ORLANDO, Fla. - Off-duty airline pilots held a demonstration at Orlando International Airport on Thursday saying they have the same frustrations as their passengers. They just want to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely. The pilots say it’s time for carriers to address their operational problems and put passengers, pilots, and other frontline workers first.
"As the world recovers from the pandemic, we were front line workers, taking medical staff, equipment, and then the vaccines, themselves. As we all negotiate our contracts, we want to be acknowledged for the achievements we did," said Capt. Javier Ramos Green, a JetBlue Pilot.
The protests happened in Orlando (MCO) and about a dozen other airports around the United State. For months now, travelers have been plagued by flight delays and cancellations. Ahead of Labor Day weekend, pilots want them to know they're also feeling the pain. "As the world recovers from the pandemic, airlines over-schedule more flights than they have a crew to operate these flights," said Ramos Green.
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These pilots are members of the Air Line Pilots Association. They say some airlines squandered the chance to plan properly for post-pandemic flying. They're calling on airlines to stabilize industry operations and jobs before channeling profits to investors.
"When a customer experiences a flight delay or cancellation, it's not only them far away from their families or loved ones. It takes time from our families and loved ones, as well," said Ramos Green, "we feel for the flying customers, we want the companies to be successful, we want to be part of the equation."
The U.S. Department of Transportation plans to release an interactive dashboard before Labor Day weekend. It will show travelers what each airline offers in compensation for delays and canceled flights.