Seniority and should you wait?

Back in 2005 both Chris Carey and I interviewed at ExpressJet on the same day. We were both successful and offered FO positions and training classes a week apart. I remember Chris being quite emphatic about grabbing the earlier date. I wanted another week at home and chose the later. I also remember scratching my head wondering why Chris was so anxious to get that earlier date and when I asked, his response was the first time I ever heard the phrase “SENIORITY IS EVERYTHING!”. Frankly I didn’t quite understand what he meant? You see Chris’ father (and grandfathers) were and had been airline pilots. Me, I’d never actually met an airline pilot in my life and was jumping for joy to be offered a job period, but Chris had some very valuable insight.

Fast forward to today. This evening my airline sent out over 200 WARN letters. For those of you who don’t know what that means basically a law was passed back in 1988 called the WARN Act. In very simple terms it says if there’s a chance a company is going to layoff, furlough etc a number of employees they must by law give those employees at least 60 days notice. Now the reality is my airline will not furlough any where near that many pilots (if any at all). The airline is simply protecting themselves if things get uglier.

So what’s my point? Being a union rep I’ve been going through the numbers and the “possible” furloughs go back to a class approx 2.5yrs ago that had 10 pilots in it. Of those 10, 6 are safe, 4 are not. We’re not talking years, months, days here, we’re talking seniority within a single class and the dramatic difference that could potentially have on a career.

The moral of the story is there are plenty of potential pilots wondering if they should “wait” for an end to the pandemic? I understand some people have no choice, but if you can get a leg up by all means you should. You see back in 2005 I honestly thought Chris was just being a jerk, but in reality he offered me some very valuable information.

Not sure I ever said thank you?.. so thank you Chris!




I had completely forgotten about that incident. I remember my father telling me before I went to interview: “If they tell you that you can start today, just say yes and figure out the logistics of that later.”

Thanks for the memory, it seems so long ago now.