View Full Version : EZY Captain v VAA F/O
19th Jan 2012, 11:07
I am a new skipper at Easy living in the South East. I am in a lucky position I know but am finding my decision a tough one! I'm pretty sure this decision will have been made by others in the past and I would love to hear constructive views either way! Obviously the money is alot better staying where I am, but with over 30 years 'theoretically' left flying should that be priority number 1!?!?
Each option has pro's and con's...........
I have a young family and a very supportive wife (who one day would like to move further north)......this would obviously mean a commute for long haul, but the freedom to live where we choose if I were to move to VS as opposed to EZY where I would need to be close to work is very tempting!
Any help or discussion points greatly appreciated!!!
Stone Cold II
19th Jan 2012, 12:07
Could you not put in for a transfer to a base in the north?
I would say it would take a very brave man to give up a command at EZY for a position at VS in these uncertain times. They do seem to have a habit of chopping people at the drop of the hat.
Good luck with your decision.
Right Way Up
19th Jan 2012, 12:12
If you are considering such a move surely BA would be a better option.
Lots of discontent at VS at the moment, along with long waiting times to command.
At least with a young family you can change your lifestyle at BA to suit your family circumstances. Personally I left VS because I had a young family and have never looked back.
19th Jan 2012, 12:59
Northern bases now seem to be a North West thing as Newcastle seems like 'dead mans shoes' sadly! However we are giving a base transfer serious thought!
I am actually currently in the BA holdpool too.......but with LH unlikely for the first 5 years, the BMI uncertainties and now this PP34 for new joiners I am rapidly being turned off the idea!
Hugely aware that the grass is rarely greener.....but also aware that 35 years left flying for EZY could take it's toll!!!
19th Jan 2012, 13:26
I am not really qualified to comment as I have only flown for easy but what a great position you are in. In my opinion BA can only decline in terms of pilot lifestyle and terms and conditions and the workforce of late is increasing exponentially. The scale of this is anyone's guess over 30 years.
Virgin Atlantic seems cool but it is as big a risk in this career as any I'd have thought.
I dont think easy will have A319s and 320s for the whole of the next 30 years - that combined with the chance to train, examine or go part time combined with another business give the scope for variety in the future.
Ill conclude by saying that I don't think 2012 will be a comfortable year for anyone at the bottom of an airlines pilot seniority list and virgin would be one of the least comfortable in my opinion. The fact you are even considering speaks volumes. That said I don't think anyone from my era would be a pilot if they chose the least risk, sensible option and now on the other side of my choice I really enjoy my career. Good luck with your choice.
19th Jan 2012, 14:03
If you want a 20 year wait for Command again, then VAA is right up your street. Or if you like looking at the back of colleagues heads from the jump seat it is also great. If you enjoy flying, buy a kite after you join because that is the only guarantee of flying you'll get.
I would be very cautious about joining VAA full stop now. They haven't got the muscle any more - they just lost out on the only game left in town. BMI. They are very, very vulnerable. BA don't need VAA or their slots now they've got BMI. A long, slow death awaits the red tails in my opinion.
I spent 3 years there, and left gratefully with enhanced voluntary redundancy. But, you know what? They wouldn't even tell me (and others) if we were really going to be chopped anyhow. The whole thing was a mismanaged nightmare from start to end.
I haven't looked back since, am in a far better position financially, mentally, family and health wise. And that is what counts.
Who is to say that VAA won't attempt a PP34 scenario on their pilots? Who knows if VAA will be around in 20 years or so? I can't see it myself.
And finally, 750 hours per year in VAA is the only thing going for it. The VAA management WILL HAVE TO use that as a competitive bargaining tool in years to come in order to reduce costs. Just like the smoke screen BA is using regarding short haul in order to ram through change.
Join if you like. You have been warned. It's a Man and Boy outfit and you'll be a boy until you are in your 50's. And even then, you'd better hope you didn't upset someone downroute a long, long time ago if you're to have an enjoyable upgrade.
19th Jan 2012, 14:17
Virgin have a history of hiring and firing. I would be very wary about joining them just as Europe enters another recession. I would not give up a command to become a long term F/O starting at the bottom of a seniority list in this climate.
Alexander de Meerkat
19th Jan 2012, 14:50
I have not worked for Virgin, but have many friends who do. I can only concur with the very wise advice being given here. It seems to be that Virgin is at significantly greater risk of failure today than has ever been the case previously. In addition, in recent years there has been a pretty toxic relationship between pilots and management. They are not in a comfortable place commercially and I can only agree with others who warn against being at the bottom of a seniority list in the next year or so. We all know that life at easyJet is not perfect, but right now it is about as secure as any airline can be. The other factor is how frustrating you may find it going from being a Captain at easyJet to a very long-term FO at Virgin (10 years +?). Only you know if that will upset you or not in your heart of hearts. Remember, leaving easyJet as a Captain is a one-way transaction - there is no going back easily to where you currently are except by a long wait and jumping through a whole host of hoops you have already gone through. Going to BA is one thing, but going to Virgin right now as a current and secure Airbus short haul Captain has a slight air of professional suicide to me. Just a personal perspective, but there you have it.
19th Jan 2012, 15:05
What is PP34, to the uninitiated?
19th Jan 2012, 15:09
Pay point 34. It used to take 24 years at BA to reach the top pay scale for a given rank. It looks highly likely that they are changing it to 34 pay points meaning a 10 year longer wait to reach top pay and up to 450k in today's money of lost earnings.
I agree with above posts - VAA is not the place to be in a recession/depression. I say bid a Northern base @<hidden> Easy or hold out for BA. Even with the BMI uncertainties, BA still represents one of the few long-term viable options and the flying/fleet mix is varied. Sure, you will be an FO for the next 20 years at least, but you will be an FO on the 787/777/A380 for a decent chunk of those years if you wish. This career is a gamble and you can only decide based on the best info you have at the time. Consider all of the pros/cons and then listen to your gut.
Personally, I think I would find it difficult to return to the right seat for 20 years after flying left seat on the Airbus at a very stable airline. I am a long way from that decision myself. Good luck!
20th Jan 2012, 02:06
Great original post and some very interesting answers. Could I throw in an additional question? I find myself in a very similar situation as Ron, except my command is at Ryanair rather than easyJet. So, Ryanair command or Virgin FO?
I am not in the lucky position of Ron with a stable base in the UK's South East, but rather on an undesirable contract which frequently sees me away from my young family for 5 or 6 days at a time at various bases around Europe - with little hope of a return to the UK for the next year or so, and even if I do manage that I can still be sent away at the company's demands any time.
Then, would that persuade anyone that VS is a better option?
20th Jan 2012, 02:41
You're in a worse position that the OP, but you still have a paying job. Join VS, that may not be the case soon. VS have made pilots redundant twice in the last ten years in downturns. We are entereing another.
20th Jan 2012, 04:00
If you're happy to be an FO with Virgin for the next 15-20 years with the threat of redundancy around every corner for the next 2 years then it's a great place to be.
Rosters on both fleets are hectic and time at home minimal.
I'd stay where you are
20th Jan 2012, 04:04
Like others have said, this IMHO is a no brainer.
VAA no way, BA maybe.
20th Jan 2012, 06:16
Have you ever considered longhaul before? I've been doing it for 2 years and I'm sick of it, it is far far more tiring than doing 4 sector days like I used to.
For me it'd be a no brainer, stay at EZY. VA and BA it'll be an age before you see the left seat again, plus with VA they'll give you the boot at the drop of a hat if circumstances with the economy change for even worse or god forbid another 9/11 type scenario.
20th Jan 2012, 06:55
A simple rule: Once you have gained the Left Seat do not surrender it voluntarily. Expand and develop yourself in that role. Move into training and/or management when you feel ready and the opportunity presents itself. Always remember that you can establish your own business and that there are opportunities later on in life for experienced trainers and managers in other organisations (CAA, AAIB, EASA, ICAO to name but a few).
A "no-brainer" really.
Full Left Rudder
20th Jan 2012, 07:45
Flyforfood, out of interest, which airline are you flying long haul for? Are the rosters industry standard?
Trying to establish where my long term goal lies!
20th Jan 2012, 08:01
I know a few guys that have just went back to VS after a 'sebatical.' I also learnt of another who is about to join. He is in a very similar position to the OP. It seems a precarious place in my opinion. Even more precarious in this day and age. On the exterior it appears all glitz and glam. The rock star airline, attractive hosties and exotic and exciting destinations. The reality appears very different. I once aspired to VS, however many personal testomonies from those with direct experience have changed my mind. However people will still join and I doubt they will be short on applications. However when time gets tough that bottom end of the seniority list appears to disappear fast!
20th Jan 2012, 08:13
Wingswinger, Narrow Runway and Dan have covered it all. The grass here is brown. Plenty of guys in both seats are pretty concerned. Our management is appalling. You were warned.
20th Jan 2012, 08:14
Im at QR flying the Airbus, funnily enough where a lot of the VA guys ended up after they dropped kicked them out the last time. I did 870 hours last year, and I can honestly say I have never felt so tired in all my flying career.
To be honest, not sure if it is industry standard as I haven't flown long-haul before, but my next move will be back to short haul and i'll stay there, I can't imagine doing this type of flying AND having a young family + a Mrs that works.
I suppose if its 500-600 hours a year it might be bearable, but personally if you actually like 'flying' the aeroplane LH is damn boring! :suspect:
20th Jan 2012, 09:15
Why would you want to leave easy and join VS when you can earn more then double on a european contract?
20th Jan 2012, 09:23
I'm a current easyJet captain and wouldn't even consider VA. They have a history of hiring and firing when the economy donwturns. Then where will you go, the sandpit?
Why not do what I have done, bid for the north of England and go part time until you move?
20th Jan 2012, 09:46
I wouldn't consider VS - a long time to command and management who treat their pilots like dirt. It may be 750 flying hours a year but you can also spend another 150+ hours deadheading and positioning. Little roster satisfaction and the same old few USA/Caribbean destinations for one fleet get boring pretty quick.
20th Jan 2012, 10:03
Ron, stay put. Even with a certain management pilot you have, stay put! May not be easy. You will regret any move outlined. But as for longhaul, it was great. Looking back on a mainly longhaul- I loved it!
beauport potato man
20th Jan 2012, 10:07
Very interesting thread - as I'm also an EZY captain and always thought I would like to end up at VAA.... but how things have changed. Like many here I know a few people who have been at the bottom end of the seniority when the axe has been swung, some went back and some didn't. The ones who went back aren't planning to stay at VAA for long - with some even saying that (and i know its not possible at the moment) that if they could take a direct LHS at EZY then they'd jump at it.
I agree with previous posters that VAA has just missed out on the last game in town, BMI. What can they do now? New routes usually come at the expense of others so limited expansion, no alliance, aging thirsty fleet, trading heavily on the brand with actual on board experience falling very short (read airlinequality website for proof!)
Its hard to see where they go next? And as far as careers go, i'd need balls of steel to leave the security and salary of EZY to join the bottom of the VAA seniority with a command so far in the future that retirement would probably happen first.
I'd look at the other options where you are, look at Northern base transfers (MAN will be a huge base in a few years) or once the euro troubles have calmed maybe a base abroad.
Thats my career plan now, i'm on the LYS list, with the Alps near by, good food & wine, excellent rail & road connections, cheaper property, strong industial employee relations, and a very good salary package.
20th Jan 2012, 12:20
A friend who is a trainer at VS had previously always remained impartial when I sought advice about potentially joining. Nowadays he advises me in the strongest terms to stay away. Never mind 20 years, many people are wondering what the future size and shape of the company will be in 5 years.
Thank you to all who have posted on this site. I am due to leave my present employer soon and am in the VAA and BA pools. Until I read this thread I was pretty certain that VAA was the way ahead but this debate has put many doubts in my head. It's all pretty negative reference VAA. I'm not disputing those who have already posted but are there any VAA pilots out there who are willing to stand up for their company? If not, then I suspect I have plenty of food for thought! Thanks and any further feedback would be gratefully received.
20th Jan 2012, 22:06
I'm a current VAA SFO, I'd stay where you are if I were you!
I completely agree with all the previous comments. VAA have run out of options and friends! That said, who knows what deals are being done behind the scenes, SR Branson does have friends in the desert so a merge may not be completely off the agenda.
As I see it the main differences between us and BA are that BA are run competently and are also huge in comparison. VAA are small fry! It also used to be that you'd get command quicker at VAA, not any more. BA have been in this situation for years thus their payscales reflect it. If my chats downroute are to be believed; a 12ish yr FO in BA is on about 97K, in VAA a bucket load less! And then when you do get left hand seat there's command bridging, straight to 12 yr Capt pay, not with VAA! That said, in BA if you want to stay on long haul when you get your command you'll prob have to wait 18yrs?
Yes VAA fly 750hrs, although the co. are trying every single weasel trick in the book to get more out of us. 750 doing long haul is plenty thanks, and that's with some scheduling protections. 900hours in the desert without them must really hurt!
Good luck either way!
20th Jan 2012, 22:38
This has been a very interesting thread to read!!
I turned down a position on the A340 with VS last year. I stayed with my current airline in the RHS. For me it was a very very big decision to make, I had sleepless nights thinking about what to do.
To be honest there has not been a week gone by when I have thought, did I make the right choice? - It looks like I did.
Ron good luck with your choice!
Wander - thanks for taking the time to reply - no choice but to leave my present employer and your post has been helpful.
21st Jan 2012, 08:48
Thanks everyone for all the advice and good luck messages! It is a major decision that has been playing on my mind for a while.....the comments, advice and experiences I have read so far have really helped.
It seems a few 'may' have had different views if I was choosing between EZY Captain or BA First Officer..........maybe I have been too quick to dismiss this option on the basis of pay?!
My initial gut reaction was that the new payscales at BA brought new joiners much closer to Virgins pay. Combined with direct long haul, less hours flown a year and a rumoured MUCH better 'down route' atmosphere Virgin seemed like a place I would be happier to be!
In addition I would have the continual battle at BA of trying to forget the fact that but for a month or two and a little luck in the holdpool I could/should be
earning £xxxx per month (huge £'s over a career!) extra like the majority of the guys I'll be sharing the rest of my career with!!! That may seem petty, but I think its important to be honest to myself and that's how it makes me feel at present.
Tough one indeed!!
21st Jan 2012, 09:46
900 hours in the desert without them must really hurt!
not if you're averaging 53 per month Wander :}
It's a tough one Ron and a good thread. UK aviation is lucky that it's an island and people need to fly to get away so there will always be a certain amount of job security. But.....if you really want to stay in the UK, then get more Skip time with EZY then head out East in 5 years or so. Have a look at the figures. I can only see these increasing as the world-order slowly re-arranges itself, like it or loathe it.
I think your problem is the same as 70% of the EZY workforce - can you really stay for 30+ years, tarmac bashing through 11:30 duty days and constant 4 am alarms..!
30+ years of EZY crew food should be enough to put you off, surely :)
21st Jan 2012, 10:06
It is a tough decision indeed. I can only reiterate some of the earlier captions with a little extra. I don't and have never worked for VAA but I have been through a few redundancies and, as I am sure others will support, it is a dreadful situation to find yourself in especially at the moment with poor economies and a family to support. Your decision really centres around your career desires against home life. U2 are certainly one of the most secure at the moment and that is something I wouldn't give up lightly. I always take the view of never regret the decisions you make as it will only depress you. You have to make the decision that suits you best for the immediate future and not necessarily 20 years away because who knows what aviation will be like in 20 years.
I was fortunate to get in with BA so have not been unemployed for long but to give you some extra info BA are changing the rules but they are still IMO one of the leaders in T&C's. Do not forget that the salary is not the only remuneration you get and the whole package is worth quite a bit more. J class staff travel until year 7 then it becomes First, Good pension contributions (not the best I know but better than I have ever had), Excellent work/life balance (circa 14 days off/month) and I am on SH at the moment. With the extras in duty and flight pay I average an extra £1000-£1200/month.
The great thing as well is bidding for your own roster and fleet movement desires. It allows you an area to breathe and enjoy your current fleet whilst having time to think about your career progression (fleets,routes,training etc).
Also having friends at U2 and VAA I would second the suggestions to stay put. After all in my experience thus far Captains are always a required commodity where as FO's are replaceable. Just have to look at the recruitment market to see the number of positions for Capts as opposed to FO.
Anyway I wish you all the best with your decision and hope you have a happy career.
21st Jan 2012, 12:41
Job security and money. Agree with both however don't think either exist anywhere in Europe right now or for the foreseeable future.
24th Jan 2012, 12:19
I've been with Virgin for just over 12 years and I have no desire to ever fly short haul again. The long haul lifestyle isn't for every one either.
As things stand I'd consider your potential move very carefully. If command floats your boat I wouldn't come. I'm as they say in VAA "Ready for Command" and have been told it could still be at least another 2 years away, so I'll have been here for 14 years. That time is only going to increase and anyone who joined after about 2003 is going to be looking at 16 years depending on what happens with the 787 and 330. If you join today I can't see anyway you would have a command in under 20 years.
As to a lifestyle choice it's been much much better. However these days most FO's are lucky to get more than 10 full days at home on the 747 and on the 340 it's creeping down to about 13. However virtually everyone I fly with is, as you would expect, fun to be away with. Depending on the destination the crews can either be great fun or just disappear. More often than not I end up having a good time.
People will talk about expansion but it's not going to happen. We have less aircraft today than we did pre 9/11. VAA has reached a natural plateau and I don't see much expansion. Coupled with the fact we're out in the cold as far as Alliance Partners are concerned the future is far from certain. As long as Virgin continue to operate with a specific "niche" market we may be ok.
People have talked about job security. There isn't any! Every time there is a downturn VAA lay off as many people as they can get away with and they don't care because they know there will always be a stream of young starry eyed aviators who want to come and fly a big long haul aircraft. Some people are put out by this but frankly that's business when you are a small private company.
I have no regrets about joining Virgin but if I went back 12 years to talk to myself I'm not sure whether I would advise doing it again.
Flyit Pointit Sortit
24th Jan 2012, 13:18
This seems to be one of the most sensible threads I have read in a long while so I thought it may be worth contributing to.
I was in a similar position to the OP several years ago, having had my command in EZY for a year, although I was at a Northern base where I wanted to be. I went for the interview, got in the pool and eventually was offered the 747.
During the time between being placed in the pool and being offered a course, I sat down and produced a list of Pros and cons.
From a HR point of view, there are 4 reasons for changing jobs, known as the 4 "S"s, Sterling, Status, Social and Security. I will briefly summarise my conclusions on these items to show why I made my decision.
Sterling, more commonly known as pay - Command salary, Loyalty bonus, pension and the share options far outweighed the VAA F/O package. Also I had to factor in commuting costs of about £400 a month.
Status - Depends on you point of view, I am not precious about having 4 bars on my shoulder, however it does make your day to day operation easier as you set the tone of the day. I also like the decision making responsibility that comes with a command coupled with the fact it is then possible to get into training.
Social - In EZY, I get onto stand and an hour later I am at home, not having to worry about commuting, making standby flights etc. ergo my time off duty is my own to do with what I like.
Coupled with this, how secure is your relationship? It is a serious question when you look at how many people in long haul get divorced. You will be away when the gas boiler goes off, or little Johnny falls over and breaks his leg. All this will add to the tension at home, regardless of the temptations downroute.:E:E:E
Security - As mentioned by previous posters, VAA is not the best place to be in a downturn. As Customers trade down, the 2 week all inclusive Caribbean holiday becomes a 2 week break in the med. 2 weeks becomes 1 week and 1 week becomes a city break etc. easyJet are probably better placed to take advantage of the last 3 groups and therefore be more secure in the current economic climate.
For me it was a fairly simple decision to stay at easy and, in the end, I would have lost my position shortly after joining. I don't regret not joining Virgin although, when I see a Virgin 747, I sometimes think about what it may have been like, but don't dwell on it for very long.
That said, if I was living down south, operating out of LGW or LTN, the scales are a bit more finely balanced.
Good luck with your decision:ok:. Only history will tell if you were right.
4 years later - I believe I was right.
Mr Angry from Purley
24th Jan 2012, 17:56
This has turned into a recruitment ad for Easyjet.
Hard work yes (but most folk work hard these days esp those with a half decent salary) good time off, well paid, ability to move base, and security.
Where's that French geezer whose always bemoaning them.
Grass is green job
24th Jan 2012, 19:30
Stay with EZY.
They are not the best & a long way short of the worst. You need to take care of your family & quality of life. And I dont mean now or tomorrow or next year. You need a company that will continue to provide for your mortgauge for probaly about 20yrs or so. EZY isnt glam, no large 4jets darkening the skies full of blonde hosties, pretty boreing really but they will survive & there fore so will you. & for the 1 who asked the same question of FR I give the same answer. I know. I have done both.
btw, NEVER surrender your 4 stripes!! You will be suprised how & where they will provide for you!!
24th Jan 2012, 20:36
Off topic (apologies) but people keep mentioning airplanes full of gorgeous blond hosties at VS? Have you actually flown them recently? Either things have changed or I'm on the wrong sectors and my standards ain't that high!:eek:
24th Jan 2012, 20:55
An excellent thread! I cannot add much except to say that I have been in the same position as the poster. Craggenmore is right. Flying for a full service airline is a different ball game. What fits for one person, is anothers nightmare. I stayed at easy and loving the command. As a new father, long haul is not an option now. Life at easy, is far from EASY! Good luck
24th Jan 2012, 22:17
What has happened to the reputation of VS over the last few years??? It wasn't long ago that there were heated debates on this forum over Virgin V BA - and Virgin won for a lot of people! Now it seems the answer is a forgone conclusion...
26th Jan 2012, 10:24
What has happened to the reputation of VS over the last few years???
Many things have changed in the last few years:
- BA being 'given' T5 which has helped their cause tremendously.
- IAG tie-up and expansion with the acquisition of BMI and all the slots that come with that.
- VAA management losing the plot with numerous bum decisions - commercial as well as with it's workforce.
The trouble with a small company like VAA, a long economic downturn is always difficult. Panic sets in and services and the workforce suffer, and when there are better times the question is will VAA be in a position to take advantage?
As for short vs long haul, as people have commented, it's dealers choice. I enjoy the long haul lifestyle, but in these unsure and unclear times it would be a brave man who leaves a secure role to join any airline at the bottom of the seniority list.
26th Jan 2012, 11:44
A easyJet Captain is probably saving more cash than a Virgin Atlantic F/O earns in some cases. That's a lot of money to give up to fly to LAX for 48hours 4 times a month and have no job security....
Still if I was young and single (no wife no kids!) I'd probably go to Virgin to enjoy the sex and beach :ok:
26th Jan 2012, 12:00
This is the downside of the draw. I can't think of why you would leave a job with command and ultimately more spondulax for one offering minamal prospects and insecurity? VS generally look for people with command experience when hiring for the RHS, however I know it's not always the case. Moving LHS at EZY or FR even, to RHS VS would show a massive mismatch in income and security. Sure there will be individual reasons for everyone, however I can't think far beyond someone's burning desire to fly a large four engined aircraft to various parts of the globe as being the ultimate reason. To me, VS is a young mans job. No ties, no real responsibilities. A few years of long haul experience and move somewhere else by choice or by virtue of seniority!! - most likely to the Middle East because Europe will probably no longer be in the equation for you. Why not cut out the stepping stone and get to Emirates or Qatar now. That's where you will probably end up anyway! :ouch:
Call sign Kilo
Regarding VS looking for command experience for the rhs may I ask where you get that info from. Never heard it before. Seems unlikely especially as new FOs looking at very long time perhaps 15 years.
I think, in general, the best strategy is to get on the seniority list of the best possible carrier as soon as possible, forget the LHS, do not under any circumstances delay your date of joining. Going after a command at a LCC without actually planning to stay seems to me the wrong choice.
I am stunned to still see guys e.g. heading east to EK, EY,etc " to get a command first, and then look for options" , without actually realizing that should they decide to come back they still have to join the end of the line..
( I don' t want to be a smart ass, I fly myself with Cpt's at CX who are younger and have less experience, but simply joined immediately)
27th Jan 2012, 19:16
Ron, how old are you? There is no need to answer the question it is more of self question really. I have been around this business for yonks and I am certain in my own mind that you should stay as you are. You have a command. you have stability and you have an employer who knows what they are doing.
Stretching your arms and legs is a natural thing to do. Stretching your ambitions can be a disaster. Stretching your family to match what you feel is a step too far IMHO.
Taking the step into BA is not, and will not, be what you think it might be. Stabilty is what you should aim for right now simply because the world economy and our economy is in dire straights. What could be worse than to make a mistake that costs you and your family terrible grief.
I imagine you are probably around 40. If so you have a lot of time to consider your future - but ONLY when the country and the economy stablize. That may take another 5 years but you and your family will be snug as a bug in a rug.
ANYONE assuming this is the right time to change is living in a pardise that doesn't yet exist.
Ron, grasp with both hands what you have an be thankful. Tis better to be thankful that you made the right decision than to have made the wrong one.
I have a few friends who are captaines in EZE and they would dream of moving in the near future.
Whatever you choose I wish you well.
27th Jan 2012, 20:03
for what its worth i've been at VS for nearly 9 years now and quiet frankly its just not the same airline i joined!!
The senior management and HR have destroyed what was once a great place to work and morale is at an all time low..
If you have a Command at EZY then it is best you stay there as Virgin has nothing to offer..
all the best
27th Jan 2012, 20:19
I am suprised by the lack of enthusiasm for a move to BA. If you do seriously want to consider a change then I would recommend you consider BA.
I dont think there is a flying career in the uk at the moment that will provide for you the security, lifestyle, career options, long term earnings, variety that BA will.
I started in Ryanair and jumped to BA as soon as I could (2005) Granted I may be looking at the company with rose tinted spectacles sitting on the 777 but I have to say I love my career.
If you joined on SH you would probably be there for about 6 years before getting LH but then its nice to have the choice to suit your lifestyle requirements.
I think the pp34 change should not be the deal breaker you seem to think it is.
Also my understanding is that BMI integration would provide for better long term career progression as BA will find itself with the opportunity to grow at LHR and transfer slots to LH if required.
At the moment a LH fO starts on a basic of about £49,000 this increases at
about £2600 per year
With the new PP34 I assume you would still start on £49,000 but take extra 10 years to reach the top, this would be an annual increment of £1800.
So £2600 v £1800 or £800 per annum gross difference is not a huge amount. Please bear in mind your pensionable salary will be the same as it currently is for BARP pilots in BA so your pension will be no worse.
I dont think BA have ever carried out compulsary redundancies. My friend in VA has faced it twice in 4 years and has been forced to change base and aircraft type. The 750 hour VA limit is also a red herring as BA pilots probably average between 750-800 anyway.
Best of luck deciding what you do.
9 minutes to landing
27th Jan 2012, 21:35
What about asking something like "does anyone know how to get back in the LHS of an Airbus because I am now unemployed"?
I would put job security higher in your thoughts.
Cloudn9e.....take a break from counting your allowances and think about this....Ron could transfer to a Paris base and be earning up to £160,000 per year.....just think, that's almost as much as a First officer working for the world's favourite airline?.....!!
As I said before, I wouldn't leave the left hand seat of an Airbus of a very stable (and growing) airline for the bottom of a seniority list with a 15+ year upgrade. I would stay and move to the northern Easy base when seniority permitted. If I were to move, BA would be the only option I might consider given the fleet choice and SH/LH options. It might be difficult to turn down a 787/777 FO slot if offered (you never know what might be available) as I could always return to SH flying if desired... :ok:
Regardless, leaving a left hand seat at Easy would be very difficult in this economic climate.
Full Left Rudder
28th Jan 2012, 02:43
Indeed, a very interesting thread. The security arguments are of course very valid, but I have decided to give up a very lucrative mainland europe easyJet contract and move to BA. The reason for this has not really been discussed yet I don't think - long term health.
I am about to embark on a 5th straight 4 sector duty in excess of 10 hours. All of which started before 05.30am. It doesn't take a doctor to tell you what effect this will take on your body.
To take an example, there are 5 captains at my base who are suffering from a narrowing of their ear canal. The doctors say it is due to too high a frequency of pressurisation cycles. All 5 guys look set to lose their medicals at not much over 40 years old. At least if you are made redundant from the bottom of a seniority list you have a chance of securing some future for your family. At over 40 with no medical it is a different ball game......
Two pilots at my base also had sleep tests done recently. When the sleep doctor was shown the rosters he thought the guys were joking.
Good luck to everyone making these tough decisions at the moment.
Congrats on your new position with BA. Solid argument from your point of view. Health is critically important in our line of work. I have also heard that years of long-haul flying can be detrimental to one's health and relationships (i.e., missing children as they grow up and experiencing spousal challenges). I know Virgin and BA pilots who seem to be exhausted by frequent long-haul, multi-time zone trips (no big surprise with that type of flying). At least they can sometimes relax at the beach down route. Valid points all around.
I guess you cannot win in this flying job - both long-haul and short-haul flying can reduce your lifespan... :eek::uhoh::( Time to get a law degree! :D
28th Jan 2012, 03:18
The command experience requirement came from someone in VS. I was told it is 'generally' what they look for. I know that it is not a prerequisite because they hire DE FOs. Sorry if it appeared that I suggested that they only hire DEPs who come from the LHS.
The starting salary at BA is now £50,300 Basic - so I'm told :ok:
Full Left Rudder
28th Jan 2012, 06:47
Very true Iver. It does seem difficult to win at this game!
However, from looking at many rosters it does seem short haul legacy is very much a different ball game to short haul low cost though. At least that is what I am hoping!
The amount of pilots I know who want to go part time is staggering. Unfortunately that is the aviation industry for you now.
28th Jan 2012, 12:29
Granted, you do much less FLYING hours at some legacy short haulers, and there is a lot to be said about that. But what about DUTY hours? Turnarounds of more than an hour, sometimes two or three, spending most of your working week in different hotels, random rosters, odd hours. Compare that to the stability of a 5/4 roster, always home at the end of a working day, earlies nicely separated from lates, etc.
I'm just another easyJet captain, and sure, sometimes I'm tempted by shiny 777's or the idea to 'see the world', have 14 beautiful women under my command somewhere in Barbados. Who knows, I might jump ship one day if the offer is good enough. But not now, and that's ok. Yesterday I flew a brand new shiny 319 and we landed at three very nice modern European airports. I know a lot of people who would be mightily impressed with that. :ok:
BA starting salary is £50,803 (pensionable £49,556) following a pay rise this year.
28th Jan 2012, 15:41
Need to check something. Cloud9 you state for BA to be a difference of £800 per annum and i'm getting no where near that.
Based on your numbers (I know the new basic has gone up by 3% but for this we'll start with 49K.)
So based on 23 incremental rises of £2800 for PP24 the top rate would be 49000+(2800*23) = 113,400.
Now, based on the same top rate (113,400-49,000)/33 = 1951 increments for PP34 but for simpler maths lets call it 1900.
Now by simply adding the incrematal increase for each starting from year 1 this is what I get.
Yr 5 PP24 - 60,200 PP34 - 56300
Yr10 PP24 - 74,200 PP34 - 65,300
Yr20 PP24 - 102,200 PP34 - 84,500
Yr24 PP24 - 113,400 PP34 - 92,100
Now continue this on for PP34.
Now at year 24, a pilot on the "old contract" would've earned a basic salary of £1,948,800 to this point in thier career.
A pilot on the "new contract" would have earned £1,684,800 at the same point.
Both pilots have a life expectancy of 34yrs flying with the company.
Now seeing that the "old contract" guys are now top they will continue to recieve £113,400 for the next 10yrs meaning they will earn an extra £1,020,600 and so making their total basic salary earnings over
34yrs = £2,969,400.
Right, "new contract" guys will continue to get the rise until Yr34 and thus make their career basic salary £2,710,300. (there is a 3.6% error in here but could not be bothered calculating it again)
Now difference between old and new is £259,100.
Thats a house in some places of the UK. Now if you look at your BARP pension based on £49K 5% employee and 12% employer contributions this would give a pot £364,859 or 25Kpa till 80yrs old. (UK Pension Calculator and Annuity Calculator (http://www.pensioncalculator.org))
Of course the guys on the old contract could have pontentially an extra £259,100 to add to that pot.
So for those starting at the begining of March at the age of 31 (should the yes vote go through), think of how much you will earn now compared to the someone aged 31 starting a week later.
People bleat on this fourm about how low cost pilots are to blame for everything for not standing up for t&c's but it now looks like the legacy guys are doing the same.
And why that? Its cause I'm alright Jack! :ugh:
Maybe this should be in the BA DEP thread but what I'm trying to get at is that the grass isn't always greener and there are certainly limited lush pastures in ba unlike evryone seems to think.
Lifestyle, money, girls, aircraft, whatever. You dont always have to follow the sheep. Its your life and what makes you happy is different from what makes me happy.
Disclamer: These figures may not be 100% accurate and spelling and gramar mistakes have been left in to keep everyone happy. I've been up since 4am testing landing gear around europe and would like to apologise for the earth tremmor in eastern Europe at 0916z today. Sun was in my eyes.
28th Jan 2012, 16:56
I agree. With this job, especially being young, you' ll always have enough money to have a decent/good life. So I wouldn't base my decision on that.
As far as long term health, long haul is as dangerous as the fatiguing rosters on the short haul which change with different periods of the year (usually 5 months per year with very little flying if you play a bit with leave/fixed roster pattern).
You go to any good long haul carrier and you ll fly 850ish hrs per year changing time zones all the time. Can't be good.
All of this to say that you won't find your answer here because everyone will come up with his own precious truth.
Just do what you want to do, and if it's real bad well at least you tried.
28th Jan 2012, 17:36
Kempus, your figure are out somewhere but I can't quite spot where, however I ran a quick spreadsheet and I calculate that a longhaul FO starting on £50,800 and receiving 33 annual increments of £1900 will earn a total of £2,793,100.
An FO starting on £50,800 but getting 24 annual incrments of £2500 will earn a total of £3,044,200.
That's a difference of £251,100.
28th Jan 2012, 18:12
Yeah think that was the 3.6% tolerance bit I mentioned. Did my maths on the back of an envelope but was just trying to highlight a significant difference which only gets worse the older you are.
28th Jan 2012, 18:50
Bloody Nigels, even hijacking the Virgin thread!
28th Jan 2012, 19:50
Kempus I was just pointing out the annual increment would be £800 different incase this wasn't general knowledge. I hadn't looked at the affect of this over a career. The new pp34 isn't negotiable. At the moment the only option to us is to vote for Bmi integration and accept the above or vote no an face the possibility of a jetstar/Iberia express at LHR. ( enough of that as I don't want to hijack the thread)
Sorry to those I may have offended by mentioning BA as an option but as Ron is in the hold pool and VA isn't the safest option at present I don't think it's totally off topic and is worth considering.
And enough of the Nigel bashing ;-)
28th Jan 2012, 22:43
I was only taking the piss, no offence intended! :)
28th Jan 2012, 22:55
Obviously the money is a lot better staying where I am, but with over 30 years 'theoretically' left flying should that be priority number 1!?!?
My point of view is that the world will most likely be a very different place 30 years from now, especially in terms of available fossil energy supplies (peak oil) and the effect on the transport sector and the impact on the world economy. Although I would not mind elaborating on this subject, this is not the right thread to do so.
In view of this, I would certainly not move to a long haul only carrier. As already mentioned, people will most likely shift from long haul to short haul vacations especially when fuel prices and taxes go up.
I have never done long haul, but feedback from friends who have done it would strongly suggest that it potentially shortens one's life span. Short haul on EZY for many years really isn't that bad, I've done it for almost nine now and the ACARS makes life much easier. Working out of a more northern base like MAN would give you the chance to do 'pretend' long haul flying to places like Sharm and Paphos. Sure, there's long 4 sector days, but we also get 2 & 3 sector days as well as SBY's. The fixed roster allows me to plan my life well ahead (I could work out if I am on a day off on the 24th of Dec 2020!) And the crew food really ain't that bad! One of my few complaints is the lack of staff travel on IATA airlines. That's certainly an advantage of working for airlines like BA or EK, especially considering the premium class privileges. If you could get your partner to work for BA, then you really have the full package!
28th Jan 2012, 23:31
I have never done long haul, but feedback from friends who have done it would strongly suggest that it potentially shortens one's life span.
Maybe... 5+ europe - eastern seaboard with 2 pilots in one month is cream crackering. OTOH 3 - 4 trips with a day off down route and an augmented crew can leave you in a very different (and more healthy) state.
Mind you the new EASA rules may well change all that - for the worse.
29th Jan 2012, 07:55
Compare that to the stability of a 5/4 roster, always home at the end of a working day, earlies nicely separated from lates, etc.
I disagree PENKO.
It's not as black and white as that. At EZY LGW you would have at least one transition on day 5 of earliers per month meaning you would finish at 23.30 and not midday.
One a month for 12 months? That's 6 more days at work in the company's time that you're not reimbursed for financially and you do not get that rest back in another block. By 1300 on that 5th day you should be at home resting, not starting! Period.
And regarding the 5th day of lates - I ask you; is it really 4 days off after lates. You're not even home by midnight and then on your 4th 'day off' you have to be up by 0430 the following day to start day 1 of earlies thereby rendering that final half-day as, by and large, useless..!
FLR - I agree, what is it about the pressurisation of EZY's 319's. My ears were always popping in the climb and descent. I think we had the cabin up at 8700 in the cruise did we not.
On the 330 I'm now on we have it at 6400 ish and I've yet to pop..! Beautifully comfortable: ok:
29th Jan 2012, 08:15
Technicalities dear Craggenmore, the kind of which I'm sure my colleagues at other (legacy) airlines have to endure once in a while. At least we do not transition to earlies.
At the moment I'm following a nice discussion at the worlds oldest airline regarding age discrimination and pilots who 'dare' to fly beyond their 56th birthday. So much emotion, so much hatred for their own colleagues, my goodness. I thought those guys were the happiest people on the planet flying for the best of the best...
Actually I understand perfectly well what they are going through, it just shows that everything is relative and that the grass is never really much greener.
29th Jan 2012, 09:15
FL430 in the "large" corporate jet I fly (occasionally) has Cabin Altitude of +/- 3500 feet.
Crew food is good too.
Not being flippant, I used to fly A320,330 and 340. I always felt "dry as a bone" by the end of a long day and regularly had ear pops. Especially on the A320.
Flying is bad for you whatever. Try to do as little as possible is my aim.:ok:
29th Jan 2012, 14:43
FL430 in the "large" corporate jet I fly (occasionally) has Cabin Altitude of +/- 3500 feet.
Never mind cosmic radiation......
29th Jan 2012, 17:51
And how many Millisieverts of Cosmic Radiation do I get in my 250 hours flying a year compared to 750 or 900 hours airline flying? Especially as we don't go anywhere near Polar regions.
Last time I checked, there wasn't much.
But thanks for your misguided concern. Appreciated.
Anyhow, let's get back to the real debate. And it isn't the one about cabin altitude.
1st Feb 2012, 07:04
I always felt "dry as a bone" by the end of a long day and regularly had ear pops. Especially on the A320.Same here, lot's of ear infections when I was flying the A319. Dunno if it was those 4 daily packs off take off's, fatigue making me more susceptible to bacteria, bad cockpit hygiene or what whatever.
As for the 60 million Dollar question, EZY command v.s. long haul F/O, it all comes down to how you are situated in life.
*) Marriage problems: happen both in short haul and long haul. If someone can not keep their :mad: inside their pants on a nightstop, then something is usually something fundamentally wrong in the marriage, or the person in question has very limited personal responsibility, again a fundamental issue which has little to do with long haul or short haul.
*) Money: sure, money makes the world go round and it's important to get a proper compensation for the work and responsibilities involved. However, that said, again I see a lot of very irresponsible pilots around. People who squander enormous amounts of money on cars, gadgets, clothes, houses, vacations etc without paying off their student debt. These people are and will be permanently caught in a rat race where a promotion (capt) will only lead to more spending. It's these kind of 'command and/or type rating chasers' that usually recommend you to follow the money (short haul upgrade) instead of working for a decent outfit doing a job you enjoy despite having less money at the end of the month. I never forget the time with EZY and comparing my roster to the person left of me. I "only" had 20-30 sectors that month and the captain I was flying with me was suggesting that 'that's bad, because you don't make a lot of money.' The look on his face was priceless when I told him that I couldn't care less about the money and preferred to live healthy, but hey, this guy had an expensive car, an ex-wife (see point number 1 about marriage!) and a very expensive lifestyle to pay for so he needed all those sectors. Talking about being a slave to debt...
*) Job satisfaction: for lot's of people being a captain is the ultimate in job satisfaction, or so they think being an F/O's. Some people love those 4 sector days of up-and-down's. For others it's those long straight and level sectors, the long haul life of actually seeing something of this planet we live on instead of just tarmacs and the road to/from work.
It's all personal, don't let 'the four stripes' or the 'wide body jet rating' be instrumental in making the decision.
Life is more than just hard work, and if you think you will enjoy long haul, if you can be reasonably sure that the wife won't end up in bed with the tennis teacher or yourself in bed with some trolley dolly, if you are responsible with money and you don't need the extra cash 4 stripes bring you, if you're sick and tired (literally!) from flogging a 737 or 319 throughout Europe, if you are willing to take the risk of switching jobs in economic uncertain times, and last but not least, if you can join a stable career oriented airline which offers both long haul and also short haul then I would definitely consider it.
As for myself, when I left EZY, I never had to think long or hard whether or not to take the job offer for the company I now work for. I don't live to work, I work to live and in EZY I found that I was not living my life the way I wanted. In EZY I was having serious health problems with those continuous 'early-to-late' duties with only a few days in between which were only enough to rest, never enough to really fully recover. I felt that I was ageing twice as fast in EZY and despite some jet lag, my life, health and social life have improved by 100% after leaving that Orange bullsh!t behind. I felt like a zombie in EZY, always behind the powercurve for as far as fatigue was concerned. Five long 10-11 duty hours EZY earlies with barely enough time to drive home, get a proper (not crew!) meal at home and sleep, and I was a complete wreck. Social life: nearly non-existent. Same for the short haul lates.
In my current long haul job I'm also occasionally tired, however I'm not wrecked from squeezing out 4 short haul sectors on pure adrenaline after a bad night's sleep. There's a big difference between being tired or being wrecked! I'm 'just' tired after a long (night) flight and usually I have a couple of days off to fully recharge the battery. My sleep pattern has improved (despite long haul!), I have more energy, I do more sports, meet more people and I'm rarely ill.
As for job security: there is none! Nowhere! Sure, perhaps if the whole world economy implodes then the EZY and RYR pilots will still have a "job" but don't ask how much they will be making in real terms (net pay minus their liabilities), or under what conditions. Personally, I'm pretty sure I'd rather be unemployed, live off my savings or venture into a completely different career instead of working for a low cost airline in such a scenario. :}
That said, timing is everything, and in today's economic reality I would definitely wait a bit until things stabilize before switching companies.
p.s. be careful judging the merit of the recommendations you read here because with a few exceptions, most people recommending the EZY 4 stripes probably never have flown long haul. When I left EZY, lot's of FO's and young freshly upgraded captains (mind you, all these people only had short haul experience!) were trying to convince me to stay in EZY and go for my command with all kinds of horror stories they had heard about long haul flying. Most simply had (and still have!) no clue what they are talking about, and the ones that did have a clue (ex-BA B747 pilots who joined EZY after retirement) all actually recommended making the move. ;)
1st Feb 2012, 07:26
Marriage problems: happen both in short haul and long haul. If someone can not keep their :mad: inside their pants on a nightstop, then something is usually something fundamentally wrong in the marriage, or the person in question has very limited personal responsibility, again a fundamental issue which has little to do with long haul or short haul.
or maybe he's just a human being! and after he said no 2 or 3 times the 4th is a yes!
Dude enough with your long haul advertising campaign already. We get it, you love your new job.
This thread is about the move to VAA, which in my opinion would be wrong because I don't see how in these days and age (internet, hotel websites, cheap flights etc..) a charter company can ever make money and expand again.
So to be at the bottom of the seniority list of a difficult (from the career point of view, considering the jobs available on the market) airplane doesn't make sense if you are employed by one of the biggest and most profitable company in Europe.
We need to respect what we have, especially in the times we are going through.
1st Feb 2012, 08:36
Dude enough with your long haul advertising campaign already. We get it, you love your new job.I guess you're right, so let's get back on topic advertising EZY and short haul whilst bashing long haul, by dragging "jet lag," "sleeping in your own bed" "four stripes" and "cosmic radiation" into the debate. :rolleyes:
As for VAA, I definitely would recommend against joining VAA, period. They have a nasty reputation of 'not standing by their staff' in times of turmoil, instead firing them at the first sign of trouble. But yes, there is life beyond low cost short haul... ;)
No simple answer here as it's always going to be a personal choice. Virgin is a deeply unhappy company at the moment and there is no sign things will improve. Quite the opposite in fact. The company will try and use every trick in the book to adopt a new scheduling agreement that will doubtless see pilots working harder under the false promise of improved bid satisfaction if the pilots are dumb enough to vote for it.
Is it all bad? Well no actually. But the odd good trip still to be had doesn't pay the mortgage, won't compensate for a possible 15 year wait for command and the inherent lack of job security in a company that does not value it's pilots.
1st Feb 2012, 15:32
What exactly was the terms of those made redundant last time round?
I have heard a multitude of different stories, ranging from full redundancy (compulsory), some offered re-employment but having to re-attend selection (!), through to temporary sabbaticals.
What exactly did happen? Did you get a choice?
So, what was the decision? Did he choose Virgin?
20th Feb 2012, 18:44
Yeah which did you go for?