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BA or Virgin

Old 17th Nov 2023, 22:18
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BA or Virgin

Hi,

Iím fortunate enough to have been offered positions with both BA and Virgin A350/A330 respectively.

Just trying to gain some up to date to advice and information on what would be the better route with regards salary, benefits, stability and long term prospects.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by Cots889; 18th Nov 2023 at 07:06.
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 05:49
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Originally Posted by Cots889
Hi,

Iím fortunate enough to have been offered positions with both BA and Virgin A350/A330 respectively.

Just trying to gain some update to advice and information on what would be the better route with regards salary, benefits, stability and long term prospects.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

how long have you been in the industry?

just look at the last few years during covid etcÖ

BA is a no brainer compared to Virgin
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 05:52
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You would be mad to choose Virgin over BA. I am at neither but have friends in both.


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Old 18th Nov 2023, 06:35
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BA all the way, Virgin has a bad habit of making pilots redundant very quickly.
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 10:29
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A difficult one, but depends on your age and career aspirations. In BA it will take 20+ years to achieve a 350 long haul command, maybe slightly quicker on the 777. Additionally, at BA you will be at the bottom of a 4000+ seniority list, and joining on the 350 means you will be rooted to the bottom for a minimum of 5 years. It will be at around year 10 that you begin to gain some control of your rosters for destinations and days off. This will obviously be a big consideration if you have children. In contrast I understand Virgin has a rotating bidding system so somewhat better for home life. In addition I hear 330 commands are around year 10.
Regards job security, I wouldnít bank on either offering you any guarantuees. BA made 200+ redundancies in seniority order with those under 2yrs chopped. I think Virgin did this by fleet, as opposed seniority.

Pay is very similar for year one, but BA gradually overtakes Virgin further up the 34 year pay scales. Just balance this with shorter command times in Virgin for long haul. You can probably get a Heathrow BA short haul command in year 5 after your engagement freeze, but you will work hard and have no bidding control for a very long time.

They are both very different opportunities, but if I was 30+ with a possible young family, Virgin may be a better option. If you want short haul/ long haul, better long term bidding and pay, then BA may work. Either way, itís a very personal choice, but a very enviable position to be in. I wish you good luck!
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 16:59
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As someone stated earlier - some people have a short memory.
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 21:44
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BA all the way.

How many times has Virgin cut pilots in the last 20 years?

Pay at BA is better. You can find pay scales online. For BA LH add around £2k a month on top in duty etc.

5 year freeze yes but still have options to move back to SH if you like.

Virgin still negotiating the pay rise I believe.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 13:40
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Cots889 what's your background in terms of fleet/exp? How long have you had to wait in the pool?
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 10:52
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Fundamentally, if you join one of these seniority based airlines you're playing a very long term game, which represents a significant personal investment. Where would you like to put your money; the one posting huge profits or the one consistently losing money? Theres often an outward impression of financial invincibility portrayed by airlines but a short, or long, look back in history shows us just how fallible many of these businesses are.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 20:36
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If you want LH and you want it now, I would suggest virgin. Command and VA will be much faster than BA LH as well. If you just want fast command and don't care about LH, go for BA, you could be a CPT in a year or 2 on SH if you meet the requirements...
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Old 21st Nov 2023, 08:41
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Originally Posted by Cots889
Hi,

Iím fortunate enough to have been offered positions with both BA and Virgin A350/A330 respectively.

Just trying to gain some up to date to advice and information on what would be the better route with regards salary, benefits, stability and long term prospects.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Congratulations! I wouldnít worry about the redundancy stuff. Youíre going to be at the bottom of both seniority lists for a while and both airlines have shown that their company councils have no issue chopping the list.

Iím not 100% on how BA roster their 350 trips, but based on where they fly I presume they are at least 3 pilot trips with an onboard flight crew bunk. On the 330 at VS there is no rest area at all and every trip will be 2 pilots (even 10 hours down to MIA/MCO etc). The new temporary scheduling agreement gives you more time downroute to make up for it, but itís still knackering. Hopefully this will change with the new pay/lifestyle deal being negotiated.

In terms of fleet and route variety if youíre looking at making a career in Blighty I think BA is the better choice. If you get bored of the 350 you can bid to move to a different fleet, seat etc. Outside of a command bid there isnít the same policy at VS, they want everyone dual rated 330/350 but itís a slow process and at present seemingly completely random. Fleet transfers only happen if the company is short on one fleet (this year the only transfer available to preference was 78 to 330, a lot of 787 FOs were given command on the 330 as well).

The thing VS does have going for it is what someone mentioned before. Go to BA and expect to be in Lahore or some other unpopular trip on every Christmas and New Year for the first 5-10 years. At VS you get assigned one of three bid groups which rotates every month for trip/preference bidding and every leave bid (twice a year) which means that whilst you might be at the bottom of a group, youíll still be above 2/3rds of the company.
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Old 21st Nov 2023, 15:01
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Originally Posted by Cots889
Hi,

Iím fortunate enough to have been offered positions with both BA and Virgin A350/A330 respectively.

Just trying to gain some up to date to advice and information on what would be the better route with regards salary, benefits, stability and long term prospects.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Cots, tried sending you a private message but your inbox is full.
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