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USA Airline Pilot Yesterday V. Today  
User currently offline26point2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 848 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 7 months 14 hours ago) and read 4627 times:

I'm at year 24 in my professional aviation career. At year 2 I had a wonderful opportunity to take the Biz Jet fork in the road. With the help of a lucky break or two it's been a fun ride...so far.

When my career was just getting started in 1989 a job with United and the like was the Holy Grail of aviation. You were "set for life" as they say. Sadly this is not the case any more, or so it seems.

Many of my peers ended up with the US majors and I don't hear any of them boasting about how great they've got it anymore. Just a lot of griping about contracts/unions/management, etc.

What's it like for a pilot working at a major US carrier these days? Are you happy with your job? Do you look forward to going to work in the morning?

Not interested in smart a$$ comments from frustrated pilots. Just asking for some honest feedback.

[Edited 2013-04-25 11:35:12]

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 9 hours ago) and read 4384 times:

With the TSA, management and union issues and all the mergers most of the fun has been taken out of it. Has been since around 2002 or so. The general public tends now not to show so much respect to flight crews usually equating them with bus drivers, which is a huge insult.

There are a lot of pilots out there who given a second chance would have chosen another career path if they knew what was to come down the road later in their careers.


User currently offlineDualQual From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 786 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 9 hours ago) and read 4370 times:

I still enjoy flying airplanes and am excited about the potential of my company and will be even more excited when we get a management that is interested in actually running an excellent airline.

User currently offlineUnited727 From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 412 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (1 year 7 months 9 hours ago) and read 4370 times:

Quoting type-rated (Reply 1):
equating them with bus drivers, which is a huge insult.

and exactly what's the difference between you and a "Professional Motor Coach Operator"...Driver is outdated and derogatory!

More recently, I've heard several cock jocks refer to their jobs as no different than working for Greyhound...in some cases, even worse!

[Edited 2013-04-25 16:40:28]


Looking for the impossible way to save those dying breeds!!!!
User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (1 year 7 months 8 hours ago) and read 4238 times:

And in a lot of cases the actual flying is what keeping some pilots out of retiring early, but just barely. It certainly isn't the same job it was even 20 years ago.

User currently offlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7109 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (1 year 7 months 8 hours ago) and read 4224 times:

Just out of curiousity, what was it like 20 years ago compared to today, can you guys give examples? I'm genuinely interested in what has come of the industry. I hear from some of the captains I fly with about how things were much better back then and would like some of your thoughts. I know the public perception for a start for those in the job was different to what it is today.

I have nothing to compare it with being still in my twenties so it would be interesting to find out.


User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (1 year 7 months 4 hours ago) and read 4018 times:

Quoting United727 (Reply 3):

and exactly what's the difference between you and a "Professional Motor Coach Operator"...Driver is outdated and derogatory!

the training for one thing. Pilots spend years and years gaining the experience necessary to land that airline job. They have sacrificed incomes and a lot more just to get to that airline interview. Think of the training an ATP goes through to get that ticket is about the same as a human doctor has.

A "Professional Motor Coach Operator" has training, but not as intensive and as long as pilots do. And a bus driver has no need to learn different instrument approaches and NAV systems nor have as complete a knowledge of their equipment as a pilot is required to. And the list goes on and on. So it is insulting to call an airline pilot a bus driver simply because you don't take the education into account. But I will have to admit, I have never heard a pilot referred to as a "Professional Motor Coach Operator".
I think it's just unwieldy to use when speaking or people who pilot planes through the air. So most people just use the term "bus driver" instead.

Now there is nothing wrong with being a "Professional Motor Coach Operator". But they don't have to have nearly as much training as an airline pilot does. But they can be expected to have a similar level of professionalism.

[Edited 2013-04-25 21:27:57]

User currently offlinezbbylw From Canada, joined Nov 2006, 1991 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3789 times:

Quoting type-rated (Reply 6):

the training for one thing. Pilots spend years and years gaining the experience necessary to land that airline job. They have sacrificed incomes and a lot more just to get to that airline interview. Think of the training an ATP goes through to get that ticket is about the same as a human doctor has.

A "Professional Motor Coach Operator" has training, but not as intensive and as long as pilots do. And a bus driver has no need to learn different instrument approaches and NAV systems nor have as complete a knowledge of their equipment as a pilot is required to. And the list goes on and on. So it is insulting to call an airline pilot a bus driver simply because you don't take the education into account. But I will have to admit, I have never heard a pilot referred to as a "Professional Motor Coach Operator".
I think it's just unwieldy to use when speaking or people who pilot planes through the air. So most people just use the term "bus driver" instead.

Now there is nothing wrong with being a "Professional Motor Coach Operator". But they don't have to have nearly as much training as an airline pilot does. But they can be expected to have a similar level of professionalism.

One major point I feel you left out is the experience. When you are heading into an airport with a Thunderstorms in the terminal area, many aircraft holding as your fuel keeps diminishing or when you're going into an airport with vis at minimums and the winds crossing the runway gusting above 30 (YYT is a fun place) and you can not take the into wind runway because only 1 has a CATII... there are so many more operational issues and things to think about then when your next gas stop will be.

Not to be disrespectful to our Motor Coach Movement Engineers but the job is so entirely different. However, one of the more difficult part of our job for some is the travel and schedule which I must agree that outside of fighting time zone changes Bus Drivers are also subject to them and will miss their husband/wife or kids birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, anniversary all in the same year! That being said many make due, Christmas in January is a bit of a family tradition (growing up in an airline family before I got in myself), Birthdays when you get time together it's usually harder on the person left at home though (airline pilot's divorce rates are rather high).



Keep the shinny side up!
User currently offlineDashTrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1549 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3756 times:

Cockpit door closed, best job in the world.

Cockpit door open, crappy job.


User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5293 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3724 times:

I know pilots who were saying in the 1990s that the job they wound up with wasn't the job that they aspired to as kids in the 1970s. Deregulation really ruined the job. Airlines used to cater to people who knew how to act and dress for air travel. After deregulation, every Tom, Dick, and Harry was getting on a plane, clueless as to how to dress and behave. For those who did fly before deregulation, they still expected 1970s on-board service while paying LCC fares.

The legacy carriers were under greater pressure from Wall Street to make money, since the CAB wasn't setting fares based on cost of operations. So, when airlines like Southwest, ValuJet, Kiwi, Reno Air, the second National Airlines, and both the first and second Midway Airlines were undercutting fares, it just made management more inclined to offer little or no improvement in contracts.

Lastly, for pilots who were exposed to flying in the 1960s and 1970s, they probably expected to be flying widebodies as captains, when they were past age 50 or so. Unless you are flying international, you probably are flying a 737 or A320. Even flying international, you could be flying a 757 to Europe, an A320 to the Caribbean, or a 737 to Latin America.


User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3599 times:

Back in the 60s & 70's job security was a big plus that helped draw people into aviation careers. If you got hired and behaved yourself you could retire with a small fortune and got to that point with a minimum of hassle while being paid a nice salary. I'll agree that deregulation helped kill that sacred cow. There is a saying now that you can't consider yourself an airline pilot until you have at least three uniforms in your closet and three ex-wives. And two of those uniforms will probably be for defunct carriers.

Also airlines were smaller back then and you knew more of your fellow crew members. Nowadays if you are a first officer you may not see the captain you had on your flight this morning for a few years or so simply because airlines are so large these days. It's gotten more impersonal than it used to be.

And one big thing I have noticed. It used to seem that people that worked for airlines considered themselves to be part of a psuedo airline "family" no matter what carrier you worked for. That feeling has now became somewhat of an "us" vs "them" attitude. I think this is due to more intense competition and the stress put on employees these days.


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