Aircraft choice

Adam and Chris, at the majors do they basically tell you what model aircraft you’re going to fly? American for example has several different types between Boeing and Airbus. They also have some MD80’s and Ejets. How does it work?


As with any airline, when new hires start class they will bid on equipment (airplane type) and bases in seniority order. Generally speaking, the smaller, narrow body airplanes like the A320 or the 737 are where most new hires end up, but occasionally new hires end up on the bigger airplanes as that is sometimes where the vacancies are. That being said, I would plan on starting on the smaller equipment and being there for several years before progressing onward.

As pilots build seniority, they are able to bid for different airplanes, typically larger ones. Often times the larger airplanes are more desirable because they fly longer routes and often involve more days off. At major airlines an FO position on a wide body, international airplane can often be more senior than a Captain position on a narrow body, domestic airplane. As with everything in the airlines, seniority rules.


Thanks Chris. Sounds good.


The airline will allow you to bid but that will be based on available “open” slots where the airline has a need. Regionals fly Ejets and RJs vs Majors which will fly anything from MD80’s to 787 and A330s. As Chris said in most cases you’ll get the most junior aircraft which will be the smallest but that’s really a function of pay. At most airlines the bigger the airplane the higher the pay which makes the smaller planes more junior but that’s not always the case. They may be slots on larger planes based on base seniority or other factors.


Thanks guys. I just saw someone asked a similar question a few mins before me.