I've done some preliminary searching and gotten mostly older threads, so I was interested to see how things were nowadays. Most folks talk about airline pilot life as terrible for the family and lots of time away from home, but I do see one or two mentions of the possibility to be home every night. Are there airlines that allow for this which are based in the UK, or is that now a pipe dream? I'm used to work where I typically work anywhere from 10-14 hrs a day with periodic stints away from home anywhere between weeks and months, and I'm trying to get a job with a more steady home life.
There has always been home every night jobs in aviation. The problem is things have a habit of changing. Companies go bust, bases get closed or reduce in size, Pilots gain promotion but have to take a base transfer, etc etc. Yes some are lucky enough to have a job at home, some move their life to where the job is, but in aviation, it all has a habit of being a temporary situation. That is of course, if you are lucky enough to get a job where you may live in the first place. I would guess that for every one person that has a job at home in aviation, something like five or ten don't.
Here at Ryanair Stansted the roster is fixed 5 earlies 4 off 5 lates 4 off so days off can be predicted at any time in the future, home every night. Other bases can be different and I make no comment on the quality of the company.
Although I am one of these guys who know absolutely nothing about the conditions in RYR, only heard rumors, but I have always wondered why people haven't appreciated that RYR offers a very stable roster and home every night.
I think they would be the best if you are looking for "home every night" airlines.
As mentioned, stability seems to be a major problem. In order to keep flying for a living, you have to be prepared to move to a different city or even country on an all too regular basis. Companies come and go, bases close, routes change etc. For a single person it is easier, with a family it must be very difficult. Some of the smaller turboprop operators e.g. Loganair probably offer quite good stability as far as bases go.
But, I'd go for another career if you are after a stable home life. The shift patterns in general are rather disruptive, as is working on holidays, weekends etc. Whatever you choose, just make sure that your partner is fully aware of these issues before you commit (to an airline career that is... or her of course).
Home every night ( unless not doing a night flight/ maybe 4-5 yr ) for the last six years whilst working for monarch, based where I want to be as well, good family/home life and time off, might be worth a try !
aerobat and JIC- Working at Ryanair will get you a stable roster and back to base every night. Unfortunately base often doesn't mean home. FR in particular has a very high proportion of crew living or commuting to bases that are no where near home. You won't be given a base until you have finished training and it could be anywhere. This can also be changed any time at short notice. If you live near a stable base and you are lucky to based there it offers a good life style, if not, be prepared to live from a suit case.
Budget carriers usually get you home at the end of a duty period at least in the UK is what I hear...
Elsewhere like Air Arabia you're mostly at home-sweet-home at the end of every duty period but not necessarily at night though. It's rare for crew to call it a day elsewhere because they've exceeded their flight time limits as rostering is done quite well. There are night stops only at Colombo.
I'm not sure why "home every night" seems to be the holy grail in aviation rostering, (unless your wife gets 'lonely' and you've got a particularly handsome postman). Home-every-night, can typically mean some long days, and early start / late finishes which means your time at home can be not particularly productive. Obviously it suits some people, but certainly not everyone loves it for home life
There are other jobs / rosters out there which give great family life, but are not necessarily home every night.
my previous airline had horrific rostering / no stability and its the lack of stability coupled with minimum days off and random standbys which killes home life.
I'm with BA now and the family life aspect of the rostering is fantastic. I typically get 14 odd days off per month. In reality I get a few more than that as most trips have a very useable 1/2 or 3/4 day at the beginning or end - i.e some trips have late evening reports and others are back at base in time for brekky. the roster, once published, is armour plated, it just does not change. Whilst I cannot predict future days off as I would be able to in a fixed roster, the bidding system, couple with the ability to swap with others without going through the company, means that most required days off can be accomodated. with a fixed roster - yes you know your days off in advance, but you generally cannot then change them if required. swings and roundabouts as to which is best. Depending on wether you are senior or junior you know what you are doing between 2 and 4 weeks before the next months roster starts
I'm sure there are other systems out there that offer great family life too - but i've only experienced the above.
Ive gone short haul to long haul and it works much better for me and my family. When I was home very night, we worked such long and gruelling duties that I was a zombie anyhow and might as well have been anywhere but trying to continue my life.
Longhaul - The hardest part is staying awake at night two crew. The fact that I do one sector makes a huge difference. I can handle the Jet-lag at the moment.
Its a personal thing, the best you can hope for these days is the fortune to get into one of the better airlines and hang it out for the majority of your working life.
If i was doing it again (after 11 years) I would have attempted a different career and flown for pleasure as my previous job destroyed any love I had for flying. That said, my new job is restoring it and I feel like my old self again.
Do what you think you can put up with for 45+ years, it aint all about the money.
I appreciate all the feedback! It seems like the shifts and irregular working days are par for the course. I currently have most of the lifestyle problems mentioned in my job now, and they are the reason I am considering other work. I am starting to lean more towards recreational flying or a part-time flight instructor gig.