Real Answers from Real Pilots


(Shane) #1

I was looking at airline pay scales and was wondering how pay works when upgrading. Say you spend 3 years as a FO then upgrade to Captain, do you go to year 1 captain pay or 3 year pay? Or does it vary with each airline?



Your years of service stay the same, regardless of whether you are a first officer or captain. So to answer your question, the pilot that spends three years as a FO and the upgrades will do so making third year Captain pay. I have been with UAL for ten years, if I were to upgrade now I would do so at tenth year pay.


(Shane) #3

Awesome!!! Thanks!


Anytime, that is what we are here for.

(Pete) #5

Hi Chris,

First time poster so I hope I’m not hijacking this tread but my question relates to upgrading. Rumor has it that most majors are now facing a shortage. If that is the case, is the time to upgrade to Captain and to bigger aircraft a lot shorter now that the seniority list in theory would be shorter? Thanks!




The regionals are facing a shortage, but the majors still have a good sized pool of applicants to choose from. That being said, there are record numbers of retirements at the majors, which is driving the shortage at the regionals as the majors hire from there. The majors are also starting to expand and bring much of what used to be RJ flying back in house, further driving the pilot hiring spree.

So while the seniority list is not any shorter, there is movement on it which yes, is causing people to be able to upgrade to Captain or to bigger airplanes sooner than in years past. Now is a really good time to get involved in the industry.


(Pete) #7

Awesome, one more related to upgrading. Saw on another post that you had upgraded to the 757 then back to 737? When you did that, did you start back at the bottom of the seniority list in the 737?




I’ll let Chris give you the details but the answer is no. Once you get hired you begin to build “system seniority” and that continues to grow regardless of the airplane you’re on. For example I was on the 717 but elected to got to the A330 which is generally a more senior airplane for FO’s. If I bid back to the 717 I’d actually be more senior on that airplane due to my seniority in the company and the fact it’s generally a more junior airplane.


(Pete) #9

Sweet! Mahalo Adam, I was stationed out in KBay for a bit. Jealous of you Hawaiian Airlines guys out there.



I actually live in Kailua just up the road from the base. Plenty of you guys at Hawaiian. You should come back! :slight_smile: