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Airline Pilots Living In Parking Lot

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Just seen on the BBC News

Airline pilots in the US are living in parking lots in trailers/camper vans. they showed an airport parking lot where many people from the airline industry were living, airline mechanics and airline pilots.

Being interviewed they said they've suffered from a decline in pay, status and benefits.

At night planes land on a runway further away

At $60/month it's cheaper to live in the parking lot rather than paying rent at $600.

Got a link here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8186690.stm

Airline jobs once inspired respect and envy.

But at Los Angeles International Airport about 100 airline employees - from mechanics to pilots - are living in mobile homes parked just yards from one of the busiest runways in the world.

It is a sign of the harsh reality of an industry that once embodied glamour.

Two weeks ago, I parked my car in Lot B at LAX when departing on holiday.

For passengers like me, it offers a cheaper alternative to parking at the airport and free shuttle runs 24 hours a day to the terminals.

On the short journey, the bus passed a large cluster of trailers and mobile homes.

Frugal life

This week, I went back and found that this makeshift trailer park is home to about 100 airline industry workers, including at least three pilots.

By day they man the planes, by night they sleep under them.

Some have been here for years, and say the site has grown in recent times.

In fact, Lot B has become a semi-permanent feature of an industry in flux.

I met mechanic Dana Hayes, who, each week, leaves his wife and home in Utah and lives a frugal life in a small neat trailer.

He can sleep, cook and wash with relative ease, but it is cramped, lonely and there is little to do.

"It's tough sometimes," he tells me. "It's better being home. I built a big home up in Utah... [but] it's better than paying rent... at least you can put a little money aside for retirement or something."

Faded glamour

Even at the pinnacle of the industry, some feel the squeeze.

Airline captain Bob Poster wonders if his title has lost its lustre.

"I was sitting with a friend of mine in his really nice RV [motor-home] over there last year and we were sitting there just talking and he says: 'Wow we're living the life! Two airline captains living in a parking lot!'"

Gone is the glamour of an airline career.

The fear of terrorist attacks, rising fuel costs and the deepest recession in 60 years have hit aviation hard. Airlines have shed thousands of jobs, and lost billions of pounds.

Those still employed face pay cuts and demotions. Many have to go where the work is. And that means living in places like Lot B.

At least it is cheap. It costs $60 (£35) a month to park, compared to at least 10 times that to rent a room in Los Angeles.

The commute to work is short and it is possible to get some sleep: aircraft land at a runway further away at night (pilot fatigue is a growing concern and has been implicated in recent crashes).

Lot B is far from ideal, but some say they do what they have to in uncertain times.

"We end up with a lot of engine noise... there's the dirt factor... and of course the ever-present smell of burning rubber as they land," says mechanic David Shaeffer.

"[but] it's a small price to pay. We have got ourselves a job in this environment, in this day and age that's not bad at all. I have no complaints."

Edited by ScaredEitherWay

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Guest Parry aka GOD
Just seen on the BBC News

Airline pilots in the US are living in parking lots in trailers/camper vans. they showed an airport parking lot where many people from the airline industry were living, airline mechanics and airline pilots.

Being interviewed they said they've suffered from a decline in pay, status and benefits.

At night planes land on a runway further away

At $60/month it's cheaper to live in the parking lot rather than paying rent at $600.

Got a link here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8186690.stm

I was living like that my whole working life, last 14 years.

Recommend it to anyone. Especially like that, you've got all your work mates around, beers, barbeques, hell it's the only way to live and work.

Different if you've got kids mind.

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I was living like that my whole working life, last 14 years.

Recommend it to anyone. Especially like that, you've got all your work mates around, beers, barbeques, hell it's the only way to live and work.

Different if you've got kids mind.

It's one thing if you choose this way of life; quite another if you're forced by circumstance. Great Depression II

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I'd do it, if I were living in what I considered a secure environment; being surrounded by workmates/colleagues in the same industry I would consider secure.

But I'm not confident (as a small female) living in a camper van full-time. There are also logistical problems with regards that transport, e.g. commuting to work/access to parking spots etc. My first home was a 30x10 mobile home so I've no problems about living in various sized caravans, I even had a friend who was living in a tiny 2-bed touring caravan in a pub car park once.

But it's the whole practicality side of randomly having to find various safe places to park, then get from there to where I happened to be working, which is a different ball game.

$60/month is cheap, it wouldn't be that price here would it. The cost of camping sites, with electricity (yes, I know, I'm a wuss), would probably be closer to £200/month here at a guess, minimum.

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Guest Parry aka GOD
I'd do it, if I were living in what I considered a secure environment; being surrounded by workmates/colleagues in the same industry I would consider secure.

But I'm not confident (as a small female) living in a camper van full-time. There are also logistical problems with regards that transport, e.g. commuting to work/access to parking spots etc. My first home was a 30x10 mobile home so I've no problems about living in various sized caravans, I even had a friend who was living in a tiny 2-bed touring caravan in a pub car park once.

But it's the whole practicality side of randomly having to find various safe places to park, then get from there to where I happened to be working, which is a different ball game.

$60/month is cheap, it wouldn't be that price here would it. The cost of camping sites, with electricity (yes, I know, I'm a wuss), would probably be closer to £200/month here at a guess, minimum.

Totally different ball game. Dangerous in fact.

Well set-up sites in secure compounds is great, the other is not an option.

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Guest Parry aka GOD
It's one thing if you choose this way of life; quite another if you're forced by circumstance. Great Depression II

Quite agree. We face the ludicrous situation of millions of homeless people (many still working) and millions of empty, decaying houses.

Madness.

Yes, for many (most) industries this will be Great Depression II.

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PilotPriceCrash.

Ouch! Now that's just where you don't want a crash.

Meanwhile, bankers, who crashed the entire world economy, again help themselves to mega bonuses as though nothing happened.

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Quite agree. We face the ludicrous situation of millions of homeless people (many still working) and millions of empty, decaying houses.

Madness.

Yes, for many (most) industries this will be Great Depression II.

Yes, this is truly ridiculous that skilled people like pilots could be reduced to living in parking lots. It is all the fault of the banks who have essentially gamed the money supply. They have caused Government to inflate the money supply and have borrowed cheaply themselves, before forcing asset prices up out of the reach of other businesses and ordinary people.

Were a 777 containing Citi Group Execs to fly fully laden with fuel into the Goldman Sachs head office, the investigators might have to start looking closer to home than the Middle East given the news above. But seriously I don't want my pilot to be impoverished and therefore more likely to depressed - these guys have serious responsibilities to 300+ people at a time - I want the best and leased stressed pilots flying any plane I go on and definintely not suicidal ones.

Edited by mikelivingstone

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Quite agree. We face the ludicrous situation of millions of homeless people (many still working) and millions of empty, decaying houses.

Madness.

Yes, for many (most) industries this will be Great Depression II.

Temporary madness.

I'm expecting several sectors of housing (BTL flats, second homes) to become viewed as liabilities to be given away.

When everybody says the last thing they want is to buy a second home I may consider it.

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PilotPriceCrash.

Ouch! Now that's just where you don't want a crash.

Meanwhile, bankers, who crashed the entire world economy, again help themselves to mega bonuses as though nothing happened.

Again the Banks are not clever, or innovative and neither to they have special or unique talents.

They are just gaming the system, they have first access to the tokens we call money. These tokens cost nothing to produce, but will buy you anything as long as you have enough of them. The banks who have first dibs on these tokens get to borrow them for a very low rate of interest, from where they then pass them to other businesses and the general public for higher rates. Meanwhile if you ever want to buy an asset like a company share they'll charge you a supreme amount of money just for handling the flow of the tokens (called a margin).

That is all the banks do.

The way to break this strangle hold is to change the rules of the money supply. Whilst some advocate Gold, i am in no doubt a strangle hold would soon appear there. However a good option for now would be for the government to put money into the real economy and avoid the banks, the banks could then be forced to compete for deposits and pay ordinary people and firms higher interest.

In fact, if the bailout had been done the other way round, "Mr Livingstone here is your cheque for £2m", I could have then spend time negotiating for the highest rate of interest.

Of course, this would never happen, as if everyone but the banks were suddenly give huge swathes of bailout money then the banks would be significantly poorer in relative terms.

Edited by mikelivingstone

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They should count themselves lucky that they have a job a roof over their head and a short commute to work.

New York Post 9th August 2009:

At a press conference today Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein expressed anger at comments made at leading financial website housepricecrash.co.uk by one of its more outspoken members, Bardon.

"Bardon's comments regarding airline pilots are an utter disgrace and show a callous contempt for those now suffering. We call upon Bardon to withdraw these appalling comments. For him to show such flagrant disregard toward humanity is completely unacceptable. That's our job."

Edited by Dave Spart

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You lot are up early for a Sunday.

One of the benefits (or not) that comes from cheek-by-jowl living. My tiny slavebox has a neighbour directly overhead who likes to come in from a club at 3.30 and have a good old sh4g... which on laminate flooring directly over my head tends to wake me up.

At least these pilots have detached homes and can move to a different corner of the lot if their neighbour's annoying.

:)

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Guest Parry aka GOD
In a secure car park?

This isn't a campsite.

Oh I dunno, been quite sexually electric in here recently . . . just like a library.

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Yes, this is truly ridiculous that skilled people like pilots could be reduced to living in parking lots. It is all the fault of the banks who have essentially gamed the money supply. They have caused Government to inflate the money supply and have borrowed cheaply themselves, before forcing asset prices up out of the reach of other businesses and ordinary people.

Were a 777 containing Citi Group Execs to fly fully laden with fuel into the Goldman Sachs head office, the investigators might have to start looking closer to home than the Middle East given the news above. But seriously I don't want my pilot to be impoverished and therefore more likely to depressed - these guys have serious responsibilities to 300+ people at a time - I want the best and leased stressed pilots flying any plane I go on and definintely not suicidal ones.

Yes, I wonder about this; maybe it's part of a much longer trend. Most people in the US haven't seen real increases in incomes for around 35 years and there's been a video posted on here called (I think): the impoverishment of the middle classes (?) - a lecture given in the US about 3 years ago. It puts the case that life's been getting harder for most people anyway for the last 30 odd years, well before the latest bout of bubble insanity. Maybe we're all going downhill, bit by bit, year by year and don't know it and the current difficulties just bring things to the surface a bit more? After it's all over we'll still resume the slow downward trajectory.

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Yes, this is truly ridiculous that skilled people like pilots could be reduced to living in parking lots. It is all the fault of the banks..........

Michael Moore mentioned chatting to a pilot in an airport. He was so poorly paid that he had to claim food stamps.

This was long before the bankers folly came crashing down.

From what I recall he said that he'd prefer it if the guy piloting the aircraft he was in was paid a little bit better

than a bus driver.

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Guest Parry aka GOD
Know one guy who spent thousands of pounds training as a pilot, only to find that there were no jobs available once he qualified. He's now working as a baggage handler.

Yes, it costs like £60,000. Then you only get a Frozen ATPL. Got to do, I forget now, but thousands of hours as 1st officer to unfreeze the licence to make Captain (only people that make decent money).

Just not worth it.

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Michael Moore mentioned chatting to a pilot in an airport. He was so poorly paid that he had to claim food stamps.

This was long before the bankers folly came crashing down.

From what I recall he said that he'd prefer it if the guy piloting the aircraft he was in was paid a little bit better

than a bus driver.

Yes, it costs like £60,000. Then you only get a Frozen ATPL. Got to do, I forget now, but thousands of hours as 1st officer to unfreeze the licence to make Captain (only people that make decent money).

Just not worth it.

I'd come to that conclusion. It's the sort of thing you quite fancy doing because it's easy and stupidly well paid.

Then you find out that those stupidly high levels of pay only relate to the closed shops of the old national carriers: BA, Italia. If you fly Ryan Air planes you won't get rich.

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Guest Parry aka GOD
I'd come to that conclusion. It's the sort of thing you quite fancy doing because it's easy and stupidly well paid.

Then you find out that those stupidly high levels of pay only relate to the closed shops of the old national carriers: BA, Italia. If you fly Ryan Air planes you won't get rich.

Even during the boom, pilots flying the internal routes in the US were eligible for food stamps their pay was so low. $14,000 a year is one salary I can remember.

Paid worse than the buses.

EDIT: Just read the post above, same as that.

Edited by Parry aka GOD

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