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EZY Captain v VAA F/O

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EZY Captain v VAA F/O

Old 19th Jan 2012, 11:07
  #1 (permalink)  
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EZY Captain v VAA F/O

Hi Guys,

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!!!
Ron-Burgundy is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 12:07
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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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.
Stone Cold II is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 12:12
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Ron,

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.

Good luck!
Right Way Up is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 12:59
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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!!!
Ron-Burgundy is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 13:26
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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.
BlackandBrown is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 14:03
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Dear Ron,

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.
Narrow Runway is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 14:17
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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.
Dan Winterland is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 14:50
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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.
Alexander de Meerkat is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 15:05
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What is PP34, to the uninitiated?
MrHorgy is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 15:09
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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.
BlackandBrown is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 18:02
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I agree with above posts - VAA is not the place to be in a recession/depression. I say bid a Northern base @ 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!
Iver is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 02:06
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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?
skyflyer737 is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 02:41
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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.
Dan Winterland is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 04:00
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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
Shanwick Shanwick is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 04:04
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Like others have said, this IMHO is a no brainer.

VAA no way, BA maybe.
Fat Dog is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 06:16
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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.
flyforfood1 is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 06:55
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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.
Wingswinger is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 07:45
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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!

Cheers.
Full Left Rudder is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 08:01
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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!
Callsign Kilo is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 08:13
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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.
Case One is offline  

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