Real Answers from Real Pilots

September ‘19 Schedule

Tory

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Tory,

Thanks for the schedule post! Looks like a pretty busy month.

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Tory, in your experience, how long was it when you were a junior F/O before you could get a few weekends off or some of the weekend days off? Was it similar when you upgraded? I assume with pace of hiring with new classes each month that it probably comes relatively quickly in the current state of the industry. In putting together the discussion points for my young family as I explore this career and I just want to be realistic with them about losing weekends and holidays for the years as a junior pilot. My wife and I have worked the traditional 8-5 Monday-Friday schedule for our entire working life so this will obviously be a big topic of discussion.

Thanks,

Mike

Mike,

Before I share my personal experiences, I should preface that everyone’s experience is different. My experiences are not the norm and it’s hard to paint a clear picture. Horizon has two fleets and six bases. Each fleet and base are very different.

I’m on the 175, SEA based. I was hired around the same time that the 175s arrived. So, I had a line immediately after IOE. There was no waiting period to become a “relatively” senior FO.

Then I upgraded into the 175 as soon as I had 1000 hours. For perspective, the upgrade in the 175 is now 30 months. Who knows how long it will be when you hit 1500 hours.

I’ve been a CA for 8 months and I have a great line. I get most weekends off. I did not get Thanksgiving or Christmas off this year.

The current 175 FOs say that it’s taking them about a year to get a line. Getting holidays off is not an issue.

It’s hard for me to paint a clearer picture for you. I don’t have all the figures in front of me. Like I said earlier, it could all be different by the time you’re ready to cross that bridge.

What I’ve accepted is that I will celebrate the holidays when I can. I’m thankful that I have a family that understands. We’ve been able to work around my schedule.

Tory

Thanks Tory, I appreciate the candid response.

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Thanks for sharing your schedule in this awesome format. It appears you are based out of Seattle. Some of your days end in Everett. Without knowing where you reside, I would assume you don’t take a hotel when your days end at PAE, but rather take a cab home? If this logistically works for you, it must be a bonus. More nights in your own bed.

Kent,

That may work if I lived closer to PAE, but I live south of SEA in Pierce County. It’s not worth the time to make that commute. I have had my fiancé drive to Everett though.

Tory

Ah I see. South of SEA is a problem. Not worth the time or hefty cab fare.

I see how that could work for some regional pilots in the SEA region if they lived in the right location.

Thanks Tory!

Kent

As an experienced pilot, would you confirm that the work schedule takes a real toll on a relationship/family life?

Jaime,

It definitely can, especially when you’re new. As a new hire you’ll have minimum days off (usually around 12) and you’ll fly where and when the airline needs you to. You can forget weekends and holidays for a while as well.

If you have the supportive and understanding family it’s manageable, if not it can definitely put a strain on things.

Adam

Jaime,

I don’t have kids right now. Just me and my fiancé. My schedule is manageable. We work around it. That said, I wouldn’t say that I have felt the full toll yet. Ask me again after our first child.

Since there’s not much a pilot can do about their schedule since it relies on seniority, a supportive family can make all the difference.

Tory

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Jaime,

I think that being a pilot can actually have a very positive impact on your family life. Yes, I am gone for several days at a time and do occasionally miss events. That being said, I am off from work an average of fifteen days per month. That is 15 days where I have absolutely zero work responsibilities and am able to spend all day with my family. I challenge you to find many other jobs that allow for those kinds of days off.

Chris

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Chris thank you. That is my exact argument with my wife haha. In my current line of work sure I get to be with my family every night an hour or two before bed, but I only really get about 4-5 full days off to spend with them. Every other day (including my off days from regular duty) I’m working at my regular dept job or an Extra Job Assignment. Your info is much appreciated!

Please encourage your wife to join this forum. We won’t try to sell her on anything, just answer her questions in a straight forward manner.

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Will do! Thank you! Yeah she’d be a hard sale anyways :joy: