February '19 Schedule_First month off OE

49 hours, 79 credits, 13 days off

Got my first taste of what it feels like be a captain! I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and I’m gaining invaluable experience. It’s true what they say about the job being easy until it’s not. See Feb 22. I will remember this day for the rest of my life.

In hindsight, there wasn’t anything special about what happened. We were flying from PDX-ABQ and diverted to PHX because of a snow storm in ABQ. Diversions, though not desirable, are part of our operation, and are actually more desirable than trying to land somewhere you shouldn’t. Anyway, that part was easy. It was the can of worms it opened when we got to PHX.

We waited on the ground for about an hour, trying to wait for the storm in ABQ to pass. Well, it didn’t. So, dispatch wanted us to fly back to PDX. That’s what set off a chain reaction. You can imagine how upset the passengers where. It would take less time to drive from PHX to ABQ than it would to return to where we all started. I was just as confused as they were, but that’s how an airline works. Operational control is divided among a team of experts. As captain, I can make suggestions, but I can’t go against what the company demands, unless I’m in an emergency situation.

Long story short, the people weren’t happy because of a checked bag policy. If they were to have deplaned in PHX, their checked bags would not have been able to go with them. This is what really caused most of the frustration.

We reluctantly flew back to PDX and boarded the next flight to SEA to end our, what should have been an easy day trip, but turned out to be a very long exhausting day.

At least I came prepared with an overnight bag that time in case we had to overnight somewhere! On Feb 11, our flight from SAN-SEA got cancelled because SEA airport closed. Too much snow, they said. So, we re-positioned our airplane to BUR. I had only the clothes on my back. I should have known better. I’ve seen that scenario happen when I was an FO. My fault. Oh well. Could have been worse.

  1. DH to SFO, SFO-SEA
  3. SFO-SEA
  6. SEA-SAN, Repo to BUR
  7. DH to SEA
  9. Short Call Reserve
  10. Short Call Reserve
  12. SEA-PDX-ABQ (Divert to PHX) PHX-PDX, DH to SEA
  13. DH to SAN, SAN-ELP-SEA
  14. AM Airport Reserve

Thanks for sharing Tory! So how did you handle the not-so-happy passengers? I’m sure they we’re angry more at the airline than you and your FO.

Thanks for sharing, though I thought you were a FO. How soon after you hit your 1,000 hours in the right seat did you make Captain?

Yeah they knew that it wasn’t our fault.

So, what should have happened was the Customer Service Supervisor (CSS) should have done a better job at accommodating our passengers’ concerns. He was our go-to guy in this scenario. Instead he made a brief, apathetic announcement and then left us to clean up the mess. This was Alaska’s 5th diversion to PHX. He was already overwhelmed before he approached our plane.

My crew and I tried our best to help our passengers make a decision as to whether they should deplane or fly back to PDX with us, but we weren’t making any progress. I ultimately instructed my flight attendants to give the passengers 10 minutes to figure out what they were going to do. After 10 minutes, the main cabin door will close and that’s that.

That encouraged most of the passengers that were on the fence to deplane, and we left.



I upgraded as soon as I got my time. I was an FO for about 1.5 years.


Is it typical of the regionals in today’s market to upgrade as soon as you get your hours?


If a pilot so chooses, it is typical to upgrade rather quickly at the regionals, usually within two to three years.



Upgrade times are as fast as they have ever been. That doesn’t mean that it has become typical to upgrade as soon as you have the hours though. Shortly after? Yes. Upgrade times are about 2-3 years at the reagionals.

I was able to upgrade because I was one of the first to be trained to fly Horizon’s 175. That resulted in getting a line after IOE. Horizon also only has one base for the 175. So, not many senior pilots bid for the 175 because they don’t want to commute. So, how have pilots been able to upgrade in the 175 so quickly? Luck and timing.



Upgrade pertains to seniority and nothing else. Every pilot who’s hired at an airline has the hour requirements to be a CA day one.


To be technical here, some regional airlines have a requirement of 3,000 total flight hours for a pilot to upgrade. When that requirement is in place, there is occasionally times when a pilot has enough seniority to hold Captain, but is not able to do so until they get the 3,000 hours.


Is the 175 pilot pool quite a bit smaller since they only have one base? Seems like I’ve read on here before that at least one of the mentors said to stay away from the props and stay with jets.

Chris, Tory, Adam,

Thanks again for your quick and insightful comments.

Chris, I would come in just over 1500 so I would hope that I can get 1500 more in two years. I would really have a tough time payings the bills otherwise… :joy:


Each airline has its own policies, I would be sure to ask about this when you interview.


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We have 26 ERJs and 44 Q400s. So, yeah.


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