A lot has been written about low pilot salaries recently. Especially the salaries paid to regional pilots. How can anyone live on $20,000 a year, especially when they have $80,000 in pilot-related school costs to pay off?
We, the passengers on commercial airlines, are partially responsible. We demand the right to fly coast to coast for $99. Airlines have little wiggle room in managing fixed costs, such as fuel and maintenance. Where they have room to drive down costs is with labor. So they do. The FAA may require minimum hours to pilot a plane, but it doesn't require minimium pay.
So here's an easy answer. Tip the crew at the end of the flight. We tip cab drivers, doormen, and waiters. So why not the professionals who have the most important mission of all: to protect our lives.
A nutty idea? Think about how much better the flight attendant service might be. And if every passenger on a 100-seat regional jet tips $10, a crew of four will pocket an extra $250 a flight. Not exactly chump change.
Let's face it: you probably paid $10 for the cup of Starbucks latte near Gate D5.
If the airlines aren't going to step up, we should.