Racial Preferences at United Airlines

Part 0:
United Airlines Affirmative Discrimination

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The color and gender of UAL's pilots is more important than your safety in the UNfriendly skies.

Nov. 23, 2007 Updates

          Adversity.Net is conducting an ongoing investigation into United Airlines' racial-quota hiring and forced-diversity policies. 

          We have acquired documented evidence that an underqualified quota-hire flight crew member seriously endangered passengers and civilians. 

          We also have begun collecting evidence of United's aggressive policy to hire the "right" number of selected skin colors and that they have reduced their training requirements and pilot qualifications in order to meet these "diversity" goals.

          Below are the major areas we are currently investigating.  If you have additional evidence please send confidential email to: timfay@adversity.net

Investigation Areas --
United Airlines Affirmative Discrimination:

1. UAL Accidents or Incidents caused by underqualified quota-hire pilots -- So far, we have documented one very serious incident, and we have received several anecdotal reports of other incidents.   See Current Progress => See also Email Log (blog) from United passengers and employees.
Email from United passengers and employees.
2. Reduced UAL Training / Experience Requirements for Pilots -- We are documenting the extent to which United has reduced the training and/or experience required of pilots in order to attract the proper number of preferred minorities.  PENDING  
3. UAL's Stated "Diversity" Goals -- Documentation of UAL's preference for hiring selected races and ethnicities.  To include:  UAL written policies; numeric goals for hiring selected colors; public statements about "increasing diversity" and/or "minority representation" and/or "inclusion".  These are all code words for affirmative discrimination policies.  See Current Progress =>  
4. UAL's Support, Participation, and Funding in Minority Causes -- This is a requirement of "diverse" companies who have been shaken down by the quota lobby.  PENDING  
5. NAACP Involvement with UAL -- To what extent does the NAACP exert influence over United's hiring, promotion and contracting policies?  PENDING  
6. UAL's Supplier Diversity Program -- Details of United's hostility toward contractors and suppliers who are owned by non-minorities.  There is the possibility that this policy has led to purchase of illegal, black-market aircraft parts by UAL.  There is also the possibility that certain "diverse" contractors have performed sub-standard maintenance on UAL aircraft.  PENDING  
7. UAL Diversity Panel -- UAL has a special panel staffed largely by pro-quota diversiphiles which "monitors" how well United meets its racial quotas.  Such panels go by a variety of names, and they are often chaired by a refugee from the first two Clinton administrations.  Who are these people, and what are their backgrounds?  PENDING  
8. Large Minority Lawsuit(s) Against UAL -- Such a lawsuit(s) is/are the usual precursor to implementation of aggressive racial quota programs such as UAL's.  We will include any actual or threatened government intervention (DOJ, DOL, EEOC, FAA).   PENDING  


Emailed Comments and Details from Readers
(edited to protect the authors' anonymity)

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Subject: United Airlines Discrimination
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2007 11:51:41 -0800 (PST)
From: Reader "G"
To: timfay@adversity.net

          I am a 29 year old white male with 2400 hours of Regional Jet Captain Time and over 5800 hours Total Time.  I interviewed with United Airlines in October of 2007 and I believe that they are back to their old tricks.

          I interviewed with an african american Captain and a Female HR person.  I was denied the job.

          My current employer is [Airline A] and my former employer was  [Airline B] for seven years.  I left [Airline B] in August of 2007 for [Airline A] and then shortly thereafter recieved the email for an interview at United. I had over 8 recommendations on file from current United Pilots of various races and gender however it did me no good.

          I have another question regarding age discrimination at United.  I understand there was a lawsuit against United over age because they wouldn't allow me to put my birthday on any of their documents.  Can you provide me with some more information on that?  I have suffered an inconvience at [Airline A] because of my age.  [Airline A] does senority on age and me being a younger gent, I lost out on a higher paying seat and better quality of life due to me being forced into the smaller aircraft at [Airline A] because of my senority which was based on age.

-- Reader "G"


Adversity.Net submitted Reader G's email to an airline industry expert.   Here is what the expert wrote regarding G's situation:

          It is very unlikely he was denied his job becaues of his age, especially because of his young age. It was a standard for many years that if you weren't hired by age 30, you had a choice of flying corporate, commuter, flight instructor, or severing a carotid artery. The reason airlines like young pilots, or used to, was that the training costs were astronomical and the airlines wanted / hoped for a return on their investment. There was also an insurance company actuarial-type factor. If a pilot applicant didn't fit the actuarial profile from at least several perpectives - return on investment being one - the applicant was denied employment.

          There are so many variables in pilot hiring, more than before, including EEO, that it would be very hard to prove age or other discrimination. He really needs to talk to a labor attorney, but my guess is that exercise in futility will only lighten his wallet, unless the lawyer is particularly ethical.

          He needs to decide if he wants to be a pilot (he is flying at the moment), or piss and moan about how unfair life is since he can't secure a higher paying position - but even the major airlines are paying much less than a generation ago.

          A parting thought:  Because flying for the major airlines has always been much sought after, each airline carries about 20,000 current resumes.  EEO has helped skew the requirements, but still you gotta be way above the basic requirements. There was a time when majors were so hard up, they hired pilots with bare minimum requirements - it's the law of supply and demand.

          He really needs to do some research, and, failing that, consult with a labor attorney.

Subject: Loved your website....
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2004
From: Reader "E"
To: timfay@adversity.net

          I loved your website. I worked for Untied Express for nearly 9 years before getting an interview at UAL. I vastly exceeded all required qualifications excepting skin color and certain anatomical features. A young GQ quota hire was my primary interrogator and was as rude to me as anyone has ever been. I thought it was rather funny as I had been warned to expect this type of treatment.

          You ought to read The Bell Curve. It explains very cogently why certain people are under-achievers. The NAACP was up in arms over the book but the science is unassailable. We ignore it at our own peril.

-- Reader "E"

Subject: UAL Accidents or Incidents Caused by Underqualifed Quota Hires
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2004
From: Reader "D"
To: editor@adversity.net


          This is regarding your summary of UAL incidents.  I just wanted to let you know that I was on that UAL flight 863 bound for Sydney. I think it's pretty cool that you reported that incident because we only heard about how serious it was, over half a year after our trip. From what I remember about the flight, being in coach class, was that we had a "normal" takeoff from my standpoint, but it was the first time being in a 747 so I didn't really know what was normal for a 747. Of course, we went airborne, and about 15 minutes into the flight the captain comes on the intercom and informs us that the number three engine had failed and that passengers saw some sparks flying from the engine. We were never told that we had almost hit a mountain, but I guess that was good to not to know during the flight.

          The captain also said that we had to dump fuel for a while and return back to SFO. Now since it was a night time flight it was rather interesting when we landed to have the dark cabin suddenly fill up with emergency lights from the airport fire trucks. Again, we didn't know of the severity of the flight, so when we saw the lights of the fire trucks most of us kind of knew that something might have been worse than it really was. United gave us a choice to be booked in a hotel for the night or to stay for another plane to be readied, we just stayed until like 3AM for another plane and another flight crew to be prepped. So I guess that was my story, I mean it has been 7 years after that flight, but it still is kind of mind-boggling that the plane came within 100 feet of crashing. For a large aircraft that is really cutting it close.

          Thanks for listening to my story,

-- Reader "D"

Subject: United Airlines
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003
From: Reader "A"
To: editor@adversity.net

          I am new to this computer age and website, but I can only imagine that you have posted information regarding the hiring practices which United Airlines used until most recently, specifically regarding pilots.

          I myself was an airline pilot and knew many good people with plenty of heavy jet experience, who interviewed at UAL and were turned down as a result of quotas. UAL has been the worst airline in in the past many years to hire young, inexperienced minorities over very experienced pilots.

          As an example, UALs requirements for pilots were 350 hours of total flight time with no captain or turbine time required, compared to Delta and NWA who required 1500 hours Captain time in a multi-engine turbine aircraft.

          350 hours of total flight time is the equivalent of having the candy striper in the hospital conducting triple bypass surgery on a patient. I know a UAL 747 Captain that bid out of that aircraft due to the experience level of minorities bidding into that aircraft.

          In 1999, a UAL 747 departed SFO, lost an engine on takeoff and came within 300' of hitting a hill in the Bay area. [See "B" and "C", above.]  This was a minority co-pilot flying the aircraft and the individual assumed they had blown tires on takeoff, rather than realizing that an engine failed on takeoff (much more critical than tires blowing out), and the result was improper technique in recovering from an engine failure which almost killed an estimated 3000 people in the Bay area.

          Rather than using the rudder in the aircraft to compensate for the yawing motion of the failed engine, the co-pilot used the aileron which after a certain number of degrees turn, causes spoilers to rise on the wing and therefore critically degrading the aircraft's performance and ability to climb ... this is something that is learned very early on in any experienced pilots aviation career (NTSB.GOV.....this site explains everything I just mentioned) UAL was very good at covering up the incident.

          As a final thought, I sure wish the public was more informed on the qualifications of many UAL pilots. It is not fair to the public that UAL has hired and placed these incompetent and inexperienced individuals in such a responsible position for the lives of so many.

          I applaud the efforts of this website!!!!!!!!!! Sure is great to expose as many people as possible the disaster that minority hiring has inflicted upon our country.

-- Reader "A"

Subject: Re: United Airlines
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003
From: Reader "A"
To: "Tim Fay" <timfay@adversity.net>

Dear Tim,

          Thanks a lot for getting back to me.

          As far as UALs hiring practices, I have a UAL application for employment ... that lists the pilot qualifications. Within the last two years, UALs qualifications have changed to 300 hours of total flying time which must be in a multi-engine aircraft or turbine or jet aircraft and that is it. Previously it was just 350 hours of total time, no multi-time, captain, turbine or jet time and throughout the 90s it was simply 250 hours total time required.

          The front cover of the [UAL] application, which I have a copy of, specifies 350 total flying hours from 1999. The normal hours required for just commuter type airlines at that same time was 1500 total flying time and 500 multi-engine time in order to just get an application.

          To even qualify for an application from Northwest, US Air, Delta FedEx and so on, the requirements were at least 2500 hours flying time and 1500 hours of captain experience in a multi-engine turbine type aircraft. Some airlines such as Reno Air at the time required 5000 total flying hours.

(Granted, these other airlines also did minority hiring as well, but the requirements were much more stringent and generally an applicant who had previous captain experience in a turbine aircraft paid their dues.)

          When one refers to Air Inc. (pilot hiring information....air inc.com) a listing of individuals hired by airlines is provided along with the individuals flight experience and an average of total hours of flying time and experience level. A rough average for the years of 97', 98' and 99 for example would be nothing less than 3500 hours of total flying time. (I have some copies of that at home as well but most pilots hired were in the 4000 to 5000 hour range.)

          UAL used to have an internship program for college aviation students. UAL had such a program at the University of North Dakota ... whereby they would select a very small number of students and place them in a Flight Engineer class for a B-727. Those that did well, received an interview at UAL, and I personally know of one such female that was hired as a B-727 Flight Engineer right from [UND's] graduating class in 1990. She had 800 total hours of flight experience (all in small single engine Cessna type aircraft - 2 and 4 seaters) with 15 hours of multi-engine experience (in a small multi engine piston prop type aircraft), no captain time in a two or three person aircraft, no turbine time and zero jet time. She had zero experience in the concept of a turbine jet engine and most importantly, she had no concept of Crew Resource Management. This was pure on the job training.

          Just briefly, in the real world as a graduating college student, its not easy to find a flying job. The normal route that everyone takes after college in the civilian world is to gain hours and experience by flight instructing in small planes, flying night freight in smaller multi-engine aircraft so as to get the multi-time and get hired by a commuter airline flying turbo props and smaller jets. By this time an individual has gained plenty of experience flying in and out of larger terminal airports, in and out various types of weather such as fog, thunderstorms, ice, windshear, etc, how to interact with different types of pilots (when to speak up when you feel something is unsafe, for example) and how to delegate time wisely to items that are very important and those that are less important.

          The norm is that a pilot has the above experience under his/her belt before going on to a major airline, where this experience is a must. The route which I followed was as the above: flight instructing for 3 years, commuter airlines for 5 years and then finally flew a 727 for 3.5 years. Any pilot with 800 hours of flying time, as this college student friend of mine had, simply is not qualified.

          The UAL 747 incident (NTSB.GOV lists this incident from I believe in 98') was being flown by a very low time quota hired individual [gender and ethnicity unknown at this time], and inexperienced co-pilot. This individual believed that tires were being blown out on take off rather than being able to recognize that an engine had failed.

          Upon realizing the engine failure, the individual used the aileron to compensate for the yawing motion of the failed engine which is the proper procedure in a smaller twin engine propeller aircraft, however, can be fatal in a large jet aircraft, since spoilers are activated on the wing which increase drag and cripples an aircraft's ability to climb. Therefore, this aircraft came within 100' of crashing into terrain.

          I currently work for a corporation flying corporate aircraft and we hire many retired airline pilots, as they can still fly passed the age of 60 under the regulations of corporate aviation. Many of these pilots are former UAL pilots that were in training positions at UAL and have stated that the issue of inexperience in minority pilots at UAL is unacceptable. The above incident in SFO was confirmed to me by a UAL 747 Captain that currently flies here with us, that this was a quota hired individual flying the 747 that nearly crashed in SFO.

          I can think of another situation whereby I sat in the cockpit of UAL B-727 and a minority pilot was trying to pick up a clearance on the radio to Chicago (while on the ground). This is something that any pilot should be able to do in their sleep. This particular individual had to have the captain help him in what to say and how to pick the clearance up. I was amazed. It was terrible to watch this individual embarrass the remainder of the crew like this. Another time I was riding in the back of a UAL Airbus. I tuned into channel 5 to listen to the on board communications which is provided between the aircraft and air traffic control. Once again, another minority co-pilot was doing the best he could do on the radio with his broken English. It was truly unacceptable.

          There are so many stories of minority pilots being given so many chances on checkrides in order to pass them, the story that a minority pilot who thought he was transferring fuel from one tank to the other when in actuality he was dumping the fuel overboard on a 747 going across the Atlantic, are endless. I wish that I could confirm those, and I have heard them second hand from UAL pilots.

          Tim, I would like to thank you for your interest in this matter and I hope this helps some. If you have any more questions or anything else I can help with, please let don't hesitate at all to email me here. Once again, I wish I would have visited your web site sooner during the massive hiring of in experienced minority pilots at UAL when this was taking place through out the 90s. I sure do applaud your efforts regarding this site.

-- Signed,
-- Reader "A"

Subject: Re: UAL report
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003
From: Reader "A"
To: "Tim Fay" <timfay@adversity.net>


          That is the incident [FAA report # 406810]. I previously found this incident on the NTSB site a few years ago and then looked there again and couldn't find it either.  However, what you found is more detailed than what was on that NTSB report a few years ago, probably because it was under investigation at the time.  Based on this report, the co-pilot basically stalled the airplane. A few knots slower and he would have crashed the plane.

          Here's the funny thing......a friend of mine who flies the 777 at UAL told me that this co-pilot from the above incident was suing UAL at the time due to the harassment that he received from the other pilots regarding this situation. My friend wouldn't go into any further details though. I thought that too was interesting.

          Anyway, you definitely found the correct incident report for UAL flight 863 in 1998.

-- Reader "A"

Subject: Re: Other United Pilots
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 18:41:40 -0500
From: Reader "A"
To: "Tim Fay" <timfay@adversity.net>


          Unfortunately, I do not know the ethnicity of the individual in this case. However, if I do find out, I will be the first to let you know.

          Just as another interesting thought.......Avolar, which was a company created by UAL to sell shares in fractional ownership of business jet aircraft, required a pilot to have 5000 total hours of flight experience to fly a small Lear Jet 60 and yet a mere 300 hours of flight time to fly a B-757......I'm not sure if I ever understood that.

          I have jumpseated many times on United. I found this to be interesting as well. I flew in the jumpseat once with a male captain and a female co-pilot on a B-757. I did not know her background at all, and in all fairness to her, she flew a good airplane. She stepped out to the lavatory and the captain was telling me that it sure is hard to not to slip and say something which may be inappropriate, especially since he had been flying with male pilots a lot. Furthermore, he told me that UAL has a policy whereby if any individual cries any type of harassment or discrimination UAL will cut the individual a check for $5,000 if they take the money and run, so to speak, or they could take the matter to court as the alternative.  This was about 4 years ago, so I don't know if such a policy still exists or not. I thought that was interesting anyway.

          Once again, I would like to thank you for taking an interest in the hiring practices of UAL. If I find more information or if I can get a retired UAL pilot who was in their training department, I will certainly do so.

-- Reader "A"

Date: Mon, 14 Sep 1998
From: Reader "B"
To: editor@adversity.net

          I am a Captain with American Airlines, and have been employed since 1985. AA has recently been set upon by the EEOC for supposedly "not having enough minorities and women" in its pilot ranks.

          In characteristic response, AA has now embarked on a blatantly obvious course of seeking out "qualified" black and women candidates for pilot positions. In an official AA magazine, they provide of picture of a black Captain (who happens to be a member of the racially exclusive "Black Pilots Association") and virtually boast about his role as a representative of AA helping to "guide" American Airlines in seeking out and hiring blacks.

          The great majority of pilots have noticed a marked increase in women and minorities hired in the last 6 months, which has prompted mumblings about American "hiring only women and minorities."

          Our Chief Pilot has made several appearances in front of pilot groups (such as in training, where I heard him) engaging in damage control and insisting that "American is hiring only qualified applicants." Yet, in the same sentence he admitted, "but really, guys,...if our population is made up of X amount of women and minorities you'd damn well better have them working for you."

          This statement obviously contradicted his earlier one which claimed only "qualified" applicants were being hired. So, why the need for an Affirmative Action program if they are, indeed, "qualified?" After the meeting, I asked him--point blank--if American was engaging in an Affirmative Action program. His answer was "no."

          However, I recently flew with a co-pilot who also doubled as a training officer at our flight academy in Dallas/Ft. Worth. He told me that American is most certainly engaged in an Affirmative Action campaign, and that a great deal--if not the great majority--of instructors are incensed by the "trash" which is coming through the door as a result.

          This is as much as I know about the situation, but similar tactics have been implemented in the past at United Airlines which have caused considerable problems in regards to the cohesiveness and quality of work life at that carrier. The reality is that we are simply hiring to satisfy an number, and obviously will not get the best product--which in my professional opinion is not only fool-hardy, but down right dangerous.

          If I gain any additional information I will forward it to you. I don't know what your resources are for gaining information, but you should definitely research this EEOC abuse at not only American, but all other carriers. I guarantee, this policy of placing semi-qualified or even unqualified individuals into the cockpits of our nation's carriers is insane.

-- Reader "B"

Subject: American Airlines
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998
From: Reader "B"
To:  Tim Fay <editor@adversity.net>

          However, AA is not as bad as United Airlines. They were decimated a few years ago when they took up the Multi-cultural banner. The hired people who should have never been allowed in a cockpit. They have really had their troubles ever since. It appears we are on the same course. I'll let you know of any information I gather on them.

-- Reader "B".

Subject: United discrimination.
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003
From: Reader "C"
To: timfay@adversity.net


Regarding pilot demographics:

          The FAA used to publish data on what percentage of active pilots are women. Don't know about minorities. I remember seeing one time that United had 6% women pilots and the total percentage of women pilots in the US was 3%. Certainly less than that 3% when you looked for pilots with Airline Transport Licenses (ATPs) or even commercial licenses. You could probably check the FAA web site for that data or, I believe I saw it in AOPA "Pilot", a general aviation publication of the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Assoc. in Frederick, MD.

          Speaking of AOPA "Pilot", in May or June of 1990, they ran a biography on one of their member pilots who got hired at United with about 1,200 hours of light airplane time. It's really insulting to those of us trying to get hired here, but there she sat in the right seat of a B727.

          I was a co-pilot for another airline at the time on 737s, but I still couldn't get an interview at United. That issue might be available in back order.  United's own Diversity Department (yes, that's what it's called!) might be willing to give you statistics on the number/percentage of women and minority pilots here.

          Also, a private company called Air, Inc. would be able to feed you a lot of information on pilot hiring. They used to go under a different name (FAPA) and I'm not sure if they're still operating as they specialize in feeding job search info to pilots and I haven't needed their services for quite a while. The company used to be owned and operated (conveniently) by a United Captain named Kit Darby. I promise you he has a lot of insight into pilot hiring here and throughout the industry, but how willing or able he would be to talk, I don't know.

-- Reader "C"


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