Fly the Quota Skies

(those who identify as) White males need not apply… “United Sets New Diversity Goal: 50% of Students at New Pilot Training Academy To Be Women and People of Color”:

United Airlines, the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, will begin accepting applications today as it embarks on an ambitious plan to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, at least half of them women and people of color. Backed by scholarship commitments from United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase, United Aviate Academy will create opportunities for thousands of students, including women and people of color to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot, one of the most lucrative careers in the industry.

In addition, for those United Aviate Academy students who may need additional financing, United has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer private student loans to ensure that no highly-qualified, highly-motivated, eligible applicants will be turned away solely because they can’t afford to enroll. United Aviate Academy expects to enroll 100 students in 2021.”Over the next decade, United will train 5,000 pilots who will be guaranteed a job with United, after they complete the requirements of the Aviate program – and our plan is for half of them to be women and people of color,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “We’re excited that JPMorgan Chase has agreed to support our work to diversify our pilot ranks and create new opportunities for thousands of women and people of color who want to pursue a career in aviation.”To break down the financial barriers that limited access to the airline pilot career path for generations of women and people of color, United has committed to fund $1.2 million in scholarships. The airline’s credit card partner, JPMorgan Chase has also committed $1.2 million to support women and people of color who are accepted to United Aviate Academy.”We are proud to partner with United to support the Aviate Academy’s mission to enable thousands to pursue their dream as a commercial airline pilot,” said Ed Olebe, President of Chase Co-Brand Cards. “Investing in this program directly aligns with our efforts to advance racial equity by expanding career development opportunities and making tangible progress in a field where women and people of color are underrepresented.” United will leverage its long-standing relationships with a variety of organizations, including the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, the Latino Pilots Association and the Professional Asian Pilots Association to help identify and steer highly qualified, diverse candidates to the United Aviate Academy.

Looks like those who identify as Asians are “pilots of color” who can get in under this quota-based admissions system. This is good news considering that United has a Black Lives Matter pin for employees, but not a #StopAsianHate pin:

United thought that I would be thrilled to hear about this and emailed me, a loyal Mileage Plus member, this afternoon so that I would be sure not to miss it in the media.

This photo of an executive in the office is a good reminder to wear masks, but if Jessica is concerned about contracting coronavirus, why did he/she/ze/they go to work to begin with? He/she/ze/they is not a mechanic, pilot, flight attendant, or ramp worker. Why can’t he/she/ze/they work from home and #StopTheSpread?

(photo of Boston’s Logan Airport by Tony Cammarata, May 2020, from our Robinson R44 helicopter; your humble author at the controls)


  • “Pilot Sues Airline For Emotional Distress After Mechanical Failure Led To PTSD” (Plane & Pilot): A former QantasLink pilot is suing the regional carrier to the tune of $780,000 for suffering and damages from a case of PTSD she says was caused by a 2018 mechanical failure of one of the Boeing 717’s engines, which resulted in the shutdown of the engine and an emergency landing. … The plane landed without incident, and no one was injured. … She’s the first woman of color to wear a Qantas uniform, and she has received numerous awards for her work in aviation. She said recently, acknowledging the recognition she had earned for her historic place in Australian airline history, that her advice for younger Australians was, “People still stop me to congratulate me at how proud they are to see female pilot, let alone one of colour. My response is the same ‘Action Inspires Action’—you can achieve your dreams, too. Be the best possible human you can be.”
  • Does the United Airlines incident support Cicero’s point of view regarding wage labor?
  • Commercial flights during Coronapanic: a mostly mask-free experience
  • My visual approach, and Asiana’s (explains the havoc that a newbie can wreak in airline operations)
  • once an race-based hiring program is in place, the general public may use it to explain accidents. An forum message: “I found the reason for the crash. Affirmative Action hire strikes again.” (regarding the loss of Atlas Air 3591, a Boeing 767 lost to spatial disorientation, more typically suffered by novice Private-rated pilots)
  • A simpler way for an American to obtain the spending power of an airline pilot, from the Massachusetts chapter of Real World Divorce: “There are a lot of women collecting child support from more than one man,” Nissenbaum noted. “I remember one enterprising young lady who worked as a waitress at Boston’s Logan airport. She targeted three airline pilots, had a child by each of them, and back then was collecting $25,000 in tax-free child support from each pilot. Of course, instead of serving food and beverages, she did have to care for those children.”
  • “United Airlines Fined $49m Over Fraud On Postal Service Contracts” (Simple Flying, February 27, 2021): The DOJ documents states that instead of providing USPS accurate delivery scans based on the shipment of the mail, United submitted automated delivery scans “based on aspirational delivery times.” These scans did not correspond to the actual transportation of the mail, as mandated by the contracts. Therefore, since there was no movement of the post, the Chicago-based carrier was not entitled to payment. However, it still secured payments of millions of dollars from USPS.
  • “United Found Willful in Age Discrimination” (Law Week Colorado)
  • “United Settles Charges in Case of Flight Route to Benefit Public Official” (U.S. SEC): According to the SEC’s order instituted today, United reinstated a nonstop flight between Newark, N.J., and Columbia, S.C., at the behest of David Samson, the then-chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who sought a more direct route to his home in South Carolina. … the SEC’s order finds that United officials feared Samson’s influence could jeopardize United’s business interests before the Port Authority, including the approval of a hangar project to help the airline at Newark’s airport. The company ultimately decided to initiate the route despite the poor financial projections. The same day that United’s then-CEO approved initiation of the route, the Port Authority’s board approved the lease agreement related to the hangar project. United employees were told “no proactive communications” about the new route. … The route ultimately lost approximately $945,000 before it ceased again roughly around the time of Samson’s resignation from the Port Authority.
  • database of $144 million in fines imposed by the Federales against United, divided into fraud, employment discrimination ($48.8 million, even though, as demonstrated by this new program, sometimes discrimination is good!), aviation safety violation ($22 million), aviation consumer protection violation, etc.

34 thoughts on “Fly the Quota Skies

  1. Where are representation in the school for LBTQ+, Pacific Islanders, MENA, religious minorities and overweight middle-age man there? It is a budding civil right lawsuit against the sponsors.

  2. This is all marketing. Sallie Mae is partnering in with program sponsor JP Morgan Chase to lend money to the students. United Airlines fills over-priced seats at its under-enrolled flight school on credit, with the taxpayer assuming all risk on the loans. Poorly qualified applicants will be green lit and signed up for loans that cannot be discharged by bankruptcy.

    Whether any of these nitwits fly is immaterial. They will be trained to fly! The banks will lend them money. The federal government will guarantee all the loans JPMC hands out. You have to lend money to make money.

    Black Lives Matter #Doritos #AmericanAirlines

    • “”Over the next decade, United will train 5,000 pilots who will be guaranteed a job with United, after they complete the requirements of the Aviate program “

    • “Guaranteed a job with United” doesn’t say anything about _what_ job. There’s always a demand for baggage handlers.

      Of course, that’s the best case scenario. A sadly all-to-likely alternative would be affirmative action pilots.

  3. If 50% are white males then they will be over-represented compared to the general population.

    If ever there was a job that should match gen-pop it is airline pilot.

    • Alan: Why would a job that may require 22-24 days per month of travel have a workforce matching the general population? (I had to travel to Kentucky for a solid 2.5 months of training at a Delta Airlines subsidiary; the ability to go hundreds or thousands of miles from home and live in a hotel for 2.5 months is not equally distributed in the U.S. population.)

      Separately, should we have a race/gender-ID-based quota system for hiring any time that there is a difference in the race/gender-ID of a group of workers relative to the general population?

    • As someone who is planning to fly sometime and whose family flies often as commercial airlines’ passengers I want best law-abiding and sane pilot period without any other qualifiers that may influence hiring decision except flying ability and character (I do not want pilot doing 360 degree yaw roles or something like this). I happened to fly as a passenger on Boeing 737 Max 8 before the defect was recovered. Plane did plunge a little while flying but landed without accident and on exit pilot looked really disturbed. After issue with the plane became known I figured that probably the pilot saved mine and another hundred fifty or so diverse lives on that day.

    • Gee Phil, have any evidence for your belief that there is a gender/racial difference in tolerance to those conditions? Cabin staff seem to have the same conditions and match gen pop more that pilots. Also I don’t see anything about a quota except in your writing – United said goal. Almost like they are trying to widen the funnel before the oft forecast pilot shortage occurs.

      LSI – Nobody said anything about changing the curriculum or test requirements – do you think that the FAA study/practice/test rules are not really sufficient and have been set up assuming secret admission criteria?

    • Are there any differences among subgroups of Americans in their willingness to work 22+ days per month, up to 16 hours per day (pilots get paid for gate-to-gate “door closed” time, not for the hours spend waiting between flights and the schedule for junior pilots is extremely inefficient)?

      As of 2014, when the concepts of “men” and “women” were persistent and meaningful, shows that, among those with “full-time” jobs, men worked longer hours than women. In a Dutch study, women were less willing to commute to a job: See also “Gender differences in commuting travel in the U.S.: interactive effects of race/ethnicity and household structure” ( ).

      “Ethnic Variation in Commuting Propensity and Unemployment Spells: Some U.K. Evidence” “Our findings support this hypothesis and indicate that lower commuting willingness explains about 20% of the differential between the average unemployment spells of ethnic minorities and whites.”

      (i.e., “ethnic minorities” had a lower willingness to commute than people who identified as “white”)

      Have you ever visited a truck stop? How many long-haul truck drivers did you meet who identified as “female”?

    • @Alan, if the NBA, NFL and other none white dominating players of a sports do the same so that “at least half of the players are people of white color only” would you think it will be accepted? I think just the discussion of it would be enough to create an outcry. Not only that, the quality of the game would tank in no time due to lack of *qualified* players.

      If this was done as little as 60 years ago, I can see why. But today, it is simply racist and illegal: you simply cannot say to a non colored Dr. s/he cannot open an office in a colored neighborhood because you want to attract colored Dr. or vice versa.

    • Alan,
      In 2021 America, and all 30 years that I spent there, none of the college or any school admissions discriminate against non- white male candidates neither in admission nor in financial aid. Financial aid has been generous to non-white male applicants. If United flight school has been discriminating against non- white male candidates then United CEO should immediately resign. If United Airlines has been discriminating against non- white male applicants then United Airlines CEO should immediately resign. Any hiring quotas based on anything other then how well and how safe job applicant can fly an airplane is potentially putting thousands lives in grave danger. United CEO should immediately resign.

    • PhilG – Is it my imagination or did you totally ignore the question about your introducing the term “quota” into the discussion? With 0.06% of the working age population being pilots, you are really going to claim that a half hour a day gender difference in hours worked per day has any relevance to the discussion?

      GeorgeA – PhilG’s mind is the only place where a quota exists in this discussion. You may not be aware of the “Rooney Rule” which set requirements for NFL coach hiring processes.

      LSI – You may not be aware, but applicants to an ab-initio flight school generally can not fly a plane at all – that is why they are going to school – so you can’t really tell who are the safest or most skillful. As far as I have read no one is alleging any discrimination anywhere, but there has clearly been discouragement. Having to spend 40 hours in close quarters with the majority of the flight instructors I have known is a strong discouragement to any female student. note: I do not know Phil but I am sure he would not fall into that group.

    • Alan: It is an abuse of the English language to say that a requirement for “at least half” of a group to have Property X is a “quota” on Property X? I did a quick Google search for “united airlines quotas” and there are a plethora of responses in which other users of the English language also characterize this policy as a “quota”. (comments) (comment: “If there was one job you would hope will not be subject to diversity quotas it would be airline pilots.”)

      From the inventors of the language…

    • Alan: Remember that I never said that quotas were bad. Quotas might be good. In fact, below, I suggested that United fire pilots who identify as “white male” and replace them with quickly-trained pilots who identify as “not white male”. Good or bad, though, we shouldn’t be ashamed to call a quota a quota!

    • Alan,
      United plans to introduce quota for white male pilots and non – white male pilots: all pilots 100% – non white male pilots 50% quota = 50% white male quota. It is a large quota but it distorts criteria for which pilots should be hired. It may happen that there will not be enough white male pilots in the future to fill 50% quota – does it mean that qualified non-white male candidates will be refused job because of their skin color? Why do you think that there will be enough pilot job seekers to fill 50% job quota for non white males now?
      All people have been free to go to flight school to become professional pilots for many decades. Discouraging instructors is very thin reason for people not going there – good teachers should inspire and show all difficulties of the trade however discouraging they are. It is common in sports, and at MIT introductory computer science class for example. It is risky to have plane captain who can not quietly think “f*** yourself” to a drill sergeant and concentrate doing own business or job as best as possible. From time to time flights are full of stressful irregularities that could result in loss of hundreds lives if pilot becomes emotional instead of problem solving. This is the reason I like commercial airline pilots who are former military pilots.

    • LSI: Alan might be a misogynist! He says that flight instructors discourage female students, but there are a ton of flight instructors who identify as “female” (and maybe there will be yet more soon, since that will be the best way to get hired by United!). So Alan could be saying that female flight instructors are bad!

      Certainly anyone who wants to learn from a “woman” (however that term might be defined) can find a CFI who identifies as “female” and never need to talk to a “man” (however that term might be defined) for any reason while progressing from student through ATP.

      One of the two most famous flight instructors in the U.S. uses female pronouns. See (Martha King holds every category and class of FAA rating on her pilot and instructor certificates)

      The owner of a big flight school in Maryland is a Master Flight Instructor who uses “she” as a pronoun.

      One of the greatest aerobatic pilots and teachers of aerobatics identifies as a woman:

      A person who loves airplanes and hates men can go as far as he/she/ze/they wants in aviation. He/she/ze/they can do ground school with Martha King, core ratings with Helen Woods at Chesapeake, and aerobatics with Patty Wagstaff. Joining could be an effective means of finding the rest of the working female-identifying CFIs.

    • TS: I would still be thrilled to fly with her! I don’t have a great excuse for not scheduling something down there in St. Augustine other than a fear of throwing up after too many rolls and spins.

    • Philip, you can roll and spin on the ground for a distance. I was amazed how basic rolling/spinning exercise made me able to know my position while rolling and find balance right after it stopped. Of course, speeds in the air are much greater.

    • PhilG – I will give you that others share your misinterpretation. “our plan is that 50% of them are” is what they said, “we will require that 50% of them are” would be a quota. I believe “he said” that half of the flight instructors that he knew, so unless he knew a female instructor and she was in the discouraging group your statement is irrelevant. I have flown with Patty and she is definitely not in the discouraging group.

    • @Alan, thanks for letting me know of “Rooney Rule” [1]. I’m a football fan and yet didn’t know about this policy!

      From the wiki “As of 2020, the NFL has three African-American head coaches, the same number as in 2003 when the Rooney Rule was adopted.”

      And here is some more from the wiki “Critics of the rule argue that the rule has been largely ineffective, and in some situations, it has even had the opposite effect; with non-white coaches being interviewed without being given serious consideration just to fulfill the requirement.”

      This clearly shows that organizations and people look for *qualification* and *quality* not to some made up *quota* numbers.

      Btw, my original post about NFL and NBA was about players who make up the larger group that are effected.

      Btw, my lawyer whom I have known and used for almost 20 years now is a black guy, in his early 70’s. I was referred to him years ago through a friend of a friend.


    • Alan: I think that you would be an awesome addition to the United Airlines legal team in case a future Republican administration asserts that their hiring system improperly applies a “quota”. You’re saying that the future is uncertain and therefore that quotas cannot ever exist. A “sales quota” is fictional, therefore, because a salesperson might not achieve his/her/zir/their sales goal. A hiring quota cannot exist because a reparations program might be established by President Harris to give every member of a victimhood group $1 million/year on condition that he/she/ze/they refrains from working (and therefore nobody from this victimhood group would accept a job).

    • PhilG – you must really hate United. The key is not it being in the future, but the process. If you had 100 slots and 50 were filled by non female/POC, with a quota you would accept no more, with a goal you would say we need to do more outreach and better targeted marketing next year.

      GeorgeA – It is mixed in the success – every year with more than 3 has happened since the rooney rule, even more so with assistants. I actually don’t think that NFL head coaches are hired based on qualifications or quality, but on their charisma with the team owner. There is no test that can predict success for that role.

    • If it is woke, it is legal. Welcome to clown world.
      PS Backboxes and cockpit voice recorders are racist and need to be removed from airliners.

    • Toucan Sam: My question would be Why not go bigger? United says that they’re going to achieve some of their diversity goals by 2030. That’s a long time to wait given that racism is a public health crisis ( ) and, presumably, discrimination by gender ID is also an emergency. There are plenty of people who identify as “other than white male” who hold pilot certificates who aren’t working as airline pilots. Shouldn’t United fire the incumbent white males right now and replace them with the desired non-white-male folks (push them through quick type ratings and maybe get the FAA to relax some of the hour requirements due to the emergency/crisis).

      Also, if the white males got their jobs due to systemic racism and systemic gender discrimination (which, just from the numbers, as Alan points out above, we know that they did), they aren’t actually entitled to those jobs.

  4. Re: David Samson

    Being from New Jersey, this was a Very Big Deal in the papers when it happened. However, being from New Jersey, I don’t see what the big deal is. This sort of minor corruption seems like small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.

  5. “should we have a race/gender-ID-based quota system for hiring any time that there is a difference in the race/gender-ID of a group of workers relative to the general population?”

    Only for the good jobs.

  6. Pretty strict, compared to affirmative action. Pretty sure colleges were required to have 10% minorities, back in the day. If startups require 50% minorities, it’ll be time to retire.

    • lion2: No need to retire. If you get in touch with your feminine side for a few days or hours, you can apply as a “woman” and be part of the 50% victims group. Once you’re employed, your gender fluidity can take you into any other gender that you like, if being a “woman” does not suit you.

  7. wondering whether this is 50% of the remaining 92.5% of slots available. Because under Obama, persons with disabilities had to represent 7.5% of workforce for federal contractors (which covers all major companies). How did the Dept of Labor come up with 7.5%? Someone suggested 10%; others felt 5% was sufficient. So the 7.5% was a compromise reached circa 2010. Misgivings about the wisdom of blind pilots were ignored by the “woke” Obama political appointees (according to one economist who expressed concerns about comparative advantage issues). Dunno whether Trump modified this new ADA regulation, because it mandated that 7.5% of pilots would struggle to see, to operate heavy doors, to lift objects, to hear, or similar limitation.

    • United Airlines is no federal entity, it is a public company. I worked on a government contract when the disability rule happened. Being disabled or at least applying for disability was a per-requisite to get an interview for full – time position, according to my co-workers who considered converting full time. I did not consider full time position but worked with some interviewing managers as part of my daily duties and it was true. The rule did not apply to contractors.

Comments are closed.