Real Answers from Real Pilots

Scheduling as a Young Pilot

While I assume 10+ years with an airline will give you the freedom to work the days that you want and maybe give some normality to the schedule, I’m curious how it is in your first years. Do you work each and every holiday, typically, as a younger pilot? Any comments, insight, or personal experiences would be great to hear!

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Erik,

There are many variables (airline, airplane, base) that can all effect your seniority, “relative” seniority and how quickly you move through the ranks. But yes, in short you should plan on working holidays and weekends for a while.

Adam

Erik,

I have been at my airline for ten years. If I was still a first officer, I would have almost every weekend and holiday off. As a junior captain, I work all of those.

Chris

Chris & Adam,

Thank you for the insight. Are there popular destinations for pilots in scheduling as well? Are senior FOs and captains flying to vacation spots while junior pilots are heading to Boise, ID? (No offense to the wonderful people of Boise!)

I have family near Fort Myers, FL, friends in Pheonix, AZ, etc. so it made be curious.

Thanks ya’ll!

Erik

Erik,

I would say that is a pretty fair assumption and holds a lot of truth. That being said, we have all been to these places dozens of times, after awhile the novelty wears off. So while BOI might not be the greatest overnight in January, if it is part of a good trip, it will still be desired by the senior pilots.

Chris

Erik,

Absolutely some destinations or trips go senior. Sometimes it has to do with the destination itself, others it’s the efficiency of the trip, could just be a nice hotel. When I was at the Regional guys hated going to Mexico so all the Mexico trips had very junior crews. Nassau in the Bahamas you couldn’t touch. Same when I was on the Airbus at Hawaiian. JFK and PEK, SUPER senior vs SJC and LAS. BUT, here’s a fun fact. On of the reasons I often bid Reserve (besides being lazy) is you get better trips. Why? Because senior pilots call in sick more than junior pilots :slight_smile:

Adam