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Seniority System In Airlines  
User currently offlineAirWillie6475 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2448 posts, RR: 1
Posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 4465 times:

Does anyone out there believe that airlines could operate without following the seniority principle? A reserve F/O basically does the same thing as the most Senior Captain. I mean wheather you move up in flying position is not determined by your pilot skills or flying hours but whether you survived long enough in the company. What about merging airlines who drop pilots of the airline being bought eventhough the dropped pilots have more hours then the junior pilots of the buying airline. Such as AA and TWA where experienced TWA pilots lost their jobs. Can airlines operate in a different system or will it be seniority based forever?

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAloha73G From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2364 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4450 times:

Being that hiring new employees costs money, and the seniority system encourages employees to stick with their airline, it probably helps--in a way--to keep costs down. High turnover costs alot for companies so anythign that keeps employees from jumping ship is a good thing. Atleast that is probably the company's view.

Plus, and more importantly, the unions would never allow the seniority system to go away. (though I think that both unions and the seniority system should go away)

-Aloha!



Aloha Airlines - The Spirit Moves Us. Gone but NEVER Forgotten. Aloha, A Hui Hou!
User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2565 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4446 times:

Quoting Aloha73G (Reply 1):
though I think that both unions and the seniority system should go away

It's a nice thought, but it doesn't stand up to real life. The reason the unions wanted the current seniority system was one reason only - safety. If the airline management could pick and choose who gets to be captain then many pilots would 'push' things to make a good impression on the company; i.e. fly just a little longer than legal to get a flight done, dip below approach minimums to get to their destination, etc. This does happen today at a few small charter operation, corporate flight departments and such, because they don't have the seniority system. I have heard first hand accounts of pilots being fired, or not promoted when they refused to take a flight saying the weather was too bad, then the 'company man' took the flight. Most of the time the 'company man' makes it, but sometimes they end up a smoking hole in the ground.

After seeing the beginnings of this type of problem, the airline unions came in and made the progression from F/O to Captain strictly based on seniority, so the decisions on a flight's safety were made purely on that safety basis, not on the possibility of getting fired if the trip wasn't completed. The current airline safety record vs. other types of flying stands as a testament to that kind of thinking.

Yes, it sucks that if a company shuts down or downsizes you end up back at the bottom of someone else's seniority list. I've seen it happen to others before and have recently lived through it myself. But from a safety standpoint, I do agree with it.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineAirWillie6475 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2448 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4328 times:

What about the flight attendants? Like at UA if you take one of the popular flights you don't see F/As that are less than 40. The young F/As are more enthusiastic about the job and make the flight better but they aren't there because they were let go because of not enough seniority. Sometimes seniority doesn't promote better performing employees.

User currently offlinePH-BFA From Netherlands, joined Apr 2002, 562 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4313 times:

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Thread starter):
A reserve F/O basically does the same thing as the most Senior Captain

The captain has the final responsibility for the whole aircraft, crew, passengers etc. I think extra pay for them is perfectly acceptabel

PH-BFA


User currently offlineVuelingAirbus From Spain, joined Aug 2005, 113 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4291 times:

Very interesting threat. Thanks for posting it.

I was working for two companies with a senority list and now I am at a company which does not have one. And after several discussions with our managment piots about that topic i can sumarize that the lack of the senority system is more to prevent people from becoming upgraded if there are doubts about his character otherwise they still go from top to bottom. Meaning you still get promoted first if you are in the company for a longer longer time.

Changing ships as posted before is prevented by the salary increase which is still based on entry date. I have to totally disagree with the safety aspect mentioned in one of the posts. My current airline has a monitoring system for various paramenters (for example if you fly more than 250 knots below FL100 or if you are not stabalized by 1000 feet AGL and still land. You will receive an ACARS message to call the comany before you even reach the gate - back at homebase you find yourself drinking coffee in the chiefpilots office before you are going on your next flight). Most companies (at least in my part of the world) have a good safety culture and as far as i can observe it you will NOT jump seat from right to left if you bust minimums and so on.

After seeing both I tend to prefer a non senority based system because I think it is a little outdated. Nevertheless it has to be replaced by a working system to prevent people not getting promoted just because the boss doesn't like you.


User currently offlineJetdeltamsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2987 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4226 times:

When there are hundreds employee groups, and some employee groups numbering in the tens of thousands, seniority may be the only really fair way to go.

There are strong and valid arguments against the seniority system. I agree that in some people, the automatic progression of the career sort can diminish someone's performance.

I don't know. I just think it works best.



Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
User currently offlineFLFlyGuy From United States of America, joined May 2004, 244 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4123 times:
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Some one asked about seniority for F/As....

At most carriers, all F/As are qualified to fly just about anything the company throws at them (unlike pilots, who are qualified on a specific aircraft, in a specific seat).

Seniority determines WHERE we fly. Nobody wants to fly (as an example) LGA-YYZ turns, 6 legs a day. Therefore they go junior. Most would love to fly (for example JFK-CDG. Therefore those trips go senior.

I don't really see any other way of allocating trips besides seniority. Try telling the senior F/A that s/he cannot fly Paris this month because they are short on "pretty ones"....it would make the NW strike look like a lovefest!!

I would be interested in hearing anyone who has ideas of a BETTER system than seniority for allocating trips.



The views expressed are my own, and not necessarily those of my employer.
User currently offlineBucky707 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1028 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 4102 times:

having flown for airlines with both systems, I can tell you there are pros and cons each way. In the seniority based system, I have flown with captains who really have no business being in the left seat. Somehow over the years, they have managed to scrape by, avoiding a checkride bust. It's no fun babysitting a weak captain through a four day trip. However, at the airline that was not seniority based (actually it was a mix there, seniority for bidding schedules, but the company decided who was ready to be a captain) there were problems too. Guys/gals were being made captain simply because they were buddies with the chief pilot. Some pilots were denied upgrade because of a single incedent, like a pilot who refused a trip once because he was sick. And I remember from the Air Force, upgrade to aircraft commander was often very political, with nothing to do with a pilots skills. Both systems have flaws. I'll take the seniority system though, cause I don't want to be afraid that writing up a broken airplane or refusing a trip when I am too tired to fly will hurt my career.

User currently offlineAa757first From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3350 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4046 times:

Quoting Aloha73G (Reply 1):
Being that hiring new employees costs money, and the seniority system encourages employees to stick with their airline, it probably helps--in a way--to keep costs down. High turnover costs alot for companies so anythign that keeps employees from jumping ship is a good thing. Atleast that is probably the company's view.

Yes it does cost money. But it would be cheaper to hire a gate agent every say, four years where they are at around $12 an hour, instead of letting them get to the top, where they are at around $22 an hour.

Quoting FLFlyGuy (Reply 7):
Seniority determines WHERE we fly. Nobody wants to fly (as an example) LGA-YYZ turns, 6 legs a day. Therefore they go junior. Most would love to fly (for example JFK-CDG. Therefore those trips go senior.

I don't really see any other way of allocating trips besides seniority. Try telling the senior F/A that s/he cannot fly Paris this month because they are short on "pretty ones"....it would make the NW strike look like a lovefest!!

I would be interested in hearing anyone who has ideas of a BETTER system than seniority for allocating trips.

EOS will not have a seniority system. Maybe evaluations from colleages, mystery passengers and supervisors to determine a bidding number.

AAndrew


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 10, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3939 times:

Out here Unfortunately.
Promotions are Seniority based & not Performance based.  Sad in all sections.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineAirIndia From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1644 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3892 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 10):
Promotions are Seniority based & not Performance based.

Hey Mel, consider dying your hair grey.... you might just get lucky  Wink


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