Real Answers from Real Pilots

Skywest Parhway Program

@Yarden

I was just looking around on the Skywest hiring page and came across this and saw ATP listed as a partner school. Do you know anything about this program or anyone who participated in it? Or did you participate yourself? It seems really interesting and possibly something I would like to do. Thanks for any input!

Kamrin,

The Pathway Program, or Cadet Program as some call it, is basically a mentorship program that follows and guides you as you build your hours and prepare for the interview at SkyWest.
If you are interested, contact the recruiting team at SkyWest and they will set up a date for you to come up to SLC for an orientation day. It coincides with the first day of new hire ground school and you basically go through the same process as the new hires do on their first day, kind of gives you an idea of how it’s like. There are a few presentations about corporate culture, values, professionalism, etc. Then they’ll show you around the facility, including a tour of the hangar, and sometimes even the engine shop which is very cool.
Overall it’s a fun day that shows you a lot about what SkyWest is. I really enjoyed it and it also helped me make the decision to join the company.
Other than that, it has a few amazing perks that you’ll find very attractive. Although SkyWest doesn’t offer a sign-on bonus, cadets start building seniority from the orientation date (counts for benefits only, not bidding seniority) which means that performance and financial rewards, which usually only start after 1 and 2 years of service (respectively) with the company, will be available earlier. You will be in the top 10% of your new hire class, which means you will be able to get your choice of schedule for sim training. And the cherry on top of all that, you get flight benefits with Delta and United activated before you even start training (I think it is 90 days before your class date)!

It’s a great program that requires no obligation on your end, let me know if you have any other questions about it.

Yarden

Thanks yarden! That program seems neat and I am definitely considering looking into Skywest when I get to that point this fall. I had a few more questions I was going to ask about your experiences, but @Tucker pretty much covered them all in his post in another thread.

Just a quick spin off this thread. I just flew with a former SkyWest pilot (great guy, loved the airline) but he’s going crazy here! You see we’re in VERY heated contract negotiations and since SkyWest is non-union he’s literally in a state of shock at the discord (poor guy just kept saying “but I don’t understand…”). I really have no point other than a head’s up to Yarden and other potential SkyWest pilots. You may find the relationship between mgmt. and the union is not as warm and fuzzy as you might be used to. Nothing to lose sleep over, once the deal is done we’re all back to the aloha spirit, until the next time…

Adam

Thomas,

Yarden is no longer a mentor with us.

I recommend that you call Skywest’s recruiting department directly, I am sure they will be happy to help. Keep in mind that they also participate in the Tuition Reimbursement program.

Chris

Thomas,

Generally speaking, all of the majors have profit sharing. The regionals seem to stay away from this compensation model.

Chris

Hey Thomas,

I am a current pilot for SkyWest. I can tell you that first year hourly pay is currently $36.50. But if you decide to take advantage of everything offered (cadet program and tuition reimbursement) you will be receiving much more than the math you calculate with that first number. The tuition reimbursement during ONLY your first year adds up to $6,000.

On top of that you will receive our quarterly (financial and performance) bonuses as well as our bi-annual pilot profit sharing. For an FO I will give all of those added up, an annual value of $5,000 (guesstimating on the low side). As for these bonuses in the latter half, you will continue to receive those every year for the rest of your career, and the good news is that the number will only get bigger - much bigger!

So for your question of first year pay, including a very low estimate on per diem, you can expect to make about $50,000 before taxes. This is a very rough calculation though, and all of the number are on the low end of the scale (i.e. a full year of reserve with little flying and NEVER breaking guaruntee, etc.). If you decide not to take advantage of the cadet program and tuition reimbursement though, make sure to subtract at least $10,000. Hope this gives you a better idea.

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Also, no. We do not have a union. We have an internal group of representatives voted on by the pilot group who negotiate on our behalf, but that eliminates those union dues! The company treats us very well, so we see no need for a union at this point in time. But alas, we are pilots. So we always find SOMEthing to complain about :rofl:

Jordan,

While you maybe saving union dues, the union (Alpa) does a lot more than just negotiate contracts. While I’m sure and I’ve heard your pilots are treated well, management is still management and their priority is to the airline and maintaining profitability which doesn’t always align with what’s best for the pilot group. In addition to advocating for pilots with scheduling, training, contract compliance and anything else you can think of, Alpa provides many other services for their members (and the community/industry) including legal, aeromedical, education, merger, substance abuse, safety and legislative affairs to name a few. Pilots by nature are cheap and do not like to part with their money so there must be a reason the majority of airline pilots in this country are willing to pay dues. Trust me it’s not for the nice magazine we get every month.

Adam

Adam,

I understand what you are saying. But there is a reason that ALPA has never been able to come into SkyWest and get a vote on their behalf to bring them in. We have all of those thing that you have listed through the company. While management is the priority, and an internal union may sound “sketchy,” WE are the ones voting our representatives into office, and WE are the ones who take them out if we aren’t happy with their work. SAPA negotiates everything from QOL improvements to pay. That is their function. We are provided legal counsel (this I know, as I was given it when I had a maintenance malfunction that ended in a gear collapse and evacuation), our medicals are reimbursed every year, a scholarship fund is set up for both employees and their family members, a HIMs program for anyone suffering from addiction, a Professional Standards committee to help employees with issues among the pilot group, safety counsels, a crisis fund for our fellow employees that we can volunteer to put our own money towards, and so on and so forth. We have the coverage of everything you have listed. The company treats us like adults and respects us.

For example, though we may not have a “commuter clause” protecting us from penalty like most unions provide, I have had several instances where I or my peers have been unable to make the commute. We call our chief and say “Hey I tried for 3 of the flights and I won’t be making it in.” He says “Thanks for the heads up,” and we all go on our merry way. You give it a real try and are honest? Then you have nothing to worry about here. I have never seen someone penalized over a dispute like that. And while that doesn’t mean that in the future they couldn’t “turn” on us, because of course they can, we enjoy the relationship that we have with management. And we are successful because of it as a regional carrier. It is a risk we are happy to take.

Plus, we get a monthly magazine same as you :wink:

To be totally honest, I think there is an obvious need for unions at most airlines. I just don’t think ours is one of them. I think it would ruin the culture and respect we have built with the company and make growth more difficult.

Jordan

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Jordan,

As I said I’ve always heard very good things about SkyWest and it’s great they treat their pilots so well (although it is curious that the ExpressJet pilots decided to remain Alpa?). Unfortunately not all management in the US is as warm and fuzzy with their pilots which again explains the reason the vast majority of pilots in the US chose to pay dues. Also as I said Alpa does many things on a National level in support of our industry which is a very good thing.

Fortunately things have been very good the last few years in this industry and I’m not doubting the respect or the sincerity you have for your company (or seemingly them for their pilot group) but I do wonder if it were one of the uglier times in history (and if SkyWest was going to be the airline you’d retire at) you’d feel the same? Hopefully so.

Adam

Hi everyone, I am about to start working as a CFI in a local school here where I live. It’s not ATP neither a school that has a partnership with Skywest. I was wondering if I can still apply for the “Skywest pathway program”. Can I do that or do I need to be working for some specific flight school in order to join the program?

With a CFI certificate you are eligible to apply for the SkyWest Pathway Program - doesn’t matter what school you’re at. And no commitment required - Enjoy!

Thank you Jordan for the very quick response. Last question…if they accept me into the program I will start to build some seniority while I’m still working as a CFI to build my hours, correct? Also, will they fly me to SLC to visit the facility and get a better inside of the company? What is the advantage of having a mentor as I’m building my time?
Ops…sorry that was more than one question… lol