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Is it unethical for a pilot to accept an upgrade outside of seniority?

tbflyer

Well-Known Member
If you want to see a "Real Housewives" situation, apply "merit/performance based upgrades" at a legacy carrier.

It would go "Lord of The Flies" in about five minutes.
There is a huge difference between a 121 pilot and a 135/91 pilot. Pilots at 121 are pilots, pilots at 135/91 are pilots+concierge+cleaners+luggage handler+plane managers+ other random things. There is a lot more work for 91 or 135 pilot that is needed to keep the client happy. This is why they promote based on merit. There’s a lot more than being a safe pilot.
 

Derg

Naval Intelligence, MCRN
Staff member
Don't get me wrong, I'm not making a statement on 91/135 because I literally have no idea what goes on in that world beyond a very brief stint as a 135 King Air C90 guy.

What's hilarious is that during "Bankruptapalooza" a senior captain retired early to go fly corporate because he assumed prettier airplanes and a discerning clientele meant that he'd be treated like the rock star he thought he was. LOL.

Ended up 'rage quitting' in Mexico.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Don't get me wrong, I'm not making a statement on 91/135 because I literally have no idea what goes on in that world beyond a very brief stint as a 135 King Air C90 guy.

What's hilarious is that during "Bankruptapalooza" a senior captain retired early to go fly corporate because he assumed prettier airplanes and a discerning clientele meant that he'd be treated like the rock star he thought he was. LOL.

Ended up 'rage quitting' in Mexico.
Once motor oil, always motor oil. :)
 

ATN_Pilot

Socialist Pig Member
There is a huge difference between a 121 pilot and a 135/91 pilot. Pilots at 121 are pilots, pilots at 135/91 are pilots+concierge+cleaners+luggage handler+plane managers+ other random things. There is a lot more work for 91 or 135 pilot that is needed to keep the client happy. This is why they promote based on merit. There’s a lot more than being a safe pilot.
It’s cute that you think none of those apply to 121 pilots.
 

tbflyer

Well-Known Member
It’s cute that you think none of those apply to 121 pilots.
They do, but how many spirit customers are gonna change airlines if their pilot didn’t go through the cabin and make sure it’s clean and great then with a smile? How many united pilots manage thier plane? When is the last time you saw a Delta pilot loading bags to ensure they don’t lose a customer?
 

KLB

Well-Known Member
If you want to see a "Real Housewives" situation, apply "merit/performance based upgrades" at a legacy carrier.

It would go "Lord of The Flies" in about five minutes.
The big difference between the run of the mill flight department or 135 corporate operator is that you guys at the legacy, have good training programs, lots of flight support, and pro standards to keep "El Incompetent" or "Captain Toolbag" in line. You also have a beefy recruiting and hiring process. I've seen plenty on this side of the industry that do just enough and nothing beyond. There are also the HR nightmares or would be terrible with passenger interaction. They can handle the duties of being an FO, but don't have what it takes to be a captain.

I agree though that it shouldn't just be a popularity contest either. I've seen my fair share of "good guys" that upgraded and couldn't fly their way out of a wet paper bag.
 
If you opened a new shop in a new market, would the manager in charge be your longest tenured employee, or your top performing employee?
Can I ask you a favor. Tomorrow call in the pilot who is ranked last and tell him he's ranked last. If someone is ranked first, then someone has to be ranked last. The guy who is ranked last probably doesn't know he's ranked last. He also probably doesn't *want* to be ranked last. I was once that guy who was ranked last. If someone had told me this, I could have used it as a wakeup call to make myself *not* ranked last. I bet the guy who is ranked last may not even be aware that there is a ranking system at all.
Each pilot is scored against the expectation in their job description. They know how they are judged. Each quarter I spend time with each pilot and we work on improvement areas. When I promoted the New lead last fall, each that applied got a sit down after the selection. I Know ATN thinks I’m playing favorites, but, they all know what the criteria was, and why they they were not selected.
What do you tell these guys in meetings? Sorry jimmy, you had a less than stellar landing last month so no upgrade for you!
 

ATN_Pilot

Socialist Pig Member
They do, but how many spirit customers are gonna change airlines if their pilot didn’t go through the cabin and make sure it’s clean and great then with a smile? How many united pilots manage thier plane? When is the last time you saw a Delta pilot loading bags to ensure they don’t lose a customer?
I see Delta pilots go above and beyond on regular occasion. But that’s really beside the point. It’s not something on which their eligibility for promotion should be based. Nor should it be for the corporate pilot. If something is required of the position, then it should be in the job description. If it’s not, then it should not enter the equation for promotion.
 

tbflyer

Well-Known Member
I see Delta pilots go above and beyond on regular occasion. But that’s really beside the point. It’s not something on which their eligibility for promotion should be based. Nor should it be for the corporate pilot. If something is required of the position, then it should be in the job description. If it’s not, then it should not enter the equation for promotion.
My point exactly. The things that I stated are in the job description at most 135 and 91s and not all pilots are nearly as good as them should be in the customer service side. There is nothing wrong with promoting someone who excels at all aspects of the job ahead of someone who simply checks the block as a safe pilot.
 

ATN_Pilot

Socialist Pig Member
My point exactly. The things that I stated are in the job description at most 135 and 91s and not all pilots are nearly as good as them should be in the customer service side. There is nothing wrong with promoting someone who excels at all aspects of the job ahead of someone who simply checks the block as a safe pilot.
Either someone fulfills their job description or they do not.
 
If you opened a new shop in a new market, would the manager in charge be your longest tenured employee, or your top performing employee?
Can I ask you a favor. Tomorrow call in the pilot who is ranked last and tell him he's ranked last. If someone is ranked first, then someone has to be ranked last. The guy who is ranked last probably doesn't know he's ranked last. He also probably doesn't *want* to be ranked last. I was once that guy who was ranked last. If someone had told me this, I could have used it as a wakeup call to make myself *not* ranked last. I bet the guy who is ranked last may not even be aware that there is a ranking system at all.
Each pilot is scored against the expectation in their job description. They know how they are judged. Each quarter I spend time with each pilot and we work on improvement areas. When I promoted the New lead last fall, each that applied got a sit down after the selection. I Know ATN thinks I’m playing favorites, but, they all know what the criteria was, and why they they were not selected.
What do you tell these guys in meetings? Sorry jimmy, you had a less than stellar landing last month so no upgrade for you!
Only if they set off the ELT.

In reality we have quarterly SMS/QMS meetings. If issues have come up pertaining to pilot duties it gets addressed either as a whole or on an individual basis. It’s entirely non-punitive. Only gets tricky if a crew does something stupid like rack up a $600 bar tab on the company CC, then usually a step of the disciplinary process. Given that we’re 91 though, nothing in any sort of a file that would ever follow the pilot. No requirements for PRIA.

The biggest issue we face is complacency as we routinely fly the same
Mission over and over.

Back to the start though, we don’t have any SIC’s every pilot is PIC typed and CA qualifies from the start. 200 hours or 12000 hours they all start as a PIC. We don’t have an SIC job description in the ops manual. We also base starting salary for new guys off of a current snapshot then if needed correct everybody’s salary to reflect the standard increase. So, say we started a Midsize CA @ 135,000 two years ago. If I hired now I’d anticipate that we’d be starting them closer to 140/145k /yr. if that was the case I’d apply the same pay differential to the Next CA and so forth. If the Ywar 2 CA is at 150 now, he would be brought up to 155/160K. Outside of a new hire salary setting benchmarks for us, we usually start about 7%+cola annually. Staying put isn’t a bad deal here. The ones that want to do more will, typically we have CP and LP positions. Generally one of the CA’s will have additional provisioning and galley tracking duties as well. (You know, watching what the passengers seem to be eating and cycling stock to make sure it’s fresh/in demand. No sense in carrying cliff bars that nobody eats etc)
 

tbflyer

Well-Known Member
Either someone fulfills their job description or they do not.
Next time you need a dr find one that barely passed college, has been sued a bunch for messing up and has no social abilities, then remeber “who cares he meets the minimum standard” I mean he has his license so he should be promoted to your dr. Or next time it’s time to sell your house fund the realtor who does the minimum. I mean your house will sell, maybe a lot slower and for less money, but who cares, they are the most senior realtor in your area.

It’s the same thing for pilots, there is a difference between the pilot who just gets by and one who makes the company more money. It would be a stupid business decision to promote the person who has been there the longest when the newer guy has brought in a bunch more money.
 
I'm sorry for being the lone man out, but I don't see the issue if the company doesn't have a written and official policy of seniority-only upgrades. If you have an issue with somebody hired after you getting the upgrade first, then go join an airline that has seniority-based upgrades. Why continue working for this kind of employer. Only in a seniority system are you owed something for being hired first. Yes, I get the ramifications that typically in merit shops, the kiss-ass types usually make it above the guys just doing a good honest, safe job.


I will take a seniority based upgrade system any day of the week. If they can't cut it as a CA, let the system weed them out.
But the system doesn't weed them out. It's one of the many reasons Colgan 3407 happened. I've heard of upgrade CAs failing, but I have yet to hear about a 121 major airline CA that was weeded out years later because of a sim or line check.
 

Flyinthrew

Well-Known Member
If you opened a new shop in a new market, would the manager in charge be your longest tenured employee, or your top performing employee?
I can't imagine any of my employees wanting to move to a new location. But if they did, they would be given that opportunity. "Top performing" is a bull---- metric that is open to bias and favoritism. It is not objective, and therefore useless.

No matter which way you cut it- I’m not offering the lead position to a guy simply because he’s been with us the longest, I’m offering it to the guy who constantly demonstrates he’d be good at it. Is it open to bias? Sure. My Bias - but it’s my shop. I have to answer to the principal though- so I’m not putting the brown nose in the job, I’m putting the guy in the job who will take care of the duties required. I’ve never had a complaint about our evaluation and upgrade system - so I see no reason to change it. I want to encourage good performance based competition. I want my employees to consistently strive to do better. I want them building and adapting systems to meet new and developing challenges.
Well, at least you admit that it's a biased system.

And of course you don't get complaints. Nobody can complain when they have to worry about their complaints being held against them come promotion time. See the problem?
I’m really usually in a high level agreement with you when you’re being contrary, but I think you’re way off on this one. Almost none of the free world operates purely on the system of which you speak. If it did, companies would be dragging so much dead weight the economy would collapse. The diamond in the rough would never be found, and there would be no exponential upward (or downward)mobility. I would still live in the same projects I grew up in, and I wouldn’t be a pilot. It works at 121 because there is a high standard and everybody does pretty much the same thing. Likewise, almost none of the free world operates purely on subjective evaluations for the reasons you state. There’s usually a component of each longevity, metrics, and evaluation. Once again, yet another human construct which isn’t perfect.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

nbv4

Well-Known Member
For every hour flown I would do almost 25% more work than him even though his plane was faster.
The problem with this is that it setds a precedent for the enxt guy. He sees you jumping ahead because you squeezed out a few extra percentage of productivity, so he decides to try to squeeze out 30% more productivity to get his upgrade faster. He starts cutting corners, flying in weather he wouldn't have flown in, etc. There is no way to increase productivity beyond a certain point without jeopardizing safety.

I took time to organize expense reports in way that saved management hours over his bare bone approach (this only took a few extra minutes) I created maintenance tracking that wasn’t done already.
Isn't an expense report just a list of things you paid for, and then a total line at the bottom here you add all the items up? How on earth can *anyone* do an expense report in such a way that it "saves hours"? Did management tell this other guy that his expense reports were costing the company more time?

How would you feel if this other pilot had upgraded before you in seniority, despite him seemingly being less productive than you? Your opinion on this topic maybe different if you're the victim of "seniority theft" rather than a benefactor.

Although not a corporate job there are tons of ways one corporate pilot could go above and beyond his fellow pilots.
I disagree. There is only so much you can do to improve "customer service". If I were a passenger on a private jet, I'd want my pilot to focus on flying the airplane, and less on making sure I'm happy.
 

ATN_Pilot

Socialist Pig Member
Almost none of the free world operates purely on the system of which you speak
If I did things the way in my business the way that other people do things, then I’d be struggling to grow and make a profit like most of my competitors. Thankfully, that’s not the case.

It works at 121 because there is a high standard
I think you’ve found the real problem: other companies are carrying dead weight because they don’t hold a high standard and instead promote kiss-asses until they reach the level of their incompetence.
 

nbv4

Well-Known Member
I'm sorry for being the lone man out, but I don't see the issue if the company doesn't have a written and official policy of seniority-only upgrades.
The problem is that it's industry standard to use a seniority system for upgrades. Its not unreasonable for a pilot to assume seniority is in place unless told otherwise. If the company explicitly tells each new pilot that seniority does not matter, then it's OK. In my case, the company did not at all tell me seniority would not matter. I think there should be FAR that states that companies must upgrade based on seniority, or else communicate in writing to each pilot that some other system is in place.
 

tbflyer

Well-Known Member
The problem with this is that it setds a precedent for the enxt guy. He sees you jumping ahead because you squeezed out a few extra percentage of productivity, so he decides to try to squeeze out 30% more productivity to get his upgrade faster. He starts cutting corners, flying in weather he wouldn't have flown in, etc. There is no way to increase productivity beyond a certain point without jeopardizing safety.



Isn't an expense report just a list of things you paid for, and then a total line at the bottom here you add all the items up? How on earth can *anyone* do an expense report in such a way that it "saves hours"? Did management tell this other guy that his expense reports were costing the company more time?

How would you feel if this other pilot had upgraded before you in seniority, despite him seemingly being less productive than you? Your opinion on this topic maybe different if you're the victim of "seniority theft" rather than a benefactor.

I disagree. There is only so much you can do to improve "customer service". If I were a passenger on a private jet, I'd want my pilot to focus on flying the airplane, and less on making sure I'm happy.
I havnt figures out how to do multiple replies on my phone yet.
Her is how you can be more productive without jeopardizing safety. This flight based on speed of 100 knots and 2 minutes a turn will take 2 hours, with proper planning it really only takes 30 seconds to do a u turn and stay in parameters. It would take him 5 minutes and he would fly at 80 due in ability to hold a line going faster,

That is all an expense report is but if you are lazy like him all he did was one day a month take pictures of all 100 receipts and send that in an email withou a date or description.

Let me know how it goes when you forget to book your client a rental car and they miss thier business meeting. Or you forget to pick up the catering. (Who cares right? They got from airport to airport b)

I have known a bunch of pilots who only care about punching the clock. There is a difference between barely not getting fired and doing good at your job.

And I have been in numetous othe jobs, I like the idea of being promoted on merit (yes I have been skipped over before) why improve if you have no motivation and you are just a number?
 

tbflyer

Well-Known Member
The problem is that it's industry standard to use a seniority system for upgrades. Its not unreasonable for a pilot to assume seniority is in place unless told otherwise. If the company explicitly tells each new pilot that seniority does not matter, then it's OK. In my case, the company did not at all tell me seniority would not matter. I think there should be FAR that states that companies must upgrade based on seniority, or else communicate in writing to each pilot that some other system is in place.
If companies must upgrade on seniority get ready for a lot of mediocre employees who barely meet the standard to be fired.