Just double checking

This forum has been an excellent source of information for a project I’m working on. Thank you!
Included in this project, I have to briefly (3 or 4 sentences) explain the seniority system, and just want to double-check that I completely understand…
So, it’s based on date of hire, and the longer a pilot is with an airline, the more choices you have in terms of schedule, domicile, etc. New hires do what they are told, but as they gain seniority have more freedom.
Am I correct, and is there anything I’ve left out?

Sounds pretty accurate. Check out the FLYING magazine article that I recently posted for more information on this.


Just to clarify things aren’t always that bad for newhires. There’s this misconception that newhires don’t have any say which is not true, you just have less. What I think is more important to understand conceptually is seniority allows you to get what the majority wants but if you want something different than the masses you can do pretty well. For example when I was first hired at ExpressJet EWR was their most junior base and nobody wanted to be there. Well I lived 20min from EWR so I bid it and got it immediately. Most of the EWR crews hated going to Mexico, I love Mexico so I literally flew there every trip. By contrast EVERYBODY wants Christmas off so only the most Senior pilots get it. I’m Jewish and have no problem getting Jewish holidays off. So again your seniority allows you to get more of what everyone wants.

Make sense?



Generally speaking, yes. To prove Adam’s point that not all new pilots have
no choice but to do what they are told, I’ve been with a regional airline
for 7 months, yet I have good seniority because I am flying a plane that is
new to the airline. I was in the second class to get trained how to fly
Horizon’s ERJ. So, among the other ERJ First Officers I bid number 11 of
100. That gives me a lot of control over my schedule…until I upgrade to
captain. Then I will be on the bottom of the seniority list among the other
captains. I may also be in another one plane, the Q400, which has a longer
list of pilots that fly it, which will only put me even lower on the
seniority list.


This all makes sense, glad I asked. Thank you!