A Look at John Tague, New President of United Airlines

Last Updated Jul 27, 2009 10:25 AM EDT It looks like Glenn Tilton has finally started to publicly declare his succession plan for United Airlines, and John Tague unsurprisingly tops the list. He was named president of the airline last week. What does this mean for the way things are going at the airline? Not much right now. My guess is that this simply solidifies what has been going on at the airline anyway, but now it's being formalized. Tilton really has had more of a hands off approach, and many of his speeches now seem to focus on industry issues in general. We can probably thank his appointment as the chairman of the board for the Air Transport Association for that. If you told me in 2002 that John Tague would someday be president of United, I would have laughed at you. Tague left his previous job running ATA (into the ground) that year, and I would have guessed his airline career wasn't going anywhere. With ATA, Tague decided to focus on building up a major scheduled airline from the previously smaller charter carrier. He bought a bunch of expensive, brand new airplanes and aggressively grew capacity in both Indianapolis and Chicago/Midway. The model collapsed (of course) and the airline limped along for awhile under Southwest's guardianship until it finally just disappeared. Many people point the finger at John Tague and his ill-fated expansion plans for the demise of the airline. In 2003, he joined United, an airline that was vastly larger and with largely different problems, in a customer role. But his strategy at ATA was the opposite of what United has followed over the last few years. While he ordered new planes at ATA, United hasn't ordered a new aircraft in years. And while ATA grew rapidly under his leadership, United has done nothing but shrink. It will be interesting to see now whether Tague's appointment as president means we'll see any changes in the United plan. I would bet, however, that we won't. He's been in the inner circle for Continue Reading

An Alaska Airlines pilot said a captain drugged and raped her. He still works for the airline.

Democracy Dies in Darkness Sections Home Subscribe Username Sign In Account Profile Newsletters & Alerts Gift Subscriptions Contact Us Help Desk Subscribe Account Profile Newsletters & Alerts Gift Subscriptions Contact Us Help Desk Accessibility for screenreader Gridlock by Marwa Eltagouri by Marwa Eltagouri Email the author March 14 at 11:21 PM Email the author The new logo of Alaska Airlines is shown next to a model of a plane with the old livery in Seattle. (AP) On an evening last June, Alaska Airlines co-pilot Betty Pina had a glass of wine. Then came a second glass, brought to her by the captain she was paired with for a three-day assignment. The next thing Pina remembers is finding herself in a vomit-soaked bed, naked from the waist down, she alleged in a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the airline. Pina, a 39-year-old military veteran, says Alaska Airlines allowed the captain to drug and rape her, and subsequently failed to hold the captain accountable after she reported the incident to airline officials more than half a year ago. The captain, according to the lawsuit, is a veteran pilot who is still employed by the airline. “How many other victims are out there? I may not be the first case, but I hope to be the last,” Pina told the Seattle Times. “It’s time to take responsibility. The culture needs to change.” Her suit against the airline comes as more women, emboldened by a national conversation about sexual harassment and assault, have come forward with charges against powerful men in numerous fields leading to their sudden falls from positions of power. The captain’s “grossly abusive actions epitomize the necessity and purpose” of the #MeToo movement, the lawsuit says. According to her account detailed in the lawsuit, Pina first met the Continue Reading

United Airlines’ Bonus Lottery Was Doomed to Fail. Don’t Make the Same Mistake With Your Team.

Your employees don't want rewards -- they want respect. Brittany Larsen Published 7:30 am, Wednesday, March 7, 2018 Photo: Andrew Harrer | Getty Images Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: Andrew Harrer | Getty Images United Airlines' Bonus Lottery Was Doomed to Fail. Don't Make the Same Mistake With Your Team. 1 / 1 Back to Gallery A few days ago, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby announced a new incentive program that would eliminate the company's bonus structure and replace it with a lottery,  where one lucky employee would win $100,000 and a handful of others would have a shot at a Mercedes or a vacation. Immediately, legacy employees went on the record voicing concerns, with one union leader stating that "no team-oriented reward should be dictated by lottery." Related: How to Incorporate This One Employee Perk to Improve Your Business Unfortunately, I wasn't shocked by this news, because I've seen this trend become increasingly popular with the companies I've worked with and for. For whatever reason, employers have decided that employees care more about games and having toys at work than getting more money for doing great work. Just a few days later, United determined that its plan was a bust and Kirby recgonized that he misjudged how this news would be received by employees. In the next few years, I believe there will be a continued backlash against open offices, toys and useless perks enticing potential and current employees. Having a shot at a ton of money in a lottery is fun, but it's not helpful if you don't have a clear career trajectory, aren't paid well, don't know when or how you'll be rewarded, and don't feel valued at work. Recommended Video: Now Playing: After employees complained. Media: Fortune I recently talked to a few of my friends I Continue Reading

Two former United Airlines employees awarded $800,000 in age discrimination suit

Two former United Airlines flight attendants who claimed age discrimination for being fired were awarded $800,000 in damages by a federal jury Monday in Denver, their lawyer said. Jennie Stroup, a United employee for 30 years, and Rubin Lee, a 41-year veteran of the airline, were fired in 2013. They sued their former employer in June of 2015 in U.S. District Court in Denver. Stroup, as a flight attendant, flew about 30,000 flight hours “without incident” and missed only one check-in during her long career, according to the lawsuit. Lee, during his decades-long United career, received multiple awards from the airline for his “stellar customer service, enthusiasm, loyalty, and attention to safety issues.” In 1974, Lee was part of a crew on a flight from New York City to Milwaukee that was diverted to Dulles International Airport in  Washington, D.C., because of inoperable landing gear. The jet slid to an emergency landing and Lee helped to deploy emergency slides and safely evacuate passengers. He was recognized by United for his extraordinary response in the emergency. United said the pair was fired for watching an iPad video, for about 15 minutes, and failing to wear aprons during a September 2013 flight. When they were notified of their pending termination, both were given the option to retire instead. In the lawsuit, Stroup and Lee said their ages, not their work was the reason they were fired. A federal jury agreed, said David Lane, a Denver civil rights attorney who represents the pair. A message left for United representatives was not returned. United will owe additional damages to the plaintiffs, to be determined at a later court hearing, and the airline must also pay their former employees legal fees, Lane said. The costs to United, not including the company’s own attorney fees, will likely exceed $1.5 million, Lane said. Continue Reading

Hoping to head off pilot shortage, United Airlines and Metro State aviation program launch unique partnership

Metropolitan State University of Denver aviation students got a preview Monday of a new partnership between the school and United Airlines, a first-in-the-industry program United officials hope will help push back against a looming pilot shortage. The “career path program,” which is being unveiled Tuesday, will create a means for flight officer students at Metro to interview with United as undergraduates, and — if accepted — follow a defined track to one of United’s regional partner airlines. After meeting flight time requirements there, participants can move on to waiting jobs in United cockpits, all within five or seven years of graduation.  “There are requirements, but when you think about the process and the path you need to go, it’s a very streamlined effort,” United Capt. Michael McCasky told students at the school’s aviation and aerospace science building Monday. “And I think the real key is … when you do your interview with us when you’re a junior in college, you have done your last United interview. Your first and only United interview.” The first applications aren’t likely to be accepted until Metro’s fall semester, but the program, developed over the past 15 months, is designed to address a looming problem in the airline industry: ballooning need for qualified commercial pilots. Citing increased demand driven by global economic expansion, Boeing projected last year that 2 million more commercial pilots will be needed around the world by 2036, including 117,000 in North America. McCasky, managing director of flight training at United’s Flight Training Center in Denver, said he worked with MSU to develop the partnership not because United is having trouble recruiting pilots, but because its regional partners are feeling the pinch. Participants would be set up with job interviews at CommutAir, ExpressJet and Air Wisconsin, McCasky said. Continue Reading

Boone Grove media specialist offers career exploration

BOONE GROVE — The Boone Grove Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders took a closer look at Lisa Broton after learning she worked at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Broton, who has been the school's media specialist for five years, has created a career exploration program for students. "At this age I know kids don't really know what they want to do when they grow up," she said. "Most people know about being a teacher, a nurse, a doctor or a lawyer but there are so many other careers out there and I wanted to expose them to other professions." To that end, Broton whose degree is in hospitality management from Purdue University, talked to students about her career and how she came to become a media specialist after working in hospitality and advertising. The students were impressed with the time she spent working at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and at Walt Disney. "You are not stuck doing one thing forever," she told the youngsters. "Find a job that you love, something that makes you happy." Broton has scheduled a speech pathologist, a nurse, a financial planner, real estate agent, a golf pro, a home care agency recruiter, a federal officer, a supervisor at Urschel Labs in Valparaiso, and a newspaper reporter to talk to students about their careers. Besides Broton, the biggest hit so far may have been Aaron Treble, of Valparaiso, who built his own "Star Wars" R2-D2 robot in his home shop and brought it to school. Treble said he's shown his robot to hundreds of school children over the years, and enjoys the chance to talk about his career with children.  He followed an unconventional path, choosing not to attend college, he said, instead serving eight years in the U.S. Air Force working on F-16 and F-117 fighter jets. "I was offered a full ride, four-year scholarship to the Air Force Academy in 1992 but I turned it down," he said. "My parents thought I was insane but I was working on fighter jets — Continue Reading

Fliers getting silence from airlines turn to Twitter

When Eric Ryan's Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Detroit was canceled because of a blast of wicked winter weather Tuesday, he turned to the usual sources to rebook.Ryan, a 32-year-old consultant and frequent flier, tried the airline's website, but it wouldn't let him make a new reservation. He called Southwest's reservations center but got a busy signal.Frustrated, he appealed to Southwest on Twitter."Why is your reservation number busy?" Ryan wrote. "Had a flight canceled today and can't seem to get through to reschedule. Ridic."He got a response from the airline within two minutes."It's a great alternative to reaching out over the phone," Ryan said.Airline passengers are increasingly turning to social-media sites such as Twitter to gripe about and resolve travel woes.At no time has that been more evident than in the past week, when airlines canceled more than 20,000 flights because of weather and new pilot-rest rules, stranding travelers across the country.Passengers trying to rebook, check flight status, vent about long delays and a lack of free lodging or food, or simply to swear never to fly a particular airline again, flooded airlines' Twitter accountsSome airlines have had a hard time keeping up with the volume, producing mixed results for travelers seeking help.Twitter posts about travel, which from 2012 to 2013 rose 54 percent, to 12 million per week, hit an all-time high during the recent storms, Twitter said, citing research from Topsy, a social-media analytics firm.Mike De Jesus, who oversees travel accounts at Twitter, said the service is a natural for solving customer-relations issues at businesses such as airlines because it's a real-time public forum and three out of four regular users use it on a mobile device."Most of the bad news that you get as a traveler is at the airport," he said. "It's very easy to pull out your phone and tweet something under 140 characters to the brand that you're frustrated with."American Airlines, which last Continue Reading

United Continental pilots merge seniority lists

CHICAGO (AP) - Pilots from United and Continental airlines are close to flying in the same cockpits.The pilot's union announced Wednesday that a three-member arbitration panel has established a merged seniority list, which is final and binding.The two airlines merged in 2010, and pilots approved a joint union contract in December. ALSO ONLINE: United Airlines recalling all furloughed pilotsBut they also needed a merged list that ranks who was hired when. Seniority is important to pilots because it dictates who gets the most favorable schedules, who flies which planes, and who gets laid off first.It's not as simple as looking at a list of the dates on which pilots were hired. Merged seniority lists typically take into account whether pilots were on furlough and what their career prospects were at their respective airline. Merging the pilot seniority list can be one of the most contentious parts of an airline merger.The list means the airline can begin scheduling pilots from United and Continental to fly together once technical issues with scheduling have been dealt with."We are pleased the seniority list has been issued and look forward to having a unified pilot group," the airline said in a prepared statement.All 12,000 pilots from both airlines were part of the Air Line Pilots Association before the merger. They are expected to elect a combined Master Executive Council in October, the union said.Shares of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc. rose 59 cents, or 2 percent, to $29.24 in afternoon trading. Continue Reading

U.S. airlines contend Gulf rivals are subsidized unfairly

WASHINGTON -- The three largest U.S. airlines and their unions urged the government Thursday to renegotiate treaties with Persian Gulf countries, arguing that rival airlines are subsidized by their governments.Representatives of American, Delta and United airlines told a news conference at the National Press Club that Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar have received $42 billion in subsidies since 2004. The subsidies make it impossible to compete for lucrative international travelers, according to domestic airlines joined by unions for pilots and flight attendants."The subsidies are obvious and they are massive," David Ross, counsel at WilmerHale who used to work on trade at the Senate Finance Committee and for the U.S. Trade Representative, said in outlining the findings of financial documents filed in other countries by Gulf airlines. "We really are in the crosshairs."U.S. airlines were joined at the news conference by union representatives from the Air Line Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. One threat of foreign subsidies is that 800 jobs are lost for every canceled route lost to unfair competition, according to airline representatives."If this situation is allowed to continue, it will threaten our entire industry," said Capt. Rick Dominguez, executive administrator for the Air Line Pilots Association. "Nothing less than our careers are at stake."The news conference marks a public escalation in the dispute. Airline executives revealed a month ago they circulated a 55-page briefing paper outlining the subsidies to officials at the Transportation, State and Commerce departments, in an effort to change or scrap treaties called "open skies" agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.The U.S. allegations focus on benefits such as interest-free government loans, cheaper access to airports and services such as fuel and ground handling that are governed by airline officials. The Continue Reading

Cockpit crisis: Regional airlines struggle to hire pilots

WASHINGTON – As several airlines blamed a pilot shortage for cutting service this month, the Government Accountability Office reported mixed findings Friday about whether there would be enough pilots over the next decade.The GAO found that pay has fallen during the last decade, suggesting that demand hasn't yet outpaced the supply.But airlines will need roughly 1,900 to 4,500 pilots per year over the next decade, and the GAO found that airlines could have trouble hiring amid tougher training rules as mandatory retirements at 65 thin the ranks.Despite this demand, the GAO found that pilots might work abroad, in the military or in another occupation for better wages. GAO said 11 of 12 regional airlines contacted were having trouble filling openings, but that mainline airlines weren't."Data indicate that a large pool of qualified pilots exists relative to the projected demand, but whether such pilots are willing or available to work at wages being offered is unknown," the 61-page GAO report said.Since the start of the month, four airlines blamed service cuts on more federal training for pilots. United Airlines eliminated its Cleveland hub and reduced regional flights there 70% by citing financial losses and federal training rules for pilots.Republic Airways parked 27 regional jets, Great Lakes Airlines suspended service to six communities, and Silver Airways canceled service to five airports."This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Dan Akins, an economist with 30 years in the industry who co-founded Flightpath Economics, a group organized to seek remedies for pilot supply.The group projected that airlines won't be able to fill 4,000 to 10,000 pilot jobs during the next decade because of retirements, federal rest rules created the need for more pilots and federal training rules make it harder to become a pilot."There are several hundred airports and communities nationwide that are at risk of losing some or all of their air service," said Matt Barton, another Continue Reading