Matt D
Topic Author
Posts: 8907
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am

A Question On Seniority

Tue Oct 17, 2000 11:26 pm

Based on what I've seen and read, seniority is a sacred cow among pilots. It determines 1) the type of planes you fly and 2) WHEN you fly.

More specifically, a junior pilot at United will most likely be stuck in a 737-500 when he begins, as that's the smallest plane in United's fleet. Then over the years, he would work up to say the A320, 757, 767, and so on until he reaches the pinnacle of his airline: flying the left seat of the 744 on the long Int'l routes.

Anyway, my question is: how does this rule apply at airlines such as Southwest where the fleets are standardized? Start on a -200 and plateau on a -700? What about someone like JetBlue, where the fleet is all the same?
And am I correct to assume that the younger pilots with little or no seniority are the ones flying the red eyes, and working on Christmas and Thanksgiving?

RE: A Question On Seniority

Wed Oct 18, 2000 12:18 am

Some pilots chose not to fly intl' routes. I know pilots at majors that when they get the opportunity to fly an international flight on a 747 or something like that, won't take it. It's a lot of responsibility, also they're flying into a different type airspace w/ controllers that don't speak english as a first language. Now, yes the pay is excelent, and you've made it to the highest level of flying there is, but, for some pilots they don't want it. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but, TWA pays on time w/ the company, not by type A/C. This means that you could make 180K flying MD80s your whole career. As far as seniority, new hires get assigned a schedule, after more senior pilots have selected their's so yes they generally get stuck w/ holidays, nights, bad destinations. Also, a lot of pilots that get hired today go into larger A/C due to the pilot shortage. I heard from someone the other day at UAL that they had a newhire go straight to the right seat in a 767. I think that most of their new hires go to the panel on 727s though, hope this helps, this is what I've picked up, but I'm an ATC not a pilot, so maybe some others can give you a more definite picture