PITTSBURGH – About seventy-five US Airways pilots staged a silent informational protest at the Pittsburgh International Airport to call attention to the lack of progress in combining US Airways and the former American West pilots into a single contract.
But they didn’t receive the reaction from passengers they were expecting. Some clapped; others cheered mockingly as the pilots stood in stony silence. “At first I thought they supported us in our quest. After all, these are desperate times – some of us are barely making low six-figure salaries nowadays,” said veteran pilot Horace Gray (pictured above), “But then, I heard what those [people] were saying as they clapped.”
Apparently, the passengers thought the silent pilots were planning to be quiet in the airplane as well.
“I do wish they would shut up,” complained passenger Salena Zito as she was about to board a flight to Washington, DC, “Their chatter is endless – ‘We’ve reached cruising altitude' – 'I’m turning off the fasten seatbelt sign' – 'Out of the right side of the plane you can see Charleston, West Virginia.’ How can I get any sleep?” In contrast to the reaction to the pilots, Zito’s comments brought genuine applause form some nearby passengers.
Gray was so infuriated by the turn of events that he threatened to take the passengers up on their suggestions. “OK, no more talking on my airplane -- and that includes speaking with air traffic control.”