Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bidding for the left seat

Another Captains bid is open for my airline. I was 50 away from the most junior Captain spot last time. Currently they are offering 30 for sure Captain upgrades but there might be more. How you say?

Well people have been bailing from my (and most) regionals for a while. Pilots are retiring, going to mainline, corporate or just getting out of the industry. About 2% of the group is leaving a month. Doesn't seem like much but over the course of a year that's almost a quarter of the pilot group. We've been shrinking with more going out the back door than coming into the front door.

The 30 Captain seats are in my current base, but of a different aircraft. The company stated they MIGHT backfill Captain vacancies across the system from where Captains have left.

My base is hands down the most senior. For example I'm in the top 28% of First Officers in my base. If I were to transfer to most junior base I'd be in the top 3%....or the number 4 First Officer.

That being said there is almost no chance of me holding Captain in base. I'm pondering bidding out....becoming a commuter. My wife is fine either way. I have till Friday to decide. There's always the option of transferring back to base when I can hold it.

Gonna go for a walk and think about it.

Oh and the walk is in falling snow! It's Spring...and it's snowing in Kentucky!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I understand your dilemma. Over the longer term, your posts make it abundantly clear that you want to Captain - and as soon as possible. The posting history also suggests that you seriously enjoy both relatively senior FO rank and the ability to hold a schedule that is tolerable - and apparently works for your family. For a relatively young fellow who seems to value family time and schedule convenience, sorry, but I just cannot see you as commuter, captain or not. Of course the pay is better and you will add another aircraft type to your ticket, but is it worth the schedule complaints that we will hear about? I have to wonder how much longer you would have to wait to achieve left seat - AND remain at your current base. If the movement and turnover is as great as you suggest, the additional waiting for that Left Seat may not be all that long. If it means maintaining your Quality of Life standards, can you wait another year? There is always more to the story, but not disrupting your QOL is probably more important than the raise and the huge ego boost. The hefty raise would be nice, I'm sure, but commuting has its own set of embedded expenses. Is the NET increase really worth the QOL losses? Only you can answer that. Can you manage another year or so in your current role? Only you (and your supportive wife) can answer that. I won't bet even a nickel on what course you will take, but I sure hope it works for you and your family. Although I've never had to do it for more than a month, and in a far different industry, commuting long distance sucks; the additional travel time is time wasted and lost, no mater how productive you try to be. Good luck, sir. You will wear four bars; the only question seems to be when and at what cost. Good luck with your deliberations.


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