Real Answers from Real Pilots

Random Questions

Hello guys I have some questions but I apologize they are pretty random and don’t really connect to each other, anyway

  1. when your flying a route what happens if an emergency comes up at home? What I’m thinking is what if your wife is having a baby is there a way to get home if your on a route? I know your a professional and your job is to fly but life happens sometimes is there a way that airlines compensate for that?

  2. are flow throughs a good thing? I see some of the regionals have flow through agreements but it also says that not all the flow throughs make it to the major. I see envoy says you can flow through to American in 6 years so will it really take that long? Do you sign a contract or something for the flow through? If a regional didn’t have a flow through could you possibly get hired at a major sooner?

  3. how often could you change you base? I would really like to live in the Denver area, I wouldn’t mind commuting so if that’s a senior base how often could you try to change bases to say Denver?

I know those are pretty long questions, I hope they all make sense! Thank you for taking the time to answer!

Jesse

Jesse,

Random questions, but good ones. Let’s get to them.

  1. This has actually happened to me. We are professionals and our job is to fly airplanes, but the airlines understand that we are people to and that a happy family life makes for a better employee. In fact, our managers at United are very good about always putting family first. If you are on a trip and something comes up, a simple call to scheduling can get you off the trip and on your way home. The airlines has reserve pilots stationed around the country and can usually get somebody to cover the rest of your trip pretty easily. Now, if you are overseas, say in Europe, the vast majority of those cities only have flights once or twice per day, so the fastest way home might be to wait and fly your assigned flight home. The airlines will do their best to get you home, but if you are on the other side of the world there is only so much they can do. When my wife was pregnant, I tried to only fly domestic trips as she neared her due date. I was actually taking a check ride in Denver when she went into early labor with my twins. I was given the option of leaving right away, but I knew I was going to miss it either way, so I finished the check ride and flew straight back to Virginia. My kids were born while I was inflight, but thanks to onboard wifi I knew about it.

  2. Flow throughs are a great thing, they can help reserve you a spot at the majors and take a lot of that uncertainty out of your career. However, I believe most of the new flow through agreements have built in outs for the airlines, so if you do something stupid like get a DUI, fail numerous check rides, etc, they don’t have to hire you. So it is not a guaranteed spot, it is a guaranteed opportunity. Remember that the numbers that the recruiters at places like Envoy are putting out there are optimistic and using the best case. It really would be hard to put an exact number on how long it will take you as so much can change in the industry and can do so rapidly. I don’t believe there is a contract per se to sign, it is usually part of the contract that the union negotiates with the company. It is definitely possible to get hired at a major outside of the flow through faster, especially if you build some good connections. Bottom line, I wouldn’t place too much stock in a flow-through, but they are certainly a great added bonus.

  3. At United we have about six “system bids” per year to where pilots can bid to change airplanes, bases, and positions. So every six months, you can try to get in, of course there has to be a vacancy there and that is not always the case. Denver is senior for us, especially on the Captain side, but most First Officers are able to get there within a year or so. Most people do not play musical bases, once they get to where they want to be they tend to stay there, but some do bounce around, especially the single ones.

Those were great questions and were the kind that this forum was intended to answer. Keep asking things as they come up!

Chris

1 Like

Thank you Chris! I know those were random thanks for answering them! I guess I’m still confused on the flow throughs but maybe I’m over thinking it. When you have an opportunity to get hired at a regional do you choose to do the flow through or can you opt out? If you do opt out of the “flow through” program is there a chance you could still be hired at that major? So at that point might it be better to opt out as you could potentially get hired faster? I feel like I’m over thinking this process but I can’t quite make sense of it thank you for the input!

Jesse

Jesse,

You’re definitely over thinking this. Choose a regional that fits your needs (location, aircraft, upgrade time etc) WHEN the time comes. Have you built your 1500 hrs and you’re ready to apply? If not EVERYTHING can change tomorrow. Right not you should focus on getting trained and becoming the best pilot you can. Not what may or may not be 1- 2-3yrs from now.

Adam

All of the flow throughs that are out there have specifics that are unique to that airline. As Adam said, I wouldn’t worry about it now.

Thanks guys! I had my intro flight last Monday and it was awesome I hope to be starting at ATP in April!