Aircraft change, seniority and schedule

Hi Mentors. I have a quick question. How does aircraft change affect you seniority? Do you keep it at the same level or are you moved to the bottom of the list on that specific plane? I hope it makes sense :grinning:
Thank you.

Your seniority (essentially your date of hire) goes with you from one airplane to the next. However, that seniority will typically have much less purchasing power on the large airplanes. For example, I could be a 737 FO and be 20% in base (meaning that 80% of the pilots are junior to me), or be a 757 FO and be roughly 50%.

Chris

So, it’s all relative to other pilots flying that aircraft. Right?

That is correct.

Can i ask you, after you were hired by a major, were you assigned to fly domestic first? If yes, how much time passed before you were able to get international flights?

I flew domestic first, but I could have switched to international right away. I chose to stay with domestic flying for four years before making the leap. I am now happily back on domestic.

Is there a difference between domestic flights and international flights in terms of seniority or is it just where airline needs at that moment?

This why we use the term “relative seniority”. You have your overall seniority through out the airline and that is company wide but then there’s relative seniority for aircraft, bases and seats. Though my system (company) seniority only changes with retirements, hiring, deaths or firings, I’m currently a junior 717 CA, BUT I could be a VERY senior 717, A321 or 767 FO or a mid seniority A330 FO.

Adam

Nugzari,

Maybe? But when it comes to Domestic vs International it’s more a question of which aircraft goes where and what the pilots like. At Hawaiian the top of the seniority list fly every aircraft and every destination. Why? Because they want to and when you’re senior you can get what you want. Chris and I both enjoy domestic ops but there are pilots that hate it. It comes down to what’s popular and the quality of the trips. Seniority simply allows you to get the things you want when everyone else wants them too.

Adam

Thank you, Chris and Adam, for clarification.
By the way, Chris, I know United owns 787s, how senior is that plane? Is it at the same level as say 777?

I would say that they are about the same.

After getting hired at a major, how long would it take to build seniority to switch to 787? I know it all depends but you might of heard of anyone who did. Just interesting… :innocent:

Nugzari,

You’re clearly not understanding. Aircraft and base seniority are very fluid and dynamic and change often. I know pilot’s who have been hired directly onto widebody aircraft (A330, 777, etc) day 1. It depends on many factors. Hawaiian is slated to get our 787 in 2021 and I promise you the plane will go junior, at first. If the 787 you’re so in love with only goes to a few locations, only flies out of a junior undesirable base or if the trips are inefficient the plane could in fact be the most junior aircraft in the company. Routes change, contracts change, bases change. Even if it is the most senior aircraft in the company, if the airline has significant retirements and is doing well you could move up incredibly quickly. If not you could be stuck for a decade. What’s happening today and now very rarely reflects the future.

Adam

Thank you Adam!
Do you already know which routes 787 at Hawaiian will be flying? Or it will be announced after the delivery?

Nugzari,

The planes aren’t scheduled to arrive for 3 years! No one except maybe the BOD know the routes.

Adam

Hey Chris,

In your situation did you have to switch aircraft when going to fly international and then domestic? If so does your relative seniority change, as in when you switch from a 737 to 757 are you on the bottom of the 757 seniority list? Then if you decide to switch back to the 737 do you have to start at the bottom of the 737 semortity list? I hope that makes sense!

Thank you
Jesse

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Jesse,

The answer is maybe. You guys are missing the concept of RELATIVE SENIORITY. You seniority within the company is based on your years at the airline regardless of you base, seat or aircraft. If you move from one aircraft to another it comes down to you RELATIVE SENIORITY on THAT airplane AT THAT TIME. You don’t ever automatically go back to being junior because you move or change something. A pilot could be a senior EWR FO on a 777 while also being a junior ORD CA on 737 or a mid seniority SFO A320 CA. It all depends on which BASE is senior, which AIRCRAFT is senior etc.

Adam

Jesse,

Generally “domestic” and “international” are defined by the aircraft type as different airplanes have different missions. When one switched airplanes, their seniority is whatever their overall number at the company holds. Read up through this post thread for a good explanation of how that works.

Chris

wait so upgrading from FO to Captain doesnt change your seniority. Thats crazy wow

Brennan,

Why is that crazy? AGAIN you guys aren’t getting the concept. Seniority is based SOLELY on your date of hire. Different pilots chose different paths based on their goals, lifestyle etc. The #1 FO at Hawaiian was hired almost 20yrs before I was and could’ve have upgraded to Capt long before I was ever on property. They CHOSE not to upgrade for schedule and a better quality of life. They fly the plane they want and literally have the BEST schedule possible as #1 on the list. They could make more as a Capt but money isn’t their priority. Now I’m a Capt so I “outrank” him but again he was hired 20yrs before me, why would I be senior?

Adam

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