Real Answers from Real Pilots

Vacation/Time Off

I understand that airlines usually give pilots around 11/12 days off a month at a minimum. But when you get days off is based on your seniority, correct? My question is do most major airlines give pilots vacation days where you can be guaranteed to have a certain day off? If so, can you accrue more the longer your with the company?

Matthew,

The amount of days off and vacation days vary from airline to airline and are negotiated into most pilot contracts. Yes 12 days off is the min I’m aware of at many airlines but there are some that have higher and yes the days you get (or don’t get) is based on your seniority. All airlines (Regionals and Majors) have vacation days for the pilots and it usually starts with 2 weeks after the first year and after a certain period goes up to 4-6 weeks. Now getting the vacation days off you want is again based on seniority and have to be bid for as well. One of the nice things we have at my airline is you can break up the vacation days to have long weekends etc which is a nice perk.

Adam

Are there certain times when it’s easier for more junior pilots to get the days the want off or does it vary? Is it possible to coordinate your standard days off and vacations days so that you could get three or so weeks off at one time? I assuming using vacation days on holidays won’t work for a while, right? If I took my three weeks off one month and only flew one trip, would I still be paid the monthly minimum?

Matthew,

Obviously it varies as with everything. The big ones (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter) are always tough and summer when the kids are off can be as well but there’s nothing set in stone. The thing as always to remember is to bid what you want because you don’t know and should never assume. A lot of junior guys try avoid bidding popular times assuming they’ll never get it. Well if you don’t even try you never will but you could be pleasantly surprised. As for merging your days off into vacation days that AGAIN comes with seniority. IF you’re able to get the days off before and after your vacation sure you could get 3 weeks off (there are senior guys that get 3 mos off merging their vacations and their days off) and yes you’ll get paid your minimum guarantee which is a very nice thing.

Be that as it may, I understand the curiosity and it’s good to know but I have to say I’d be more interested in getting trained, hired and actually flying than how many days I’ll be off MANY years from now… but that’s me :slight_smile:

Adam

Thanks Adam for the good info and quick responses! :slight_smile: