Airline lifestyle

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bigEh
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Airline lifestyle

Post by bigEh »

I've recently had an interview for what would be my first airline job.
My goal was never to chase metal and when I started flying as a career it was never my intention to head to the airlines. But at this moment in time, I have been presented with a great opportunity.

My main cause for hesitation though is the lifestyle. I have a young child at home and I would be commuting, potentially across the country. And then I would be away for up to half the month or more depending on how my seniority went.

So far in this career, I have been lucky in that I have been home 95% of nights. My commutes have been walkable, bikeable and now a 15-minute drive. So the change to commuting and being gone gives me pause.

I am curious how others in my position have transitioned to the airline lifestyle? Did it work after you got the hang of it? I wonder if getting those ~15 days off a month actually give you more quality time with your family, rather than an hour in the morning and/or night before and after work? Clearly, everyone has different abilities to cope with the change but it is a big change for me should I accept and I am curious if anyone has any advice?

Long term, I would hope this would be the last job. My retirement job.

Thanks for any replies.
Fly safe all.
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goingnowherefast
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by goingnowherefast »

Sounds like a discussion to have with your wife.

I've always wondered what effect the airline lifestyle has on the statically higher divorce rates of pilots.
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Stinky
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by Stinky »

It'll be a huge adjustment. If you're commuting by air and depending on how the company does the scheduling you may end up burning some of your days off hanging around in a crash pad. A single day off in between pairings won't be a day at home.
Your wife will feel like a single mom at times.
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digits_
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by digits_ »

Doesn't sound like a great opportunity to be honest. I would either move or turn it down.
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tbaylx
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by tbaylx »

I'd suggest you thing long and hard about that.

Commuting sucks...some make it work but no one likes it. If it's a short term for a year or so until you move then it's doable. long term, especially with a young family you're not going to like it.
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altiplano
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by altiplano »

Not a lot of specifics in your post...

If it's a good job you should consider moving to/near your base, living in base is better, but if not an option, commutes can be manageable depending where you are. You need to decide what the timeline may be if you get stuck with the long commute, what the future looks like as far as gaining seniority, getting the ideal commutable schedule/type in the base you want.

Depending what your job and situation now is, and what airline you are looking at, I think it's probably a short term pain for long term gain situation, particularly with the growth and hiring trajectories at pretty much every airline in this country right now... the sooner you swallow the pill the better it will be.

My pre-airline job was home every night, weekends and holidays off, but for me airline schedule is exponentially better... I've worked a few holidays, never worked Christmas though, sometimes work weekends, and have had some busy months, but the flexibility is outstanding, I mostly try to work fewest days possible ie. <10days/month, have taken months off at a time, have reasonable control, and make multiples of what I did previously... I prefer the flying and work life also... sure had lot's of fun in turbo-props and bombing around, but lunch, coffee, and a paper on a transcon into a busy centre does the trick for me now.

Good luck with your choice.
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bigEh
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by bigEh »

Thanks for all the replies.

It has definitely been the main discussion with my wife since the interview. I think that is the main concern.

To be more specific, I live on Vancouver Island. The best case scenario would be based in YVR and then the commute would more manageable. Lots of options to and from YVR. But worst case its a few years commuting out east. And we aren't ever planning on moving off the island so its a long term sacrifice. We've weighed the pros and cons. The lower cost of living and lifestyle are too good to leave the island.....That being said, those costs shoot up when you have to potentially rent a room in YVR.

It is definintely a long term play. 10 years down the road, I would hope to have enough seniority to bid a better schedule that would have high credit pairings and then get back home. It's just visualizing that is difficult this far out.

Thanks again for the responses.
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Old fella
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by Old fella »

Speaking from someone who never went the airline route, if your new prospective employer is Air Canada and if I was filling your current boots I would grab that opportunity no hesitation. Best of luck in your decision.
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bcflyer
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by bcflyer »

I commute from the island and it’s the shortest and arguably easiest commute in the system. As you said, lots of options and you can get home for single days off between pairings. Not sure who your prospective employer is, but at AC you may get a YVR spot right out of GS. If not, you’ll likely be back within a year. (All subject to change of course. Such is the airline life!)
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mixturerich
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by mixturerich »

AC or whatever you’re going for, take the offer, things are hot right now and you’ll be back in YVR within a year. Don’t miss out when the door is open.
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cjet
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by cjet »

At westjet for a YVR base it's at least 5 years maybe longer. All new hires are YYZ based. From YVR island to YYZ not a pretty commute at all.

CJET
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igorcanuck
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by igorcanuck »

I've been down that road. 7 years dealing with 6 days pairings, commuting, few days off... on a shine glass cockpit, left seat, last generation big turboprop. Good seniority number on a growing company with embraers, A320 and A330.
But my marriage was sinking... a divorce was more than likely.
Despite enjoying the flights and the planes, it was just a job. For me family comes first, so I left the country, moved to Canada and now I'm about to start over. On a 30 years old turboprop, with no autopilot, etc. Home everynight though and wife happier than ever.
Life is made of choices. Your decision now will change your entire life. Good thing is that you can always go back, don't let a job control your life.
Good luck!
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goleafsgo
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by goleafsgo »

Like what's been said already. If it's AC you'll be able to get back to YVR fairly quickly. Jazz, hopefully don't get on the classic and you'll be back fairly quickly as well
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aV1aTOr
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by aV1aTOr »

Of course things can change fast in this industry, as we all know. Standard aviation disclaimer. BUT....
I was hired at AC before this mad rush of hiring when things were much slower, and I still got a YVR base within 4 months. Sure I was on reserve for 2 years, but I haven't looked back. The commute from the island to YVR is very manageable, many do it every day, to all seats on the base, including on reserve. And if the music keeps playing, you won't be on reserve long (depending on your position of course).
As for the long game, after less than 7 years I am enjoying only 10 -12 days a month flying all over the world based at YVR on the 787 in the right seat, with awesome crews, making a handsome income to support a family of 5 with a stay at home wife, mortgage, private school etc.
If we had to decide on AC again, we wouldn't hesitate for a second.
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AirDoan
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by AirDoan »

I’m just a step behind where you are, but going to have a similar conundrum later this year. ~1000 hours, group 1 ATPL written and all that stuff. Will be applying as soon as my exams are done. Also from the island. For me I’m looking at PasCo, or some of the other smaller ops like PAL or Alain mostly. They all seem to have a decent work/life balance and a commute policy that hopefully will mean me and my better half (with a real career in government already that’s hard to move) can still keep our lifestyle. Won’t get rich but should be comfortable. That’s also fueled by the fact I already spent a year in Alberta doing pipeline patrols and the last 6 months commuting to my skydive gig up island. I don’t really relish the idea of spending another 2 years spending weeks or months away. Getting too old for that! Lol.

That all said if you can get your foot in the door with the big ones now and start building that seniority it’s probably in your best interest. I have a feeling if it doesn’t work it would make going back to a regional easier and probably get more in negotiation as well.
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Warden
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by Warden »

While I have nothing against the 704 carriers, I find it odd why a lot of people on this site have such a bone to pick against Jazz.

If you want a solid career, without taking into account any movement to AC... Jazz is a great place to be. The top half of the list is very Sr, upgrades are happening at a rapid pace and if you choose to stick around the pay isn't so bad once you get past the first few years.

On top of that, in the near future there is a good chance it will be an all jet 75+ passenger fleet flying to good destinations with higher credit days = less days away from home.

12-14 days on average with the CRJ right now for many people and you have a lot of single and two day pairings to choose from.

If you get the Q, yes it's more legs and lower credit flying but very comparable to what you would be doing at PasCo or CMA but with a better future.

Don't shy away from the fact you **MIGHT** get based in YYZ or YUL for a few months although given the staffing shortage right now I find it hard to believe you would spend any time there if at all. I think the last class had 10+ YVR positions offered.

Just something to think about.
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annonyous123
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by annonyous123 »

You know, I've asked these same questions from the get go....I had brand newborns just as my career was taking off(joined AC) I've never missed a XMAS, birthday, etc. I've known guys who missed them all.....I think its all to do with how important it is to you....I started at AC as a 320 F/O...it was a cool job for about a month...then I realized It wasn't for me at this point. I bid RP onto the 777. 9 days a month, plus 12 sick days a year, you can have a pretty nice lifestyle with that job. No, you aren't taking off and landing(big deal, I was a left seat prior on Dash 8 and did 12 per day) but you are working your profession and being a Dad/Husband. After about 4 years on the property I ended up holding the RP spot until I could hold F/O on the 777, although very Junior, the flying still has me at 10-12 days a month on Reserve....I save my sick days for desperate times.....i.e. Dec 24, Dec 25th, birthdays. no shame

The money, health benefits, retirement are worth it, just make sure you stick to your guns and do what works for you and your family. there are both types at this company, those who do what it takes and those who throw it all away. You get to decide who you will be.
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goingnowherefast
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by goingnowherefast »

People have a bone to pick with Jazz because it used to be a career airline. Management, AC and ALPA turned it into a stepping stone company. Despite the pilot shortage, the starting pay has fallen dramatically. They used to hire experienced 703/704 captains and now it's 250hr wonders. A company that used to attract qualified applicants and pay them appropriately now just hopes to find anybody who will accept the low pay.

704 captains are making 90 grand or more. They see the pay cut to Jazz to just slowly climb up the pay scale again and in a couple years hopefully make 90 grand again. But if there's a economic downturn, they'll be stuck on 37 grand FO pay for many years with no upgrade in sight. Just not worth the gamble to most. Plus many 703/704 companies are actually home every night, not 2 or occasional 3 day pairings.
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Warden
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by Warden »

goingnowherefast wrote: Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:33 am People have a bone to pick with Jazz because it used to be a career airline. Management, AC and ALPA turned it into a stepping stone company. Despite the pilot shortage, the starting pay has fallen dramatically. They used to hire experienced 703/704 captains and now it's 250hr wonders. A company that used to attract qualified applicants and pay them appropriately now just hopes to find anybody who will accept the low pay.

704 captains are making 90 grand or more. They see the pay cut to Jazz to just slowly climb up the pay scale again and in a couple years hopefully make 90 grand again. But if there's a economic downturn, they'll be stuck on 37 grand FO pay for many years with no upgrade in sight. Just not worth the gamble to most. Plus many 703/704 companies are actually home every night, not 2 or occasional 3 day pairings.
You never worked there mate, and have no idea what you're talking about.

The last contract just brought back the pay to the pre 2015 levels which is over %10 bump vs the "bscale" after year 6. So if you want to stick around as a "career" it makes way more sense now to do so.

When I was at Jazz I made over 100k my first full year as a Captain with no YOS. I did not "work my balls off" either, I did a few WDOs here and there and took advantage of thinks like the return on reserve time bank and TB2s for extending if I wanted to. On top of that I was away from home maybe 10 nights a month tops. The rest were single days or crossover days between 2/3 day pairings.

The upgrades are NON stop right now and chatting with friends still there, seems like it won't stop for a while especially if AC takes %60 of the 1000 pilots they need. If you have and ATPL and go to Jazz right now you will be a Captain in a year. The college hires can't upgrade fast enough, you may have a bunch parachute above you as they get their experience but you'll still be doing just fine. And in 5-10 years (mid 30's for most people who go there now as a career) you'll be top %40-50 of the pilot list with a good schedule and making $110-130k a year.
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ant_321
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Re: Airline lifestyle

Post by ant_321 »

annonyous123 wrote: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:35 pm You know, I've asked these same questions from the get go....I had brand newborns just as my career was taking off(joined AC) I've never missed a XMAS, birthday, etc. I've known guys who missed them all.....I think its all to do with how important it is to you....I started at AC as a 320 F/O...it was a cool job for about a month...then I realized It wasn't for me at this point. I bid RP onto the 777. 9 days a month, plus 12 sick days a year, you can have a pretty nice lifestyle with that job. No, you aren't taking off and landing(big deal, I was a left seat prior on Dash 8 and did 12 per day) but you are working your profession and being a Dad/Husband. After about 4 years on the property I ended up holding the RP spot until I could hold F/O on the 777, although very Junior, the flying still has me at 10-12 days a month on Reserve....I save my sick days for desperate times.....i.e. Dec 24, Dec 25th, birthdays. no shame

The money, health benefits, retirement are worth it, just make sure you stick to your guns and do what works for you and your family. there are both types at this company, those who do what it takes and those who throw it all away. You get to decide who you will be.
You sound like such a nice guy. Calling in sick on xmas is one of the biggest douche bag moves I can think of. Why not just celebrate xmas a couple days early or late? Thats what I did growing up when my father had to work over the holidays and I will do the same with my family.
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