Real Answers from Real Pilots

Does prior airline employment count towards seniority?

Hello, I’m moving to Portland this winter and will continue flight training there, starting with Instrument (earned my Private about 10 years ago and finally realizing my dream via GI Bill). I’m looking at part-time employment while in training and wondering if there is any seniority benefit in working for a regional or major in a non-pilot role. For example, if my long term goal is to fly for Horizon and then Alaskan out of PDX, would my seniority clock start if I began working next year as ground crew? Or, does that not count since its a different bargaining group?
If there is no company seniority gained, is it still worth getting inside the organization to make connections with the people/culture?
I’m making a late-ish start at age 37, so the seniority issue is of interest when anticipating schedules/routes.
This site has been invaluable and appreciate your insight.
-Pat

Pat,

There really is little to no value to working at an airline outside of a pilot role if your goal is to be a pilot. When hiring pilots the airlines look for very specific things that can only be met with airplane experience.

Your seniority as a pilot will begin the day that you start pilot training, even if you already work for the airline in another capacity.

Chris

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Pat

If you were a pilot at Alaska for the last say 5yrs and some brand new pilot who had been a ramper just finished training and immediately had a better schedule than yours how’d you feel? The answer is a resounding no as the pilots would go nuts. That said there are many airlines who like the fact you “like” their airline and will reward loyalty when it comes to an interview but that’s really the extent of it. Bottomline if you think you’d like to work in a different capacity and see what the corporate culture is like and make some friends why not but your seniority (as a pilot) won’t start till the day you’re hired AS a pilot.

Adam