Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
What Is It Like Working For A Low-fare Carrier?  
User currently offlinePilottim747 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1607 posts, RR: 4
Posted (12 years 10 months 7 hours ago) and read 6441 times:

I've read and heard a lot about working for the majors and regional carriers. I don't know much about working for low-fare carriers.

With the growing popularity I'm wondering what is it like working for low-fare carriers (I'm specifically interested pilots of LCCs). How do the schedules, pay and benefits compare to the majors?


Aviation Photographers & Enthusiasts--Coordinate your life.
21 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSIN747 From Singapore, joined Aug 2003, 59 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (12 years 10 months 7 hours ago) and read 6406 times:

Not wanting to be provocative, but I find it interesting that almost without exception, employees of the world's "legacy" carriers are the higher paid, and less worked, yet less "happy. Conversely, those at the successful LCC's are paid far less (even with profit share), work more hours on less attractive schedules, and are happier!

User currently offlineStarFlyer From Germany, joined Sep 2002, 987 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (12 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 6380 times:

Welcome to A.net! Interesting point of view. What are your observations based on? If I was working more than someone else and got paid less (all that for the same job) I would certainly not be happy.
Maybe its an attitude thing, it could just be a better climate at those LCCs?

Yours truly - StarFlyer
User currently offlineAIR757200 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (12 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 6354 times:

What is it like working for a LCC?

Well, I wouldn't know, but if someone has dedication to their job, I'm sure they would enjoy working at either a LCC, Major, or Regional.

[Edited 2003-08-08 06:38:01]

User currently offlineFutureCEO From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 6336 times:

I think much of it has to do with how the employees are treated by management. I've experienced some bad management in the past and I much rather get paid a little less and work more then have to work for someone that really doesn't care about me. Take jetBlue for example. Dave Neeleman is very good to his employees and actually takes time out to get to know them and spend time with them. How many CEO's of other companies, let alone an airline, do that? I work for a rather small company compared to jetBlue and I have never met our CEO.


User currently offlinePER744 From Australia, joined Mar 2003, 405 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (12 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 6304 times:

I suppose it is the same as many industries.

I used to work for a low-cost telco. We all got paid less than we would have working at one of the majors, and had more to deal with, but the place was fun to work at. It was a far less formal working environment and there were less layers of management and had less bureacracy.

Low cost companies in many industries are generally underscored by a fresh, vibrant approach, rather than sticking to tradition.

User currently offlineUAL Bagsmasher From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 2153 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (12 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 6282 times:

I for one can tell you UAL is the epitome of a big bureaucracy. You have countless layers of supervisors and managers and you name it. A simple request for a wage verification for example can take weeks to get after talking to a dozen people. A real example of how hard it is to get anything done at UA is as follows:

After my second furlough they were supposed to pay 90 days of my COBRA. Well I go to fill a prescription the other day, and guess what? I have been going without health insurance since June because UA didn't file the appropriate paperwork. No one told me anything. I had no idea that UA was screwing me out of health insurance. The same thing happened last time I was furloughed. This time after making a dozen calls ( no I am not exaggerating), I think I got the problem under control. In the process, I also learned that UA no longer covers our health insurance for 3 months after layoff. They cover the first month, then we have to pay a subsidy for the 2nd and 3rd months. Not only did UA not process my insurance coverage, they didn't even send me a letter saying I would need to pay a subsidy. Had I not spent 2 hrs on the phone doing THEIR work, I would have never known. It's things like this that make me wish I worked at a small outstation for some tiny airline. I'm sick of all the red tape and BS involved with big companies such as the aforementioned one. Maybe my second furlough is a wake up call to move to greener pastures.....

User currently offlinePilottim747 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1607 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (12 years 10 months 4 hours ago) and read 6215 times:

So how much less do employees (pilots for example) get paid at low-fare carriers? And how much more do they work each month? I'm curious about the numbers.


Aviation Photographers & Enthusiasts--Coordinate your life.
User currently offlineRaven111 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 106 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (12 years 10 months 3 hours ago) and read 6194 times:

Well I can tell you for a fact that when there are layoffs going around and a VP comes to you and says not to worry because nothing will happen to you,
DON'T BELIEVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Especially if you work for ACA.

"The secret to my success is that I always managed to live to fly another day." Chuck Yeager
User currently offlineFrntman From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 212 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6097 times:

I work for a LCC and I absolutely love it!

I have worked for larger carriers, but didn't feel valued or appreciated.

Once a month on a Saturday, at our corporate headquarters, our CEO holds an open forum to address anything anyone wants to address.

In addition, a member of the executive team will visit each outstation during the year and hold a similar open forum with the employees.

The pay, as previously mentioned, is not as high as the majors, but we all knew what we were being offered when we signed on. The flight benefits are awesome! Better than the major carriers that I have previously worked for.

User currently offlineTransGlobal2 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 88 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 6045 times:

I recall reading on JetBlue's website that a new pilot should expect to make $52,000 their first year.

User currently offlineM717 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 608 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 6016 times:

I have been a pilot for one "legacy" carrier, another that qualified for "major" status as defined by the DOT, several "regionals", and currently for one of the leading LCCs.

As far as job satisfaction goes, it's much better working for a progressive, growing company where everyone is working toward the common good. Where the moral is high and there is very little complaining about the company going on in the cockpit.

We have a very good contract for a company operating 117 seat aircraft, with provisions for larger ones. Our pay is competitive (see the link below for a comparison), our benefits are good as well, with the standard insurance package and a company funded retirement plan, as well as a 401(k) which we can also contribute to, if desired. We have work rules in our contract which allow us to be productive, but which protect against scheduling abuses.


All in all, this is a very good place to work. I think many others agree, based upon the thousands and thousands of resumes we have on hand from qualified pilots seeking work here. Many are from current or former major airline pilots.

User currently offlineWestJetYYZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5917 times:

I find it very rewarding to be able to work for a company that is actually making money, even in the face of very bad times for aviation. I really love my job, and I love going to work everyday. It's great to work for a company that treat's it's employees well (even though we're not well paid). It's great to work in an atmosphere where having fun and enjoying your job is encouraged. The actual JOB itself isn't any much different than working for any other airline... same responsibilities, same tasks... but the environment makes all the difference.

User currently offlineDoug_or From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3586 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5860 times:

I'm not sure pilot pay is all that diffrent in the US after all the wage reductions the big 6 have had.

When in doubt, one B pump off
User currently offlineCanadaEH From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 1341 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5806 times:

What is it like? It's great! While I haven't had the chance to work for a major carrier, in these times I don't think I want to. It's no secret that we make less than major carriers, but we are happier and we do care more about our jobs.

Why do I like working for Westjet? Twice a year we get profit-share checks. How awesome is that? It's incentive for us to be successful at what we do, and ensure that we (as a company) remain successful. Because in the end, the better our company does, the bigger our profit-share checks will be.  Smile

We are also allowed to participate in the Employee Share Purchase program (ESP) which Westjet matches dollar for dollar.

Aside from money, however, the best part about working for Westjet is the people. I met my CEO (Clive Beddoe) a year ago and had a chance to talk with him for a little while. Who would have thought that seeing him again a few months ago that he would still remember me and know my name!? He took the time to make sure I was happy with what I was doing and ensure that everything was going ok. What CEO would take the time to socialize with his workers like that? I'm nobody special, and believe me when I tell you this, our higher management go out of their way just to visit and socialize with their employees. Going that extra mile is Westjet's philosophy, and our management sure do set amazing examples.

Can I find one thing I don't like about working for a LCC? No, I can't.

Pilottin747: While everyone has their own opinions, I can assure you that if money is all you are after, don't go the way of a LCC. If you want to enjoy what you do, work with people who enjoy what they do, and work for a company that cares about you, by all means, join the party! To answer your question about schedules: from what I understand, schedules are very flexible, and I do believe you get to choose when you want to work. The pay, like I said, is obviously not the best, but definitely not the lowest. However, the benefits we receive (profit-share, ESP, interlines) make up for the lack of pay.

I hope that gives you a better idea about what it's like to work for a LCC, I know I certainly have no regrets!

User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5752 times:

It partly depends on the LCC you work for and what your position is. Further, if you've worked for one company that you really liked, you may have difficulty fitting in at another one, even if it is run similarly.

I had this problem switching from Vanguard, which I really, truly loved, and AirTran, which I liked but wasn't as thrilled about.

Both are LCCs. Both were comparatively relaxed in atmosphere. Both were operating similar aircraft and had many similar (but not always the same) procedures.

I got along all right with AirTran, but I have come to realize since working for Vanguard how much more fun I had with my job, how much more I enjoyed working there, and how much better our MCI ramp was than almost any I've seen since (and that includes FL's ATL ramp, sorry!).

But I think what has been said is right: I didn't like working for Vanguard at first. Its atmosphere was very traditional, run by an Ex-Navy Admiral. The management didn't much care what the employees thought. We weren't well paid at all (I was earning $6 an hour in reservations in 1999). But that changed when Jeff Potter and later Scott Dickson took over and gave the company a whole new direction and "feel".

There are a lot of new studies showing that job-satisfaction is much more important to employees these days than compensation. At least here in the US.

Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineM717 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 608 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5729 times:

"how much better our MCI ramp was than almost any I've seen since (and that includes FL's ATL ramp, sorry!)."

The ATL ramp operation is by far the weak spot in our whole operation. In fact, the ramp in ATL (and from stories I hear from ASA guys, it's not exclusive to AirTran) is one of the worst I have seen in many years of airline flying. It just seems like there are never enough people to do the job. On weekends, it's even worse. Hopefully they are trying to address this, but I think there is only so much that can be done.

User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5693 times:

Concourse C must have been cursed by Eastern's rampers. Having worked for both AirTran and ASA, their weak point was their ramp operations. Many of the rampers have the attitude that they can call out and nothing will happen. Something does happen, gates end up working short staffed, and that causes delays. Both airlines' rampers have a sense of apathy towards getting flights out on time. There were many a flight that started loading bags 5 minutes before departure (this was before 9/11 and the positive bag match). I guess you get what you pay for in terms of who you hire.

User currently offlineCanyonBlue From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5648 times:

I now work for jetBlue and used to work for American. The differences are amazing.

1. At American we didn't have supportive management
2. At jetBlue it is expected to have fun while at work
3. At American we were LUCKY if we EVER saw profit sharing. There seldom was ever a profit
4. At jetBlue we are well informed and well taken care of. This reflects on our amazing customer service and our tremendous profitability.

When I was at American I was "OK" with my job but I want to be able to retire from jetBlue after a long and enjoyable career.

User currently offlineCanadaEH From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 1341 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5577 times:

CanyonBlue, I know we share the same feelings, Westjet and JetBlue are VERY VERY similiar companies. Best of luck buddy, the good times have only just begun!!

User currently offlineWestJetYYZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5552 times:

Well said CanyonBlue and CanadaEh...

User currently offlineTheHangarCat From Canada, joined Apr 2002, 87 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (12 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5492 times:

I agree with the fellow WestJetters there. Sensible Management, careful well thought out expansion, constant information, and a sharp manner of weeding out people who don't have the WestJet attitude. No one says "That's Not my job" and no one gets a job because they've been around long enough to qualify for it, only based on performance.

Isn't it nice to know that if you work hard and people see it , you might be able to advance in the company? not just because they owe you something.

WestJet is a good company to work for, 4 years later and I still have a smile on my face and prepared to do what it takes to get those planes out on time.

Hey Adrian, check your communications about Stby travel. good news.
The Hangar Cat

If it Ain't Boeing, I ain't Going!
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
JNB: What Is It Like For Spotting? posted Sun Oct 26 2003 12:33:13 by Pe@rson
What Is It Like For 14 Hours In A DL MD-11 In Y? posted Sun Feb 3 2002 03:05:07 by Airplanetire
Dornier 728 - What Is It Being Used For? posted Wed Oct 25 2006 21:27:34 by DeltaDAWG
Upgrade From B763 To B777- What Is It Like From A posted Wed Jun 21 2006 21:29:33 by Brucek
Qatar Airways' Flight Attendant - What Is It Like? posted Thu Dec 29 2005 17:14:16 by Sobelair
What Is It Like As An Air Traffic Cont. At ORD? posted Tue Oct 12 2004 18:15:49 by 7E72004
SAS: What Is It Like? posted Tue Mar 9 2004 02:08:15 by Ozzie
Las Vegas McCarren What Is It Like? posted Mon Nov 10 2003 19:48:01 by AATriple7
What Is It Like To Fly To St. Barth? posted Tue Sep 16 2003 11:52:56 by Mozart
What Is It Like On A Beech 1900? posted Sun Jun 9 2002 00:00:16 by MCOtoATL