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Old 25th Jul 2022, 15:42
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Originally Posted by Stein7b
Thanks to the VS folk who have given some info on this thread. I am seeking a bit more info if you have the time.

Trying to find a reason to apply, so looking past the salary scales. Lifestyle is important to me, I live up North and would plan to commute (kids settled in school etc).
If the above post regarding EASA FTLís and 900hrs is true, is this going to be achievable?
Iím assuming commuters make it work by arriving into LHR night before, trip, then head home on same day after landing.

How many trips are people doing and how are the blocks of days off arranged? (Assuming boeing fleet).

Are the majority of trips bullets? Or is there a good mix even if junior? Do juniors get USA trips regularly on the 787?

How many days leave/year and how many days off a month is typical?

Staff Travel? Anything special or just usual ID90 standby?
Easy to take partner on a trip?

Allowances. Seems to be a bit of uncertainty whether itís the previous system of a few hundred bucks or the HMRC minimum?

Finally, Overtime. Is there much available? Is it all last minute on the day or could you pick it up as a commuter with a bit of notice?
I live up North and would plan to commute (kids settled in school etc).
commuting prior to COVID was feasible, from up north or the continent, post COVID it is substantially more difficult. Rosters now only give the minimum required, by agreement or EASA rules. At least half of all trips now only have 2 days off afterwards. This includes India trips which tend to finish late, followed by 2 days off which then can be followed by early Caribbean / USA trips which require commuting the day prior.

Other considerations for commuting, which maybe short term, but are significant at the moment - hotac at LHR has become quite expensive even with staff rates, getting standby seats is almost impossible this summer with lots of last minute cancellations, trains are also very difficult with strikes etc. Rosters, whilst they have stabilised in the last six months are no longer as stable as they used to be due to changes in our scheduling agreement and booking confirmed non refundable tickets (plane/train) is much more of a gamble.

If the above post regarding EASA FTLís and 900hrs is true, is this going to be achievable?


This is true and more than achievable.regularly roster 80-90+ hrs a month, sometimes with a block of standby or week of leave thrown into the month too !!

Iím assuming commuters make it work by arriving into LHR night before, trip, then head home on same day after landing.
see the answer above, but if you do this you may find you only have 1 clear night at home.


How many trips are people doing and how are the blocks of days off arranged? (Assuming boeing fleet).
Full time 5 trips+. All trips have 2 days off, 5 out of 7 west coast trips have 3 days off, donít expect to get any more off than that. Quite possible to be rostered 2 west coast trips with 2 days off within a block of 8 days.


Are the majority of trips bullets? Or is there a good mix even if junior? Do juniors get USA trips regularly on the 787?

Almost all trips at least 3 day pattern, 20-24hrs down route. Lot of night flying. Majority of route network USA

How many days leave/year and how many days off a month is typical?
35 days , upto 40 days after 5 years. Minimum 10 days pm, however read that as maximum because roster will be filled with a block of standby to use up spare days


Staff Travel? Anything special or just usual ID90 standby?
Usual interline agreements, ID90s. After 10 years (used to be 5 years) get annual free tickets (1 trip for a family must pay taxes) usually confirmed unless book in busy times


Easy to take partner on a trip?
Usually


Allowances. Seems to be a bit of uncertainty whether itís the previous system of a few hundred bucks or the HMRC minimum?
No uncertainty, it is HMRC rates, if youíre going to India /Pakistan/South Africa around $90-120 for a trip. All inclusive in some Caribbean destinations so almost nothing.

USA trips is more approx $200-240 over a 4 day trip (2 nights down route) but considering the cost of living in the big cities we fly to donít expect to be able to bring much home


Finally, Overtime. Is there much available? Is it all last minute on the day or could you pick it up as a commuter with a bit of notice?
There is a lot available, at the moment, but you have to live by your phone as it goes quickly and also be willing to not plan your life if you want to do it. Depending on your commute, it can be difficult.
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Old 25th Jul 2022, 16:05
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Originally Posted by BIGBAD
BA, Tui, Jet2 , Norse, EasyJet, Ryanair for a whole plethora of reasons.

Virgin 2.0 is low cost long haul with all the disadvantages of long haul but none of the pluses of a low cost lifestyle.

I know plenty of guys regretting leaving the Middle East to come here as an FO again , take the big pay cut for the lifestyle. The lifestyle has gone, just a copy of Middle East carriers now but the pay is nothing like it !

But itís horses for courses, you seem happy with youíre lot so I guess some people think itís still ok !!!



nah, Iíve already been made redundant before , youíre welcome to it
BIGBAD
What's up? If you've been made redundant before you tend to have a different outlook on Airline life. During Covid did you not think think VS might go to the wall?
Pilots from the Middle East not happy? Tell them to go back they are all recruiting again.
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Old 25th Jul 2022, 17:14
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Originally Posted by Twiglet1
BIGBAD
What's up? If you've been made redundant before you tend to have a different outlook on Airline life. During Covid did you not think think VS might go to the wall?
Pilots from the Middle East not happy? Tell them to go back they are all recruiting again.
Not entirely sure what you’re driving at ? I’ve been made redundant twice and worked for many airlines but it doesn’t mean I should be grateful for the crumbs being thrown.

Many airlines have had T&Cs and contracts ripped up, Virgin being no exception. It has gone from being a ‘lifestyle’ airline, ie average pay (for an airline) but good lifestyle to no lifestyle, increased working (20%) and the same pay, after enduring either a 47% cut or redundancy ( although a meagre sub inflation rise is in the pipeline).

it’s rather simplistic to say , go back to where you came from, these are life changing decision, maybe you don’t understand that ?

Some have left, many are biding their time to see what comes in the next year or so. Don’t get me wrong Virgin was a great place to work but times have changed, it may be once again but it will take years to regain just a fraction of what has been lost.

Last edited by BIGBAD; 25th Jul 2022 at 18:35.
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Old 25th Jul 2022, 18:10
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BIGBAD. Thanks for your insight.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 09:02
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Looking at the payscales posted above. It looks like approx. £4300 net after tax/pension as a Yr1 SFO, that includes flying pay. Does that sound about right?
I imagine the down route subsistence will be swallowed up whilst on the trip so I’ll discount that.

Any idea on the overtime rate?
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 13:32
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Is the option to take Ďpension cashí still available? That would make the salary more liveable until a few rungs up the ladder.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 14:08
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May I ask what a realistic time to command at VAA is presently, if joining as an SFO?

Also, I assume everybody who meets the threshold hours for SFO joins as SFO1 - ie somebody with significantly more hours wouldn't join on a higher SFO tier? May be a daft question.
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 14:46
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Originally Posted by Nauti
May I ask what a realistic time to command at VAA is presently, if joining as an SFO?

Also, I assume everybody who meets the threshold hours for SFO joins as SFO1 - ie somebody with significantly more hours wouldn't join on a higher SFO tier? May be a daft question.
Plan on 10 years probably. Might be a bit less with retirements and expansion, but there are also plenty of people who have waited 13-14 years+.

Nope, plenty of people join with much more than the min requirements, but everyone starts on SFO1 payscale.

For overtime questions... disruption payments vary between £630-£1260 per day depending on how much notice you get and whether you're doing it as an additional trip
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 16:54
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Perfect, thank you for the very informative response!
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 20:51
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I appreciate this might seem completely unimportant to most people but is it still true that Virgin gets discounted eurostar tickets? If memory serves me right I heard it was something to do with the tribe card. And if so, how do they work? Standby? Minimum notice?

It would make the potential commute more feasible given the LHR/CDG/AMS/(any major airport) chaos going on recently
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Old 26th Jul 2022, 23:54
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Stein, if it helps the starting for an sfo will rise to be a smidge under 79k from September and 82k from January.

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Old 27th Jul 2022, 07:28
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Originally Posted by CABUS
Stein, if it helps the starting for an sfo will rise to be a smidge under 79k from September and 82k from January.
Thanks Cabus, good to know.
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Old 27th Jul 2022, 18:19
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The two different lifestyle options are they available from day one of joining the company or is there some kind of 2-3 year waiting list??

Thanks in advance for the information
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Old 27th Jul 2022, 19:33
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thereís a waiting list atm but that could all change

Originally Posted by jimbols6
The two different lifestyle options are they available from day one of joining the company or is there some kind of 2-3 year waiting list??

Thanks in advance for the information
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Old 27th Jul 2022, 19:41
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Originally Posted by A320baby
there’s a waiting list atm but that could all change
Well sort of… it’s still at a trial stage but everyone that wanted it when it was originally offered got it AFAIK.

Company have recently said you’ll be able to bid for which contract you want on an annual basis. There’ll be a new trawl for it shortly and then we’ll see what the uptake is… it will be allocated in seniority order apparently (although they’re still reluctant to issue the seniority list so who knows)

The problem is that currently the part timers are working nearly as many hours as the full timers (working more in their available days). BALPA and Virgin have promised that hours will even out according to the percentage pay, but the honouring/transparency of industrial agreements is currently flaky at best, so this remains to be seen.
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Old 27th Jul 2022, 20:12
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Originally Posted by zero/zero
Well sort ofÖ itís still at a trial stage but everyone that wanted it when it was originally offered got it AFAIK.

Company have recently said youíll be able to bid for which contract you want on an annual basis. Thereíll be a new trawl for it shortly and then weíll see what the uptake isÖ it will be allocated in seniority order apparently (although theyíre still reluctant to issue the seniority list so who knows)

The problem is that currently the part timers are working nearly as many hours as the full timers (working more in their available days). BALPA and Virgin have promised that hours will even out according to the percentage pay, but the honouring/transparency of industrial agreements is currently flaky at best, so this remains to be seen.
What he said, youíve summed it up perfectly!
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Old 27th Jul 2022, 20:46
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SUMMARY:

For those thinking about it, Virgin is a tough place to recommend currently.

Itís a very different company to what it was 3+ years ago. It used to have the best lifestyle in the UK IMHO, but right now it probably offers one of the worst. Joining at the moment comes with a fairly serious health warning and you will fly 90+hrs a month with a mix of east, west, min rest that destroys your body. It is Emirates/Qatar without the tax free salary.

I still enjoy it, but I live close to LHR and have a very understanding wife and kids that can cope without daddy being home. I have friends elsewhere that are interested in applying but my honest advice to them as a mate is to stay where they are.

It might get betterÖ we have some very capable people in the VACC, but they are faced with management that are desperate to cut every possible corner to pay back the sizeable Covid debts. The next few years will probably be very volatile as we fight the company for every inch.

Your decision depends on individual circumstances and there are many jobs that are worse, but apply with your eyes open that this isnít the company that it used to be.

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Old 28th Jul 2022, 16:09
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Originally Posted by NAT Zulu
Well - here I am, 15 years served in VAA and skipper on the A330. Made redundant with no reference to seniority. "Failed" my return interview from the hold pool with an unblemished 15 year record. Used to be a union rep. Probably just coincidence!
Blimey!

Did Balpa not have anything to say about that? I mean, a union rep and all.
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Old 28th Jul 2022, 17:04
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I'd be very appreciative if anybody (privately if preferred) could show me a snapshot of a recent, fairly standard roster month. Thank you very much in advance.
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Old 29th Jul 2022, 00:37
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Blimey!

Did Balpa not have anything to say about that? I mean, a union rep and all.
Oh they certainly did! One has formally apologised and provided compensation for falsehoods propogated in response to awkward questions being asked about what really happened behind closed doors in consultations with management. They are subject of active litigation along with the Company, and so it would be wrong to say anything here pertaining to what they did "actually say about it"! Suffice to say that there was unbelievable toxicity and they most certainly did not help when the executions were carried out from their "industry leading redundancy hold pool".

There are now multiple pilots involved in consolidated legal claims against the Company that are scheduled for six weeks worth of hearing in the future. Like others have said (likely VAA long timers as opposed to newer voices on here).....do your research.

There are some very accurate appraisals on this thread, and others - not so much. I guess it probably depends on how much actual experience you have in VAA and if you have known anything different in VAA before the last few years. This along with a truthful self appraisal of what you want for your own personal future (and perhaps most importantly - what your family wants!)

But one fact to be aware of : seniority is not something you can rely on at VAA now the precedent has been set. This is worth considering in this volatile industry of ours when you are waiting for a command for ten years! I waited twelve in the RHS and was unceremoniously made redundant at fifteen years from the LHS.

I was not a BALPA rep, BTW. Like I said, prob just coincidence.

Look through untinted glasses....if it is still for you compared to your current gig, good luck and go for it.

Last edited by NAT Zulu; 29th Jul 2022 at 00:48.
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