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Seniority Question  
User currently offlinec5load From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 917 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 9012 times:

Hi everyone,
My father has been working for NW (DL) for over 16 years now, and has been a captain on the DC-9 for ~11 years. Yet it still seems like he has to sacrifice a lot of his time for a reserve schedule. I was talking with him last night, and he was telling me how when he bid for December and wanted off for Christmas, that he had to be "on call" for three of his trips. And he will only be off for about a four day span over Christmas.

Now, I have no idea about the ins and outs of pilot scheduling and all that jazz, but just because NW merged with DL, that shouldn't mean that seniority on the DC-9 should change, so why would he still have to battle for holidays off with 16 years seniority. How much do you have to have to "write your own schedule"?


"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineflyhossd From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 908 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 9001 times:

That's a huge question and there are different answers for different carriers and even different equipment, positions and bases within the same carrier.

The airline business is very cyclical. Right now, the industry is still largely suffering from the economy AND pilots are still being impacted by the change in the mandatory retirement age from 60 to 65. In other words, at most carriers, there is relatively little movement in the pilot ranks and there won't be significant movement until the economy improves and pilots are again forced to retire by an age limit.

I had last Christmas off, but due to increased flying (without increased staffing), I'll be working Christmas this year.

Be thankful that your father is a Captain at a solid carrier.



My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2834 posts, RR: 45
Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 8995 times:

I have 20 years of seniority with my airline, and as a narrowbody Captain am on reserve on Christmas (and on the three days before and two days after Christmas.)

16 years doesn't mean anything if there are people higher on the seniority list with more. With the DC-9 fleet shrinking as people fall off the bottom of the positions on the DC-9, it will almost assuredly get more and more senior. He can prepare for more of the same or go be more senior on something else. That's just the way it works, and you have certainly not provided any information that makes me think that the DL integration made a difference either way.

Where I work you need a lot more than 16 years to write your own schedule as a Captain. If he wants to get his dream schedule it sounds like he needs to go back to the right seat.


User currently offlinec5load From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 917 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 8824 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 2):
With the DC-9 fleet shrinking as people fall off the bottom of the positions on the DC-9, it will almost assuredly get more and more senior.

That's what I figured. But people falling off the bottom doesn't mean anything to his seniority, only people off the top. My fear is that by the time he gets toward the top of the seniority list on the -9, that it will be retired and he will have to move to another frame, therefore going all the way back to the bottom, even right seat probably. I just think that sucks.



"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 8821 times:

Quoting c5load (Reply 3):
But people falling off the bottom doesn't mean anything to his seniority, only people off the top.

That how a seniority list works....

Quoting c5load (Reply 3):
My fear is that by the time he gets toward the top of the seniority list on the -9, that it will be retired and he will have to move to another frame, therefore going all the way back to the bottom, even right seat probably. I just think that sucks.

Welcome to the airline business



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5057 posts, RR: 43
Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 8778 times:

By virtue of the seniority system itself, he has a better schedule the everyone junior to him, and worse than anyone senior to him. It is very transparent, and if he does not, it is usually a scheduling error, and that error is almost always caused by the pilot!

But understand, that is not system-wide, but solely on the aircraft type he flies, in the position he flies and from the base he flies. Change any of those, and he can do better or worse, but ... that is HIS choice. If he wants to "write his own schedule", he can bid a smaller aircraft (if they exist), bid First Officer, or fly from a less desirable base.

That is the advantage of the seniority system, the options and choices are all up to the pilot.

To give you an example, a Gentleman in my initial class 25 years ago, is an EMJ Captain in YYZ, (number 1 out of 195). He makes about $145,000 a year, works 9 days a month, and has Dec 21-31 off using only days off. Another buddy from my class, is an A320 Captain in YYZ, (number 120 out of 390). He makes about $175,000 a year, works 12 days a month, and has Dec 23-28th off, using only days off. Then there is me .... B767 Captain in YYZ, (number 115 out of 120!), I work 12 days a month as well, make about $210,000 a year and I am working 5 days over Christmas and will spend Christmas in Tel Aviv. We all have roughly the same seniority, but have made very different choices.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineYYZRWY23 From Canada, joined Aug 2009, 561 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 8761 times:

I know an EMJ pilot in YYZ. I don't know his salary, but he has been a Captain for a few years. He is also an instructor on the EMJ, so he doesn't do nearly as much flying as he could/would. And even if he did, he e-mailed me before a recent trip and he said that all he can bid is 4-day trips, everything else goes out more senior. Now I don't think he likes 4-day trips very much. it is a long time away from the family, and let's face it, I am sure 4 days of flying is exhausting. Especially when one day alone was YHZ-YOW-YEG, then the next day was YEG-YOW-YYZ. But as he said, the better trips (and less reserve) go out senior.

It is unfortunate that people have to work over Christmas, and for you longhauler, be halfway across the globe. I am hoping to enter the aviation industry myself (albeit in Flight Operations as a Dispatcher), but luckily my religion only calls for time off in September and April, and I will gladly work Christmas so that others can be home for the holidays.

YYZRWY23



If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.
User currently onlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4212 posts, RR: 37
Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 8748 times:

Your dad is a 1996 hire- and the 1995/1996 hires at NW made out like a champ in the seniority list integration! He has the bidding power to hold MD-88 captain anywhere in the system, as well as junior 737 captain and I'm sure junior A320 captain as well.

If the airplane were to be retired, you do not go to the bottom of another category- that is the beauty of seniority. You go to where you stand in relation to others by virtue of your seniority number. When a category closes or you are "displaced" as we call it in Delta land, you in essence get super seniority! You pick where you want to go and as long as there is someone junior to you, you can bump a junior person out of that category (then they get to do the same thing with where they want to go and so on.)

email me at xtopgun41x@yahoo.com - it's not as bad as it seems, and a 16 year captain in today's slowly recovering environment is a decent thing.



Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5057 posts, RR: 43
Reply 8, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 8701 times:

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 6):
I know an EMJ pilot in YYZ. I don't know his salary, but he has been a Captain for a few years. He is also an instructor on the EMJ, so he doesn't do nearly as much flying as he could/would. And even if he did, he e-mailed me before a recent trip and he said that all he can bid is 4-day trips, everything else goes out more senior.


Yes, seniority rules! The top of the heap on the EMJ are doing long turns, YYZ-YLW-YYZ, YYZ-YYJ-YYZ, etc, and working 9 days a month. In the summer, with YYZ-SEA-YYZ, they can work only 7 days a month. Bottom of the heap, they are working 16 days, four 4-day trips.

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 6):
It is unfortunate that people have to work over Christmas, and for you longhauler, be halfway across the globe.


Yes, but that was my choice. With no kids, and a partner that can make up his own schedule, it really doesn't matter when I fly. For Christmas, he is coming with me to TLV, a beautiful place any time of year!

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 6):
I am hoping to enter the aviation industry myself (albeit in Flight Operations as a Dispatcher

That is a very interesting career. If I could not have been a pilot, that is likely where I would have gone.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2834 posts, RR: 45
Reply 9, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 8685 times:

Quoting c5load (Reply 3):
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 2):
With the DC-9 fleet shrinking as people fall off the bottom of the positions on the DC-9, it will almost assuredly get more and more senior.

That's what I figured. But people falling off the bottom doesn't mean anything to his seniority, only people off the top. My fear is that by the time he gets toward the top of the seniority list on the -9, that it will be retired and he will have to move to another frame, therefore going all the way back to the bottom, even right seat probably. I just think that sucks.

People falling of the bottom of the category DO make a huge difference to pilots in that seat. As planes are retired and the junior pilots are removed from those positions and trained on other equipment, if the company keeps the same percentage of reserves in the category, more senior pilots get closer and closer to reserve and get worse and worse schedules; trust me: I have been bumped off the bottom of a seat more than once. His seniority may be system-wide, but within the DC-9 Captains, he will get more and more junior as that fleet shrinks and there are fewer and fewer DC-9 pilots. Your father did quite well in the DL/NW integration if he was a 1995/1996 NWA hire: he can certainly look at other options is he wants to "write his own schedule."

Quoting longhauler (Reply 5):
But understand, that is not system-wide, but solely on the aircraft type he flies, in the position he flies and from the base he flies. Change any of those, and he can do better or worse, but ... that is HIS choice. If he wants to "write his own schedule", he can bid a smaller aircraft (if they exist), bid First Officer, or fly from a less desirable base.

   Exactly. This falls under the category of "bid what you want, but want what you bid."

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 7):
Your dad is a 1996 hire- and the 1995/1996 hires at NW made out like a champ in the seniority list integration!

  

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 7):
email me at xtopgun41x@yahoo.com - it's not as bad as it seems, and a 16 year captain in today's slowly recovering environment is a decent thing.

He is doing VERY well at his seniority at a legacy carrier.

[Edited for spelling.]

[Edited 2010-12-04 08:31:07]

User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8668 times:

Count your blessings C5. Some are not so lucky. My dad is a CAL captain on the 737 with 20 years or right around there. He is fairly senior but there are still folks ahead of him. Sure, he could be making more money on a widebody and he would still be able to hold the left seat but it's about QOL.

Back when I was an intern at ASA, the #1 guy there overall was flying the ATRs. I mean, the guy could have been #1 left seat on the CR7 making more money but the ATR trips is what he loved.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5057 posts, RR: 43
Reply 11, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8668 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 9):
As planes are retired and the junior pilots are removed from those positions and trained on other equipment, if the company keeps the same percentage of reserves in the category, more senior pilots get closer and closer to reserve and get worse and worse schedules; trust me: I have been bumped off the bottom of a seat more than once. His seniority may be system-wide, but within the DC-9 Captains, he will get more and more junior as that fleet shrinks and there are fewer and fewer DC-9 pilots.


That is only the case if he is "frozen" on the type/base/position. That happens sometimes when an aircraft type is being retired. But ... being senior, he could if he chose, leave the aircraft to other types before someone junior does.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineiairallie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8664 times:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 5):
will spend Christmas in Tel Aviv.

That was me a few years ago. Mikes place (I believe that is what it is called been a few years) caters to ex-pats and does a "traditional" Christmas dinner. It was interesting the food was so-so but the company and festivities were great.


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2834 posts, RR: 45
Reply 13, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8657 times:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 11):
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 9):
As planes are retired and the junior pilots are removed from those positions and trained on other equipment, if the company keeps the same percentage of reserves in the category, more senior pilots get closer and closer to reserve and get worse and worse schedules; trust me: I have been bumped off the bottom of a seat more than once. His seniority may be system-wide, but within the DC-9 Captains, he will get more and more junior as that fleet shrinks and there are fewer and fewer DC-9 pilots.


That is only the case if he is "frozen" on the type/base/position. That happens sometimes when an aircraft type is being retired. But ... being senior, he could if he chose, leave the aircraft to other types before someone junior does.

Of course you are absolutely correct, and you make a good point. That was actually the point I was trying to make as well: he chooses to be a DC-9 Captain, if the seniority picture is better elsewhere he only has himself to blame for being in that seat. Lots of senior guys hang on to a plane to the bitter end, which means that if you do choose to stay and you are in the middle of the list, your schedule gets worse and worse. The OP didn't say anyting about his father wanting to leave the DC-9, just complaining about his schedule, and that's why my answer was what it was, especially at the end of my reply 2.

Thanks for making that point clearer.


User currently offlineYYZRWY23 From Canada, joined Aug 2009, 561 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 8595 times:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 8):
For Christmas, he is coming with me to TLV, a beautiful place any time of year!

Although I haven't personally been, I have family from there and still living there, and have heard it is absolutely incredible. Do enjoy it, I hope to see it with my own eyes one day.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 8):
That is a very interesting career. If I could not have been a pilot, that is likely where I would have gone.

Yeah it seems right up my alley. And that happens to be the exact reason I was introduced to it and became interested, because I can't be a pilot.

YYZRWY23



If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.
User currently offlineBellerophon From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 584 posts, RR: 59
Reply 15, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 8560 times:

c5load

...How much (..seniority..) do you have to have to "write your own schedule"?...

In my last year, prior to retirement, I had 37 years seniority and a single digit seniority number, which meant I flew where I wanted, when I wanted. 

However, in my airline, Christmas trips and month-long reserve lines were commitments that every pilot had to undertake occasionally, and were allocated on a points basis, not on seniority.

Reserve months could be a pain, mainly because you had no ability to plan your month, but also because you were likely to be subjected to continual ribbing from the junior co-pilots with whom you flew, who just loved seeing senior captains doing two-crew night trips, over a weekend, to snow-bound or monsoon blighted destinations; and from station staff, in unpopular destinations, who feigned amazement that I was still employed/alive because they hadn't seen me in such a long time!

I suspect US pilots would not be happy with such a system, but it always seemed a bit fairer to me. In my last few years, that meant roughly one month on reserve every eighteen months, and one Christmas trip every four years.


If I may give you a personal example of what longhauler was referring to when he said:

...on the aircraft type he flies, in the position he flies and from the base he flies. Change any of those, and he can do better or worse, but ... that is HIS choice. If he wants to "write his own schedule", he can bid a smaller aircraft (if they exist), bid First Officer, or fly from a less desirable base. That is the advantage of the seniority system, the options and choices are all up to the pilot...

I was a senior captain and instructor on the B747, based at LHR, with 26 years seniority, I had a very pleasant lifestyle. I got good trips, to world-wide destinations, on dates I wanted to fly. I then chose to bid to another fleet. When I eventually arrived on the line, despite all my seniority company-wide, I was, nevertheless, the most junior captain on that fleet, and had to accept lots of reserve flying and just about every Friday night flight to JFK in the winter until other, more junior captains came on to the fleet after a year or so!

Mind you, I never regretted that decision for a second!  

Best Regards

Bellerophon


User currently offlineGoBoeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2706 posts, RR: 15
Reply 16, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 8527 times:

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 15):
Mind you, I never regretted that decision for a second!


Yeah, but that's because it had afterburners, a retractable windshield, and went Mach 2!


User currently offlinePoadrim From Norway, joined Oct 2008, 173 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8513 times:
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Quoting GoBoeing (Reply 16):
Yeah, but that's because it had afterburners, a retractable windshield, and went Mach 2!

Good one!   



Good judgment comes from experience. Good experience comes from someone else's bad judgment.
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