Aircraft Option

Hey!!
I know seniority is everything in the aviation world but how about when you first get hired with 0 seniority do you still have preferability in what aircraft you want to fly or not? I really want to fly a A350 for Delta and was wondering if I had to go through other aircrafts before I can go to the A350.

Also, say I don’t get the aircraft I want as early as hiring. Would I be possible for a upgrade in the future without it hurting my seniority or would it drop me back at Year 1? For example if I was flying a 767 when I got hired and a few years later can I switch to the A350 without my seniority getting affected?

Thank you!!!
Androu

Androu,

Your seniority is the same regardless of which airplane you are on, but your “purchasing power” with that number increases greatly with time and varies from one equipment to another and with different bases.

You will not be flying either the 767 or the A350 as a new hire at Delta, think more like A220, 319 or maybe 737. With time, you will get more senior and have opportunities to bid to other airplanes. Let’s say at the time you have five years of seniority, that might make you near the top of the list on the A220, but darn near the bottom on the 767. As time goes, you will get more senior on the 767. Your seniority never resets, but what it buys you is different with each equipment and base.

As a new hire, you might have an aircraft choice, but it is far more likely you will be assigned an aircraft type.

Chris

Androu,

As a newhire the airline will place your where the airline needs you. Generally larger airplanes pay more and therefore go more senior. There may be vacancies in multiple categories in which case you’ll have the opportunity to bid within your class (seniority is usually determined by date of birth or the last 4 of your SS#) but charges are no, you’re not going to get assigned or be able to fly something like the A350. Not only is that one of the newest aircraft in Delta’s fleet, it pays the highest.

As Chris described, while you never lose system seniority, yes when you move to a bigger aircraft or upgrade, unless you wait, you will be junior on that new equipment.

Adam

I found this diagram the other day on AirlinePilotCentral, a United Pilot posted this (so it is not mine).
Chris and Adam can correct me if I am wrong but it diagrams the seniority number (#1 is the most senior pilot) required to be an 80% pilot (typically a line holder, though not always), and the number required to be the most junior on that plane at that base. So as you’ll see, you’ll need to be much more senior to hold a line on the B777 in Newark than the A320 in San Francisco. Also note this diagram is from 2018 so it is likely outdated, but it’s a good reference to understand what you asked about.
Junior pilot screen shot

p.s. Chris and Adam, please correct me if I am wrong about any of what I just mentioned :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Ben,

Kinda. Yes it’s showing the most Jr seniority number at that base but the 80% is approxiamately what’s required to BE a lineholder at that base.

As you said that’s 3+yrs old and things could look different now.

Adam

1 Like

So if you switch from a 767 to a A350 sometime in the future and you were a captain in the 767 would that put you back as a first officer for the A350 or are you still captain?

Thanks, Androu

Androu,

Depends what you bid for. You don’t simply bid for a plane and say “give me what you have!”. You bid the plane, position and base. If you’re sole desire is to fly an A350 and don’t care whether you’re a Capt or FO or if you’ll have to commute or not you simply bid for the most junior position available (ie, 350 JFK FO). If your seniority will hold that you’ll get it. If you were a Capt you won’t be any longer. If however you only want to fly as a 350 Capt based in ATL that’s fine but you’ll need to wait until your seniority can be awarded that. Make sense?

That all said you’re worried about step 2,398 and you haven’t taken a lesson yet. Kinda like saying you want to pitch for the Yankees and you’ve never held a baseball. While it’s wonderful to have goals, I’d really be more concerned with getting the process started vs what you think you want to fly many years from now. There’s even a chance the hot new plane will be the A370 and you could get the 350 early. Wayyyyy to many variables.

Adam

Ben,

That chart is gives a good general sense of what seniority is at different places in the company. I would point out though that the chart only reflects First Officer positions and not Captain positions.

Chris

1 Like