Airline pilots. What is a typical day of work like?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Jah-Christo Decembre, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. Rex Kramer

    Rex Kramer Line Up and Wait

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    Nah.. this ain't the early 70s anymore... :D
     
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  2. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    About a year ago I flew with a CA that had just bid back to the left seat of the 737 after a 15 year stint as FO in the 777. He couldn’t believe how much work it was - he joked that when he was fresh off OE, he was the PF into RDU on a gorgeous day. He’s on downwind, gets cleared for the visual and thinks, “Well sh*t, now what do I do? How the hell am I supposed to get this airplane down to the runway???”
     
  3. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    To each their own, I guess. I didn’t see much to like in the movie including sub par acting.
     
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  4. Rex Kramer

    Rex Kramer Line Up and Wait

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    When every approach for years is a vector to an ILS I can see his situation. Truth be told for anyone that has even remotely kept his skin in the game he will be ok. It’s the ones that check out completely in the back seat that are the issue. Not all of them, of course, but some.

    Have to remember though. Working 9 days a month is rightfully an addicting problem to have. It’s hard to give that up.
     
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  5. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Indeed.


    --break break--

    A bit of hyperbole, but the notion of proverbially waiting until my child is in college before I can hold a pedestrian schedule, is a non-starter and not particularly attractive or enviable to me, at any pay rate. But I'm admittedly a schedules over money guy; always have been. A low productivity airline would be more my cup of tea. Oh who are we kidding, I just need that CASS bennie to get myself back and forth home from the CONUS. They want the same money from IAH to go to LHR in a 777, as to SJU in a ghastly 738. I can't patronize that. :eek:

    Cape Air hiring seasonally? LOL :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
  6. Sociald

    Sociald Pre-Flight

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    A friend of mine had spent 10 years as a 777 FO when he decided to jump to NB Capt. As soon as his Captain seat-lock was up, he bid back to 777 FO. He realized that his "pay raise" really wasn't much of a raise, he had fewer days at home, less control over his schedule. There is a reason that the top 10 guys in my category could all be WB Captains on our plane. When guys say it's like working for an entirely different airline, they're not kidding.
     
  7. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think you may be listening to a little too much of the anti-airline crowd (maybe not so much anti-, but non-airline) at work. Sometimes when you are not interacting with airline guys, it's easy to buy into the rumors and urban legends.

    I can't remember exactly, but I think you may be flying for a contractor overseas.

    Being a schedules guy, you have to define what you mean by "schedule." To me, schedule means getting the days off I want, and big chunks of time. To others, schedule may mean being home every night. In my opinion, the biggest benefit for the airline gig is that it's not an everyday job. At my airline, we tend to fly longer trips with longer days off. Whereas other airlines may fly 3-on/4-off type of schedules, we do a lot of week-on/week-off trips. Having a chunk of 5-7 days completely off every other week is nice (to me). When I was doing the longer haul flying, there were many times I would bid a line that flew for 13 days straight, but had 15 days off in a row. Yes, I was gone for almost 2 weeks, but then I had two weeks off. And, many times I would fly the first two weeks of one month, and the last two weeks of the following month, giving me a 5-week block off, and that's without even touching my vacation days.

    Not that I'm a cheerleader for the airlines as a job, but I think you'd be surprised at what kind of schedule you can hold pretty quickly at a major airline. If you want more specifics... pm me. I'd be glad to share more information with you.

    Edit: And as far as low-productivity... in 2018 I blocked 270 hours, in 2017 it was 260. That was flying a line, and hardly any sitting reserve. We have guys who actively bid reserve who block less than 100 hours/year.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
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  8. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Exactly this. We may even be flying for the same carrier. To me, there was no reason to fly as a NB Captain domestically. The pay was just about the same as a 777FO and the schedules were worse. I'm going to 777CA school in the spring, and I have a little bit of bidders remorse. I'm feeling like I should have gone 777FO and just be really senior in the seat. I guess we'll see...
     
  9. Rex Kramer

    Rex Kramer Line Up and Wait

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    I dunno about the pay thing. I was leery at first, but the pay jump from WBFO to NBCA has been close to six figures. Definitely work more for it. It’s extremely tough to beat the dollars per day efficiency of the WB trips. Nature of the long haul flying.
     
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  10. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    Hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror
     
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  11. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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    Like when we get a message to contact crew scheduling on our last leg of a trip?
     
  12. Rex Kramer

    Rex Kramer Line Up and Wait

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    My job is to make sure it's hours of sheer boredom and the passengers wanting to say thank you for a boring flight.
     
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  13. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Six figure difference? Wow. Not here. Maybe it's because we only have WB/NB rates, but on paper the delta between WBFO & NBCA is $48/hour. Throw in Int'l override for the WB flying, overrides for block over 8/block over 10, Int'l per diem and it narrows the gap to a point where the hit in seniority/type of flying wasn't worth the extra shekels. Having said that, I went from WBFO to NBCA to come live in one of our foreign domiciles (we do get a housing stipend for overseas living). Living over here has been great, did a lot of travelling with the family and enjoyed our time here. But... the domestic type flying isn't for me. I am looking forward to getting back to the WB lifestyle.
     
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  14. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    All about timing. I waited about 8 months after I was hired till I was holding weekends off and all-Europe schedule on the 767 out of NYC. That's about as pedestrian as I could ask for. I agree with Sluggo, it just depends on who you listen to; plenty of haters out there "oh yeah, that would never work for me" as they continue to never even try it.
     
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  15. Captain

    Captain Final Approach

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    I had a grand plan of sitting in the right seat living in base in MCO until I could hold a line in MCO as Captain. Then I started looking at the pay difference and decided I just couldn’t leave that much $$ on the table. So now I live in base but will be on reserve for the foreseeable future.

    Did I make the right decision? Not sure. Being stupid senior was really nice. Left seat pay is nice too. Ask me in 12 months...
     
  16. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Pattern Altitude

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    Put the app in, aa is hiring mostly from their wholly owned regionals but they are still hiring from the other regionals I think you are competitive in the current environment. As to which to rank highest on your list, that a personal question. I flowed so it was a no brainer for me as to where to go. Big question is who is going to get what in section 6.
     
  17. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    What's a typical day like?

    Acronym hell apparently
    OE, PF, RDU, CASS, WBFO, NBCA ...
     
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  18. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Funny we were discussing this less than two weeks ago. I was just awarded the 777 today. Gonna go see how the other half lives. ;)

    Hopefully I can come up with a reasonable sleep routine. Especially being junior where I’ll have less control over where I go and when I go, I worry about the effect it’ll have on my body. We’ll see. I figure if I don’t like it I can always bid back to a narrowbody once my lock is up.
     
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  19. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Yeah, no kidding. I did that for most of 12 years. But then I gave it up for the Guppy and worked 16 days a month for two years while waiting for a Guam bid. Now I am doing 10:days a month and I am home every night.

    So Rex, did 117 mess up your 9 day a month schedule?
     
  20. Rex Kramer

    Rex Kramer Line Up and Wait

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    It most certainly did. 117 turned PVG and PEK into four days instead of three days. Now granted, it's still 18 days off a month, but when you sit down and realize you're sitting China an extra month a year (36 days) for zero pay, it kind of ****es you off.

    I switched over to the bus about a year ago to get a break from time zone changes for a while (was on the 777 for seven years and the 757/767 for six before that). Also wanted to learn to fly again and the Bus an easy flying plane. Seemed like a good choice.

    I still get 17 off or so and even with the early shows, the time zones are a lot easier on the body.

    Even got a pay bump, which in all honesty I wasn't sure would happen.
     
  21. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    As far as I am concerned, 117 is a disaster and does not do what it was intended to do.
     
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  22. Rex Kramer

    Rex Kramer Line Up and Wait

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    Only been flying in the domestic system for a year now since 117 went into effect. It seems ok domestically (though 10hrs is still too short), but it's a disaster for the long haul flying.

    Our NRT trip is 26:xx and is a 3 day. The PEK is a 27:xx and is a four day. The PEK is much more fatiguing than the NRT day even though the departure, arrival and block times are nearly identical.
     
  23. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Good luck man! I just saw you guys are going to Africa from DFW in a 757. Who thought that was a good idea?
     
  24. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Thanks man! Africa is from PHL in the 757, which I agree is terrible. DFW is to Tel Aviv in a 787, as are some new international routes from ORD. Just happy to see an increase in widebody flying. :)
     
  25. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Maybe Delta should take notes from AA. It seems like half of their international stuff is through their codeshare partners. But hey, if I get on with them I won’t be complaining about flying a 717 and making bank!
     
  26. KSCessnaDriver

    KSCessnaDriver Pattern Altitude

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    I guess if you're in the big leagues it probably hurt. Those of us down in the minor's it seems to help a bunch. This job is bad enough doing back to back to back 10 hour overnights, I can't imagine less than that.
     
  27. Sociald

    Sociald Pre-Flight

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    I flew for AAL for a brief time, then went to DAL. I made it to a WB at DAL way before any of my AAL classmates had the opportunity at AAL. Surprisingly, we also have pretty much the same number of WB Captains as AAL, thanks to the fact that we use our WBs very little domestically and we use 2CA/2FO for our >12 hours flights. I've also been able to hold 737/320/M88/717 Captain for the last 2-3 years, something still unreachable for my AAL classmates (aside from the E190).

    Based on my QOL at AAL compared to when I went to DAL and how well the companies are doing right now...the last thing I want is DAL to "take notes" from AAL.
     
  28. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route

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    Talking to a former PSA guy today. Told me his young son was in school talking about careers and airline pilot came up. His response, “to be an airline pilot, you have to apologize ALOT”. I got a good laugh at that one.
     
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