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No one wants to be a Captain.

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No one wants to be a Captain.

Old 26th Jul 2023, 23:28
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Originally Posted by Herod
Many years ago, a First Officer said to me that he felt I had enjoyed the Golden Age of aviation. I replied that no, I had enjoyed the Silver Age, and he would be suffering the Bronze Age. The more I see, the more I feel I was right.
In the 1960s an airline pilot was the equivalent of a film star, flying a B707 all over the world to exotic destinations that most people would never see in their lives. The 1970s would still have been great, the 1980s it started to go downhill. These days it’s pay for your own type rating and bring your lunch to work. Never mind the Bronze Age, this is the tin age for all but a lucky few.

Catching the end of WW2 in a bomber, riding the post war boom in civil aviation in BOAC or PAN AM and retiring from the B747 fleet in the early 1980s on a good pension would have the ultimate.
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Old 27th Jul 2023, 05:28
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Originally Posted by 1201alarm
Sorry Rex, but that is simply not true. I am not talking about pension rules etc. which have worsened for everyone since the demographics just don't add up anymore.

You have to compare with jobs that neccessitate a similar technical expertise, seriousness and commitment to the job as piloting. Work conditions in such jobs have clearly not deteriorated. The opposite is true. Such employers do everything to keep you as the technical expertise is costly to rebuild with a new recruit. I laid out what the terms of such jobs nowadays entail in flexibility, work life balance, etc...

Likely we do not live on the same planet! I am with Rex on this one.


.
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Old 27th Jul 2023, 08:25
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Direct Entry Captains

Hans -

They can't, most companies require time before upgrade (either a year or 500 hours)
Direct Entry Captain used to be mostly for tin-pot airlines. They didn't upgrade co-pilots to jets or command because management knew they would jump ship.

On the east side of the pond, British Airways is currently advertising for A320 Direct Entry Captains for the Euroflyer operation at Gatwick. See here - https://careers.ba.com/experienced-pilots

... You get straight onto the BA MSL. And you don't need a Green Card.

BA is not currently seeking DECs for BA Cityflyer, but if they were (and for a different reason - I think they've always done it that way) you don't get onto the BA MSL or have automatic rights to the parent company. ... https://careers.ba.com/ba-cityflyer-pilots

LFH

edit to clarify Cityflyer remarks




Last edited by Lordflasheart; 27th Jul 2023 at 08:41.
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Old 27th Jul 2023, 08:51
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NO one wants to be a Captain

M'Lud, with respect; drifting a bit. Back-door entry into BA has been legit for donks. I know quite a few who flew with BA painted on the side of their aircraft but it wasn't really, BA. Franchise or something. But, they all wound up in BA mainline.

A fave gig of mine was PARC Aviation contract with Transavia Based AMS. I was DEC, 757, wore Transavia uniform, settled into one of the happiest flying periods of my career and wished everyone Gnoodah Morgan. While I looked like a Transavia Captain, I wasn't a real one, was I ? The Company did give us the chance to join. I was told it would be RHS, 737 and about 8 years to get back into the LHS. It was also a really long-shot at getting into KLM.

Back to topic though. Kris has it spot-on. Best tines are over. Different ball game now but still very satisfying for those who want to fly commercial planes for a living.. Not all want to be Captains either.
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Old 27th Jul 2023, 18:22
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Originally Posted by Gordomac
Back to topic though. Kris has it spot-on. Best tines are over. Different ball game now but still very satisfying for those who want to fly commercial planes for a living.. Not all want to be Captains either.
I’d say the vast majority would prefer to be captain. However, a growing number aren’t willing to do so at any cost, as has been the case in the past.

Combine that with the fact that most new joiners at a US legacy have already been PIC, being captain isn’t really that big of a deal for them.
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Old 28th Jul 2023, 23:26
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Originally Posted by kap'n krunch
Is anyone aware of mandatory upgrades currently in place at major carriers? I thought that American Airlines had this policy at one time (“up or out”) and that a failure during the upgrade process resulted in termination from flying duties.
That went away with the USAirways/AA merger (amongst other miscellaneous archaic things). I believe you were seat locked (meaning you had to stay in that seat) for two years before bidding back to FO.

It is a completely different airline now, and keeps on changing due to a high number of retirements. _Maybe_ one day, we'd free ourselves from this horrible union and rejoin ALPA.
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Old 28th Jul 2023, 23:29
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Exclamation

Originally Posted by Check Airman
I’d say the vast majority would prefer to be captain. However, a growing number aren’t willing to do so at any cost, as has been the case in the past.

Combine that with the fact that most new joiners at a US legacy have already been PIC, being captain isn’t really that big of a deal for them.
Additionally, these "youngsters" have a very different point of view about QoL. Whereas the Boomers would chase money and CA upgrade at any cost, the new pilots joining the US airlines now care more about time at home, scheduling (roster) flexibility and benefits. You already see the shift happening here at AA ...
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Old 29th Jul 2023, 05:00
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Additionally, these "youngsters" have a very different point of view about QoL. Whereas the Boomers would chase money and CA upgrade at any cost, the new pilots joining the US airlines now care more about time at home, scheduling (roster) flexibility and benefits. You already see the shift happening here at AA ...
​​​​​​​
Its also a shift I am seeing where I am in the land of Oz. F/Os who have young kids are not wanting the responsibility or hassle of command training when at the end of the day it will result in disruption to family life. Even the pilots who have taken a command are saying that they can't visualise themselves doing this job for the next 20-30 years. At the same time that airlines worldwide are making the job less attractive the demand for more pilots is increasing. Eventually they (the airlines) will have to provide the work/life balance that is being demanded by the younger cohort.
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Old 29th Jul 2023, 05:35
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Ever heard about something called “sacrifice”?
It is no coincidence the world is in the state it is in.
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Old 29th Jul 2023, 06:45
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Originally Posted by bringbackthe80s
Ever heard about something called “sacrifice”?
It is no coincidence the world is in the state it is in.
I'm not sure what you're getting to regarding sacrifice...Should these pilots not have any say in the quantity and quality of work they do? What exactly are they sacrificing for?
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Old 29th Jul 2023, 08:14
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The only benefit of a command is money.
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Old 29th Jul 2023, 09:34
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I cannot agree with that last statement. I found being ‘my own boss’ was much more pleasant and interesting than being a first officer. The behavior of some captains left quite a lot to be desired, insisting on smoking on the flight deck, poor CRM and dubious personal hygiene were but a few of quite a large number of undesirable traits I remember. I also found the vast majority of first officers to be more pleasant company on the flight deck.
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Old 29th Jul 2023, 10:20
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I'm with lederhosen . Whilst the money is nice, setting the tone for the day and running the show provides a great deal of job satisfaction. Admittedly I'm at an airline which has random rosters, but I'm 30 mins from my base and home every night, so have relatively little to grumble about. One thing that is guaranteed about Pilots is that they will always have something to moan about.
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Old 29th Jul 2023, 14:59
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
I'm not sure what you're getting to regarding sacrifice...Should these pilots not have any say in the quantity and quality of work they do? What exactly are they sacrificing for?
Nail. Head. Bang.

The “sacrifice” is the money (and career progression?) that one could make in the LHS, and that sacrifice is made in the name of a better quality of home life. I know plenty of RHS pilots in a good position on a seniority list who have made plenty of sacrifices - and are prioritising home life and cut their cloth accordingly.

If one took the LHS, potentially the “sacrifice” is your home and family life, and for what? More money and to keep an airline running? most of us saw exactly how much airlines and their shareholders value crew during Covid (if we weren’t in any doubt from previous downturn). No doubt there is significant satisfaction to a command but Covid has seen people re-evaluate what is important in a lot of professions.

I know very few people who have left this veil of tears wishing they had spent more time at work. I’ve known quite a few who wished they’d prioritised their family though.

One of the old guard’s arguments to young pups who get the worst end of the seniority stick, in an era where that stick is doubtless more spike covered than it used to be, is that seniority is security and choice… how on earth can they then turn round to them and say “now you are reaping the benefits of seniority as a top 20% SFO, suck it up and be junior again because the company (and my own roster stability) need you to”?

“Career progression”… “The aim is to be a Captain”… we all want to progress - we all want to be better/safer pilots (which does not necessarily mean a command), but we also want to have a sustainable home life/roster and time with our families, time when we aren’t exhausted. The sort of person who would sacrifice their home life and everything else in the name of the LHS/their career and a thank you email from management isn’t someone I would necessarily relish sharing a flight deck with.

To my mind we are seeing another driver that will improve Ts and Cs… which isn’t a bad thing, even if it makes some in the industry (even pilots, bizarrely apparently) gnash their teeth.

Last edited by Speed_Trim_Fail; 29th Jul 2023 at 15:15.
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Old 30th Jul 2023, 01:26
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One of the old guard’s arguments to young pups who get the worst end of the seniority stick, in an era where that stick is doubtless more spike covered than it used to be, is that seniority is security and choice… how on earth can they then turn round to them and say “now you are reaping the benefits of seniority as a top 20% SFO, suck it up and be junior again because the company (and my own roster stability) need you to”?
One of the things I never understood about the seniority system, how those at the top lap up the cream and those at the bottom have to eat dirt, it's not a company imposed system, it's those at the top of the list looking after themselves. Not taking a captaincy is nothing new, friend in the '80's became senior 727 FO at a base and turned down any advancement because of life style in a city he enjoyed, a move would have meant taking up a captaincy on a F-27 and beginning the progression through DC-9 then 727, all based anywhere in the country.
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Old 30th Jul 2023, 04:23
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Originally Posted by Flying Wild
I'm with lederhosen . Whilst the money is nice, setting the tone for the day and running the show provides a great deal of job satisfaction. Admittedly I'm at an airline which has random rosters, but I'm 30 mins from my base and home every night, so have relatively little to grumble about.
Part of the reason many are opting not to become captains is to have a schedule which allows them to be home more. Perhaps they value life satisfaction over job satisfaction?
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Old 30th Jul 2023, 05:46
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The title should really read Nobody wants to be a Captain [due to seniority-based schedule, where the old and the senior get whatever they want, and the young and the junior get screwed].
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Old 30th Jul 2023, 09:10
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I had a LHS in a narrow body for a major legacy carrier. Due to family health issues, I had to commute to/from my base (with unreliable staff travel) to our home. The stress/cost was terrible but nothing on the feeling of guilt that came over me whilst being away from my family during their health challenges. The narrow body operation I flew for was set up for pilots residing inside 60 minutes road travel from sign on….not commuters.

I thought I knew what I was getting into, but the goal posts moved during my training as overnights disappeared (as other SH bases were opened). Luckily for me, I was able to move back to a Wide Body RHS before I had a breakdown. Doable commute, dense flying and stable rostering made the job doable again.

Every person have priorities that change during their working lives. I would never knock anybody that chose family over an extra bar and a LHS,
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Old 30th Jul 2023, 09:28
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Agree wholeheartedly.
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Old 30th Jul 2023, 10:06
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'When are you going to go long haul?" "when do you get to fly the big planes" (as if a narrow body jet is something to be laughed at) "you should go long haul"

Right, yeah, I will, when my seniority will ensure i'm not doing 5/6 2-crew JFKs every month. That sounds wonderful. not.

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