In Pan Am's defense


Well-Known Member
In Pan Am\'s defense

Hey guys,

There is so much smack talk about pan am and their practices. Most of it saying they are in it for the money. But let me tell you something guys. All business are in it for the money. In the words of the movie "Joe Dirt". "Maybe one day UNICEF will get into the flight training business but until then...."

When they hold the money for as long as they can it is absolutely for the reason to gain interest off it as long as they can. And its stated in the contract right? So whats the big deal?

when the owners started/ bought PAIFA their intention wasnt to produce quality pilots. It was to make money. Turning out pilots and training them doesnt pay their bills. They cant deposit CFI's into their bank account. its a for profit business and they want to get paid. I dont think their practices are all that bad compared with any other company.

So I think everyone needs to calm down about they are in it for the money becuase, wel frankly............they are. arent all companies? even the ones you currently work for.

I dont work for pan am, nor am I a student. In fact I was gonna attend there, but thanks to this board I've decided to go elsewhere. So for that I thank all of you for speaking out.

I just wanted to play devils advocate, I am ssure there will be some nasty replies, but i just wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

Re: In Pan Am\'s defense


Something I learned in DAY ONE of Busines Admin 101 in college-

Professor: "What does Apple Computers do?"

Student: "Make the Macintosh... duh..."

Professor: "Nope, Apple Computer makes MONEY first and foremost, but they do it by selling a computer at a price that you'll agree to purchase it at but costs less than that purchase price to produce".

I was that "student" back in college.

Any commercial enterprise, whether it be a fast food restaraunt all the way up to a mortgage broker is in business to charge you a premium for services rendered.

Everyone from the local community college charging you $2 per credit hour to Harvard with $40,000 annual tuition is in business. Don't think for a second that running a narrow-margined business like a flight school isn't doing the same thing.

United Way, even though it is a charity, is in business. Because if it didn't meet it's minimum donation level to keep the lights on in the central office and keep the CEO fat with steak dinners, it would go out of 'business' as well even though donations were rolling in.

You've got to find that point on your personal chart where prestige, bells'n'whistles, and convenience intercept your "available dollars" graph and choose the flight school that the point corresponds to.
Re: In Pan Am\'s defense

Doug and Blee,
You both have valid points...ANY business is in it for the money...isn't that why its called "business"? But, obviously, there is soo much more to it than the money. Specifically ETHICS !!!!
As far as Pan Am's contract, they soften it up a little with the wording such as your refund will be sent back within 30-60 days. Why not the 30 instead of the 60? Why the 30 at all? We all know that it only takes a few hours to return money back to the bank. I was actually told in the office that it would be closer to 30 days, I later learned I was told that just to keep me from throwing one hell of a fit in the office. Almost everyone waits the entire 60 days.
Examples of some of the complaints are of unjust charges, unfair treatment of the students as well as the CFI's, unjust cancellation fees, and outrageous disenrollment fees. Not to mention the complete arrogance of the administration towards the students, especially after someone has disenrolled. Not many people have complained about the "upfront" supposedly "competitive" prices Pan Am charges..the only thing is, the actual charges are not always UPFRONT and their "promises" that lure in the unsuspecting, are not really promises but conditions. Many a student has gone wayyyy over the minimum required flight hours for each rating...that obviously costs more money, but in most cases can be avoided. Once you take that first flight or sit in that first ground school, they have you by the gonads...they WILL make money off of you...coming AND going. And by the way Blee, training pilots and CFI's DOES pay their bills (some of them anyway)...if you are going to have a school, you have to have students to fill the seats and pump in the green stuff. You can't have green stuff if you run off your students by treating them like crap, and blatently wringing absolutely every red cent you can out of them and telling them to leave if they don't like it (and charging a hefty fee for leaving if they do decide to leave).

All in all, I havent got a beef with anyone trying to make money in any long as that business operates ethically and upfront...not in the gray areas, with flexible wording and fine print that seems to be the Pan Am way.

A word to the wise (and unwise), know what you are getting into before you get into it !! A lot of us have found this out the hard way (especially the ab-initio guys) and people can read alot of these stories right in this forum....All I am trying to do is get the word out to anyone who will listen, Pan Am needs to clean up its act. Don't let them dazzle you with false hopes and false the end, it is YOU, the student who will lose. Pan Am's "product" is not worth the sacrifice. If your dream is to become a professional pilot, go to another place that offers ther same or better quality training, and get it done in most cases, cheaper, faster, and honest....FOR SURE !!!!
Re: In Pan Am\'s defense


That's why I was very careful about not speaking for or against any particular flight school in my above post.

I agree, ethics are very important, especially in choosing a flight school.

But to this day, even though I shop at a reputable supermarket with friendly, helpful staff I still check the price of a loaf of bread before I throw it into the basket, making sure I check for freshness, the "best if eaten by" date, making sure it's not squashed or has any nastiness lurking within.
Re: In Pan Am\'s defense

All good points....but at least your "loaf of bread" is sold at a specific advertised price and the expiration date is usually "clearly" marked on the wrap. The price never goes up when you walk out the door or try to bring it back becaused there is something wrong with it.
Any words of advise on how to recognise "mold" on the bread?
Through my own experience and listening to others on these boards as well as on other websites, the most frequent victim of these schools seem to be the ab-initio students. Meaning these are the people who know the least about the schools or the industry. Although these people do their research (like I did) and ask alot of questions, it is unlikely that they will ask the right questions about the school itself.
The schools policies are usually not in question until it is too late. In fact, the schools policies usually arent even known until AFTER the contract is signed or the contract and policies are presented in orientation when the pressure to sign is extremely high, you have quit your job, moved from your home and signed a lease with an apartment complex. Most of the time the policies aren't even understood until the student runs into a problem.
In my experience and in my opinion, there is moldy bread at Pan Am, after you sign the contract you are gonna have to eat the mold or pay a hefty sum to take it back.
Prospective students, just do yourself a favor and don't shop at Pan Am.
Re: In Pan Am\'s defense

I agree with you that running a flight school is strictly a business, but I should point out that the vast majority of colleges in the US are non-profits. The stated goal of nearly every school is to solely to produce quality students, whereas flight schools are generally shooting for financial success. Colleges and flight schools are fundamentally different institutions--I know that my school (small, private liberal arts school) pays for day-to-day operations mostly off of interest from its endowment, which is around at $1.05 billion. Our tuition doesn't come close to covering the cost of each of us to the school, but they can survive because our alumni make and give away enormous amounts. This is obviously not an economically viable model for a flight school, because as high as pilot pay is, I don't forsee any alumni giving Pan Am a $2 million gift.

Actually, I was wondering about Embry-Riddle--is it for-profit? As far as I know, the only big for-profit school in the country is the University of Phoenix...

Re: In Pan Am\'s defense

apple sells itself through marketing, apple delviers on that marketing with a superior product, apple supports its patrons who buy that superior product who knowingly buy it at an inflated price.

of course apple is selling a pretty much unique product in the computer industry and can almost name its price for its products up to a point. now get into the PC market and you've got a good comparison to flight schools. many many competitors with similar products, crappy profit margins because of price wars, etc...

so how does a company who wants to make money attract new patrons in similarly competitive markets?? advertising of course, mixed in with a little bit of name recognition and you've got a good start. thats the easy part. the hard part is maintaining that base of patrons and making them feel satisfied enough with the product to continue buying into it. from there the patrons develope a pride in being part of the product, and they spread news of their satisfaction to others who may also want to become a part of what it is you're selling. make these new customers feel the same satisfaction, let them develope a pride for what the've invested in and the cycle continues. kind of like apple users, they've got thier own little cult that pays way to much for a product and are happy to do so because Apple delivers on thier own advertising and supports the customer after they've bought in to the company. its all about how you TREAT your customer once they buy into what your marketing dollars sold them.

on a similar level compaq has a big name in the PC market, but frankly thier product sucks. not so much because of its physical product, but because of the lack of support for it when things go wrong. easily fixable problems are compounded due to ignorance in the area of customer relations.