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Do you get to choose different locations to fly to when your a commercial pilot working for a airline?

I would like to know how being a commercial pilot is really like.
#aviation #commercial-pilot

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Carlos "Danny"’s Answer


Thats a good question and the answer is yes and no. Airlines is ALL about seniority. So lets say you go to work for ABC Airline and that airline has 100 pilots. When you get hired by that airline of course you will be last person on that seniority list. So Unfortunately, when its time for pilots to bid for trips for the following month....you will get last pick or whatever the other 99 pilots did not pick. As time goes by, some senior pilots retire or pilots more senior than you leave the company, you will go up the seniority Ladder. When this starts happening, your chances of getting trips or destinations you like/want will become easier. Hopefully, there will be a time in your career that your seniority will be close to the top and thats when you will have The best chance of getting exactly what you want. You will be able to bid for not only trips/destinations you want but also what days you would like to fly. Initially, most likely, you will be flying not great trips and most likely fly Thursday-Sunday.....while a more senior pilot may be able to pick/bid for better destinations, more efficient trips and/or trips that allows him/her to be home on weekends.

The same seniority principle works for everything in the airlines: for picking up what base you will fly from, what airplane, getting captain upgrades, etc.

Hope this helps you. Let me know if you have any other questions

Carlos "Danny" recommends the following next steps:

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Thank you so much Chelsea K.

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Steve’s Answer

In the airline world, everything depends upon your relative seniority among the other pilots. As you progress through your career, you will hopefully attain more seniority as pilots senior to you retire. Currently the the mandatory retirement age for part 121 carriers (major passenger and cargo airlines) is 65. But the seniority you have among those pilots in your base, type of aircraft, and which seat( Capt or FO) will be the biggest driver in your quality of life. That is, the days of the week, what type of trip (length, domestic or int’l flying) , etc. So to answer your question about which destinations you fly to: it’s a function of seniority. And that is largely a function of timing and age at employment.

Thanks for letting me know. Chelsea K.

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Alan’s Answer

When you first start flying for an airline (Part 121) you live, and fly, where they want you to live, and fly. As you build seniority with the airline, then you are able to 'bid' for a domicile (base), and for what flights YOU want to fly. That takes time.

If you work for a Part 135 air carrier, you have a bit more flexibility, but it will still take time to build that seniority.

That was helpful thank you Chelsea K.

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Davis’s Answer

You don’t choose to decide where you fly to as a commercial pilot working for any Airline.