United's Pilots Would Like You To Help Them Fire Their CEO

United Airlines’ pilots have had enough of Glenn Tilton, the CEO of United, and have started a website that calls for his resignation. In addition to listing Mr. Tilton’s various faults, the website asks you, the consumer, to help them by submitting your United Airlines horror stories. (CC: The Consumerist, naturally…)

The site also details operational improvements that the pilots want to make, (avoiding delays by using all the open gates at the United terminal, for example.)

The Chicago Tribune says that the pilot group feels Tilton has been distracted by the recent airline merger orgy.

Tilton neglected the airline’s day-to-day operations over the past two years as he attempted to merge with Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines and US Airways, said Captain Steve Wallach, chairman of the United Master Executive Council, the leadership team of the Air Line Pilots Association.

“I think that there’s been a lack of leadership, which is why our airline has been dragged to the bottom of the industry,” Wallach told the Tribune. “Glenn’s only plan outside of bankruptcy was to merge.”

Glenn Tilton Must Go
United pilots call for resignation of CEO Glenn Tilton [Chicago Tribune]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Blaxabbath says:

    Best of luck to those pilots. Hope they can get him out without his millions in compensation.

  2. pillow_fight_girl says:

    I was just wondering about what kind of CEO spends zillions on new advertising for the olympics when they are in dire straights financially and furloughing thousands of employees. I think we have our answer.

  3. JoshMac says:

    For the speeach bubble I would’ve opted for Alfred E. Neuman’s : “What, me worry?”

  4. chauncy that billups says:

    @pillow_fight_girl: Yeah, those new United commercials seem awfully quaint to me. When I saw one the other night, I was like, “wait, is it 1988 again? are these olympics in Seoul?”

  5. JustThatGuy3 says:

    Interesting how most of the management failures seem to come back to not having enough pilots. While I’m not a fan of the United management, the pilots’ union isn’t exactly an unbiased source.

    Also, the pilots are terrified by mergers, since they are on a total seniority system (longest there, most money, best perks, period) – merge with Delta (for example), and you have to figure out how to combine two “stacks” of employees. Shutting United down would be worse, though – then they’d all end up on the _bottom_ of the list at any airline they joined – 777 captains making $150-200k/year flying Chicago-Tokyo are all of a sudden first officers on 737s flying Chicago-Birmingham for $75-100k/year.

  6. Fallom says:

    Put a foreigner in his chair, since even the most dirt-poor, underused airline in South America runs better than anything we’ve got in the States.

  7. Franklin Comes Alive! says:


    The pilots unions in the US Airways-America West merger have *still* not agreed on a way to merge. Therefore, The current ‘US Airways’ is still operating as two independent airlines internally, just under one corporate banner. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the airlines had in mind with the merger.

  8. RunawayJim says:

    Oddly enough, aside from Southwest, my best flying experience was on United, flying from Providence to San Diego and back via O’Hare.

    My worst experience was on US Airways round trip from Providence to Atlanta.

  9. timmus says:

    Maybe they can replace Glenn Tilton with Robert Tilton. He’ll be able to shore up earnings with millions of dollars in vows of faith.

    But yeah, this is great… I welcome anything that adds an additional check & balance against mismanagement, plundering, and golden parachuting. If such poor management can get into place, it’s well worth considering whether the entire board needs to be replaced, too.

  10. ARP says:

    This is the problem with having diluted sharedholders, it takes a huge organizational undertaking to make a major shift in any company. I think some companies need a good shareholder revolt.

  11. evslin says:

    @timmus: Or maybe replace Glenn Tilton with Glenn Tipton from Judas Priest. He can fix United with METAL!

  12. LogicalOne says:

    Time to call in Gordon Gekko.

  13. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @JustThatGuy3: First, Birmingham-Chicago is closer to $40K a year. Next, you have to understand that in the airline system there’s a reason they go by senority, every single pilot has to be of the same qualification. With all things being equal the only way to seperate salary is through senority. If I spend 10 years of my life working towards a position, I’d feel the same, it’s not like you and me, we get let go we can take our resume somewhere else and get comprable compensation, not in that buisness.

  14. JustaConsumer says:

    You have to remember that when things were going well, the pilots tried to screw all the other United employees. Karma is tough.

  15. MercuryPDX says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: My uncle worked as a baggage handler for TWA, and now works for American. Seniority is EVERYTHING to him and tied to all his perks – from determining pecking order for taking vacations to seating/availability when flying on employee passes. He’s just now getting back to a comparable seniority level to when TWA folded.

    While I am all for an employee driven coup, they need to be careful what they wish for.

  16. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @JustaConsumer: I will say…in my world the most important person is the mechanic, then the pilot.

  17. JustThatGuy3 says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather:

    Re: 75/40k, I defer to you on that.

    As for having to do it by seniority, I guess you do – I can’t think of a better way, personally, given the constraints. I was just noting that the seniority system makes pilots unusually concerned about mergers.

  18. darkryd says:

    Take him up for a flight and kick him out the door when cruising altitude is reached. Then see how much help his golden parachute is…

  19. Bad_Brad says:

    Having been a financial analyst at AA when the TWA merger occurred, I can tell you for certain that pilot’s Unions despise mergers. We came up with what we thought was an equitable solution in the AA/TWA integration, whereby TWA pilots were interspersed in the list, but frankly, both sides (AA pilots and TWA pilots) felt like they were getting the shaft.

  20. bugsbenny36 says:

    United are and have been one of the worst airlines, at least for me. I recently flew Delta and (looking back now, rather foolishly) agreed to be “bumped”, the caveat being that I would need an additional flight with a layover (of about an hour), so instead of 2 flights I would need 3.
    Well, they place me on United (which was not told to me at the time) since they had the earliest flight to my destination, the first flight went smoothly, no problems.
    After boarding the next flight and about to close the aircraft door, we are informed that one of the lights in the cockpit has come on and that we would have to deplane until fixed, about half hour or so. We go back into the terminal and wait and wait and wait, until they finally canceled the flight. They re-booked us to go via another city (bringing the total number of flights now needed to 4), we get there, rush to make the connection, and are told that the next flight was delayed, and finally canceled too.
    At this point, I’ve had enough, (I can only take SO much) I finally get the manager who “profusely” apologizes (taking it seriously), and obviously repeatedly stating there’s nothing she could do… Finally she says they’re gonna put us up for the night in a hotel and asked if we minded being put up together (perfect strangers!!), I said lady, you screwed us all up, you must give all of us our OWN hotel rooms!
    The next morning I took 2 more flights until finally, finally I got home. On the bright side, for all my trouble, $40.00 voucher! They actually gave $20.00 and when I asked them if they thought it would be enough for the bathroom on the plane, they upped it to $40.00(I guess being United that in itself was a miracle).
    Instead of 2 flights, I ended up taking 5!

    I used to fly a lot, and in all my experiences, they’ve had the worst customer service by far

  21. mike says:

    @bilups: One of the worst things you can do if you’re losing business is cut advertising. Sadly, it’s the first thing most companies do and they end up losing more money.

    Advertising helps bring in customers and helps people see your brand. For United Airlines, they need to get over the stigma that they are ripping off their customers. That’s going to cost them more in the long run.

  22. jamar0303 says:

    @Fallom: Hmmm. I’d like to see that too. But then the mileage program might change- most international airlines don’t give full frequent flyer miles for discount fares.

    (head-in-the-clouds dream- merge United into Virgin- they seem to have things down pat)

  23. hildyburns says:

    It wasn’t Glenn Tilton or even Charlene Tilton who closed the doors on me the other night when I was getting off the plane at Dulles in the middle of a BOS-LAX trip – but it was a pilot. The first leg of the flight got delayed 90 minutes or more by crazy passengers and slow rolling weather problems. We made it to the gate and off the plane with 7 minutes to spare before the IAD-LAX leg pushed back. Several of us sprinted from the arrival gate to the nearby gate where the connection was departing, where we weren’t allowed on the plane. The UAL staff there said that the pilot had ordered the jetway closed.

    Nobody has to hold a plane, but for a dozen or more people, it’s a nice thing to do. I’m suspicious that the pilot didn’t help us out in order to fan the flames of our anger against the airline. And Glenn Tilton has nothing to do with that anger, but I sure checked out that site yesterday when I was on day 2 in Dulles Airport.

  24. jetset77 says:

    hildyburns: Just so you know … pilots don’t make the decision to open or close an aircraft door. Operations (zone controllers) make that decision by checking all the down line consequences … i.e. missed connections, hotel costs, crew legalities etc. etc. They pass their decision to the Customer Service Reps who enforce the decision. Unfortunately, the CSR’s, instead of taking the heat, find it often easier to blame the pilots. Agents will also get negative performance results if the door doesn’t get closed on time. (not in the best interest of the customer is it?)

    As for the pilots … the majority of us anyway, would love to make the door call, but it is not company (UAL) policy to do so.

    Let’s just hope common sense makes it back into the airline biz soon.

  25. BytheSea says:

    I thought CEOs were like those little squiggly things at the bottom of the ocean and grey hairs. If you cut one off, three more grow back.

  26. godospoons says:

    United is a better airline now than it was a decade ago, even with the new fees.

    The pilots lost all sympathy from me after the 2000 work slowdown, then watching them bankrupt United, which they owned a substantial portion of, by not aggressively renegotiating their contract.

  27. What if the problem really is the guy in the number 1 seat rather than the CEO?

  28. chauncy that billups says:

    @linus: The easiest way to get over the stigma of ripping off customers is to STOP doing it. I’ve had two bad experiences on United, and no amount of advertising will ever make me fly with them again. If they’re able to dupe more people by using old-school advertising, more power to them, I guess.

  29. Lewisham says:

    United are rotten to the core, replacing the CEO won’t fix the awful on-board service and the decrepit plane interiors. They need a lot more money, which hopefully they’ll never get.

    I hope the company fails completely, and frees their landing slots up for some airlines that actually give a damn about their customers.

  30. misterfuss says:

    I went to this website and went to the “Operational Failure” section and offered suggestions to why flights wait for gates when they arrive but it is a moderated site. I can assume that since my explanations don’t completely support the pilot point of view, my comments never showed up.