May was a fun and action-packed month while being fully signed off from IOE. I enjoyed the variety of destinations like Toronto and Montreal overnights. Near the end of the month, I came down with a 5-day illness and took 3 sick days before returning on reserve. It was announced later in the month that starting June 1, Piedmont would begin trips from Philadelphia International to Jean Lesage International (CYQB) Quebec, Québec, CA.
Totals: 40.6 hours block time, 79 hours credited time.
1 - ROC-ORD-TVC
2 - TVC-ORD-MSN-ORD-ALB
3 - ALB-PHL-UNV-PHL-MDT
4 - OFF
5 - OFF
6 - OFF
7 - OFF
8 - MDT-PHL-YUL
9 - YUL-PHL-YYZ
10 - YYZ-ORD-FNT-ORD-ALB
11 - ALB-PHL-UNV-PHL-MDT
12 - OFF
13 - OFF
14 - OFF
15 - OFF
16 - RSV
17 - RSV
18 - RSV
19 - RSV
20 - MDT-PHL-YUL
21 - YUL-PHL-YYZ
22 - YYZ-ORD-FNT-ORD-MDT
23 - OFF
24 - OFF
25 - SICK
26 - SICK
27 - SICK
28 - RSV
29 - RSV
30 - RSV
31 - OFF
When’s your favorite time to fly?
I love being home every night, but when I see these schedules and the pay and then compare to when I was over the road and home maybe 5 days a month and making far less, it feels just about worth it. Of course RSV is a pain if commuting.
Thanks for these!
I’m a hardcore sunrise guy. In fact I haven’t had a single trip the last 3 mos where I start later than 0600 and finish past 11:30. Life is good
I’m a morning person too! The stillness of the mornings can’t be beat. Plus typically the plane isn’t broken yet, the weather isn’t bad yet, people aren’t grumpy yet….
I didn’t used to be a morning person, but after four years trucking and getting up before the sun I now prefer it. Cooler, new day, and fresh if I get a good shower.
Sounds like a nice schedule right there Adam.
I’m thinking of applying for SkyWest. I’m in the rotorcraft transition program. I’d like to stay part time at my current job. I’m wonder, is it possible to schedule Shorter trips with SkyWest?
Like 2-3 day trips instead of 4? Wondering how the bidding works for that and what criteria they have for bidding. Do you have to bid a certain amount of days or weekends per month?
I can’t speak on behalf of SkyWest, @Hannah recently left SkyWest to go to United Airlines, she would be able to answer questions on SkyWest.
What I can say is at Piedmont, we are given an option to bid for a schedule, for example, one line may have weekends off, the line next to that may have a holiday off (or flying) that you want… but everything comes down to seniority and if the individual that has been at the company longer wants that line, good chance you won’t get it. Most airlines have at least 11-12 days off a month in the contract, as you progress in your career you could get more days off as you build seniority.
Airlines hire pilots to work FULL not part-time. Further when pilots show up for work they’re expected to be well rested and ready to fly long days.
All airlines have min days off and as a newhire that’s what you’ll get. Since EVERYBODY likes shorter trips and flying less days you won’t see that for a while. These schedules go senior. As a newhire you’ll have no seniority and therefore little or no control over when and how often you fly.
Short answer, unless you’re job is online and allows you to work when you can with no schedule the answer is no.
The job of an airline pilot is a full time one, they hire full time employees and will not work around your other work schedule. There might come a point in your career when you could work two jobs, but it will not be for many years.
So you bid on a schedule that shows a hole month? Not week to week? For example you pick month A, B, or C, not week 1, then week 2 and so on?
Yes, we bid lines based on WHOLE months.
Example: If there are 13 lines at your base and you’re awarded a line (or reserve pilot line), you will bid the lines that you want in order from most wanted to least want. Again, if you are looking to have off during holidays or weekends, low seniority you may not see that for some time. Everything in the airlines is based on seniority.
As the others have mentioned, you will not be able to work part-time your other job unless you are military and have military duties, which the company would know about etc.
What Brady is describing is a more old fashioned way of bidding and one that much of the industry has moved away from. Most airlines use a computer based bidding system called “Preferential Bidding”, this systems uses preferences that people enter and then generates schedules in seniority order, in theory. I like it, but many people do not.
Are there any schedule “quirks” that can get you something better? For example, I’m a pretty extreme morning person. Is it easier to bid the super early morning flights, or do a lot of people want those? I would also prefer to work while I’m at work, so I would want longer days with more flying, and probably longer trips. Are there any quirks like that that would make it easier to get desirable trips, or is it pretty much that none of the junior pilots get what they want?
That’s actually a great question. It’s actually somewhat of a misconception that jr pilots don’t get what they want so let me explain.
As we always say SENIORITY is everything and that’s true but what that really means is that the senior folks get what they want when EVERYBODY wants it. Let’s take Christmas for example. The majority of pilots celebrate Christmas and want it off but only the most senior will get it because not everyone can. I however am Jewish so even when I was a newhire I had no problem getting Yom Kippur off because frankly most people don’t even know what that is. When I was at Xjt years ago EWR was the most jr base and most pilots didn’t want to go anywhere near it. I however lived 20min from EWR so I bid it and never had to commute ever. I upgraded faster and got the schedule I wanted because the majority of pilots left as soon as they could.
I could go on but I think you get the point. There’s no way of accurately answering your question now because what’s popular can vary by airline base etc but again as a rule, being senior simply means you get what you want when EVERYBODY wants the same thing. If what you want for whatever reason isn’t what others do, you’ll get it alot sooner than you think.
I would actually say there are a lot of schedule “quirks” for the airlines. Most of the systems are old and there are lots of little tricks that you can use to work your schedule how you like. I think scheduling is definitely a skill that you get better at with time. Of course it is limited based on your seniority, but I’ve found that if you know what you are doing you can often get what you want. This is of course only works if what you want isn’t what everybody else wants. If you want a vacation on July the 4th, Christmas, New Year’s etc…, you probably won’t get it until you are more senior. But a weekend trip with your family? Or a week off in February or October? Sure you can probably work that out, even if you are junior. My June schedule was probably the worst reserve schedule you can get (Tuesday to Thursday off each week). I needed some weekends off to go back home, so I swapped my reserve days. Now my June schedule is essentially exactly what I wanted. Probably not what anyone else wants, but it is perfect for me. I will add that this only works at the moment for me because we are over staffed on FO’s compared to captains. It will be different for each airline based on staffing, bases, etc…
You’ll find that new hires want to fly as much as possible, and those who are more senior want the most days off as possible. It is ironic because when you are junior on reserve you will be doing the least flying of anyone at the airline. You can always pick up overtime flying if it is available. What you consider a ‘desirable’ trip might not be for someone else. You might like mornings, but I am a night person, so what you want vs what I might want is different. When you bid for your schedule you can put trips with early mornings at the top, and if you are senior enough, you will get it. You’ll find that even on reserve you can often pick the time period that you want to work. At my airline we get to proffer (bid) each day on reserve for what we want the following day. I bid/proffer to stay as far away from early mornings as possible, and I get it most of the time. As Adam mentioned, being junior means you won’t get what everybody else wants, but it doesn’t mean you won’t get anything that you want.
Hopefully some of that makes sense!
Thanks Adam and Roscoe, that makes sense. I also get that the only way to know “what everyone else wants” is to actually start working at the airline. Hopefully I can be the weird guy. I am the weird guy at my current job where we have a backshift that most people want, so I’m usually the only one here first thing in the morning, which I like.
As the others have said, everything is based on seniority. If you’re junior, you’re going to get all the leftovers that no one else wanted meaning a less than ideal schedule. Once you get some seniority behind you, you can start to prioritize your preferences. SkyWest uses PBS like Chris was describing. You can tell it that you primarily want 2 or 3 day trips, you want early report times and mostly weekends off. Then the software will try and make you a monthly schedule that fits those parameters with what’s leftover when it gets to your line in the seniority list.
Feel free to check out the schedules section to get an idea of how my schedules progressively got better at Skywest as I gained seniority in base.
Do you know much about what people don’t like about the preferential system?
People that do not understand the preferential bidding system tend not to like it. Also, there were some advantages to the older way of bidding that would allow pilots to effectively turn a week of vacation into two weeks off. That advantage is largely gone with preferential bidding, but then the new system has advantages unto itself, so it is all a toss up.
I literally spent 2 hours this morning utilizing help services to make sure what I want gets translated correctly in to PBS language for July. My priorities aren’t all that complex but if you don’t know how to “communicate” what you want to the automated system, you won’t get what you want out of it even if you had the seniority to hold it.