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How Easy Is It For Pilots To Pick Routes They Want  
User currently offlineDL767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 4908 times:

I'm wondering how easy it is for pilots to pick certain routes.

The reason i want to know is because i want to become a commercial pilot. I would love to fly for either Hawaiian Airlines or Delta and would like to fly out of SAN (that's where i live now and i would like to not have to leave). So what i'm wondering is how hard will it be for me get hired and fly out of SAN in the beginning and later.

Thanks

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineStillageek From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 73 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 4908 times:

Schedules at airlines are all based on Seniority. The better the schedule/overnights/days off...the more senior the pilot that generally gets it. I don't think any airlines are based out of SAN so the most you would do out of SAN is an overnight or a turn.

User currently offlineDL767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting Stillageek (Reply 1):
Schedules at airlines are all based on Seniority. The better the schedule/overnights/days off...the more senior the pilot that generally gets it. I don't think any airlines are based out of SAN so the most you would do out of SAN is an overnight or a turn.

I was thinking if they had bases in LAX i could start and end my flight out of SAN. Or just try and fly for an airline like Hawaiian where i could fly out of SAN to HNL or OGG.

My friends dad is a pilot for UA and he said that he is based in DEN but lives in SAN and commutes to DEN to start his flights


User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8894 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 4908 times:

You could always commute from some place like LAX too - non-rev on the quick hop SAN-LAX and fly from there; plenty of airlines have pilot bases out of the Los Angeles area, and push comes to shove, it's not the hardest place to get to from San Diego if all the non-rev flights are full (a couple hours drive).

Bottom line is that seniority drives where you fly from. At the bottom of the totem pole, you won't get a whole lot of choice - it's about where they need you, not where you want to be. At least you can always commute to your base.


User currently offlineDL767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting DeltAirlines (Reply 3):
Los Angeles area, and push comes to shove, it's not the hardest place to get to from San Diego if all the non-rev flights are full (a couple hours drive).

That's true and i would have the option of SAN/CLD to LAX and there is always the jump seat if i can't get an actual seat on the flight


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2821 posts, RR: 45
Reply 5, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 4908 times:

Flying from Hawaii to the mainland (or vice versa) is generally quite senior. Unless there's a base in SAN you will have to commute. LAX is the most reasonable place for you to commute to. Don't think you are the only one who wants to fly to HI; this is generally not an entry-level position, but of course things could change.

I flew Hawaii a lot, but it took me 15 years to get senior enough to hold it when I wanted it as an FO. It is a bit more junior now (though not enormously so) at my carrier.

Does this answer your question?


User currently offlineBoeingFever777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 409 posts, RR: 54
Reply 6, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting Stillageek (Reply 1):
Schedules at airlines are all based on Seniority. The better the schedule/overnights/days off...the more senior the pilot that generally gets it.

 checkmark 

From what I know and what my uncle tells me everything at an airline is based on SENORITY for pilots.

My uncle is high enough that if not a Air-ckeckman for his carrier, he is high enough on the senority list to sit line on the Hawaii routes. (his favorite)



Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre.
User currently offlineDL767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting PGNCS (Reply 5):
Flying from Hawaii to the mainland (or vice versa) is generally quite senior. Unless there's a base in SAN you will have to commute. LAX is the most reasonable place for you to commute to. Don't think you are the only one who wants to fly to HI; this is generally not an entry-level position, but of course things could change.

I flew Hawaii a lot, but it took me 15 years to get senior enough to hold it when I wanted it as an FO. It is a bit more junior now (though not enormously so) at my carrier.

Does this answer your question?

Ya that does help, I do know that most people would like to fly to Hawaii (who wouldn't!) but i would like to stay in SAN if possible. How hard is it to be based in LAX (if you are hired by an airline with a base in LAX)?


User currently offlineDRAIGONAIR From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 708 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 4908 times:

Everything is possible, i know someone who lives in Canada and is a pilot for KLM (works 80%) and goes to Holland the day before he has to actually fly.

But wouldnt your first priority be to get your wings and then see where you end up? IF you also really want to be a pilot then it shouldnt really matter which airline you can start as long as you can start somewhere, right?

good luck anyways and San Diego sure is a nice city, hope to get to do an IFR trip on a Piper to KSAN soon! (depends if instructor wants to go!)

cheers

Nick



cheers
User currently offlineDL767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting DRAIGONAIR (Reply 8):
But wouldnt your first priority be to get your wings and then see where you end up? IF you also really want to be a pilot then it shouldnt really matter which airline you can start as long as you can start somewhere, right?

Yes that's true, I honestly don't care who i fly for or what i fly as long as it flies. I am obviously willing to fly anywhere for anyone if i have to but i would eventually like to end up in SAN on a route that i really like


User currently offlineDRAIGONAIR From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 708 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks ago) and read 4908 times:

Nice..any ideas yet on which flight school you want to go? Are there good ones in San Diego?
Phoenix there are some good ones maybe you can have a look there!



cheers
User currently offlineDL767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting DRAIGONAIR (Reply 10):
Nice..any ideas yet on which flight school you want to go? Are there good ones in San Diego?
Phoenix there are some good ones maybe you can have a look there!

I have already decided which one i'm going to use (I can't remember the name to save my life haha) but the guy who owns it was one of my dad's clients and told us a lot of what we need to know. I'm going to be doing my flight training out of CLD because it is about ten minutes from my house and will be perfect.

I did look at some flight schools out in phoenix but i want to try and stay in san diego if it's possible.


User currently offlineKAUSpilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1958 posts, RR: 33
Reply 12, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4908 times:

I'm on reserve, have been for almost two years now. I have no control whatsoever over what routes I fly.

User currently offlineDashTrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1520 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting KAUSpilot (Reply 12):
I'm on reserve, have been for almost two years now. I have no control whatsoever over what routes I fly.

OUCH!

It is all based on seniority. Where you fly has to do with what line, or block you are awarded each month. If SAN is on that line, you'll fly there. You can look at the individual trips in the bid lines and bid accordingly, but seniority rules. I always tried to bid long ABE overnights to take advantage of Tally Ho's. Didn't always work, but I did pound a few from time to time in there.


User currently offlineAirbuster From Netherlands, joined Mar 2007, 441 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting DRAIGONAIR (Reply 10):

Lekker bij SATC of bij OAT?

In the states you need a lot of seniority to hold a route, in europe it is different, anyone can request any route, for example i have put into our scheduling system a continuos request to operate the route to Venice, and i get it a lot, but sometimes they schedule me on something different, and reserve periods are divided amongst all pilots. Much nicer that way.

And about location, you can live anywhere, especially if you fly long haul. You could be living in San Diego en go fly cargo for 2 weeks, and then dead head back home for example...

Flying is the best job in the world and i nearly always go to "work" with a smile! Enjoy it and do your best!

rgds

AB



FLY FOKKER JET LINE!
User currently offlineFlyMIA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7125 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting DL767captain (Reply 7):
Ya that does help, I do know that most people would like to fly to Hawaii (who wouldn't!) but i would like to stay in SAN if possible. How hard is it to be based in LAX (if you are hired by an airline with a base in LAX)?

My best advice is to just take it one step at a time and try not to worry to much about where you will be flying in 3-5 years get all your ratings and licenses you need and graduate with that 4 year degree. Than you can start worrying about where you want to fly. But realistically pilots don’t have much of a choice of where they are based and even what airlines they fly for. With the state the industry is in right now you cant be too picky in what airline you want to fly for. 98% of pilots just send resumes to many airlines and hope to get a job. But of course when you fly for an airline as long as your not on reserve you can always live just about where ever you want in the country and comute to work.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineTheGreatChecko From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1128 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4908 times:

Don't forget about luck...

Where you end up, where you are based, your quality of life, ability to pick up commutable lines (start late, end early), etc. is all seniority based, but your relative seniority is luck. I've got friends who are going on their second year of reserve and I'm relatively senior where I work, I could not have called this a year ago.

Keep on flying, keep the debt low, the perseverance high, and you'll do alright in the end. Remember that might be 20 years from now or more!

Oh and don't PFT, it just doesn't make sense.  Wink

Checko



"A pilot's plane she is. She will love you if you deserve it, and try to kill you if you don't...She is the Mighty Q400"
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 17, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4908 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR



Quoting DL767captain (Reply 9):
Yes that's true, I honestly don't care who i fly for or what i fly as long as it flies. I am obviously willing to fly anywhere for anyone if i have to but i would eventually like to end up in SAN

So why limit yourself to the airlines? If you don't care who you fly for, and one of your main goals is to be based in SAN, why not work toward a pilot position at a locally-based corporate or charter operation? There's a lot more to the aviation industry than the airlines...  yes 

2H4



Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2821 posts, RR: 45
Reply 18, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting DL767captain (Reply 7):
Ya that does help, I do know that most people would like to fly to Hawaii (who wouldn't!) but i would like to stay in SAN if possible. How hard is it to be based in LAX (if you are hired by an airline with a base in LAX)?

It depends on what airline hires you, how big the base is, how good the trips are, etc. This is really impossible to quantify with so many variables. As with anything else it is all seniority based. As an example, I am in a relatively small base now, flying Captain on equipment that I like, but because it's small and desirable, and despite being here for 18 years I am on reserve with zero ability to influence where I go or when I go somewhere. I will fly on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. I could hold an excellent schedule if I wanted to commute to a different base (I don't), and could be an international widebody Captain elsewhere as well. I have done all the international (and Hawaii) flying that I want to do, and am very happy where I am right now. These are the choices everyone has to make for themselves when they bid, and no two people have exactly the same viewpoints.

Quoting DL767captain (Reply 9):
Yes that's true, I honestly don't care who i fly for or what i fly as long as it flies. I am obviously willing to fly anywhere for anyone if i have to but i would eventually like to end up in SAN on a route that i really like

See my above example: if you really want to live in SAN you can always commute, but you may have to do so for your entire career. Likewise you should eventually be able to hold something you like, but it may take a while. Don't expect that what you THINK you want to fly now will be what you ACTUALLY end up desiring when you get there; chances are it won't.

Quoting FlyMIA (Reply 15):
My best advice is to just take it one step at a time and try not to worry to much about where you will be flying in 3-5 years get all your ratings and licenses you need and graduate with that 4 year degree. Than you can start worrying about where you want to fly. But realistically pilots don’t have much of a choice of where they are based and even what airlines they fly for.

This is probably the soundest advice that you can take away from this thread. Take this one step at a time. You have no reason to worry about flying to Hawaii from SAN at this point.

Quoting TheGreatChecko (Reply 16):
Don't forget about luck...

An absolute truism.


User currently offlineZappbrannigan From Australia, joined Oct 2008, 247 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4577 times:

Someone has already said it - but I'll back it up. I got into flying at a slightly later age than a lot (about 25) and had a good level of professional maturity when I entered the industry (for the record, I'm a charter pilot, so I don't fly any of the big stuff - hopefully with the word "yet" included). All I heard from the 17-19 year olds doing their commercial training at the same school as me were discussions on what type of jet they want to fly, and for what airline, over what routes - to the point where guys who hadn't even got their PPL yet were making statements like "I'm not going to fly Airbus if I can help it", or "I'd fly for Cathay or Singapore, but there's no way I'd fly for Emirates, I don't like Dubai, although I'll think about it if I ever get a job on the 777 cause I really love that aircraft".

I believe you will get far more enjoyment out of flying if you don't attempt to script your career - because anybody who's been around for a while knows unless your dad owns the airline, it's not going to work out exactly as planned. I see young guys now that are getting depressed because they've been in general aviation for 18 months more than they wanted - and complain that they're ready to fly jets and are getting sick of the industry.

Setting hard time limits like this in your mind will set you up for failure. I'm NOT saying it's no good to have a goal - it's great, and you should have one. But don't get too specific at this stage. Get your quals and ratings, work hard, don't make enemies, and enjoy flying for the brilliant thing it is. Accept the fact that you may have to pick up and move around a lot, and that you may be on less money than you'd like, for longer than you'd like. You'll get where you want to go with the right attitude - but take everything one step at a time.

Last comment - if you're only really prepared to fly the one small section of routes, in the one area, then aviation is probably not for you. As most others have said, this is the kind of choice that comes with high seniority at an airline. It's like joining the Army and not wanting to get posted anywhere except your home town - it's not going to happen in the early or mid stages of your career unless you're amazingly lucky. These are the small sacrifices that have to be made - but just think of it as a big adventure.


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2821 posts, RR: 45
Reply 20, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 4562 times:



Quoting Zappbrannigan (Reply 19):
I believe you will get far more enjoyment out of flying if you don't attempt to script your career - because anybody who's been around for a while knows unless your dad owns the airline, it's not going to work out exactly as planned. I see young guys now that are getting depressed because they've been in general aviation for 18 months more than they wanted - and complain that they're ready to fly jets and are getting sick of the industry.

This is an extremely good post. You have hit the nail on the head about career expectations. I have also seen more entitlement mentality in the junior ranks of the profession lately; although far from universal, it's definitely more common that it was 15 years ago. I recently had a regional FO on my jumpseat who was bitterly complaining that the time to upgrade had recently gone from 12 to 24 months, and he was so BORED in the right seat.

Quoting Zappbrannigan (Reply 19):
Last comment - if you're only really prepared to fly the one small section of routes, in the one area, then aviation is probably not for you.

 checkmark   checkmark   checkmark 


User currently offlineKAUSpilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1958 posts, RR: 33
Reply 21, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4487 times:



Quoting DashTrash (Reply 13):

Ha, thanks for the sympathy. Sadly it'll probably be two more years, if not a return to lineholder by default via downgrade.


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 22, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4479 times:



Quoting DL767captain (Thread starter):

Airline crew schedules don't work like that and to be able to start and finish your trips at your home airport is very rare. Often you need to commute to your starting point and commute back home. Also, if you have your heart set on staying in SAN you're in the wrong business. Aviation is VERY transitory and most everyone moves many times in their career.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineDL767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4370 times:



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 17):
There's a lot more to the aviation industry than the airlines...

Yes I've thought about that and am looking into it, one advantage of the airlines is a 777 is much large and much more fun in my book. But yes CLD has a few charter companies as well as SAN I just need to look around and see what there is.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 18):
I have done all the international (and Hawaii) flying that I want to do, and am very happy where I am right now. These are the choices everyone has to make for themselves when they bid, and no two people have exactly the same viewpoints.

That is very true, I have talked to a lot of pilots at Delta who are flying an MD-80 even though they have been there for a very long time, they just like the short hops that get them home at night (because of their seniority).

Quoting Zappbrannigan (Reply 19):
I believe you will get far more enjoyment out of flying if you don't attempt to script your career - because anybody who's been around for a while knows unless your dad owns the airline, it's not going to work out exactly as planned.

That is very true, I do know that i may not get what i want in the beginning or even 20 years from my starting day with the airline. I really don' mind not getting the exact route i want as long as i am flying, i'm just trying to understand the way airlines work so i will be ready when/if i get hired.

Quoting Zappbrannigan (Reply 19):
Setting hard time limits like this in your mind will set you up for failure. I'm NOT saying it's no good to have a goal - it's great, and you should have one. But don't get too specific at this stage. Get your quals and ratings, work hard, don't make enemies, and enjoy flying for the brilliant thing it is. Accept the fact that you may have to pick up and move around a lot, and that you may be on less money than you'd like, for longer than you'd like. You'll get where you want to go with the right attitude - but take everything one step at a time.

I totally agree, right now flying SAN-OGG on a 767 is nothing but a goal, mostly because i understand how competitive the airline industry is and that it could happen some day but i don't know how long it will be until it does happen for me. All that truly matters to me is having a job with an airline that actually pays me a decent wage and let's me fly their multi million dollar jets.

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 22):
if you have your heart set on staying in SAN you're in the wrong business. Aviation is VERY transitory and most everyone moves many times in their career.

I have my heart set on returning to SAN, i know i probably won't be able to start here but after living here my whole life i would always love to be able to return, no matter how long it takes.


All these posts are very helpful and i thank you so much. I know the question i posed makes me sound like i only want to be a pilot if i can stay in SAN and fly what i want when i want but that is honestly just a goal, a dream job. It could happen for me but i know that it also might not and i am prepared to be happy just flying jets.

I do have one more question just to try and understand the business, if someone is based in LAX lets say, do all his routes start in LAX then eventually end in LAX (possibly on a different day)?


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 24, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 4318 times:



Quoting DL767captain (Reply 23):
I have my heart set on returning to SAN

Then your heart will be broken.... I've been in this business 13 years and have moved 4 times.... 3 times with the same company. You move, its part of the package....but as a pilot it makes it a little easier



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
25 PGNCS : Almost always, and normally on a different day, yes. Some airlines have co-terminals where you may start at EWR and return to LGA or JFK; in Californ
26 TheGMan : All airline positions are all about seniority. Also, how many scheduled 767s does SAN have a day? I would imagine SAN is a very difficult place to lan
27 Meister808 : Yeah you gotta give some and take some... I'd take those CF34s blowing my ass around the stratosphere, but then again I tell the kid in my Seminole w
28 AA388 : Is it good money??
29 PGNCS : No, I told him how long I had been at my carrier and then asked how long he thought I'd been a Captain. After hearing the (very long) upgrade time he
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