Real Answers from Real Pilots

The Majors

Hey i’m new to the forums and interested in learning at ATP and wanted to ask about flying at the major level. If I want to work for a specific airline do I have to live near the headquarters of that airline or could I live near any airport where that airline has a base and still work?

Lorri,

One of the perks of the job is you can literally live ANYWHERE you like. I fly for Hawaiian and we have only one base in HNL. We have pilots who commute from Japan, Australia, and Maine and Alaska. As a pilot you have the ability to jump on any of your companies flights (and most other airline’s as well) for free. BUT, the caveat is it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re at work, on time and fit to fly. Depending on where your base is, how busy that base is, how many flights go in and out of that base etc that can be either a no-brainer, a major challenge or anything in between, but it’s your choice.

Adam

Oh okay thanks for clearing that up. Also I haven’t read anything about how most airlines handle maternity and paternity leave. Do you or any pilots you know have experience with that?

Lorri,

Well, you did find your way to an all male, mentor forum, so our knowledge is only so good on this, but FMLA applies to pilots just like to everybody else. I think for the female pilots they are able to use sick and vacation time to extend that a bit.

Chris

Lorri,

As Chris said we’re all dudes here but I have heard from me female friends most airlines have pretty good maternity leave policies. Unfortunately I’ve also heard that the airlines are lagging when it comes to paternity leave so as Chris you’d have to use FMLA.

Adam

One thing I was wondering lately is whether the Legacy carriers prefer to hire from the regionals or the LCC’s. Does the progression go Regional -> LCC ->Legacy? I presume that LCC pilots would have more hours.

Moustafa,

I haven’t seen any preference given either way. Not sure why you would think LCC pilots would have more hours than the Regional guys? Unless of course they’ve been flying for more years. Most Regional pilots start applying when they upgrade to Capt. Some get picked up immediately, some don’t. Those who get frustrated waiting will often then go to an LCC as a step up. In my mind however, other than maybe a little more money it’s almost a lateral move because they’re still just trying to get to a Major.

Adam

Thanks for your answer Adam! I guess I thought that LCC guys at Frontier or Spirit for example would be more attractive to Legacies because they have more hours on the types of airframes the legacies fly. (A320 for example) Either way, its promising to hear that there isn’t really a preference.

Moustafa,

I am going to disagree with Adam a bit on this one. I have started to see more and more pilots going to the LCCs in between the regionals and the majors. It is a great way to get larger jet time and make a pilot more attractive to the major airlines. I find that LCC pilots usually have a few thousand hours more flight time than regional pilots do.

Chris

Chris,

I’m going to disagree back at you :slight_smile: They do usually have more hours BECAUSE they’re the guys who didn’t get picked up directly from the Regionals. BUT, if you look at 2 pilots who’ve been flying for say 8yrs, but one has been at a Regional the whole time vs one who did 5 at a Regional and then 3 at an LCC I believe their TT will be comparable. That said I believe I got picked up by Hawaiian faster than some people I know who went the LCC route because they liked the fact I wasn’t looking to jump around vs sticking with a single carrier and working my way up the food chain (FO, CA, Instructor).

Adam