Seniority and Changing Airlines

With all the seniority talk lately, I figured I’d contribute another burning question. Let’s say a pilot has advanced themselves up the ranks within a certain major airline over several years and now has a very comfortable schedule, QOL, etc… If they were to move on to a different major airline for whatever reason (relocation, family commitments, etc) would they start from the very bottom again and basically wipe out everything they’ve worked for? Or is there some kind of transition program where they schedule them based on their overall experience? Is there such a thing as senior pilots who have made that kind of move later in their career?

Adam my friend,

You’re not listening! Seniority is seniority is seniority, and seniority starts the day you’re hired at A SPECIFIC AIRLINE and does not transfer, period, end of conversation. Doesn’t matter if you’re Sully, helped design the Boeing 747, were the Chief Pilot, head Check Airman etc etc etc. You leave and go to another airline you start at the bottom next to the guy who was flight instructing at ATP last week.




Got it, and I do apologize for (probably) making you want to shake me by the shoulders! :sunglasses: :+1:t3:

Last thread from me on seniority, I promise :slightly_smiling_face:


No apologies and honestly if you’ve never operated in a pure seniority based system it can be difficult to wrap your head around. My whole life every job I ever had was merit based and I too struggled some with the concept. Ask away.


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Yeah, it’s a long story with my whole philosophy on it, but if I was in your industry I’m sure it’d be much different. I’ve been working in hospital support staff for the last few years, between the SF Bay Area and Las Vegas. I’ve done fairly well for myself, but one of the organizations I was with was VERY infatuated with the concept of seniority and promotions, and it drove me absolutely nuts to see some of these people with such a lazy, underachieving attitude get promoted strictly based on how long they’ve been there. Not much desire to excel in life, but going with the ‘put your time in and you’ll be taken care of regardless of performance’ concept. Obviously the airline industry is MUCH different, you either dedicate and educate, or you’re gone.

For me this is a HUGE motivator to pursue something I’ve always been truly passionate about since I was 10 years old. Plus, being able to acquaint myself with those that wouldn’t change their careers for anything in the world. It’s a huge uplifter every time I think about it, and I’m really looking forward to getting started. Currently looking into Hillsboro Aero Academy out of Oregon for PPL, then hopefully ATP once PPL is complete.

Speaking of which, does anyone know what happened to the ATP school in Vegas? Really wish they hadn’t ditched the program. I appreciate everyone’s help :slightly_smiling_face:

Keep in mind that at the airlines, everybody takes the same checkrides, has the same training, and is held to the same standards. When all people are equal, seniority is the only fair way to distinguish amongst the group. Also, we do not want to get into a situation where pilots are ranked differently based on abilities, that would be a Pandora’s box.

I am not sure why the Vegas location closed, but I can tell you the company routinely evaluates locations and typically decisions to close or move a location are based on things like taxi times (less taxi means more flight time for you), airspace congestion and of course location performance. While less convenient for you, I am sure there was a valid reason. I seem to remember years ago hearing issues about the very high temperatures and aircraft performance in Vegas.