The Alaska Pilots Podcast
Facing Forward: 2021

Facing Forward: 2021

January 1, 2021

As we turn the page to 2021, now is the time for the Alaska Pilots to continue the work of negotiating improvements to their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). In this episode, host Captain David Campbell speaks with Master Executive Council (MEC) officers—Captain Will McQuillen, Captain Joe Youngerman, Captain Scott Mokos and Captain Garin Tentschert. Most of their discussion will reference and add more detail to a four-minute video message released last week. We recommend you watch that video—linked below—before listening to this episode.


Terms and references in this episode that may be unfamiliar to some listeners:

Canoll: Captain Tim Canoll served as the Air Line Pilots Association International’s president from 2015- 2019.

CBA: Collective Bargaining Agreement.

SME: Subject Matter Expert. These are pilots who are committee volunteers and have special skills, knowledge, and experience who help support the Alaska MEC. While these pilots volunteer their time on behalf of, and to improve the lives and safety of their fellow pilots, their work almost always creates an ancillary benefit to the company. Some examples include adding an important level of safety, cost savings, and ensuring flight operations processes run smoothly. The company receives these benefits at minimal, and in many cases, no cost.

Important Holiday Message for Pilots and Families During What May Be a Stressful Holiday: CALL ALPA FIRST

Important Holiday Message for Pilots and Families During What May Be a Stressful Holiday: CALL ALPA FIRST

December 16, 2020

Learn more about your union’s resources and how ALPA may assist you if holiday stress is impacting you or your family. ALPA has a number of committees whose purpose is to provide direct assistance to pilots. These have been organized under the umbrella of Pilot Peer Support (PPS) and consist of HIMS, Professional Standards, CIRP, and Aeromedical. In this episode, Host Strategic Communications Chairman David Campbell speaks with chairmen from each of these committees. Learn how you, or your flying partner, may be assisted by them and the value of calling ALPA first.

Helpful Links:

Pilot Peer Support Call (309) 777-2572; (309) PPS-ALPA


Professional Standards



End of 2020 and Look to the Future

End of 2020 and Look to the Future

December 6, 2020

MEC Chairman Will McQuillen, Negotiating Committee Chairman Chris Gruner, and Strategic Planning Chairman Ronan O’Donoghue discuss closing out year 2020 and what is facing the pilot group in the near future with host Communications Chairman David Campbell. Topics include the recent EIL recalls, the removal of vacation open time, vaccines, and grievances.  

FAQ For Pilots Returning From EIL.


Management’s Unapproved Changes to Vacation Open Time Trading

Management’s Unapproved Changes to Vacation Open Time Trading

November 4, 2020

Shortly before the pilots’ contractual provision to trade vacation days was to begin, in a process known as open time vacation trading, Vice President of Flight Operations announced to the pilot-union leaders that he intended to remove available days from the open time availability—a step never taken in the past. Despite objections from ALPA (the union representing Alaska Airlines pilots) management moved forward with their plan. In this episode, host Strategic Communications Chairman Captain David Campbell discusses, among other topics, the Company’s changes with MEC Chairman Captain Will McQuillen and Negotiating Committee Chairman First Officer Chris Gruner.


Listeners may also be interested in reading the latest Chairman’s Message dated November 2, 2020 in which MEC Chairman McQuillen addresses this topic.

The Turning Point Represented by October 1

The Turning Point Represented by October 1

October 4, 2020

October 1 was a significant day for the pilot group at Alaska Airlines; it marked a turning point of sorts. Join host Captain David Campbell as he discusses this with MEC Chairman Captain Will McQuillen, and what this means for negotiations with Negotiating Chairman Chris Gruner. Also covered in the episode is the desire management had to turn off important rules used to generate pilot’s flying schedules in the software program called The Optimizer. These rules are in place for safety, to mitigate fatigue, and to improve quality of life. ALPA was able to convince management to leave these time-tested rules in place for the upcoming bid month. It is our expectation that management will not attempt to make similar changes in future months. Listen to the episode to hear a full account of the interesting work ALPA undertook to protect their pilots.

Throughout this episode references are made to links in the show notes. Below are those links in the order they occur.

Tribute video to our pilots who chose early retirement

The new In The Loop page of the website and Facebook Group page. In The Loop Web Page   Facebook Group

Telephonic polling conducted by the University of New Hampshire begins on Monday October 5. Calls will come from (603) 397-0660 and be identified as either UNH Surv Ctr or NH Call. On some phones, this call may be identified as “Scam Likely.” We suggest pilots add this phone number to their contact list so that, if randomly selected, the call will reach them.

The November Scheduling Committee Summary

Position Bid 2021-04 Information and FAQ

Pilot Peer Support: 309-PPS-ALPA (309-777-2572)

Pilot Peer Support (PPS) is a group of ALPA pilot volunteers who are trained to talk about any personal or professional problems pilots may be experiencing. PPS volunteers listen and offer confidential and nonjudgmental support as well as information to help them make informed decisions. A PPS volunteer can help with any issue without jeopardy to the pilot’s career. PPS volunteers are not counselors or mental health professionals—they are fellow pilots trained to provide empathy and support to deal with life’s stresses, with access to appropriate resources to help you make the next step.




August MEC Meeting Recap

August MEC Meeting Recap

August 23, 2020

Listen as Captains McQuillen, Campbell, O’Donoghue, Swoveland, and First Officer Gruner discuss the recently concluded quarterly MEC meeting. Topics include the direction given to the Negotiating Committee, an update to the Strategic Plan, what we have learned from Alaska Airlines management regarding basing, and other topics.


Become an ALPA committee volunteer—click here.

Bid Award Results Discussed

Bid Award Results Discussed

August 21, 2020

This episode covers the bid award results of the recent Position Bid 2020-11a. Expect a subsequent episode in the next day or so which will recap the recently concluded quarterly MEC meeting.

Honoring Seniority, Bidding Pitfalls, And What You Need to Know about Bid 2020-11a

Honoring Seniority, Bidding Pitfalls, And What You Need to Know about Bid 2020-11a

July 30, 2020

UPDATE: The initial upload of this episode included overlapping audio tracks. If you are experiencing that issue, refresh your podcast app and that should upload the correct version. If not, you may need to delete this episode and re-download it. 


In this episode Host Captain David Campbell and others discuss what is different and what is the same about how management will award Bid 2020-11a, how seniority will be followed during the awarding process, and what that looks like now that there will be pilots who are both flying and on Extended Incentive Lines. Because there are both vacancies and reductions in the bid, pilots should be very familiar with the bid award process so that they may place their preferences appropriately.


If you have questions after listening to this episode, contact a member of your Membership Committee at or Contract Compliance at (888)767-2228.

Position Bid 2020-11a

Position Bid 2020-11a

July 27, 2020

A short preview of the episode we are working on about position bid 2020-11a.

EIL, REIL, ELOA, EO Awards and What Comes Next

EIL, REIL, ELOA, EO Awards and What Comes Next

July 23, 2020

This episode answers some questions about the awarding of the EIL, REIL, ELOA, and EO, what pilots who were awarded one may expect, and what the MEC is working on next.


A Scheduling Committee document is mentioned in this episode that may help pilots understand their contractual rights when a trip is canceled. Click, Control Your Life by Understanding 25.T,U, and V. More questions may be answered by your Contract Compliance Team at (888) 767 2228.


Please join ALPA’s Call to Action to tell congress to fund an extension to the Payroll Support Program.

Play this podcast on Podbean App