Real Answers from Real Pilots

What Benefits for the airlines?

Hello. I’m currently 28 and training to get my PpL. It’s always been a dream of mine to fly. So my question to those who are in the major airlines or even those who did regional. Do you love it? What were the highlights in that airlines? The lowest point? What are the benefits you received from that airline? Where can I find info on those benefits for that particular airline? What kind of benefits should I be on the lookout for? My goal has always been to fly for AA but I don’t want to miss out on flying for a better airline like United or Delta just because I aimed for AA. I just want to know what regional I should aim for so it’ll be easier to get into the 3 legacy carriers, any advice is appreciative!

Franklin,

I love my job. I’m currently a Captain on the E175 at Horizon Air. For me, the job itself, the people I work with, our training department, and the days off are the best part of the job. The worst part is the schedule, but that’s no surprise. Seniority dictates one’s quality of life at any airline.

Check out www.airlinepilotcentral.com. They should list the benefits offered under each airline’s profile.

I would choose whichever regional that can provide the best quality of life for you. I appreciate the fact that you’re looking ahead, but the reality is that some pilots never make it to the majors. Taking that into consideration, you should aspire to fly for the regional that you see yourself retiring from, because that could be a possibility.

As you are still a student, the best way that you can set yourself up for success is to do the absolute best you can right now. Check out the FAQ section on this forum for more helpful information.

Tory

I appreciate you being honest with me and I’m glad you love the job. I’m going to stay positive and work for a major airline but I will keep an eye out for being in the regionals as well. I’ve clicked on the link but everything on the site looks like stuff for cargo pilots. Any idea which subject I focus on on the site?

Select regional, major or legacy in the drop down menu.

Tory

Franklin,

I do love the job. Of course like any other job it has its upsides and downsides, but overall I do really enjoy it. The highlights for me have been getting paid to see the world, I particularly enjoy going to SLC, SFO, SAN, DUB and FCO. It sounds cliche, but I also love the view. The downsides have been mostly self induced. I have chosen to be a commuter and have come to regret that decision. I would encourage anybody to move to where they are based, you will have far more time at home if you do.

The benefits at the airlines are largely inline with what most major companies provide, health, dental, disability and death insurance, along with of course pass travel benefits and pay. The website Tory provided you will be the best source of pay information.

I also agree with Tory on the regionals. Hopefully you will make it to a major, but pick a place that you enjoy working at in the meantime.

Chris

KDUB, KFCO! Wyoming! Rochester!

I was thinking more EIDW and LIRF, Dublin Ireland and Rome, Italy :slight_smile:

Much better - lol

Edward,

I have to say though, while I do like the Romes and Dublins of the world, I have always enjoyed the smaller cities as well. I used to love flying to San Louis Potosi and Oaxaca in Mexico, along with Saint John’s Newfoundland in Canada and Burlington, Portland (ME), and numerous other smaller towns across the U.S. I try to enjoy anywhere I go.

Chris

Franklin,

I too love my job. That said I do know pilots who don’t. That’s why I believe it’s important to really have a passion for flying. For those who don’t it’s just a job and therfore when you hit one of the lows you might look elsewhere. The highs are most days I get to fly. As I said I truly love it. The lows are probably industry downturns like we’re experiencing now. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never been furloughed but I have been downgraded (and came pretty close this time). I know pilots who decided it’s just not worth the sacrifice and uncertainty and bailed.

As for benefits most carriers have similar levels as we all look at eachothers contracts. I think you’ll find when you get closer your decision will be more based on bases, equipment or just fulfilling a lifetime goal. There’s an old saying the best airline is the one that hires you.

Adam

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Oh that’s a really interesting saying. Honestly I would be happy flying for whatever airline, I’ve just heard growing up that certain airlines like delta will treat employees amazing and United treat their staff like slave drivers, and American dips into both lol. Can you explain to me the bases? For example I live in Miami and if I applied to AA will my interview be at DFW or MIA? If I got the job do I choose what bases I want to stationed at? Or am I put in whatever bases needs pilots? Every shift bid do I need to bid for my base? Or is it just once a year?

Franklin,

I fly for United and can say that I have never felt like I was treated poorly. In fact, I think UAL treats us rather well. I have heard those stories about this airline or that airline, but at the endow the day most of us have unions and that prevents anybody form being treated any different than any other airline.

Your interview with an airline will be wherever they are conducting interviews, typically at their simulator training buildings, it does not matter where you live or where you might be based. IF you get the job, you will be allowed to bid which base you want. If you do not initially hold your desired base, keep bidding it as airlines usually have system bids a few times per year. Once you do hold your desired base, you generally cannot be shifted from it unless the airline shrinks that base and you are displaced from it.

Chris

Awesome! So let’s say I pass the interview and they let me bid but the only choice was ORD and JFK. Can I bid later to switch to MIA? Or something else?

Franklin,

You may have heard us say SENIORITY IS EVERYTHING at the airlines. What base you get, which airplane, your schedule, your pay, EVERYTHING is determined by your seniority. To answer your question periodically airlines have bids to adjust staffing and you’re able to bid for different airplanes, bases and upgrade. If you’re senior enough to hold an open slot you’ll get it, if not you won’t.

Adam