pilotaaron09
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Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:22 pm

I’m a student pilot and I am going to go through the Envoy pipeline and the plane was the move over to American when that time comes. That sounds great, as my grandfather flew for American and I’ve always flown American. I live in Dallas, Tx where the American HQ is and the main hub DFW airport.

I have just always wondered if it’s better to fly for a cargo airline or passenger. I’m asking to help make a decision on what route I’d want to go in the future. Pros, Cons, etc..

I know mostly how passenger goes, hubs, Per diem, stand by flight and such. But I don’t know how it works with Cargo. I’ve looked at the UPD and FedEx domiciles, and none of them are DFW. But UPS has a DFW hub and FedEx has one at Alliance airport not too far away from there. Are you able to live here and fly out of there or do you have to start and end at their main domiciles? Also any other info would be appreciated. Also, If I choose Cargo, I’m not limiting myself to FedEx or UPS, but i would want it to be a well known company (UPS, FedEx, CargoLux, Cathay Pacific, etc...)

Thanks guys!
 
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adamblang
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:27 pm

Realistically, you should fly whoever hires you.
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dumbell2424
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:40 pm

You'd be able to commute on a wide variety of airlines, but living in base is so much nicer/better QOL
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:00 pm

pilotaaron09 wrote:
I have just always wondered if it’s better to fly for a cargo airline or passenger.

Welcome to a.nut.
Do you prefer a diurnal or nocturnal existence?
 
pilotaaron09
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:02 pm

dumbell2424 wrote:
You'd be able to commute on a wide variety of airlines, but living in base is so much nicer/better QOL


But the base is the “domicile” correct? Like I was saying, FedEx and UPS don’t have a “domicile” in and around DFW, but UPS has a cargo hub at DFW and FedEx has a cargo hub close by where they land and drop/pick up cargo. I’m not sure if I’d be able to start and end my flying at those places.
 
AntonioMartin
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:06 pm

I was about to say, you're human, right?..fly on a passenger airline... :lol:
adamblang wrote:
Realistically, you should fly whoever hires you.


Adam's right...
 
VSMUT
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:06 pm

Take whatever comes first, then build experience there.

Don't underestimate how hard cargo can be on you. It's often night work, and in just 10 years your body will easily have aged 30 more. It really isn't good for your health. The spontaneously combusting pallets of mobile-phone batteries is another risk you need to consider. Nice accommodations are just one side of the medallion...

But if night shifts work for you, then by all means, go for it.

pilotaaron09 wrote:
Also, If I choose Cargo, I’m not limiting myself to FedEx or UPS, but i would want it to be a well known company (UPS, FedEx, CargoLux, Cathay Pacific, etc...)


I don't know about the US, but internationally they don't care if you have a cargo background or not. Cargolux, Cathay, Air Atlanta Icelandic etc. will just as happily hire people with passenger experience and vice versa. Many of my colleagues went directly from pax ATRs or Ryanair 738s to 747-8Fs or 767-300Fs.
Also, don't go for famous companies, go for good ones. A good salary and easy working conditions on an obscure company flying old (but well maintained) A300s or 737-300s is infinitely better than a world-famous company with brand new 747-8s with low wages and tough rosters. If you start looking outside the US, be sure to ask about the policy regarding dangerous goods and de-icing in the winter as well. I turned down one company several times because they have a policy of not de-icing, even though they offered to double my salary. There are loads of outfits that will do anything to undercut the competition.
 
pilotaaron09
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:07 pm

Do you prefer a diurnal or nocturnal existence?[/quote]

I’d rather be asleep during the night.
Last edited by pilotaaron09 on Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
AntonioMartin
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:08 pm

dumbell2424 wrote:
You'd be able to commute on a wide variety of airlines, but living in base is so much nicer/better QOL

I always wondered myself if the variety of airlines you and your family can fly on is larger when you work for a cargo airline...
 
pilotaaron09
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:09 pm

WPvsMW wrote:
pilotaaron09 wrote:
I have just always wondered if it’s better to fly for a cargo airline or passenger.

Welcome to a.nut.
Do you prefer a diurnal or nocturnal existence?


I would rather be asleep at night. Haha
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:19 pm

Go pax, then. Or rather, work for whomever will hire you until you can get on a pax operator.
 
dumbell2424
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:24 pm

pilotaaron09 wrote:
dumbell2424 wrote:
You'd be able to commute on a wide variety of airlines, but living in base is so much nicer/better QOL


But the base is the “domicile” correct? Like I was saying, FedEx and UPS don’t have a “domicile” in and around DFW, but UPS has a cargo hub at DFW and FedEx has a cargo hub close by where they land and drop/pick up cargo. I’m not sure if I’d be able to start and end my flying at those places.


You wouldn't be starting your trips there, but you could use them to fly on your own time to get you to/from base for your trips. So say you're based in SDF, you could ride as a "jumpseater" passenger DFW-SDF to report for duty.

Commuting is a great privilege in this industry but comes with various cons like eating up time on your day off and having to get a crashpad but if you're already established in DFW and don't wanna move, commuting is very useful.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:50 pm

AntonioMartin wrote:
dumbell2424 wrote:
You'd be able to commute on a wide variety of airlines, but living in base is so much nicer/better QOL

I always wondered myself if the variety of airlines you and your family can fly on is larger when you work for a cargo airline...


That would depend on the individual airline you work for, not whether you fly cargo or pax.

VSMUT wrote:
Take whatever comes first, then build experience there.

Don't underestimate how hard cargo can be on you. It's often night work, and in just 10 years your body will easily have aged 30 more. It really isn't good for your health. The spontaneously combusting pallets of mobile-phone batteries is another risk you need to consider. Nice accommodations are just one side of the medallion...

But if night shifts work for you, then by all means, go for it.

pilotaaron09 wrote:
Also, If I choose Cargo, I’m not limiting myself to FedEx or UPS, but i would want it to be a well known company (UPS, FedEx, CargoLux, Cathay Pacific, etc...)


I don't know about the US, but internationally they don't care if you have a cargo background or not. Cargolux, Cathay, Air Atlanta Icelandic etc. will just as happily hire people with passenger experience and vice versa. Many of my colleagues went directly from pax ATRs or Ryanair 738s to 747-8Fs or 767-300Fs.
Also, don't go for famous companies, go for good ones. A good salary and easy working conditions on an obscure company flying old (but well maintained) A300s or 737-300s is infinitely better than a world-famous company with brand new 747-8s with low wages and tough rosters. If you start looking outside the US, be sure to ask about the policy regarding dangerous goods and de-icing in the winter as well. I turned down one company several times because they have a policy of not de-icing, even though they offered to double my salary. There are loads of outfits that will do anything to undercut the competition.


Good advice. And I'll chime in with "work for whoever hires you". Pilots often can't be that picky, especially at the start of a career.

BTW if you work for CX you are assigned a fleet so you take what you get.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Woodreau
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:17 pm

You are kind of putting the cart before the horse at this point.

You need to finish flight training and get a college degree if you don’t have one first and then focus on getting to an airline.

If you have a choice between passenger and cargo airline that is great. But usually most people go to whatever airline hires them. If there is a choice in airframe that is great but sometimes you don’t get to choose. You fly whatever you are assigned.

Since you are contemplating the envoy pilot pipeline, Envoy has a flowthrough agreement to American.

While you can be based in DFW, it is unlikely you will be DFW based for your entire career.

American flies redeye flights and fedex has daytime flying.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:48 am

Far more important considerations than cargo or pax. Seniority and career progression for one, hows a great time. I know four year captains at both FDX and DAL. Those pilots will always b3 senior to you. Plenty of passenger flying is at night, red eyes, international flying. Plenty of UPS and FDX is now daylight. Where do you want to be based and how will are you to commute. Based at a domicile is way better than most, but not all, commutes. You want to live in Livingston, MT, possible but it’ll add days yo your working month and reduce a lot of choices.


GF
 
Max Q
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:19 am

If you can possibly avoid commuting you should, I did it for sixteen years and lost a lot of time at home, not to mention the stress, it’s almost never worth it


Live in your base
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


Guns and the love of them by a loud minority are a malignant and deadly cancer inflicted on American society
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:14 am

Fly for one that has a base in a city you'd like to live in. Also, if you're a people person, go pax; you can hang out with the crew on layovers.

I Actually talked go a pilot about that and he said he'd rather have overnights hanging with the crew members in spite of the greater pay the cargo guys make.
When wasn't America great?


The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
Max Q
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:12 am

TWA772LR wrote:
Fly for one that has a base in a city you'd like to live in. Also, if you're a people person, go pax; you can hang out with the crew on layovers.

I Actually talked go a pilot about that and he said he'd rather have overnights hanging with the crew members in spite of the greater pay the cargo guys make.




By ‘other crew members’ I guess you mean flight attendants ?


And that’s a different take, at the major passenger airlines I’ve worked at we pilots almost never socialize with FA’s on layovers


For the most part you’re glad to have time to yourself, occasionally hanging out with the other pilots on longer stays
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


Guns and the love of them by a loud minority are a malignant and deadly cancer inflicted on American society
 
747Whale
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:18 am

UPS or FedeX won't be realistic options for you for another 10-20 years. Those are not entry level jobs, but your final job that you hold until retirement.

You don't necessarily get to choose the place that hires you. The employer chooses you.

The issue of cargo vs. passenger flying is meaningless. Focus on your training. From a cockpit perspective, what's aft of the cockpit door doesn't matter much. What matters is that you conduct the flight safely.

Passengers are simply self-loading freight.
 
AntonioMartin
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:31 am

Starlionblue wrote:
AntonioMartin wrote:
dumbell2424 wrote:
You'd be able to commute on a wide variety of airlines, but living in base is so much nicer/better QOL

I always wondered myself if the variety of airlines you and your family can fly on is larger when you work for a cargo airline...


That would depend on the individual airline you work for, not whether you fly cargo or pax.

[quote="VSMUT"]
Well, yeah but what I mean is if you fly for UPS or another cargo outfit that does not compete in the passenger sector, can you or your family fly on any airline you decide to s passengers? as opposed to: since you work at say Delta you and your family can only fly Skyteam airlines...
 
Moosefire
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:44 am

pilotaaron09 wrote:
Do you prefer a diurnal or nocturnal existence?


I’d rather be asleep during the night.[/quote]

My bros at UA and AA fly more red eyes than I do at FedEx.
MD-11F/C-17A Pilot
 
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SRQKEF
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:16 am

AntonioMartin wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
AntonioMartin wrote:
I always wondered myself if the variety of airlines you and your family can fly on is larger when you work for a cargo airline...


That would depend on the individual airline you work for, not whether you fly cargo or pax.

VSMUT wrote:
Well, yeah but what I mean is if you fly for UPS or another cargo outfit that does not compete in the passenger sector, can you or your family fly on any airline you decide to s passengers? as opposed to: since you work at say Delta you and your family can only fly Skyteam airlines...


It doesn't work like that. DL employees can just as well non-rev on AA, UA, B6, WN etc. etc. It just depends on their individual airlines' ID90 agreements.

Back when my dad worked for FI, we had around a 100 airlines of various sizes all around the world we could fly standby on. It really has no correlation to which alliance the airline is part of.
Nothing compares to taking off in an empty 757 with full thrust!
 
Woodreau
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:22 am

AntonioMartin wrote:
Well, yeah but what I mean is if you fly for UPS or another cargo outfit that does not compete in the passenger sector, can you or your family fly on any airline you decide to s passengers? as opposed to: since you work at say Delta you and your family can only fly Skyteam airlines...


That still depends on the airline you work for. Each airline negotiates nonrev and interline agreements with other airlines. You get what you negotiate.

There is nothing from stopping you from buying tickets on any airline like Joe Q. Public. You can fly on any airline you want to depending on how much you want to spend. If you don’t want to spend the money, your choices become somewhat limited, just like Joe Q. Public.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
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tb727
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:41 am

Door closes, doesn't matter what's behind it. Focus on your training and you'll find your way in time because your goal is to be a professional pilot. I had no idea where I would end up, I had my thoughts when I was a kid but you don't know for sure where you'll end up. Airlines come and go. I love where I am now at a ULCC. 6 or 7 years ago it wasn't even on my radar, now I hope I'm here until I retire.
Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
 
Max Q
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:31 am

tb727 wrote:
Door closes, doesn't matter what's behind it. Focus on your training and you'll find your way in time because your goal is to be a professional pilot. I had no idea where I would end up, I had my thoughts when I was a kid but you don't know for sure where you'll end up. Airlines come and go. I love where I am now at a ULCC. 6 or 7 years ago it wasn't even on my radar, now I hope I'm here until I retire.



Well said, if flying is what drives you it doesn’t matter what’s behind the cockpit
door


I’ve enjoyed flying for passenger airlines
but honestly would be quite happy to never have to deal with flight attendants anymore



A top notch freight operator like FedEx or UPS is very appealing in that respect, great pay, benefits and a modern fleet that you can cross the world on to me is about as good as it gets for a professional pilot


But as pointed out, all freight operators are not equal, one of our prolific posters works for one and it’s quite obvious


There’s second tier cargo operators like Atlas who run a good operation but pay and benefits don’t come close, then there’s the Kalittas of the world, best avoided
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


Guns and the love of them by a loud minority are a malignant and deadly cancer inflicted on American society
 
strfyr51
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:44 am

adamblang wrote:
Realistically, you should fly whoever hires you.

He might HAVE to fly for whomever hires him with his Hours.
 
AntonioMartin
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:52 am

Woodreau wrote:
AntonioMartin wrote:
Well, yeah but what I mean is if you fly for UPS or another cargo outfit that does not compete in the passenger sector, can you or your family fly on any airline you decide to s passengers? as opposed to: since you work at say Delta you and your family can only fly Skyteam airlines...


That still depends on the airline you work for. Each airline negotiates nonrev and interline agreements with other airlines. You get what you negotiate.

There is nothing from stopping you from buying tickets on any airline like Joe Q. Public. You can fly on any airline you want to depending on how much you want to spend. If you don’t want to spend the money, your choices become somewhat limited, just like Joe Q. Public.


Thanxs!!
 
VSMUT
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:35 pm

AntonioMartin wrote:
Well, yeah but what I mean is if you fly for UPS or another cargo outfit that does not compete in the passenger sector, can you or your family fly on any airline you decide to s passengers? as opposed to: since you work at say Delta you and your family can only fly Skyteam airlines...


You can fly on whatever airline you like, as long as you pay out of your own pocket.

Regarding free rides, honestly I was at 2 airlines that offered them. One was at a major cargo integrator, where the feeder company I worked with had close ties with a another 767F contractor. We could jumpseat as much as we wanted to at no cost, but reality was that nobody did it. You just travel so much in this job that chances are you wont want to go traveling in your spare time.

In my last 2 jobs, I never had access to those things, but I still get positioned around on commercial flights so often that I have status at all 3 major airlines in Europe. I have enough miles to go pretty much anywhere in the world on a nice trip, business class and all. That is another aspect worth considering if perks such as free flights are important to you. (and again, I never get round to using them)

So seriously, don't go for the perks. Go for an exciting job with good colleagues that will keep you coming to work day in and day out for the next 40 years of your career.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:05 pm

Well said, VSMUT. There are many studies showing salary is in the top 5 factors for work satisfaction, but it's never #1, and usually trails interpersonal factors, recognition of performance, task engagement/stimulation.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:42 am

Max Q wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
Fly for one that has a base in a city you'd like to live in. Also, if you're a people person, go pax; you can hang out with the crew on layovers.

I Actually talked go a pilot about that and he said he'd rather have overnights hanging with the crew members in spite of the greater pay the cargo guys make.


By ‘other crew members’ I guess you mean flight attendants ?

And that’s a different take, at the major passenger airlines I’ve worked at we pilots almost never socialize with FA’s on layovers

For the most part you’re glad to have time to yourself, occasionally hanging out with the other pilots on longer stays


Just so. Many of my non-industry friends think we all hang out as a crew all the time, and there's lots of socialising between cockpit cabin crew. Not to mention all the innuendo about "beautiful girls and hotel rooms". The reality is very different.

Think of any other job. Certainly, colleagues do hang out, and some are good friends. But this is not the default.

Don't get into the industry if the aim is to socialise with crew and party on layovers. You'll be far too tired to do that most of the time. :D
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:43 pm

Starlionblue, You brought up a great point. When I made the jump from Corp. jets to the airline I was naive to think that everyone would love to fly and travel and it would be one fun filled family. I soon learned that there was no stereo typical pilot and everyone had their own reason for being there. I think MOST loved the job as I did but some did it for the days off and/or the money. There was always the small percentage that loved to "press the test button" to see how the co. would react and then there was the few real A**holes. Then mix in the 3% non members and there's another group. I was never a slamclicker so I think I had the best all round experience anyone could have with a bunch of great guys whose company I miss today in retirement but as you said don't go into it thinking everyday is a party.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:59 pm

We actually have crew who don't leave their hotel room on 2-day layovers. To each their own I guess.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:22 pm

that sounds horrible but yes we had those guys too. I knew one guy who would come down to the hotel restaurant and chow down on the free buffett for over an hour then retreat to his room never to be seen until breakfast the next day.
 
benjjk
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:02 am

Starlionblue wrote:
Max Q wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
Fly for one that has a base in a city you'd like to live in. Also, if you're a people person, go pax; you can hang out with the crew on layovers.

I Actually talked go a pilot about that and he said he'd rather have overnights hanging with the crew members in spite of the greater pay the cargo guys make.


By ‘other crew members’ I guess you mean flight attendants ?

And that’s a different take, at the major passenger airlines I’ve worked at we pilots almost never socialize with FA’s on layovers

For the most part you’re glad to have time to yourself, occasionally hanging out with the other pilots on longer stays


Just so. Many of my non-industry friends think we all hang out as a crew all the time, and there's lots of socialising between cockpit cabin crew. Not to mention all the innuendo about "beautiful girls and hotel rooms". The reality is very different.

Think of any other job. Certainly, colleagues do hang out, and some are good friends. But this is not the default.

Don't get into the industry if the aim is to socialise with crew and party on layovers. You'll be far too tired to do that most of the time. :D


I'm sure there are exceptions but if I've just spent 12 hours sitting in a confined space with my office colleagues the last thing I'd want to do is spend another couple of days with them! What could you possibly talk about....
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:35 am

benjjk wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Max Q wrote:

By ‘other crew members’ I guess you mean flight attendants ?

And that’s a different take, at the major passenger airlines I’ve worked at we pilots almost never socialize with FA’s on layovers

For the most part you’re glad to have time to yourself, occasionally hanging out with the other pilots on longer stays


Just so. Many of my non-industry friends think we all hang out as a crew all the time, and there's lots of socialising between cockpit cabin crew. Not to mention all the innuendo about "beautiful girls and hotel rooms". The reality is very different.

Think of any other job. Certainly, colleagues do hang out, and some are good friends. But this is not the default.

Don't get into the industry if the aim is to socialise with crew and party on layovers. You'll be far too tired to do that most of the time. :D


I'm sure there are exceptions but if I've just spent 12 hours sitting in a confined space with my office colleagues the last thing I'd want to do is spend another couple of days with them! What could you possibly talk about....


We're pilots. We can always talk about flying, the contract, the union... :rotfl:

https://youtu.be/rNxz2hhSXuY?t=152
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Max Q
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Re: Should I fly Cargo or Passenger?

Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:14 am

Starlionblue wrote:
benjjk wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:

Just so. Many of my non-industry friends think we all hang out as a crew all the time, and there's lots of socialising between cockpit cabin crew. Not to mention all the innuendo about "beautiful girls and hotel rooms". The reality is very different.

Think of any other job. Certainly, colleagues do hang out, and some are good friends. But this is not the default.

Don't get into the industry if the aim is to socialise with crew and party on layovers. You'll be far too tired to do that most of the time. :D


I'm sure there are exceptions but if I've just spent 12 hours sitting in a confined space with my office colleagues the last thing I'd want to do is spend another couple of days with them! What could you possibly talk about....


We're pilots. We can always talk about flying, the contract, the union... :rotfl:

https://youtu.be/rNxz2hhSXuY?t=152



That’s pretty funny, and true..
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


Guns and the love of them by a loud minority are a malignant and deadly cancer inflicted on American society

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Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos