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.