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No one wants to be a Captain.

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No one wants to be a Captain.

Old 25th Jul 2023, 08:22
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No one wants to be a Captain.

Why airlines canít get enough captains

Reuters has a fascinating story about how many pilots at the major US airlines are avoiding the upgrade to captain, and itís causing a problem for airlines:
  • At United Airlines, bids for roughly half of the captain vacancies have gone unfilled, meaning United canít find enough first officers who want to become captains
  • At American Airlines, more than 7,000 pilots have chosen not to take the captain upgrade, and the number of people declining the upgrade has at least doubled in the past seven years
So while thereís an overall pilot shortage, the concern is that weíre soon going to deal with a captain shortage, whereby there are enough total pilots, but not enough people who want to become captains.

This link give the new pay rates.

https://onemileatatime.com/news/airl...moted-captain/
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Old 25th Jul 2023, 11:11
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Most people want to be a Captain.
But they may not want to relocate to where that Captains position is available. Family, work, life balance issues!
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Old 25th Jul 2023, 14:07
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Every man has his price, it's just a question of numbers.
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Old 25th Jul 2023, 14:24
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Originally Posted by Capt Fathom
Most people want to be a Captain.
But they may not want to relocate to where that Captains position is available. Family, work, life balance issues!
I think the issue is more with seniority, which makes the schedule very irregular for a beginning captain. Especially not great if you have a young family.
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Old 25th Jul 2023, 21:52
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I can't be on reserve. Does not work with my lifestyle.
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 03:54
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No captain for me

I was at a party with a SWA FO a while back. He was not bidding for the LHS till his daughter finished high school. He did not want to miss her sports games and the other things that do not come twice.
Made sense to me.
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 06:17
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Originally Posted by procede
I think the issue is more with seniority, which makes the schedule very irregular for a beginning captain. Especially not great if you have a young family.
Yes. And seniority in seat has a much larger impact in the US than I remember it having in Europe. As a senior FO you can make as much as a junior Captain, and have more control over your vacation and days off. Current NB upgrade at both DL&UA is 1 year for those who want it. But holding a line that doesnít work every weekend, and getting summer vacation or Christmas off could easily take 10 years.
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 07:11
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This is turning into a golden age for younger pilots. I know a 23 year old on the 737 with United. If things continue like this and he gets a quick upgrade he could have nearly 40 years in the left seat. Things rarely work out as you expect. But compared to the restructurings of a few years ago this is truly an extraordinary period in the US.
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 08:59
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No one wants to be a Captain

IN 1964, I was rejected by the BOAC/BEA, UK College of Air Training at Hamble for "not possessing in sufficient strength, all of the qualities looked for in a potential BOAC Captain". I fired back that I had no desire to become a BOAC Captain but dearly wanted to be a BOAC Third Officer so that other dudes could fly me around the world from one room party to to the other,

Head of Selection, ex BOAC Nav not possessing, in sufficient strength all of the sense of humour looked for in a potential mentor,failed to offer me a second try.

Years later, as a BA First Officer anyway, stuck in the Queen's Building at LHR on Trident SBY, I was preparing to leave having been offered jobs everywhere. I was astonished by some folk, one in particular, who was ready to serve at least another 15 years in the RHS because, as he put it, "Surely, it is a BA Command that is the focus-?"

Fast forward ten years and I had long forgotten what it was it was like in the RHS and in Paris, Chemps Elysee (sorry Frenchies for appalling spelling), layover, watching the Tour de France sweep into town, seated beside a US Legacy Carrier SFO who told me that he was on DC10, Based Paris, and wrote his own roster. He had , after decades, just been offered upgrade to Captain.It would be on a smelly 727, based somewhere even more smelly flying a six on two off roster. We both fell about larfing and missed who won the race !

Today however, big chance if you are focused on the LHS. Go for it.

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Old 26th Jul 2023, 09:15
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The US system is pretty flexible. Itís quite common for someone to bypass a narrowbody Captain slot for a more coveted widebody FO slot, or even stay as a senior narrowbody FO, while making more money and working less.
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 10:37
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I spent six very happy years as a senior widebody FO with a major US Airline, best flying and best quality of life I ever had, only upgrading to the left seat when I had the seniority to do so as a line holder on the same type


Well worth the wait
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 10:57
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It’s quite common for someone to bypass a narrowbody Captain slot for a more coveted widebody FO slot, or even stay as a senior narrowbody FO, while making more money and working less.
Exactly the same in BA at the moment.

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Old 26th Jul 2023, 14:15
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Wonder what would happen if they advertised for Direct Entry Captains? Offered help with the green card for furrinersÖ
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 16:20
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Is anyone aware of mandatory upgrades currently in place at major carriers? I thought that American Airlines had this policy at one time (ďup or outĒ) and that a failure during the upgrade process resulted in termination from flying duties.
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 16:54
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Certainly for some, myself included, the covid period has highlighted that when all is said and done it's being around friends and family that is most important. Not working every weekend. I'm not afraid to admit that it's completely changed my attitude to work and outlook/aspirations for my career. I know i signed up to a seniority based airline, but i'm simply not prepared to have my home life destroyed in the way it would be by taking a different seat, back at the bottom of a slow moving (almost idle) list. In other words, i'm not prepared to have my life ruined by my work.
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 18:11
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The career of piloting is hitting fundamental shifts of the career choice influencing conditions.

1. Flying becomes cheaper and cheaper (lets not get distracted by the price surge after covid due to capacity constraints). This effect becomes even more prevalent when compared to the buying power of the populations. This means more and more people fly, meaning aviation need a higher percentage of young people from the overall population to convince them to become pilots.

2. The entry barriers into the job have increased. 1500h rule in the US, smaller military fleets, no full sponsorships anymore in Europe (although BA seems to revert that)

3. The job has become less attractive due to:
3.a: the work conditions have deteriorated, the job pays less
3.b: the work conditions have deteriorated: the job expects more work, giving less buffer for requesting and influencing private life
3.c: you don't need to be an airliner anymore to travel and see the world, because traveling became so much cheaper (see point 1.)

4. in the talent pool, where aspiring pilots are coming from, most other fitting jobs now offer much better work life balance:
4.a: remote working, home office
4.b: yearly hours account: you can make overtime one week and take 2 days off the next week, if it suits your private plans
4.c: holidays usually when you want and need it and not when the capacitiy planning allows it
4.d: in general not the lifelong external control over your life in terms of weekends, birthdays, important celebrations etc. like pilots have to endure under their assigned duty planning

5. the younger ones are reluctant to enter an industry that has a bad reputation with regard to climat

I am absolutely convinced if the industry wants to keep growing it will have to address these issues: meaning mostly to lower the entry barriers and to fundamentally change the work-lifestyle-balance of crews.

The industry will need to increase the amount of pilots more than just for growth, to offer better lifestyle to convince young people to get into the career. That will mean a fundamental rethink of the training model.

Alternatively you can cover the problem with a lot of money and offer part time to the guys who want more lifestyle.
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 21:07
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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.
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 21:27
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As Iíve posted elsewhere if you think itís got bad in this industry you go and have a look at every other industry where there has been at least equal and in many cases exponentially worse levels of decline. Weíre still comparatively bloody lucky to do the job we do and it beats the living hell out of the vast majority of other jobs out there. Get some perspective.
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 22:00
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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...
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Old 26th Jul 2023, 22:03
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Originally Posted by ETOPS
Wonder what would happen if they advertised for Direct Entry Captains? Offered help with the green card for furriners…
They can't, most companies require time before upgrade (either a year or 500 hours or something like it). And it wouldn't make any difference, because you would still be bound by the same seniority spot, so reserve till you can hold a line would be long. Everything in the US is done by seniority, previous experience give you nothing. Plenty of regionals are offering DEC to new hires if they meet the requirements, but all FOs hired before them will eventually upgrade, and be ahead of them when schedules and vacation are handed out.
I would be very surprised if the airlines will get the DOL to approve EB green card applications.
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