Aircraft Preferences

Random thought that popped into my head. When an individual gets hired by an airline, does he/she get to have a say in what aircraft they get? Do they get to give the airline a preference (Boeing or Airbus, etc.) or does the airline just automatically choose for them?
Thanks in advance!


The answer is maybe? When an airline hires and has a class that means they have available slots. Those slots will generally be in the most junior aircraft or may be in a new aircraft the airline has acquired. So when you get to class if there’s only one aircraft type available then that’s what you’re getting (base as well). If there are slots for more aircraft then the airline will give you the opportunity to “bid” for the aircraft you want. As with EVERYTHING at the airlines it’ll come down to seniority within your class. Airlines will typically base class seniority on either birthday or Social Security number. The most senior person in the class will get their pick first and down the line until the last one gets what’s left. Once you’ve built some seniority at the airline you can bid for the aircraft you want and again it will come down to seniority but then it’s your seniority within the entire pilot group.


Thanks so much for the help and the quick response! I really appreciate it.


The most recent new hire class at United had openings on the 737, A320 and 757, so there was a good variety of choice for the new guys.

By the way, I got my private in a DA-20 :slight_smile:


Thanks for the info!
The DA-20 sure is a neat aircraft with the modern look and canopy like an F-18. Really liking my training in it.

Whoa!! Let’s not get crazy comparing the DA-20 Katana with its 100hp rotax engine to an F-18 Hornet. Haha!! I too got my private in a DA-20. From the looks of it, it is a pretty cool looking plane. Very futuristic compared to the other aircraft on the flight line back in 2001. At 6’4" and 215 lbs, I couldn’t wait to get out of that plane. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very effective trainer and the per hour price of $80/hr wasn’t bad either, I just couldn’t wait to get out of it at the end of each sweaty day of training. I had one shoulder up against the canopy and the other shoulder squishing my instructor against the other side of the canopy. Haha!

Happy training Will!


Good point! I started my training in a Cessna 150 (Go-Kart with wings!) but switched to the DA-20 because the school retired the 150. My first thought when I saw the canopy was “Fighter Jet”.

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And this is exactly why I do not recommend local flight schools. Retiring the type of aircraft that somebody is training in, halfway through their training, is a really uncool move and is something that would never happen at a larger school like ATP.

Yep, it was hard switching from the 150 with the yoke and the “stick throttle” to the joystick and the throttle lever. By now though, I’ve adapted. Always cooler to see the gear though! I will say, I liked the 150 better, but the DA-20 is dawning on me.