Questions about pay, bonuses and bases are at the top of your list. But what else do you need to know before you advance to your next pilot job? Is the airline quick to furlough when times get tough? How soon can you get a seniority number? (Hello, recession.) Here are five questions you need to ask before you commit.
When can I get in to class?
Seniority is everything in the airline industry. Delaying your training date by even a week can make the difference between job security and furlough, captain upgrade and months of reserve. Find two or three airlines that provide a good fit for you – then choose the one that gets you into class the fastest.
What percentage of pilots fail training?
Airlines are moving fast to hire as many pilots as they can – often weeding out poor performers in training. If your class of 30 is slowed by a handful of less-than-qualified pilots, your progress is slowed as well. Look for a regional that offers AQP training and trains to proficiency, especially if you are unfamiliar with the aircraft. Ask what percentage of pilots fail training to determine what kind of training experience you can expect.
What is the relationship between the company and the pilots’ union?
Cooperation means progress, especially when the industry faces unexpected difficulties. A working relationship between the company and the union that represents you can mean the difference between increased pay, better work rules and sometimes, furlough. Piedmont Airlines’ pilots avoided furlough during COVID due in part to a deal between the company and the union that protected jobs even when the industry shut down. If the economy takes another downturn, will your new employer be quick to furlough?
I’m a regional pilot who made a bad career choice. What are my options?
It’s not too late to course correct. Pilots with qualified 121 hours can get credit for those hours by moving to Piedmont. Each year of experience at your current airline will increase your starting salary. Pilots with 750+ hours of qualified 121 time will receive Captain pay immediately at Piedmont. All pilots qualify for bonuses upon hire, upgrade and flow to American. Learn more here.
What does my career path look like?
Only a few airlines offer a guaranteed job at a major on your first day of regional training. When pilot hiring slows (hello, recession) make sure your career path is set in stone. Piedmont pilots have the fastest guaranteed path to a major with lifetime earnings approaching $10,000,000. Pilots with no path to a major may struggle to advance if the economy takes a turn.