Paid from duty time

jrh

Well-Known Member
Here's something I've been wondering about for a while, but the "min day" thread inspired me to ask:

Why don't all airlines pay their pilots based on duty time, rather than flight time?

My operation *does* pay based on duty time, and it works great, in my opinion. If we're working, we're getting paid. It's super simple. Pilots don't feel ripped off if they're not flying, and the company has an incentive to use pilots efficiently.

Of course there are a few exceptions, such as a daily and weekly minimum, how much will get paid if a pilot is released earlier or later than originally scheduled, and so on, but for the most part, it's a straightforward, logical system.

So why don't the majority of airlines use this system? What are the benefits to *not* getting paid based on duty time?
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
Does that pay past 8 hours trigger overtime at time and a half in some states?

Then again I'm pretty sure pilots are exempted from most (if not all) state and federal overtime laws...
 

Der_Meister

Well-Known Member
the real question is why would you as an airline pay for duty time instead of flight time? after all time=$$$
 

O&M

Well-Known Member
Here's something I've been wondering about for a while, but the "min day" thread inspired me to ask:

Why don't all airlines pay their pilots based on duty time, rather than flight time?

My operation *does* pay based on duty time, and it works great, in my opinion. If we're working, we're getting paid. It's super simple. Pilots don't feel ripped off if they're not flying, and the company has an incentive to use pilots efficiently.

Of course there are a few exceptions, such as a daily and weekly minimum, how much will get paid if a pilot is released earlier or later than originally scheduled, and so on, but for the most part, it's a straightforward, logical system.

So why don't the majority of airlines use this system? What are the benefits to *not* getting paid based on duty time?
There are any number of ways to do it. I once worked for a company that paid their pilots by the mile flown. Captains were paid 10 cents per mile, and First Officers were paid 5. You can pay them by the day. I believe that's what the railfoads do. You could pay pilots a flat salary based on 1000 hours per year.

Pilots are paid by the flight hour because that is what the unions negotiated, and that has become the paradigm.

With all the "soft pay" provisions and scheduling restrictions built into the standard union contract, I'm not sure why pilots should feel ripped off. I have read many-a-post from someone claiming that they flew 60 hours and got paid for 100.
 

jtrain609

Antisocial Monster
There are any number of ways to do it. I once worked for a company that paid their pilots by the mile flown. Captains were paid 10 cents per mile, and First Officers were paid 5. You can pay them by the day. I believe that's what the railfoads do. You could pay pilots a flat salary based on 1000 hours per year.

Pilots are paid by the flight hour because that is what the unions negotiated, and that has become the paradigm.

With all the "soft pay" provisions and scheduling restrictions built into the standard union contract, I'm not sure why pilots should feel ripped off. I have read many-a-post from someone claiming that they flew 60 hours and got paid for 100.
I've flown 60 and was paid 100. The reason it happened was because I was punished for the entire month. I didn't go home for 2 weeks at one point, had my schedule obliterated (went from 4 on 3 off to 6 on 1 off, twice), and I had so much extension pay that the soft time added up.

Sometimes folks are able to do things like this with 200% for open time pickup, but for the most part, if you credit those kinds of numbers, it's because you but your butt beat for the month.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
Does that pay past 8 hours trigger overtime at time and a half in some states?

Then again I'm pretty sure pilots are exempted from most (if not all) state and federal overtime laws...
I don't know what we're legally supposed to be paid, but anything beyond 40 duty hours/week here gets paid at time and a half.

Also, any work beyond the scheduled duty day gets paid at time and a half. So if we're scheduled for a ten hour day, but get delayed for some reason and it turns in to a twelve hour day, we get ten hours of straight pay, with the additional two hours at time and a half, even if we still come in under 40 hours for the week.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Well, pilot pay is nebulous. I've "flown" X, and gotten "paid" Y but sometimes the actual work footprint (delays, re routes, training, ex) can result in you working "Y+"


Sent from my TRS-80
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
Pilots are paid by the flight hour because that is what the unions negotiated, and that has become the paradigm.
Ok, fair enough. That's as good a reason as any.

To me, it just seems really, really complicated. I don't know how the pilots or company's payroll department can keep it all straight. That's why I like my company's duty hour system, because it's so simple to keep track of.

But I've never worked under any other system, so maybe it's easier than it sounds.
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
But I've never worked under any other system, so maybe it's easier than it sounds.
Just keeping track of stuff like 8 in rolling 24 is bad enough, by the end of the day my times are recorded in 5 different places. I can't imagine trying to stay on top of soft time, what time is supposed to be 150%, 200%, etc.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
Just keeping track of stuff like 8 in rolling 24 is bad enough, by the end of the day my times are recorded in 5 different places.
That part is easy here. All of the out/off/on/in times are logged in to a centralized computer system which tracks everything. When a pilot's flight time limits are being approached in any way, their ID starts flashing yellow. When an aircraft begins approaching a phase inspection, its tail number starts flashing yellow. That sort of thing. It's pretty neat.

Obviously the pilot is still ultimately responsible for not exceeding limits, but I've never had the system steer me wrong.
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Most Hated Member
The reason is simple: it's always been done that way. Switching to a new system would be a big road block in pattern bargaining, so we instead do things like negotiate duty rigs and trip rigs to solve the problem of not getting paid while not flying.
 

dasleben

That's just, like, your opinion, man
I prefer being paid by flight time, even after flying for Cape with duty time pay. With flight time pay, you can get your work done quickly and go home. With duty time pay, you have to work 12+ hour days, at least 4 days a week to make a decent paycheck. Schedule efficiency is much reduced. The best of both worlds, as ATN said, is rig.
 

Ralgha

Well-Known Member
I prefer being paid by flight time, even after flying for Cape with duty time pay. With flight time pay, you can get your work done quickly and go home. With duty time pay, you have to work 12+ hour days, at least 4 days a week to make a decent paycheck. Schedule efficiency is much reduced. The best of both worlds, as ATN said, is rig.
No you don't (maybe you did at Cape). You still would have a minimum daily guarantee (perhaps 8 hours) that you would get even if your duty was only 4 hours. Hourly pay would be adjusted to have the end average be comparable to the current flight hour paradigm. The end result (of a proper policy) would be getting paid for extended days/delays, for which you get jack squat now, and potentially (though this one depends on many other variables) more efficient schedules that have less couch time.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus that ate your iPhone.
 

Screaming_Emu

Joe Conventional
There are any number of ways to do it. I once worked for a company that paid their pilots by the mile flown. Captains were paid 10 cents per mile, and First Officers were paid 5. You can pay them by the day. I believe that's what the railfoads do. You could pay pilots a flat salary based on 1000 hours per year.

Pilots are paid by the flight hour because that is what the unions negotiated, and that has become the paradigm.

With all the "soft pay" provisions and scheduling restrictions built into the standard union contract, I'm not sure why pilots should feel ripped off. I have read many-a-post from someone claiming that they flew 60 hours and got paid for 100.
You really need to ride around on a jumpseat more often. For an entire trip.
 

dasleben

That's just, like, your opinion, man
No you don't (maybe you did at Cape). You still would have a minimum daily guarantee (perhaps 8 hours) that you would get even if your duty was only 4 hours. Hourly pay would be adjusted to have the end average be comparable to the current flight hour paradigm. The end result (of a proper policy) would be getting paid for extended days/delays, for which you get jack squat now, and potentially (though this one depends on many other variables) more efficient schedules that have less couch time.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus that ate your iPhone.
I suppose we'd have to see what could be negotiated. I just remember working at Cape for $15 per duty hour, working 50+ hours a week in order to get a halfway decent paycheck. Lots of that time was spent sitting around on a couch. That schedule was one 9 hour workday, followed by three 14 hour workdays every week.
 

Ralgha

Well-Known Member
I suppose we'd have to see what could be negotiated. I just remember working at Cape for $15 per duty hour, working 50+ hours a week in order to get a halfway decent paycheck. Lots of that time was spent sitting around on a couch. That schedule was one 9 hour workday, followed by three 14 hour workdays every week.
That's more a result of working at Cape than getting paid by duty hour. Do you really think it would have been better if all they did was change to paying by flight hour (with an appropriate rate adjustment)?

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus that ate your iPhone.
 

DPApilot

GUYSH! GUYSH! GUYSH!
I fly an average 50-80 hours a month and am paid 100-170 hours a month. We are also paid block or better, or 1/2 our total duty time.
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
I fly an average 50-80 hours a month and am paid 100-170 hours a month. We are also paid block or better, or 1/2 our total duty time.
That tells me one of two things. Either your block times are hugely inflated to keep the operation running on time or you sit around the airport for large amount of time between turns every day.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Unless he's involved with "extra services"

Yeah Gulley, what's your secret?


Sent from my TRS-80
 
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