Question about seniority and upgrading

PaulS

New Member
I have a few questions:

1. Are their pilots who turn down captain upgrades to just be F/Os? If so, is this just the minority? Can a lower senority bid up to captain if the higher number declines?

2. Doug, why are you trying to bid up to a 757/767? Would it be better if you try to bid captain on an MD-80? Or does normal progression go F/O from small to big plane, then captain from small to big plane. Or is it just upgrade F/O until you get in the final plane you want to be captain on?

3. Is it true that basically if I become an F/O with an airline, everyone senior to me has to be given the opportunity to upgrade before I can upgrade?

Thanks for you responses. I really appreciate it.
 

PaulS

New Member
Oh I forgot my last question:

What would you say the average time is to upgrade from F/O to captain in a major, if upgrading was more important that trying to wait and be able to bid a better schedule (or anything at all).

Also, if I were to start flying a regional in 2 years, how long do you think it will be (average) until I can be a captain. I was told by someone around 3-4 at a regional until captain, then another 6-7 at a major, if I bid up at the first available time.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
I have a few questions:

1. Are their pilots who turn down captain upgrades to just be F/Os? If so, is this just the minority? Can a lower senority bid up to captain if the higher number declines?

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Yes. No. Yes.

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2. Doug, why are you trying to bid up to a 757/767? Would it be better if you try to bid captain on an MD-80? Or does normal progression go F/O from small to big plane, then captain from small to big plane. Or is it just upgrade F/O until you get in the final plane you want to be captain on?

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Boredom. Yes, but I don't have the seniority. Sort of. No.

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3. Is it true that basically if I become an F/O with an airline, everyone senior to me has to be given the opportunity to upgrade before I can upgrade?

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes.

 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
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Oh I forgot my last question:

What would you say the average time is to upgrade from F/O to captain in a major, if upgrading was more important that trying to wait and be able to bid a better schedule (or anything at all).

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It's been as short as one year and as long as never! Seriously.

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Also, if I were to start flying a regional in 2 years, how long do you think it will be (average) until I can be a captain. I was told by someone around 3-4 at a regional until captain, then another 6-7 at a major, if I bid up at the first available time.

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It depends on a large variety of factors. Today January 15, 2004 it might be Skywest with the fastest upgrades and perhaps Allegheny with the slowest upgrades. But January 16, 2004 it can (and will) all change.
 

PaulS

New Member
Thanks Doug. I really appreciate your help. Two question I forgot to ask:

1. Say an F/O declines captain. Then someone junior to him bids up and becomes captain. Now 1 or 2 years later, the F/O with the higer seniority decides he wants to bid to be captain. If he upgrades to captain, can he potentially 'bump off' a captain with lower seniority than himself, causing that captain to become an F/O again?

2. How long do you think until you are a captain?
 

A300Capt

Freight Dawg
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1. Are their pilots who turn down captain upgrades to just be F/Os? If so, is this just the minority? Can a lower senority bid up to captain if the higher number declines?

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People turn down upgrades for various reasons. Some don't need the money and prefer the lifestyle of being a senior f/o and bidding better trips. Upgrading may mean moving or commuting to a new, usually more junior and less desirable, pilot domicile. Some may be waiting until their seniority number allows them to hold the Capt's seat in the equipment and domicile they want.

If a person elects to turn down an upgrade then the next person in line on the seniority list is allowed the opportunity if they desire. Your seniority number rules everything you do during your career.

[ QUOTE ]
2. Doug, why are you trying to bid up to a 757/767? Would it be better if you try to bid captain on an MD-80? Or does normal progression go F/O from small to big plane, then captain from small to big plane. Or is it just upgrade F/O until you get in the final plane you want to be captain on?

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At most pax airlines, the bigger the equipment the more the crewmember is paid in their respective seat. A B777 f/o makes more per hour than a B737 f/o, etc. If a person's seniority allows them to fly bigger equipment (more pay), live in the same domicile and/or fly better trips, than upgrading to a bigger aircraft may be a better option.

Keep in mind that some people prefer staying on one piece of equipment their entire career. They may enjoy the trips on that aircraft more or just prefer that aircraft for whatever reason. Some people (okay, a lot) detest going back to the school house to relearn yet another aircraft type and are quite comfortable flying their current fleet type. Their are a lot of very senior B737 Captains at some airlines and very junior B777 Capts. Some of these senior captains will reluctantly bid and upgrade to a bigger aircraft in their last few years prior to retirement simply for the bigger paycheck and higher pension.

Not everyone desires to fly the biggest airplane out there. A lot of factors play into someone's decision. Same for upgrading to Capt. Not everyone, believe it or not, wants to be a captain.

[ QUOTE ]
3. Is it true that basically if I become an F/O with an airline, everyone senior to me has to be given the opportunity to upgrade before I can upgrade?


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True. Seniority number means everything at the airlines and controls everything you do or "want" to do. And, if a more senior f/o bypasses a captain upgrade and you are awarded it...when that more senior f/o does decide to upgrade he will be a more a senior captain than you because of his overall seniority #.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
I've been bypassing the Capts seat for about 7 years. I'd guess there are about 500 Capts that are junior to me. I fly very senior trips as an F/O but every now and then I'll fly with a Capt who is junior to me...which is sorta weird.

To me...this job is about quality of life and not money. As a very senior F/O, I'm working about 10 days out of 28. I could probably hold lines as a Capt where I'd work 14 out of 28 but I just don't want to work that much. Yeah...I'd make a lot more money but that isn't important to me...I do fine as is.

The guys who tend to upgrade at the first chance tend to be those that have large families to support or those to whom the goal of an expensive lifestyle is important.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
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1. Say an F/O declines captain. Then someone junior to him bids up and becomes captain. Now 1 or 2 years later, the F/O with the higer seniority decides he wants to bid to be captain. If he upgrades to captain, can he potentially 'bump off' a captain with lower seniority than himself, causing that captain to become an F/O again?

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Nope. Upgrading is only available if there's actually a position open to move into. But if you had the ability to 'bump' someone out of a position like that, there'd be an endless loop of people training!


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2. How long do you think until you are a captain?

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I have no idea, it doesn't really concern me all that much at this point in time. I still like hearing the telephone ring, "Oh, chief pilot? Yes, the captain's right here"... "Here captain! The phones for you, it's the chief pilot and he sounds pissed -- I'm going down to Starbucks, wanna latte?
"
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
The airline is staffed with X number of Capts. Some junior to me and some senior. Only when a bid comes out to add to the X number, can I upgrade. I can't "bump" a Capt junior to me bank into the F/O's seat...in general. During times of furloughs and displacements a guy could lose his Capts seat and I could wind up in his seat but not on the same bid cycle. It gets very complicated so, in general, once a Capt, always a Capt....

I plan on waiting a couple more years until I can hold easy lines as a Capt before I upgrade. No rush as I still have 18 years to go.

Another reason guys upgrade is the retirement system. At my company, part of your retirement is based on the average salary of your last 5 years. I know a guy who got hired in his mid-40's, junior to me, who is upgrading (doesn't really want to) just so his retirement will be higher.
 

Maximilian_Jenius

Super User
Well lets say that I'ma junior F/O on the 737-800 and I bid Captain and get it.

Then after say 3-4 yrs. get bored and want to change equipment lets say to a 757/767.

Would I bid captain for the 757/767 since I already was a captain on the 737-800 or would I have have to bid F/O again and work my way back up to captian since I'm starting on a new a/c.

I feel that I already know the answer to this question but just want to double check.


Matthew
 

MDPilot

Well-Known Member
If your overall seniority would allow you to hold 757/767 Captain, you could bid for it, and get it, regardless of whether you were previously a 737-800 Captain or not. And no, you don't have to have ever been a 757/767 F/O to be a Captain on that airplane. In fact, you could have been lounging around for 15 years as a 737-200 F/O (and probably been the most senior F/O there for quite a while) and if an slot opened up on the 757/767 Captain that you were senior enough to hold, you would get it. Would that be the smartest thing in the world? Maybe, maybe not.
 

PaulS

New Member
Do most stay as an F/O or is it split 50/50 or so among those looking to upgrade ASAP and those looking to gain senority?
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Let's just put it this way. If you see 15 people in a ground school for the 777, you'll probably have at least 15 different rationales for them doing so.
 

MDPilot

Well-Known Member
It's a personal decision. Which do you want more: 1) more money, less time off, less control of your schedule and vacations or 2) less money, more time off, more control of your schedule and vacations? Obviously if everybody chose #1, then the top half of the seniority list would be Captains, and the bottom half would be F/Os. It doesn't even remotely look that way.

Mixing in different aircraft types and domiciles only stirs the pot even more. If I live in PNS would I rather commute to a senior 777 F/O line in ATL, or a junior reserve 737 Capt line in NYC? Situation changes if I live in ATL, would I rather have a ATL MD88 Captain reserve line (junior on the position, but living in domicile and every reserve day is a day golfing), or commute to NYC for a 767 international F/O (senior in position and flying 10 days a month battling time zone changes to Europe and back?)

Are my kids gone from home (or don't have any), or did I marry late and have two under 10 at home and want to spend time with them on my terms? A large carrier with multiple domiciles and aircraft types allow you to make value choices that consider all these factors and more.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
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Do airline pilots ever get forced by their airline to change pilot bases?

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Yes.
 

MDPilot

Well-Known Member
Post 9-11 with the backward movement inherent in shrinking schedule and furloughs, I was involuntarily displaced from line holder ATL MD-88B, to CVG MD-88B, to MCO 737B, to cancelling that move on the day before it was to have been effective and reinstatement to CVG MD-88B, to ATL 737B, but was furloughed before the last one could take place. All this happened between 1 Jun 02 to 1 May 03.

One could also be forced to change bases by a base closure (Boston in the 90s) or retirement of an aircraft type in that base.
 

MQAAord

Scheherazade
Staff member
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What would be some reasons for being forced to move bases?

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The same reason I was forced out onto the street! Furloughs & displacements. If a bid category is suddenly severly understaffed (say because an airline furloughs, and therfore takes all the 727 FEs from NYC), well, now the airline needs 727 FEs in NYC, and if the airline has furloughed, they've probably severely decreased their flying, so there's overages (too many pilots) in other bid categories. So a displacement bid comes out, where if you're not senior enough to hold on to your base, seat and/or equipment, you can get bumped to a different category.

Hope that made sense........it's late and I've been up since 4.
 
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