SJS Press November 2011

The Urban Dictionary defines Gojet as "an airline that was started by Trans States Airlines' management to circumvent the pilots' union's collective bargaining agreement." It goes on to say that "The pilots that fly for Gojet started working there because they anticipated a fast upgrade to captain instead of having to wait in line like everyone else. Because Gojet pilots did what they did and work without a contract, they are universally regarded throughout the industry as lower than whale shit at the bottom of the ocean." Is this an accurate definition of an established airline? Or is this slander of a good name which represents integrity throughout the industry? The Press goes on a fact finding mission.

It was evident that something was amiss in the Gojet saga as The Press began its investigation. "We barely scratched the surface before feeling uncomfortable about the topic," explains a Press writer. "When bringing up the subject we were bombarded by the overriding themes of stigma, immorality, and union busting. We asked one pilot of Trans States about how he felt about Gojet and he had only one word to describe it; gross." Trans States pilots were not the only ones becoming queasy. Even pilots of other airlines squirmed while talking about the regional air carrier. "I had to deadhead on them during one of my trips," explains an express pilot. "Something wasn't right. I felt dirty. I took three showers when I got to my hotel room that night. I'll never ride on them during my off time."

tsapicketsOn the flipside, The Press gained some insight to the attraction of Gojet by some pilots. Under the strict anonymity that shinyjetsyndrome.com provides its informants, a Gojet pioneer took us back. "Look. I was flying the ATR for Trans States. We were in contract negotiations that were going nowhere in a hurry. The pilots had voted for a contract extension to help the company. The management didn't reciprocate with niceties. It started offering slots on the CRJ to anyone who would come over to this new certificate Gojet. Nobody would at first. So I led the charge. I mean what was I going to do? Fly between St. Louis and Indianapolis on a prop for the rest of my career? The move worked out well. I'm a jet captain now. I have phenomenal seniority and I get to wear a cool jacket." When asked about leaving his fellow Trans States pilots as they fought for a better contract, the Gojetter simply replied "I guess the early bird really does get the worm. Or in my case the jet!"

freecandyOther than the initial Gojet cadre, it was difficult to see if other pilots of the airline held their hats high. "I don't know if they feel shame," ponders a mainline pilot. "They are part of an alter ego afterall. They never say who they work for. Well, they'll say 'express' and they try to keep their IDs hidden. They are certainly looked at in a different way, even when talking regionals." If what this pilot was saying was true, how could Gojet recruit so many pilots? "It's like a disease," says a St. Louis local. "They are everywhere here and up in Chicago. I wouldn't be surprised if they started to spread as far east as the New York area." Another resident states, "These aren't the type of pilots you want in your neighborhood. I keep finding out about them. Heck, there's one on my street! I definitely keep my doors locked and my children in plain sight."

gojetmapThe Press was confused over the Gojet paranoia. It wasn't just out on the line where questions concerning Gojet arose. The pilot message boards were filled with them. An aviation forum enthusiast says "They are the only airline that people have to ask about its stigma. When you go to a regional airline, you are just a poor sap at a garbage company. When you head over to Gojet, it's a different story. Pilots don't like it. They'll berate the company and its employees on web boards until the thread gets locked or shut down."

Are the pilots only to blame in the spread of such a seemingly foul operation? The Press finds that it was primarily Trans States Holdings management that created this stain on the profession. managementwinThe owner of Gojet proved elusive and declined our request for an interview. In the airline world, he is one of the most monk-like executives in the group. A former Trans States First Officer going by Herbie tells us about his ex superior. "His name is Hulas Kanodia. You can find him most of the time playing golf in Florida with Jon Ornstein, Glenn Tilton, and Satan." When looking for a face for the organization, President Richard Leach, fills Kanodia's void. Known as "The Leech" he is just another Dick looking for cheap pilots. "Low cost today can't be a buzzword," Leach believes "It has to be a true fact of life. It has to be the way you run your business. It is truly our mantra."

unionbustedIt is certain that the management of Trans States Holdings keeps costs low at the expense of its pilots. "Who else pulled off such a move in the first decade of the century?" asks a labor analyst. "The only guy to come close to creating a successful alter ego airline was Frank Lorenzo back in the 80's. This regional management is impressive!" The analyst continues, "These guys put the union in its place. They may have been aided by SJS; Shiny Jet Syndrome. Using SJS or not, they definitely outwitted this pilot group."

Management appears to be the ultimate victor in the Gojet story. Pilots are angry with each other and there is less unity within the pilot labor group. The Press is only left with the question of Gojet's legitimacy. Are other pilots unjustly leary of the alter ego carrier? Should they accept Gojet pilots as equal peers? The Urban Dictionary may give a hint to the answer when it uses Gojet in a sentence. "Man, did you see that Gojet pilot over there? He actually thinks he is getting on this flight."


HTML Comment Box is loading comments...