Real Answers from Real Pilots

Question about crew bases

I’m looking to one day work for an airline, but I’m determined to stay close to home in New Jersey, at least for the early part of my career. What airlines have junior crew bases in Newark? Otherwise, do airlines typically let you commute right away? Or do they require you to live in your assigned based for a certain amount of time?

Kevin,

Many of the regional airlines have bases in Newark. CommutAir, ExpressJet and Republic come to mind. On the major level Delta and United have bases in EWR. Keep in mind that JFK and LGA also have large crew bases for various airlines. If you end up getting hired by a different airline you could start commuting right away, there are no restrictions on it.

Chris

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Don’t forget JetBlue! I have a ton of Jersey friends who fly for JB and are JFK based.

Adam

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Hi guys,
I have an offshoot question related to bases- are “focus cities” considered bases, as well? I’ve read about them, but don’t fully understand how they are treated by airlines. The Tampa airport is considered a focus city for Southwest… does that mean it could be treated as a domicile for Southwest pilots?

Elaine,

In most cases no. Focus cities are generally airports where an airline “focuses” attention due to a fair amount of flights in or out. A focus city can and sometimes will develop into a base but that’s not the norm.

Adam

Adam,
Good to know, thanks.

Elaine

Thanks for the information. How long are reserve times usually at Newark?

Kevin,

The amount of time that a pilot spends on reserve can vary so greatly from one airline to the next. It also depends on the hiring situation at the time. If you are hired and then a large number of people are hired behind you then your time on reserve won’t be long. If you are the last one hired and your company stops hiring for awhile then it could be some time. I was on reserve for two months at ExpressJet, but again that could change either way depending on the situation.

By the way, at most airlines pilots are “New York” based, not specifically EWR based. This means that as a reserve pilot you will be assigned to fly trips out of EWR, JFK and LGA.

Chris

Kevin,

One more thing about reserve. Depending on the airline and the work rules, reserve isn’t always a bad thing. At Hawaiian we’re pretty well staffed which means on reserve you often don’t get called. When you do it’s usually when someone has called in sick and it’s generally the more senior pilots who are the ones that do. Since senior pilots get “better” trips you’ll often get really good trips on reserve if you do fly. Kinda nice only flying 40-50 hrs for the month and getting paid for 75.

Adam