Real Answers from Real Pilots

Airline Bids


(Wyatt Parks) #1

It’s AspiringUnitedPilot here again. My question for you ladies and gents is this; if I am a FO on the 737, can I bid on a captain position for a 757, or would I have to go to a FO position when it became available if I was switching to the 757?


#2

Wyatt,

Again it all comes down to SENIORITY, SENIORITY and did I mention SENIORITY? You can bid whatever you like regardless of what you’ve flown. If your seniority can hold it you’ll be awarded the slot. You could be a 737 FO for 30 yrs and then decide to go 747 CA. Perfectly legal. That said I personally I never want to upgrade on an airplane I’ve never flown before but that’s personal choice.

Adam


(Ryan Hollman) #3

Adam,

How often, realistically, will an airline let you switch/upgrade aircraft? I assume they want some return on their investment and not just let pilots spend a disproportionate amount of time in training.

Have you seen someone go from FO to Capt on the same aircraft and then go back to FO on a different aircraft because they don’t have enough seniority to go straight to Capt or for your reason they want some experience as FO before upgrading to Capt.

Ryan


#4

Ryan,

You are correct. It’s expensive to train pilots and yes the airline can’t have you jumping from plane to plane at will. All airlines have what’s known as a “seat lock”. It’s typically 2 yrs (though some may be longer). However many airlines have a clause that will release you from the lock if a) the company gets new equipment or b) you can upgrade to CA.

I’ve seen many pilots “bid back” to FO though it’s not typically for experience (though sometimes it is). Usually pilots will bid back for a better quality of life. See if you can hold CA, that usually means you could also be a fairly senior FO with a much better schedule. That usually means a pay cut (not always) but there are sometimes more important things going on in someone’s life. For example right now I’m an FO on the Airbus, on the next bid coming out I plan to bid 717 CA. Now if you look at straight seniority I probably can’t hold it BUT there are many pilots who will bypass the upgrade to stay on the Bus so I actually have a shot. As I’ve stated seniority is often about getting what you want when it’s what EVERYBODY wants BUT if you want something different often you have a shot.

Adam


(Wyatt Parks) #5

Adam,
Thank you. That’s what I was really asking was if it was legal.