Real Answers from Real Pilots

Red eyes and new ATP timeline increase

Hello again. So has a few more questions. At the start of my career will I have to fly red eye flights or is it relatively easy to skip out on those, seniority wise that is?

Also would it still be possible to complete ATP in 100 days, granted I have a PPL, if I work ahead of the schedule?

Imran,

Regional airlines generally do not fly red eyes, so it won’t be much of an issue there. The majors fly plenty of red eyes, every flight to Europe is a redeye, plus there is a large amount of domestic red eyes. Airlines are a 365, 24/7 operation, regardless of your seniority you will have duty hours all over the clock.

It might be possible to work hard and complete the program ahead of schedule, but remember that the reason for the increased timeline is FAA checkride availability, not ATP or the students. I would plan on it taking the whole time and be pleasantly surprised when you finish it in less time.

Chris

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Imran,

As Chris said few Regionals have redeye flights since the main purpose of most Regional flights is to get passengers to and from the hub for the Majors they support. Virtually all Hawaiian’s Asia flight are redeyes on the return and many of those trips are pretty senior (ICN, PEK, etc). If you aspire to fly internationally there will be redeyes in your future.

Adam

Thanks guys. Yeah I don’t plan on flying international, purely domestic. Am I able to chose between the two? I know it depends on carriers but lets say Southwest, they are expanding into Mexico and I think they fly to Canada already? Not 100% on that. So yeah, lets say I fly for SW, will I be able to say I will not be flying international flights? And at a certain level of seniority could I just be able to bid day trips? Or should I still expect Red Eyes even as a low level captain at SW.

On another note. When my family and I travel i usually get exhausted by the end of a 3 day vacation. Do you get use to traveling a lot?

Imran,

As always EVERYTHING thing at the airlines is based on seniority. When you’re junior you’ll get the leftovers after everyone else gets what they want. If that means redeyes and international then that’s what you’ll get until you build seniority. And yes, after you upgrade to CA the whole thing starts over again. As for being tired it really depends on the trip but long flights still make me tired. It is what it is.

Adam

Imran,

Airlines fly all over the world at all hours of the day and night. It would be impossible as a pilot to completely avoid red eyes or international flights. Our jobs are to take people to far away destinations, this means significant travel and nights on the road. Even as a senior pilot there are very few airlines where you would be able to just do day trips. If you are going to be a pilot you should plan on significant international travel and time spent on the road.

Chris

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