Real Answers from Real Pilots

September 2016 Schedule

In September I flew a full schedule and had 20 days off, not bad :slight_smile:

  1. Off
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  6. EWR-BOS, BOS-EWR, EWR-BOS
  7. BOS-DEN, DEN-PDX
  8. PDX-DEN, DEN-EWR
  9. EWR-ORD, ORD-SMF
  10. SMF-IAH, IAH-SAN
  11. SAN-EWR
  12. Off
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  16. EWR-PHX
  17. All day in PHX
  18. PHX-ORD, ORD-LAX
  19. LAX-MCO, MCO-EWR
  20. Off
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6 Likes

Hello Chris,
I’ve read seniority is everything in multiple posts on here so is it safe to assume that rookie FO will most likely fly most weekends and holidays until seniority is built?

Evelyn,

That is correct. As you build seniority you will have more control over your schedule, to include having weekends and holidays off.

Chris

That’s what I figured. Could you give some insight of what your schedule is like during the holidays? I imagine it’s busier than usual.

My schedule for January is a great example of the seniority system:

R=reserve day

I am super junior (bottom 10%).

At United we are slightly busier, but not too much. As a senior first officer I have several days off around Christmas along with New Year’s Eve and New Years off. I also had several days off for Thanksgiving.

Chris

Hi Yarden. How long do pilots typically stay on reserve at SkyWest before holding a line? Does SkyWest have long call outs or does it depend? Thanks!

John

John,

Reserve time at SkyWest right now is all over the place. Since we have 12 domiciles and 2 aircraft types, the range of reserve times is very big.
I was hired in August of this year on the CRJ and I finished training last month (November). I just got a reserve line for January but I am hoping to have a line at least by March with the spring break increase in flying. If that happens, it will be a total of 3 months on reserve.
On the other hand, I have a few friends that have been here for over a year on the ERJ, and they are still on reserve and are expecting at least another 6 months before they can hold a line.

The majority of reserve lines are short call (2 hours), but there are a few long call (12 hours) lines here and there. The most important thing is that there is barely any ready reserve (sitting at the airport), which is not so fun.

Yarden

Yarden, thank you so much for the schedule you provided!!! I found that most helpful. Did you get called while on reserve? Do you do fly the max allowed hours on reserve? Just curious.

Evelyn,

I actually have been flying a decent amount. But I believe it is because it is a holiday month and the bad weather we had here in Chicago. A lot of commuters couldn’t make their show times and also a lot of people just don’t really want to work right now.

Yarden

Do you get to go “home” on most days? Do you fly deep into the night? Do pilots mostly fly during the day if not flying international?

What is SkyWest’s commuting policy like? You said some folks couldn’t make their show times. Do you get a few “passes” per month if you make a good effort to commute in but can’t?

United allows two uses of the commuting policy per year, but there are certain restrictions that must be met such as two flights, with open seats that get you to work 90 minutes prior to your scheduled time. If you do use the commuter policy your trip is dropped without pay. In twelve years of commuting I have never once used the policy, I always make sure to be there and allow myself plenty of excess time when the weather hits.

Pilots fly at all hours of the day, regardless of international or domestic. Domestic flying does favor day time flying, but there are plenty of very late nights and all nighters, too. The airline industry runs 365 and 24/7.

I would say that I am gone from home about 15 nights per month. Look at my various schedules and you will get a good idea of what work life is like.

John,

Hawaiian has no commuter policy right now (we’re in contract negotiations and trying to get one) which means you get to work or you don’t get paid. Enough “miss-trips” and you get to spend some quality time with the Chief Pilot.

Adam

3 Likes

Evelyn,

Personally I’m an early riser and really don’t enjoy flying late at night. When I was at ExpressJet I bid for trips that started and ended early (again a benefit of seniority). When I first got to Hawaiian I flew Inter-Island and was home every night usually by the early afternoon which was great, Now that I fly internationally, based on the departure and arrival times virtually every return flight is a red-eye. As you can see your schedule can vary tremendously based on the operation.

Adam

Adam,
Thank you for your input! I am also an early riser and would like to be on earlier flights but I know that comes with seniority.

1 Like

Evelyn,

Actually it really depends. There’s this perception that until you gain seniority you can never get what you want which is not correct. Until you build seniority you can’t get what EVERYBODY else wants. For example Thanksgiving. Pretty much everyone wants to spend Thanksgiving with their family so no you probably won’t be having Turkey with the family the first few years but when it comes to other things it’s not so clear. Some pilot bases are more senior than others based on the “desirability” of the location. Now when I was first hired at ExpressJet no one wanted to be in EWR so it was a very junior base. BUT I’m from NY and EWR was only 25 min from my house so I got exactly what I wanted right off the bat. If you don’t have children and like working weekends, again it’s not what everyone else wants so no problem. If as you say you’re like me and are an early riser I can tell you most people are not. Most of the pilots at the Regionals are younger and don’t like getting up early plus the early trips are not commutable so guess what? You may be pleasantly surprised. Make sense?

Adam

Adam, makes perfect sense and thank you for the response!

How many hours did you fly for each leg/day? Is there pay for prep time not actual flight hours? When does the clock start for flight hours? What time of day was it for each leg? Airlines pay biweekly or…? Do you have crew quarters to sleep in or do you have to use hotels? If a hotel is it paid for by the airline? Food costs paid by airline or out of your own pocket? Lots of questions I know , but thanks in advance. :wink:

1 Like