Upgrading and getting hired by the majors


New Member
I have two questions:

1. Is it only seniority that determins being able to upgrade to captain? Can someone, if they fly well and are 'outstading' F/Os, be upgraded to captain ahead of another person senior to them?

2. When being hired by the majors, does seniority matter, or do they go purely off of how good of a fit they think you are? For example, can a new captain be hired before a 3 or 4 year captain from the same regional by a major? What determines, for the most part, what separates the huge pool of pilots who are qualified from the pool of pilots who are actually hired?
To answer your first question, the airline biz is not a meritocracy in the slightest. Upgrades are solely seniority based, in that you'll upgrade when you have the seniority to hold the seat.

As for initial hiring, I'll let someone with a bit more insight answer that.
Upgrades are only seniority based if the airline has a contract that states seniority must be respected by management. But in most cases, yes, upgrades are seniority based.
Upgrades are seniority based. However when it comes to hiring, pilots below other pilots in seniority can get hired before those above them. Happens often for various reasons.
Colgan does not use seniority as a rule. They are non-union.

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Huh? How does being non-union decide this? We are non-union and seniority rules.
To get hired you need something that gets you out of the general stack and into one of the smaller ones. Get a 737 type for southwest, or an employee recomendation. I know guys that have been hired by majors recently with zero PIC turbine, however, they had a good "in".
Everyone is saying seniority rules and that is correct. However, you have to pass the training to hold the position that your seniority allows....and it ain't easy. So...if you have the seniority to hold a Capts seat, you bid it, and are awarded it...that's all fine, but can you make it through the training program? They don't just give type ratings away.....

As far as hiring goes, there is no seniority carried over from your previous carrier. It's interesting that you could have been some guys F/O at airline A but get hired sooner at airline B, then wind up being senior to the guy who was your Capt before...
Some non-union carriers use seniority and some don't. Colgan does not. It is possible to walk in there as captain, for example.

I have a few friends who did just that.