Who does he work for?: "Not United! Not United/Continental," he first exclaimed. "Sooo...Continental, then?" we asked. He nodded to this and thus it was immediately apparent how he felt about the United deal: not in favor.
Does he like the new merger livery? (pictured above): "It's too short; they need to add 'Airlines' on to it at least." He didn't seem so much bothered by the mash-up of United and Continental brands as he did by the aesthetics of it all. We agree though; the small "United" is visually unbalanced.
How does he feel about United buying his airline?: Here he got defensive and stressed that the United purchase was strictly a stock-swap, with both airlines agreeing that United would be the buying party due to their shakier financials. He is actually most distraught over Houston losing the power of the Continental headquarters as operations move to United's Chicago base.
What's the worst thing that could happen with this merger?: His answer was immediate and strong: "losing my job." With United and Continental combining operations and taking some routes where they both currently run down to just one, some pilots will eventually get the boot. We did ask what airlines he'd previously worked for, and although he could probably get a job with them again (we won't say who), it'd be a big downgrade.
What are some other airlines he likes and dislikes?: Well, he admits to hating Jetblue with a passion, and Virgin America almost as much, but we finally whittled down his issue with them to realize that he just despises low-cost carriers in general, because their low airfares hurt the legacy carriers, and as a result, his paycheck and the stability of his airline. But he does admit to having a soft spot in his heart for Southwest, "because they are legendary."
Does he love his job?: Despite the merger stressing him out, this Continental pilot absolutely loves his job and his airline. He pointed out the fact that heyhe's staying at a resort in Punta Cana, and perhaps the next day he'll be off to London. And we suppose that talking to a girl who's extremely interested in his job probably helps things.
A big 'thank you' for the drink and the informal interview, Continental pilot. Perhaps we'll meet a United pilot next to get a counterpoint?
Full Disclosure: We were in the DR thanks to Jetblue and the Dominican Republic Board of Tourism. But rest assured that we worked more than swam, and all views expressed here are our own (or the pilot's, in this case).
· United and Continental Merge to Form World's Largest Airline [Jaunted]
· Do You Know that Julio Iglesias and Oscar de la Renta Own a Thatched-Roof Airport? [Jaunted]
· Jaunted Interviews [Jaunted]
[Photo: Official merger photo]