So I know that seniority has everything to do with your selection of domicile, but if you start out in a city that you don’t want to stay at, how often do you get a chance to change your domicile when an opening comes up at another location? Is it the kind of thing where you have a standing request to transfer to another city and when an opening comes up the top seniority with a request to that city gets it? Or are you only able to put a transfer request in during certain parts of the year?
There’s no simple answer to that question as it can vary considerably from airline to airline. Traditionally all airlines post “Vacancy” or “System” bids based on their needs (meaning they have open spots). Some contracts also provide that the airlines must hold bids at least X times a year regardless. If that’s the case you bid what you want and as always if your seniority can hold it and there’s an open slot it’s yours. If not it’s not. Many airlines the bases are tied to the aircraft so while you may be able to hold 757 EWR FO you may not be able to hold 757 SFO FO. Do you want to bid down to 737 to get there? That’s up to you. Now some airlines will allow base trades where you can swap with another pilot at the base they desire for the one you desire provided no one senior wants it but that’s pretty rare and in most cases you’ll have to wait for a bid and your ability to hold it.
Is it possible to get booted to another domicile because higher seniority pilots come in?
Generally not. For any pilot to move to any base, airplane or seat there must be a “vacancy” (open slot). Once you’re there, you’re there. The only exceptions are if there are furloughs and downgrades, base closures or in the extremely rare “flush bid”. Those only occur if something radical happens (like an airline closes half it’s bases at one time, etc) and then they toss the apple cart and everyone gets to bid in seniority order from scratch.
Can you clarify the part about planes. Am I correct that planes are based just like pilots and not every type of aircraft is present on each base in big airlines?
There’s nothing to clarify as you understand correctly. Not every aircraft will be at every base, even at the Majors. Also different aircraft will have different seniority at different bases. It’s not quite the same as with pilots, it’s more to do with routes.
Just as an example, if I live in Philadelphia and want to fly 787 transatlantic, but airline that has a base there only flies airbus on transatlantic routes, I have 3 choice: 1 - suck it up and keep flying airbus, 2 - commute to wherever they have 787 based, 3 - move to that domicile
Yup that’s pretty much it. That said I’d be more focused on getting my PPL than worried about what airplane you may or may not fly for what airline at what base many MANY years from now.
Your understanding of domiciles and airplane allocations is pretty good. I would point out though that very few people fly a particular airplane because they have a burning desire to fly that particular airplane. It is usually more about days off, income, quality of trips, etc than the type of airplane.
I hear what you say, Adam. And yes, that’s what I want to do now. Trying to schedule the intro flight as soon as possible so I can set my mind to ease and focus myself on achieving that goal. Still have to do bachelor degree so I was thinking to get ppl while at college, I still have at least 2 years so I can manage to do it.
Just wanted to get perspective on how everything works now. I know everything can change but still…
OK, I understand that. I was just wondering… You never know, right
Question off topic. Have you heard anything at United or even at other airlines about possible direct flights to russia? I know delta used to have them a while ago but they suspended them. What’s the mood now? I feel like it is only getting worse, with all that’s happening between the countries. Or it doesn’t really affect you, as in airlines and their routes, to a certain degree?
We used to fly to Russia, but my understanding is that we stopped because of all the corruption there. Apparently there were serious issues with airplanes and parts being impounded for no reason, bribes having to be paid, etc. I have heard this from numerous US airlines. Until the situation improves there, I don’t see any US airline starting flights.
I get what you are saying… I hope it will improve in my lifetime
Did you have the chance to fly there? Or have you ever been there as a tourist?
I have not flown there nor have I been as a tourist. I was on an airplane that flew there, but I never bid to go.
I have heard that term “flush bid” before. What “flush bid” means?
A “flush bid” is generally when the company is going through a rapid period of shrinking and has to move a large amount of pilots around, usually in a downward fashion. This is not a good thing. Fortunately, it is a very rare occurrence.
Chris is correct, flush bids are extremely rare and really not something to concern yourself with. Even when and airline is shrinking rapidly as the training costs associated with it can be huge.
In very simple terms the airline wipes everything clean. You see to bid for a new plane, upgrade, base etc., there needs to be an open slot. No slot and you can’t move, period. What happens in a flush bid is slot is open and the slots are awarded purely based on seniority. The problem is again this will inevitably cause alot of movement and therefore alot of training. One of the reasons (besides some very angry pilots) it’s ever done.
Thanks very much for the quick reply.