When Pilots say “i’m on reserve” or my monthly guarantee is 70 hours for reserve what exactly does that mean?
Is it like a pilot who is guaranteed to fly everyday vs a pilot who only got hired as a back up/reserve?
For example, If I wanted to fly for Envoy air and I got hired as a first officer. (1)Would I have some days where i’m on reserve and other days where i’m scheduled to fly OR (2)they just hire me as full time guaranteed flying or just full time reserve pilot and no guaranteed flying?
I’m really struggling to word it but I’m having a hard time understanding it. Also if it’s the first option where there’s days i’m guaranteed scheduled to fly and days where i’m scheduled on reserve do you get paid on reserve and is it the same hourly rate as if you were flying?
Thank you, Androu
(I’m sorry if I didn’t word it properly it’s very confusing to explain)
There are two types of airline pilots in this world, those with “lines” and those “on reserve”. A line holder is somebody with a set schedule of flying that is awarded to them in advance. A reserve pilot has a set schedule of days they need to be available to the company, but not an actual set schedule of flying. On the days one is “on reserve” they need to keep their cell phone on them and be able to report to the airport within a set time frame, usually 2-3 hours.
A line pilot gets paid their minimum guarantee (70 hours or so), or what they fly, which can be anywhere from 70-95 hours. The same holds true for a reserve pilot, but it is harder for a reserve pilot to make more than their minimum guarantee.
There is usually no mixing of being a line and a reserve pilot. Typically reserve pilots are new hires that progress to being line holders as their seniority allows.
To add some to Chris and answer your question, Envoy (and all airlines) hire pilots, period. They don’t hire Reserve pilots or part-time pilots or anything else.
Every month pilots bid for lines (groups of trips they’ll fly for the month) and those lines are awarded based on your seniority (the more senior you are the better chance you have of getting what you want). Airlines also know that things happen. Pilots get sick, planes get stuck with maintenance or weather issues so they always keep a number of pilots available on “Reserve” for just in case. Most pilots want to know what, where and when they’re doing so they will usually bid a line. Those at the bottom will get Reserve. Probably the biggest drawback to Reserve is if you commute. Since you’re “on call” that means you’ll have to commute in and either get a hotel (or a crashpad, cheap shared apt) to stay at until you get called which you might not.
Now Reserve is not necessarily always bad thing. If your airline is staffed well and has many Reserves chances are you’ll get paid the 70hr (or 75) guarantee but only end up flying maybe 40-50hrs or even less. It also can sometimes give you the opportunity to get days off you couldn’t normally get again based on your seniority. For example I’m a mid seniority Capt. I would not have been able to get a line AND get Easter off, BUT, since Reserve generally goes junior I bid for a Reserve schedule and was able to get Easter off. Make sense?
Lastly most airlines also have long call Reserve where you’ll have a minimum of 12hrs notice which makes things alot easier. Also some airlines do have “mixed” lines will you’ll have trips on some days and Reserve on others.
So just to clear things up when you get hired your either a reserve pilot or a line pilot ONLY without a mixture??
So your monthly schedule won’t look like a mix of scheduled flights and scheduled reserve?
Thank you, Androu
You either get a full line or you don’t. If you don’t, you’ll be on reserve for the entire month.
You may have the ability to drop some reserve days to pick up trips in open time or pick up trips on your off days, but generally speaking, it’s one or the other.
No. When you get hired you’re hired as a pilot. After training you may only be able to get a Reserve schedule but depending on hiring you could get a line right away. Also (again) there are airlines that have a mixed lines where you’ll have both.
Do Reserves have the same pay rate as if you were scheduled on line?
Your rate is based on years of seniority, not reserve vs line holder.
A 3yr line holder and a 3yr reserve pilot have the same pay rate.
For example, you’re hired at X regional with a pay rate of $46/hr. You finish training and go right in to reserve because you’re the most junior pilot. You have 18 days of reserve spread out over the month and you end up getting called to fly 30 hours. You get paid the minimum guarantee hours (typically 75 hrs) at $46/hr.
After a few months on reserve, you finally get senior enough to hold a line. You have a schedule for the entire month with trips totaling 87 hours. Now you’re still getting paid $46/hr but now for all 87 hours you flew.