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I know two people personally who have left SWA. Both because the amount you work in a single day, and one because he wanted the possibility to fly widebody one day.

That's not a slam on SWA. It's just something you have to decide. A perfect day for me in narrow body world is two 2-hour flights. That said, a 2-1-2 three-day with a 20 hour layover in Miami Beach is a hell of a way to earn a living.

But to restate something very important, for most people the number one priority is your ability to not commute. I've talked with a dozen guys with wives who really really really want to live in a certain city because of whatever. I've had decent success changing their minds when I explain the myriad ways living in base makes this job better for the family. If anyone looking to make the jump is unclear on why living in base is more than just avoiding the extra flight to work, send me a message and I'll give you my number. Or any other questions.

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23 hours ago, Duck said:

Soooo....if someone was a new hire at SWA, and had a job offer at Delta, which one would the majority here pick and why?

I’d pick the one that would prevent me from commuting. 

Having commuted for 18 months, I know how much better it is when you don’t. 

Edited by HuggyU2
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On 1/27/2019 at 6:20 AM, Guardian said:


By no means do I know anything about this. I am just surprised to hear SWA. I hear they work you to death for your coin. I realize that wasn’t the question posed. I just can’t imagine doing a 4 hop for SWA compared to a one or two hop for DAL which makes the same amount of money being the better route to make more money. Sounds like you would have to kill yourself to make a lot of money.

I went SWA because they were the first to hire me, but I was weary about some of the same stuff I heard about them as far as quality of life goes. I finished my first year a couple months ago and was surprised that my logbook showed an average of 2.3 legs per day and 1.9 hours per leg. There are a hundred other variables leading to why I or anyone else would choose to stay or go, but just pointing out that from my perspective the ‘SWA is overworked’ narrative I kept hearing on AD was either overhyped or else I’ve just been fortunate.

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21 hours ago, Champ Kind said:

What is this "company culture" you speak of?

In all seriousness:  I hear this about SWA all the time.  Can you elaborate some more and provide some specific examples?  I'm particularly curious since once of the attractions of the airline industry (in any company) is the "show up, fly, leave airport, don't think about work until the next trip" mentality, so how good could a culture really be (or matter) if you're making good coin to fly airplanes anyway.

I can't do a decent job explaining it but i'll try. First let me say I have an inclination toward cynicism. Be it innate or just bitterness over organizational failures I've seen in the AF. My bullshit detector for insincere platitudes and pep-talks is always on high gain.  I also know that the SWA culture is often derided as a "cultish" by outsiders. It kinda is, but I'm buying it.

It all goes back to Herb. He knew most everyone's names, he hugged and even kissed all his employees, dudes included. Yeah I know, sounds gay. He drank, smoked, and threw wild parties. He was serious about cutting through the B.S. and making airplanes fly. His philosophy was "Take care of the employees first, and the customers will come."  Herb is gone and SWA is a big airline now with big airline problems. Many aspects of the old SWA culture has dwindled, but a lot of it still exists. I won't go into everything, but there's books written on it and it's Fortune magazine's 11th most admired company in the world, behind #10 FedEx, and I can see why.

Here's just a few things. When I walk in the pilot lounge to check in for my trip, I get a hug from the ladies in the base coordinator office. If the Chief or Asst. is walking thru, he'll stop, handshake, crack a joke and visit. I often get hats, pins, cards, and other things in the mail for no good reason. All the company communications emphasize real positives. FAs often bring snacks, we often buy ops agents and gate agents coffee, new Captain upgrades typically serve hot dog lunches in the lounge one day. SWA throws big parties several times a year. The header of every paycheck says "Deposits made possible by your Southwest Customers."  Maybe all this exists at other airlines too, I don't know. I just know I like where I'm at and I'm over 10 years in.

I could just show up and get a paycheck for flying airplanes, and there are many pilots who do, but it's a heck of a lot more fun if there's an over-arching atmosphere of fun and positivity. And it doesn't feel fake when the company has the numbers to prove it's success. I know that all sounds touchy-feely and it probably doesn't count for much when most people just want to get paid big bucks as quick as possible for working as little as possible. But once you've experienced it, it counts for something.

Edited by torqued
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13 minutes ago, torqued said:

I can't do a decent job explaining it but i'll try. .......once you've experienced it, it counts for something.

Good post, man.  I had heard SW had a "fun" culture but never really understood any of the specific details as to why.  Thanks. 

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4 hours ago, HuggyU2 said:

I’d pick the one that would prevent me from commuting. 

Having commuted for 18 months, I know how much better it is when you don’t. 

^^^Probably the most important factor for me too. 

 

I cringe when I hear about how guys had to leave the house 6AM just to commute in for a 2PM sign in when I can leave the house after sending the kids to school, doing a few hours of office/house work, having lunch with the wife, and then heading in to work for day 1.  Same thing on the back end going home - I'm always home for dinner, but the guys who sign out at 3PM might have a hard time making dinner at home depending on flights, etc. 

 

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27 minutes ago, JS said:

^^^Probably the most important factor for me too.

I cringe when I hear about how guys had to leave the house 6AM just to commute in for a 2PM sign in when I can leave the house after sending the kids to school, doing a few hours of office/house work, having lunch with the wife, and then heading in to work for day 1.  Same thing on the back end going home - I'm always home for dinner, but the guys who sign out at 3PM might have a hard time making dinner at home depending on flights, etc. 

 

That's all great, but don't hang your career on a particular base.  Bases open, close, and change fleets regularly.

Yes, if we're talking about SWA/AA and Dallas, or Delta and Atlanta, or United and ORD, you're probably okay...but just about anything else is fair game, especially over a 20+ year career.

I jumpseat often between MEM and ATL with Delta pilots who thought that Memphis was going to be a major NWA/Delta hub forever.  I grew up in Seattle around a bunch of United pilots who thought that was going to be their base for the rest of their career, too. 

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17 hours ago, Lord Ratner said:

But to restate something very important, for most people the number one priority is your ability to not commute. I've talked with a dozen guys with wives who really really really want to live in a certain city because of whatever. I've had decent success changing their minds when I explain the myriad ways living in base makes this job better for the family. If anyone looking to make the jump is unclear on why living in base is more than just avoiding the extra flight to work, send me a message and I'll give you my number. Or any other questions.

I'll counter and say that commuting is a manageable hassle that allows you to live wherever makes the family happy, rather than forcing a square peg into a round hole.

For most of us, we are only going to spend about 50% of our nights sleeping in our own bed.  Our spouses and kids sleep in those beds, in that house, in that town, basically 100% of the time.

For my family, who followed me all over the world for 20 years in my AF career, it was time to let them decide where it would make them happy to live.  All this with the full knowledge of what time is lost commuting...and that was an acceptable tradeoff for my family.

Personally, I look at the ability to commute as a gift rather than a hassle.

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I'll counter and say that commuting is a manageable hassle that allows you to live wherever makes the family happy, rather than forcing a square peg into a round hole.
For most of us, we are only going to spend about 50% of our nights sleeping in our own bed.  Our spouses and kids sleep in those beds, in that house, in that town, basically 100% of the time.
For my family, who followed me all over the world for 20 years in my AF career, it was time to let them decide where it would make them happy to live.  All this with the full knowledge of what time is lost commuting...and that was an acceptable tradeoff for my family.
Personally, I look at the ability to commute as a gift rather than a hassle.
I agree with you. I just want to offer a better argument for living in base than "commuting sucks."

My point isn't that commuting is always wrong (I commute), but rather that it's not just as simple as adding a flight or two to the schedule.

It's just about having far more options. For example, if you want to sleep in your own bed every night, that's an option with enough seniority. You can fly turns, you can become a check pilot and do sim checks, you can do union work, or you can even work in management.

Opportunities for premium flying, sitting reserve in your living room, not caring about the weather, all things that commuting impacts. I fly with guys who coach their kids' sports, and they couldn't do that reliably at AA if they couldn't bid all turns, and that's not feasible as a commuter.

Some people will still choose commuting, that's fine, I just want people and their families to have the full picture of what commuting costs.

It's not much different than assignment choices in UPT. There's so much you don't know when making the decision, so imagine how confusing it is for the spouses. I've helped some realize they'd rather move to a domicile, and others feel more confident in their decision to commute.

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16 hours ago, Hacker said:

Personally, I look at the ability to commute as a gift rather than a hassle.

 It's also important for people to realize there's a large spectrum of opportunities that exist between being a commuter and living in domicile. You don't have to commit to one or the other for your entire career.

We have "in-domicile" people that walk 10 minutes to work, ride the train for an hour and a half, drive a couple hundred miles, or sit in bumper to bumper traffic for hours. Some commuters two-hop across country or take a 45 min flight each way. There are people who commute to live on the farm, lakehouse or in the mountains part of the year and sit-reserve in domicile out of a home, condo, apartment, RV part of the year. Some regularly change domiciles just for something different. I can sometimes modify trips to start or end at my commute airport.

Families are a the biggest consideration and I've got two years until the kids are in college. I've been a commuter for 10 years and I would do it again without hesitation to live where we wanted. However, I intend intend on keeping our home while living in-domicile part-time elsewhere in the future.

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On January 27, 2019 at 9:43 PM, Hacker said:

FWIW, FedEx has limitations on how much open time you can pick up every month that, by my understanding, other airlines do not have.

Not true.  There is no limit to what you can pick up if you have time in your makeup bank (acquired through mil Lv, trip drops, conflicts, etc).  Ties into vacation question too- fedex probably has the best work rules for getting time off. You can drop all your flying every month (so your free to travel) and make it up when you like, or never.

Vacation system. I use one week of vacation to knock out my entire schedule for July, bid last week of June off and first week of August off, and enjoy 6weeks free over the summer.

Bunch of other ways to skin the cat, lots of flexibility. And with all the frequent flier points I get, haven't paid for families tix in years (and no standing by to boot).

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6 hours ago, RogAir said:

Not true.  There is no limit to what you can pick up if you have time in your makeup bank (acquired through mil Lv, trip drops, conflicts, etc).  Ties into vacation question too- fedex probably has the best work rules for getting time off. You can drop all your flying every month (so your free to travel) and make it up when you like, or never.

Vacation system. I use one week of vacation to knock out my entire schedule for July, bid last week of June off and first week of August off, and enjoy 6weeks free over the summer.

Bunch of other ways to skin the cat, lots of flexibility. And with all the frequent flier points I get, haven't paid for families tix in years (and no standing by to boot).

And, there's no limit on the extra trips you can volunteer for at time and a half pay (as long as there's extra flying in your seat).

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10 hours ago, RogAir said:

Not true.  There is no limit to what you can pick up if you have time in your makeup bank

Yes, exactly what I was saying.

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So I've got a question that probably doesn't matter to 99/100 (maybe more) of the people reading this thread. With a longer term goal (5-7 years) of getting to a major, would a majority of hours in a smaller multi-engine turboprop (MC-12, C-146 (Dornier 328), RC-26, etc...) likely not lead to being hired? How about the C-130? To my knowledge, FedEx is the only outfit that has a weight limit minimum for counting hours, right?

I realize some of these platforms will be logging a lot less hours than other AMC platforms, but my first battle is finding a unit interested in hiring me(background is an 11U UPT graduate that has been flying MQ-9s for 7+ years). I think their mission sets sound pretty cool, and my ISR/RPA background actually might have some relevancy.

Edited by GoodSplash9

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55 minutes ago, GoodSplash9 said:

To my knowledge, FedEx is the only outfit that has a weight limit minimum for counting hours, right?

From what I can see, they may have recently ditched that PIC reference to a/c over 12,500 lb. MTOGW.  Not positive, but it appears to be removed from their credentials page.

https://careers.fedex.com/prelogin/P0001

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2 hours ago, GoodSplash9 said:

would a majority of hours in a smaller multi-engine turboprop (MC-12, C-146 (Dornier 328), RC-26, etc...) likely not lead to being hired?

No.

2 hours ago, GoodSplash9 said:

How about the C-130?

They hire Herk guys but only while holding their nose and because they've run out of Thunderbird leads.  On the plus side they give them an extra sim to learn how to fly Mach.  😏

If you have the fixed wing hours and the AF-trained box checked on your app, the rest really doesn't matter.

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7 minutes ago, nunya said:

No.

They hire Herk guys but only while holding their nose and because they've run out of Thunderbird leads.  On the plus side they give them an extra sim to learn how to fly Mach.  😏

If you have the fixed wing hours and the AF-trained box checked on your app, the rest really doesn't matter.

Thanks for the reply nunya. I definitely didn’t intend to come off sounding like a DB.My knowledge base is honestly really low in this realm (didn’t want to say ignorant). I’ve been given advice to only pursue large multi engine jets because that’s the only thing majors are looking for, but the more I’ve learned the less that has added up. I also think C-130s are awesome...was just wondering how/if the multiengine jet gouge really applies.

In all seriousness now....Could you put me in touch with the Mach sim guys? I figure with a few of those hours and my drone background, I’m a rock solid Thunderbird lead candidate the airlines would be interested in hiring ASAP. 🤡

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3 hours ago, GoodSplash9 said:

Thanks for the reply nunya. I definitely didn’t intend to come off sounding like a DB.My knowledge base is honestly really low in this realm (didn’t want to say ignorant). I’ve been given advice to only pursue large multi engine jets because that’s the only thing majors are looking for, but the more I’ve learned the less that has added up. I also think C-130s are awesome...was just wondering how/if the multiengine jet gouge really applies.

In all seriousness now....Could you put me in touch with the Mach sim guys? I figure with a few of those hours and my drone background, I’m a rock solid Thunderbird lead candidate the airlines would be interested in hiring ASAP. 🤡

Friend of mine spoke with FedEx HR back in Nov about his app which he had some questions about. Lots of C-130 and contract King Air time in the desert. They straight told him he needed heavy jet and 121 time to be competitive. I don't think other airlines are as selective.

I've been a career Herc guy AD and Guard. Loved the Herc on AD but I will say that if location isn't a big deal and you want to find the very best combination of an airline career and Guard duties, consider a Guard aircraft that doesn't have a long list of mission currency item requirements.

Edited by torqued

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On 1/31/2019 at 11:12 AM, Hacker said:

Yes, exactly what I was saying.

I must have misunderstood what you were saying.  I took it to mean that Fedex had a hard limit (say 100 hrs/mo) on what you could fly each month like my previous Legacy airline had.  There is no "number" except FAR limitations.  Not unusual to get 100-150 hours per month simply by bidding carryover, volunteering for extra flying, taking flying offered by other pilots, etc.  In other words, if you want to be a flying whore, Fedex is a great place.  On the flip side, you can also drop down to zero hours for the month at no loss of benefits (unlike my previous Legacy where you had to fly 55hrs/mo to keep Medical ins, etc.  Having access to both extremes makes Fedex a great place to find your individual lifestyle.  Not trying to "sell" anyone on Fedex, just trying to correct my misunderstanding of your post....

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3 hours ago, RogAir said:

There is no "number" except FAR limitations.

No, you didn't misunderstand.

What you did do, however, is talk around my point rather than to it.

Yes, there is a contractual limit to how much open time can be picked up per month (which is what I was referring to originally), and that is 6 hours per month.

Yes, there is also a "but", and that is if you have makeup bank that you can use, in which case you can pick up as much open time as you have makeup bank to spend.

And, yes, there are ways to play the system (like swapping the new 6 hour trip for something larger), but these still do not equate to "there is no limit".

It is an important distinction to make, because not everyone is in a position to put hours into their makeup bank, especially as a new guy who doesn't have the seniority to conflict bid or as someone who doesn't have an ANG/reserve gig to take military leave for.

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Has anyone used the VA Health Benefits after separating? Apparently with my disability rating (40%), I get free preventative/in patient/out patient care for life, minor co pays required? Seems like a good thing when I'm 60 and need a new hip.

 

Any stories on this vs the airlines insurance? I didn't retire nor go guard/reserve, so no Tricare, but haven't heard much discussion about this "benefit." 

 

 

Edited by xaarman

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Yes...you get 'free' healthcare from the VA for 5 years post-separation if you served in a combat zone. After that, only service-connected issues are 'free' (meds, appointments, etc). It's a pretty good deal; I've had nothing but good experiences with the VA despite the horror stories that dominate headlines, save for some extended delays in getting appointments.

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1 hour ago, xaarman said:

Has anyone used the VA Health Benefits after separating? Apparently with my disability rating (40%), I get free preventative/in patient/out patient care for life, minor co pays required? Seems like a good thing when I'm 60 and need a new hip.

 

Any stories on this vs the airlines insurance? I didn't retire nor go guard/reserve, so no Tricare, but haven't heard much discussion about this "benefit." 

 

 

I applied for VA health care when I separated as instructed during TAPS...got a random phone call a few months later and was told I was approved for lifetime health coverage at no cost.  I haven't done anything with it and I have health care through my airline, but if I start falling apart in the future it may be handy.  All I did was fill out an application.  

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Isn’t Va health care like tricare? If you live far enough away they will just pay for a local provider?

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Depending on the airline, healthcare can be rather spendy!  Like 6-9 hundred a month for a family with large copays and out of pocket. 

 

Anything you can do to offset that cost will help!

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