Airline family life expectations

AA34

Well-Known Member
#21
I’m in a similar boat. 32 with one kid, PPL and IR who has wanted to fly professionally as long as I can remember. Successful career in sales and not wanting to disrupt the family dynamic has kept me put but I still think about flying a jet everyday.

There have been a few guys in your shoes of recent. @ozziecat35 is one of them.

Also, I’m in Austin but flew out of ADS when I lived in Dallas for a few years.

I would say look at getting your instrument rating while you’re still working full time. The flying is way different and would be along the lines of a regional/corporate next step. I really enjoy instrument flying but some get bored with it.
 

Der_Meister

Well-Known Member
#23
I have been working in aerospace R&D engineering for the past 10 years (since school) and am considering a career change. I have always been interested in flying professionally, so that is on the short list of options to consider. While I have private pilot certificate, I opted initially for an engineering career in part because of family life considerations. However, that career has had its own travel requirements, and as sitting in my office at midnight trying to think through intractable technical and managerial problems is not uncommon, I question my wisdom. Perhaps the airline life, with its more cut-and-dry boundaries between work and life, would actually be preferable. That is what I am trying to get a read on.

A few more relevant details about me. I am 34 with soon to be two children, and live in the DFW area where a number of airlines have bases. I am financially prudent and have managed the profit from my first 10 years well. I do not need to chase the biggest pay check, so pursuing low time lines or dropping trips, if such things are available, to maximize nights at home would be ok as far as the pocketbook is concerned. If the lifestyle came down to working a 4 day trip over every weekend, I think it would be hard to ask that of the family. 3 day trips with only 1 day touching the weekend starts to be a very different story. I am just trying to discern where reality is, and greatly appreciate any insight from the experienced people here.

The reality is the life style you desire while out there, would take a great number of years to achieve. As a flight instructor you can do 5 days a week and weekends off (depending on the flight school), I'f you did the normal 9-5 deal I would guess it would take you about 2 years to get 1500TT. Then you could apply for a regional. If you want to stay in DAL there are only a few to choose from and then who knows if you will get DAL as a base as a new hire. If you did get it then I would think to get every weekend off it would take at least 3 years and bypassing on upgrade (if they let you). After that it's hard to predict anywhere from 2-20 years to get to a major. Then rinse repeat to get all weekends off again.

To make the lifestyle of a pilot work you have to adjust your lifestyle around it.
 

Jordan93

Well-Known Member
#24
Prepare for the worst. You’ll most likely work holidays and miss birthdays and important events. I lucked out at my regional and was holding weekends off by my second month of flying and have never worked any holiday. This is not the norm. Driving to work is huge and will be a major QOL improver.
 

Beaker

Well-Known Member
#25
Prepare for the worst. You’ll most likely work holidays and miss birthdays and important events. I lucked out at my regional and was holding weekends off by my second month of flying and have never worked any holiday. This is not the norm. Driving to work is huge and will be a major QOL improver.
I appreciate that your experience is way out there on the bell curve. I am curious though, did you know it would be like that at the time you decided to take the job?
 

ozziecat35

4 out of 5 great lakes prefer Michigan.
#27
Happy to answer questions. I’m 2 trips off IOE with a fresh CL-65 type in my pocket. We just had a vacancy award come out, I could be close to top 20% line holder if I wanted to commute. That base is a mx base so it’s all early starts and late ends. With 3 kids under 10, I’m not willing to lose that much time, so I’ll choose to enjoy the reserve life in ORD, with varied flying everywhere we go. In theory next month I can hold a line in MKE, only a 90 minute drive...but also a mx base. My math based on what’s happened in just 2 months of me bidding is I might have a shot at a line next bid, but for sure April...so yeah, I’ll take my 30 minute drive to work. It all depends on where you’re priorities lie.
 

xdashdriver

Well-Known Member
#28
Thank you for the responses so far. One thing I am curious is about how much control I would have over my schedule. When to chase the bigger airplane or upgrade and become a junior guy again seems to be a matter of personal choice and may be deferred, other than when getting that first TPIC. How available is the option of dropping trips to fly less / get paid less? Is that just senior guy stuff?

I work in technology and understand the comments about automation. Personally, I don't think it will be a reality for the commercial aviation market until I am looking to retire anyways. Not because it is impossible, just because of the time it takes to properly engineer and manufacture complex systems in safety critical applications.
Control over your schedule is predicated on the language in the contract and how well the airline does with staffing. At the regional level (in general) both contract language and staffing issues are going to limit how well you can control your schedule. It does improve with seniority at any airline. Once you get beyond the regional level, scheduling flexibility opens up quite a bit more. I was surprised at how much I could adjust my schedule (within reasonable limits) when I first started at Frontier, even as a junior guy. With all the movement going on right now across the industry, you should progress quickly, so although you would be flying 4 day trips over the weekend to begin with, it shouldn’t be too long before you can get something better. I started back in the flying business in 2014 after a multi-year break. I did 2 years at a regional before coming to Frontier. I have just got to the point where I can hold major holidays and weekends off, if I want.
 

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
#30
While I used to agree with that- developments and news from Boeing NeXt, coupled with airlines and the FAA requesting funding from congress to study single pilot flight decks I firmly believe that the Aviation career will be radically different in 10,15 and 20 years.

I imagine that technology will shrink the scope of business travel- I simply do not see the market space expanding, and jobs will be replaced by automation.

I’m not saying it’s a bad job, or that jobs are going away, more that you can’t look back 30 years and expect that to carry for the next 30 years. Be careful with expectations of you want the transition from desk job to pilot job to be successful with a young family.
Skunk Works is banging their head against a wall to figure out how to make fusion power work, and we've got an example of how to do it literally staring us in the face 12+ hours a day.

If we can't figure that one out, with a cheat sheet giving us the light to figure it out, I'm not entirely sure we can get automated planes up and running that quickly.

And that's just making it WORK. That says nothing about certification.
 

QXDX

Well-Known Member
#32
I have been working in aerospace R&D engineering for the past 10 years (since school) and am considering a career change. I have always been interested in flying professionally, so that is on the short list of options to consider. While I have private pilot certificate, I opted initially for an engineering career in part because of family life considerations. However, that career has had its own travel requirements, and as sitting in my office at midnight trying to think through intractable technical and managerial problems is not uncommon, I question my wisdom. Perhaps the airline life, with its more cut-and-dry boundaries between work and life, would actually be preferable. That is what I am trying to get a read on.

A few more relevant details about me. I am 34 with soon to be two children, and live in the DFW area where a number of airlines have bases. I am financially prudent and have managed the profit from my first 10 years well. I do not need to chase the biggest pay check, so pursuing low time lines or dropping trips, if such things are available, to maximize nights at home would be ok as far as the pocketbook is concerned. If the lifestyle came down to working a 4 day trip over every weekend, I think it would be hard to ask that of the family. 3 day trips with only 1 day touching the weekend starts to be a very different story. I am just trying to discern where reality is, and greatly appreciate any insight from the experienced people here.
The thing you keep coming back to is "time at home." If time at home is what you value, then airline flying isn't for you. That's not to say you can't do other kinds of flying, though.
 

ClearedForOption

French Computer Programmer and Systems Monitor
#37
I find it interesting that there are very few current 121 pilots replying to this thread.
That's because they are all flying record numbersd of passengers over the holidays using the latest in technology to safely transport their passengers from A to B safely.

In all seriousness to answer the OP, it's 6 of one 1/2 dozen of the other. I think that I have more time off then any of my other jobs, but it comes with the price of 'juniority' and having to work over every holiday - but there are ways to make it work. (Living in base, bidding strategies, etc.)

This year for instance I completely fubar'd up the back 1/2 of my Decmber schedule and part of January for a layover at home on xmas. And then, we ended up being late and I was pretty tired once I got home. But, it was worth it for the kids.

Basically... if you want to do the job, then do the career switch. Everything else will work itself out.
 
#38
That's because they are all flying record numbersd of passengers over the holidays using the latest in technology to safely transport their passengers from A to B safely.

In all seriousness to answer the OP, it's 6 of one 1/2 dozen of the other. I think that I have more time off then any of my other jobs, but it comes with the price of 'juniority' and having to work over every holiday - but there are ways to make it work. (Living in base, bidding strategies, etc.)

This year for instance I completely fubar'd up the back 1/2 of my Decmber schedule and part of January for a layover at home on xmas. And then, we ended up being late and I was pretty tired once I got home. But, it was worth it for the kids.

Basically... if you want to do the job, then do the career switch. Everything else will work itself out.

How long before you can hold LGB?


No, as a line holder.
Ai yikes!!! Hard to imagine 2 weeks on straight with PBS. But I can believe it, if commuting and it gives only a single day off in between trips or something.
 

ClearedForOption

French Computer Programmer and Systems Monitor
#39
How long before you can hold LGB?




Ai yikes!!! Hard to imagine 2 weeks on straight with PBS. But I can believe it, if commuting and it gives only a single day off in between trips or something.
Let’s see... its 2019 now, so I’m down to 7 or 8 years. Unless the base shrinks or goes away.

Painfully long.
 
Top