Real Answers from Real Pilots

Who is better to work for?

What airline is better to work for American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, or United Airlines?

Gary,

All are very good airlines to work for. It’s sorta like asking, “which do you prefer, apples or oranges?”
Some may choose apples and some may choose oranges, but as I know the mentors on here would say, it’s whoever gives you a call back first (as all four are VERY selective).

Ok thank you

Gary,

There is an old saying that “the best airline is the one that hires you” and there is serious truth to that.

That being said, every airline has its own strengths and weaknesses. American is big in Latin America, Southwest pilots seem to get a lot of days off, Delta has a huge presence in Atlanta and United had a large international structure, amongst many other things. Each airline has its own contract with the pilots and there are differences in each, some large, some small.

As you progress in your career, you will start to get a feel for which airline offers the strong points that you are looking for.

Chris

Gary,
Without a doubt in that list, the “best” airline to work for will be the one that operates a base in a city that you are willing to live in or very close too.

Commuting to work can be easy and not a big deal, but there is surely a cost in terms of time/money that no airline can replace via a contract.

All airlines have provisions to pay premium pay for pilots to come in and fly a trip on short notice. Something that is basically only available to local pilots.

All pilots will stand at least a little reserve (either by choice or juniority) throughout their career, not commuting will allow that pilot to stay at home and conduct normal non-drinking activities vice the commuting pilot having to be away at their base awaiting call.

All of this will force the commuting pilot to delay upgrade (to make sure they have a tolerable schedule first), miss out on a majority of premium pay trips, and much more time away from home/family than the local pilot. I didn’t even mention the general “stress” of planning on making it to/from work on a weekly basis.

If the tradeoff is worth it due to other life factors, then many pilots put up with those costs, but there is a real cost.

So, bottom line, I work for one airline already, but if I were dead set on living in MIA, I’d work to get hired at AA, if I were sure I wanted to live in Houston, I’d look to SWA, UALfirst, and if I were sure I wanted to live in MSP , SLC, or especially ATL, I’d focus on Delta.

But in reality, I’d apply to all that I’m willing to work for, and then move to a base of the first company that hired me.