International Departures

Disillusioned U.S. airline pilots are heading overseas, leaving domestic carriers scrambling

Kirim Sahib / AFP / Getty

The crew of an Emirates Airlines Boeing 777 long-haul aircraft prepare the plane for passengers.

For captain Brian Murray, the memory of the way pilots and crew were treated during the airline bankruptcies of the 1980s still stings. "Planes were parked. Crews were out and had to find their own way home," says the former Piedmont Airlines pilot. "We were bringing people home in the cockpit and in the back of the cabin." After 23 years of flying mainline American carriers, Murray, 54, says he became "tired of watching senior management march through the airline and leave with huge golden parachutes."

So in July 2004 he jumped too, from U.S. Airways to Dubai-based Emirates. His new...

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