff.Smisek@United.com is, I believe, our CEO’s email address. I would love for our most frequent flyers to send him a message today that he took care of himself, and now it’s time to take care of your employees.

CAROL: Garth, your message is getting across and you have an audience out here. Thanks for your input today.

GARTH: Thank you for your time.


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  1. Thanks Scott and Jim.
    Yikes, I didn’t “see” that extra “c” in Smisek’s name. All fixed now. Good help is so hard to find…back to the table for my own employee negotiations!

  2. Pilots, Flight Attendants and the Company should settle their differences in negotiations, and not bring it to the customers. It’s unprofessional and ultimately hurtful to themselves. We’re not a party to their contract, and if they drive us away to another carrier, less money and flying for them. I’m not inclined to support someone who says “Give me what I want or else I’ll shoot myself in the foot.”

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