How exactly does this work at the majority of airlines? Once off reserve status with a line do you bid on flights for a whole month. Are there any senior guys who bid on flights with regionals that always are at home at night.
Also, regarding Reserve how exactly does it work? If stationed at DFW, but you live say an hour and a half away, so you have two hours to get to DFW, even if you’re needed at say LGA or would you have two hours to get to LGA? Again I apologize for all the questions in advance just trying to figure out how a couple more things work.
I’ve seen two different ways of bidding. Line bidding and preferential bidding.
Line bidding is a list of lines, each a month’s worth of flying. Pilots then bid their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. choice.
Preferential bidding is an algorithmic program that takes your bidding preferences and builds you a line while trying to honor as many of your preferences as it can. Yes, very senior pilots can cherry pick their schedules. That’s the value of having seniority.
I don’t think anyone who’s based in DFW would also be expected to fly out of LGA. Those airports are too far from each other. Chris’ schedule is a better example of a likely scenario. He’s based in NYC, but he covers LGA, ERW and JFK. Regardless of where a pilot is based, a 2-hr call-out is a 2-hr call-out. The pilots that live farther than 2 hours from base will commute to base in case they get called. Or…I don’t recommend this…they gamble and stay home hoping they don’t get called.
As Tory said different airlines have different systems but the majority have gone (or will be) to PBS (preferential bidding). You put in your preferences which can be anything from specific trips to days off, trip length, start/finish times, even the people you want (or don’t want) to fly with. The computer then starts trying to build you a schedule to meet your preferences in off course seniority order. What you need to understand is in order to get awarded trips that get you home every night those trips need to exist, which they don’t at many airlines. You see the company constructs the trips and then those trips are awarded. They don’t build the trips to suit or fit the pilots preferences.
As for Reserve, you’ll have a set call out period (there’s also long and short call). Regardless your Reserve will ALWAYS be at your base (most contracts actually prohibit out of base Reserve). So if your base DFW you’ll have 2hrs to get there. If they needed you in LGA you’d still have 2hrs to get to DFW and then they’d have to DH you to LGA. Make sense?
Thanks Tory and Adam. And yes the DH part makes sense. Even though I’ve yet to complete any flight training just questions I have regarding the job in general. Thanks again for the responses.
And while I understand like you said the airlines don’t build flights to fit pilots I’m guess I’m wondering say this scenario is ever possible for a senior pilot.
Say I live in Wichita Falls, which currently flys Envoy. Say one day I’m senior enough at Envoy to bid trips that depart SPS on first flight into DFW since that the only place this flight goes. Then from DFW have a leg to say Midland, then a leg back to DFW, then a leg to Tulsa and back to DFW. Those flights would total say X amount of hours. Then I could possibly jumpiest back to SPS. Maybe that’s not how it works but was just wondering if those scenarios exist for someone with tons of seniority. I realize being gone a lot is part of being a pilot, but just curious about that scenario with someone with a regional with lots of seniority.
Again it’s not what’s convenient for you it’s what’s efficient for the airline. Now some may have day trips but again those trips will only be from a base and again most don’t have day trips. Now could you DH home? You could BUT if your schedule changes or you get sick at home because the DH flight back cancels you’re the one who’s in trouble.
It’s important to note that regional airlines change their routes often. So each month’s list of available trips are different. What’s available one month may not be the next.
Pilots by definition travel to far away places on several day long trips, that is just the way it is. Even pilots that live and work in major hubs like EWR have a hard time getting all day trips and being home every night. I commute from both ORF and SBN. I have had five ORF overnights in my entire career and have never once overnighted in SBN.
I’ll be soon flying for the regionals but I had a question on scheduling.
I practice a religion and I typically don’t work on Sunday. Would I be able to bid for flights every day of the week except Sunday? I know seniority is everything but what are the chances of me getting a schedule like that?
Absolutely no way to know what the odds are of holding Sunday’s off. You’re right. Seniority is everything and that’s as good of an answer as you’ll get. The question I have for you is if you do have to work on Sunday’s, which will happen, what will you do?
You can bid whatever you want but your seniority will dictate whether you’ll get it or not. At the beginning it will definitely be a challenge.
That’s a good question, I will try to hold as many sundays off as they will let me but if I have to fly sundays once or twice a month, I’d be fine. I would look at it as a necessity, kind of like on a dairy farm, the farmer has to milk his cows 7 days a week.
Do y’all switch days with other pilots to get days off you want? That would be another option for me
Yes, sometimes pilots can switch days off. Keep in mind though that Sunday is a weekend for everybody and nobody will be willing to work a weekend so you can have it off, regardless of the reason. I would plan on working every Sunday in the month for many years to come.
And another thing , if I mess with the schedule too much I won’t recieve the 175 hours garunteed
per month, correct?
Pay hours are usually about 75 hours per month, not 175. Yes, playing with your schedule can affect that. Furthermore, it is difficult to trade days too much because of numerous factors, FAA rest rules being the primary one. Plan on working Sundays.
As Chris said it’s 75, def not 175. Further airline bidding systems all limit how low your credit can drop (usually 60-65).
As we all said, you can always try to bid, drop and trade but working Sundays is definitely going to be something you’ll have to make your peace with. Trust me you’re not the only one who’d like to go to church with their family.
So I have always had a basic understanding that pilots due to the nature of the job spend time away from home. What I am curious about is how much time home you get consecutively even with the worst bid? I know there is no magic number or answer. I am just curious as to on average is it one day? Two days? And then on the worst bid how many days could one expect to be gone?
If you average schedules from the best to worse pilots work about 15 days a month. I’ve had one single day off between trips, I’ve had 10. Personally I like to have at least 3-4 days off in a row when I can so I usually bid that 3 on 4 off or 4 on 3 off. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t. Most airlines don’t have trips that exceed 4 days unless you’re flying cargo.
Oh ok, So if you fly cargo I’m assuming it’s more days on less off at a time?
Cargo schedules can be about the same as passenger airline schedules, with he notable difference that many of the flights are conducted at night.