At United Airlines, racial and sexual discrimination are their copilots

United Airlines has apparently conquered such mundane issues as late flights, canceled flights, uncomfortable flights, rude counterworkers, lost baggage, multi-hour delays in answering their phones, that plane urchin who keeps kicking the back of your seat and the ample passengers who’ve sandwiched you into the middle seat and the moron in front of you who’s thrown his seat back into your knees at about Mach 2.

Not to mention United’s pesky problem of occasionally terrifying the passengers moments before slicing, dicing, incinerating and vaporizing them.

And so United has announced they’re joining the woke wars. They boast that they will reserve 50% of their new pilot slots for People of Color and women. The wokerati applaud.

This presents a question. Why doesn’t United already have at least 50% POC and women pilots? Instead, United’s pilot corps are about 13% POC and 6% women.

There are two potential answers to this question, and only two. Both lead to the conclusion that United is sexist and racist.

One answer is that United actively discriminated against POCs and women over the years. Plaintiff’s lawyers, are you listening?  Department of Justice, are you listening? 

The second possible explanation is more persuasive. There just aren’t many POC and women pilots out there to be hired. Indeed, less than 7% of all licensed pilots – not just pilots who fly for a living – are women and less than 4% are black, for a total between them of about 10% of the entire population of licensed pilots. Those numbers roughly correspond to the pilot ranks at United.

OK, that explanation gets United out of the discrimination frying pan for having so few POC and women pilots. But it gets them into the discrimination fire for their announcement that they’ll reserve 50% of new pilot slots for POCs and women.

Let’s assume that the skill of POC and women pilots is about the same as white male pilots. Given that POCs and women comprise roughly 10% of the potential hires, while white men comprise 90%, United will have to delve about nine-times deeper into the ranks of POCs and women.

That means that a white male pilot of average skill will have very little chance of being hired, while a POC or woman pilot with the same average skill will be a nearly-certain hire.

For that matter, a pilot in only the 10th percentile of skill – a pilot who relatively speaking can only be characterized as a bad one – will stand a good chance of being hired if, and only if, he or she is POC or female (and an even better chance if she’s both, since that would check two quota boxes).

This constitutes sexual and racial discrimination explicitly prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. United is back to civil rights discrimination that was outlawed half a century ago – and proud of it. The “friendly skies” are now officially more friendly or less friendly depending on one’s sex and race.

What’s next, will POCs and women passengers get priority in boarding the plane? That sounds ridiculous, but it’s less ridiculous than POCs and women getting priority in hiring.

What about United’s passengers who’ve effectively been told that United’s priority is not to hire the best pilots available to fly these 50-ton machines going 600 mph at six miles above the ground, but to fill woke quotas?

The most common cause of airplane crashes is pilot error. Maybe it’s racist or sexist these days to say this, but I will anyway: Bad pilots make more errors than good ones. I want to fly an airline that hires the best pilots available. Period.

Note: Glenn Beaton is a former aerospace engineer for Boeing. 

32 thoughts on “At United Airlines, racial and sexual discrimination are their copilots

  1. And UAL is now leading airlines in the race to the bottom….which I’m not sure should be a goal of an airline.

    • I think there’s a wink and a nod from ALPA on this one. We both know that a year from now, the majors will all be facing significant pilot shortages. UAL is no different so they’re going to offer to anyone and everyone who has a pulse and an ATP. The data that will put this to bed, one way or the other, is the pass/fail rates inn each new hire class, stratified by race, gender and whichever woke category they ascribe their candidates to. The sad part, which is what I believe your intent was here, is that United doesn’t need to declare its women’s for the press because its meaningless in the current and upcoming hiring environment.

  2. When United finally goes the way of TWA and Eastern, their postmortem will read “CFIT” (Controlled Flight Into Terrain).

    • United’s not going anywhere. If you’re going to vote for a major to go under look at American.

  3. All airlines should have chairs bolted to the floor in front of their counters. All prospective passengers should have to sit in said chairs. If said passengers cannot fit into the seat without setting off the sensors in the armrests they have to sit in the fat row. Period.

    • Agree, I am one of their frequent flyers and I am certainly searching for a new airline that puts pilot skill and experience above color of skin!

  4. Uh, this is like choosing a doctor who very well might have gotten accepted to medical school and passed through the various courses and internship due to professors not wanting to appear biased. I guess I’m not flying on United anymore.

  5. Why do I suspect the word “cockpit” may soon go the way of “stewardess”?

    Good title, by the way. God would definitely be too old, too masculine, too monochromatic, too privileged, and too qualified for the job.

  6. Given the small number of black and female pilots, hitting their 50% quota will mean stealing black and female pilots from other airlines, which will only be done by offering higher pay and seniority, which will increase flight crew costs for United. If I were a white male pilot at United, I would also have to believe that the higher pay and promotions being offered to women and blacks will hurt my career and salary prospects, and lead me to start inquiring about jobs at other airlines, where openings might be numerous because they have lost all their black and female pilots. Thus you will have United airlines with a diverse group of overpaid mediocre pilots competing against airlines with a less diverse group of fairly paid quality pilots – I wonder how many passengers will choose to pay a higher ticket price to have pilots who are in the cockpit because of their dark skin and/or lady parts rather than skill and experience as a pilot?

    • Advancement in the pilot ranks, at United and the majority of other major airlines does not work this way unless your goal is to get off of the flight deck. Airframe and seat is based in seniority. Idiots slip through but the fact of the matter is that UAL is a very safe airline as are the other major U.S., Canadian and European carriers. Safer than driving your car.

      • Advancement in the pilot ranks didn’t used to be based on skin color or gender, but will it remain the same when BLM points out that “senior” pilots are too pale and too male? I can very easily imagine skin color and lady part bonus points for seniority rankings to generate the necessary equity. I’m sure UAL has historically had a comparable safety record to other airlines, but will that record stay the same when they lower their standards to hit their racial and gender quotas?

    • Why are they mediocre pilots if they are POC or Women?? Do you know their skill level or is this how you perceive ALL POC and Women?

      • No one is saying that all women and POCs are mediocre.

        What they’re saying is that when you have two pools of applicants — let’s say the pools are equally qualified — and you dip into the top ten percent of one pool and the top 90% of the other, the ones in the second pool will on average be much worse.

        This is a matter of simple mathematics.

  7. Positive discrimination in another guise. I knew it wouldn’t end there when it was introduced. So, I’m not surprised at this latest incarnation. However, I have to ask why climate change zealots choose to miss the opportunity to lecture us on carbon footprints.

  8. This doesn’t change a thing foot me. I took one and only one international flight on United in business class. Their business class is no better than economy class at the other airlines. Not only that, there was only one grumpy cow stewardess that wouldn’t wait on anyone. After that I told our travel department to never book me on another United flight.

  9. A rookie pilot is not a “good” pilot. It is only thru training and experience that a pilot becomes good. Don’t fool yourselves or us. It is the resources available that turns an untrained individual into a valuable asset. So hiring POC or Women from a changed hiring pool is not discrimination or a path to more air disasters. It is the most sensible way to reverse decades of discrimination in the”hiring” practice. Good pilots are trained, they are not born as good pilots.

    • Your race card argument is premised on the notion that, in your words, it is “only thru training and experience that a pilot becomes good.”

      But that’s not true. Bear in mind that the pilots hired by United are already licensed pilots with thousands of hours of flight time. United certainly offers them additional training and experience, but it’s to build on what they already have. Your contention to the contrary is not only incorrect, but would suggest that we should simply choose people for professional positions by lottery (or more precisely skin color) because, after all, we’ll train them to be good later.

      In affirmative action, this boils down to the argument that everyone is equally qualified, and so we don’t lose anything by letting race trump merit.

      But everyone is NOT equally qualified. We see the effects of racial affirmative action in other fields, such as law. POCs are favored greatly in applications to law schools. At Harvard, for example, the average black has a LSAT score 450 points lower than the average Asian. Then they all get that same vaunted training at Harvard. Upon graduation, the blacks pass the Bar Exam at a rate far lower than those Asians.

      Training is nice, and essential for all professionals, but the great ones start with great potential. That why entry into elite training schools is competitive, and should stay that way. It should not be corrupted by race. (Note that even Harvard carefully considers test scores as between two applicants from the same race, because even they know that the scores are important indicators of success. It is only in comparing applicants of different races that Harvard suddenly posits that test scores don’t matter.)

  10. There’s a fundamental misunderstanding in this article. United is starting a flight school to address the looming pilot shortage that’s already a problem at the regional and corporate level. The 50% number isn’t about actual pilot spots at the airline, it’s about student spots at the school that are going to people from the general population. More than 50% of the general population are either women or POC, so by using the math in this article this is merely a practical move to increase the quality of the students applying while dealing with the impending pilot shortage. The first result I found on a google search explained it pretty clearly. https://hub.united.com/2021-04-06-united-sets-new-diversity-goal-50-of-students-at-new-pilot-training-academy-to-be-women-and-people-of-color-2651374725.html

    • No, you’re incorrect. The 50% spots reserved for POC and women are not “going to people from the general population.” People who go to this United flight school are ALREADY pilots, so we’re talking about a tiny fraction of the general population, not the “general population” at large. In that tiny fraction of the population that are already pilots, only about 10% are POC and women.

      Therefore, the article is correct that United is reserving 50% of its slots for about 10% of the applicant pool. To reach that 50% goal, United will have to dig deep into that 10% pool — well into the ranks of not-so-good pilots.

    • The pilots who come through the United Aviate program are required to meet ATP requirements before getting a job as a first officer with United. They are required to have a minimum of a bachelors degree and at least 1000 hours of flight time (ATP requirement) unless waived by United but will still be required under waiver to be military trained with at least 750 hours (ATP requirement) or have an associates degree with at least 1250 hours of flight time. Again, idiots will get through (true in any profession) but as I said before this is just UAL declaring wokeness. It may however convince more women and POC to finish and get loans to spend the exorbitant $ for flight training required to get a right seat at a major airline. It actually makes sense because it expands their pool of candidates by encouraging these groups to pursue the dream and today there is a massive pilot shortage. Massive. I just think UAL screwed the pooch in how they announced it.

  11. United Airlines will emphasize the hiring of mediocre and bad pilots just so their airline will look like a United Colors of Benetton ad.

    Is it wise to opt for a mediocre to bad neurosurgeon if you need brain surgery? Is it wise to opt for mediocre to bad nuclear engineers to run the local nuclear power plant?

    United Airlines should change their slogan to … United We Fly & United We Die.

  12. “United,” once a historically prized designation–look it up–is now nothing more than a pathetical slave to the lib/lefty/”progressive”/moral relativist/subjectivist/humanist/secularist movement but, “United” thinks is apparently popular among the people who choose to “fly United.”

    And, “United,” will pay for this nonsense, this baloney, this idiocy.

    This family, and other sensible people, will never travel again on “United.”

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