Upgrade options

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
I’m currently a pretty senior FO on the Q400 living in PDX where my base is, life is good but it’s time to upgrade and make some more money. I get 99% of what I want every month thanks to only 20 months of seniority.

My options are Q400 or Ejet upgrade :

As the Q400 is a dwindling fleet and at an unknown rate because the company doesn’t share much info on mid-long term plans, I will be upgrading in base, but who knows how long I’ll be on reserve. PDX is a very senior base in the left seat, I fly with many CA’s that have been at Horizon since the 80’s-90’s. I know for a fact guys with a year seniority ahead of me are still on reserve, and one person about 3 years senior to me is occasionally a line holder. The trips on the Q aren’t that great, even with my seniority as an FO the 4 day trips average 20 legs as that’s the type of flying this plane is designed for.

The Ejet is going very junior for only one reason, no one wants to live in or commute to Seattle. This is especially true for most of the senior guys in PDX, allowing newbies like me a shot to upgrade into a more desirable aircraft. This will come with a commute however, PDX-SEA has abundant frequency but the loads are insane. We have a commuter clause but it is still a stress I don’t really need while first upgrading and finding my feet as a captain. PDX is a satellite base but the transparency is not great, I know of a 2015 new hire that is the airport reserve guy for the satellite. As far as my seniority as a CA on the jet in Seattle, it is relatively good. I may be a lineholder right away, at worst long call reserve. I live about 3hrs away drive time, that can vary with traffic.

Right now we are losing Q’s and gaining jets. The rumor is 30-30 by 2020 but who really knows. I feel like I could potentially be on reserve for a long time in PDX as a captain if lines continue to shrink on the Q, but driving 30 minutes to work is as good as it gets. Reserve here is par for the course as far as regionals, lots of changes so just pack for the time you’re scheduled and enjoy the ride. So this decision is pretty hard for me as I know that the commute to SEA can suck. I have until the 7th to finalize my bid and I keep going back and forth with the decision.

So what do y’all think?? There are a few other variables but don’t want to make this any longer of a post than it is already.
 
Last edited:

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
Worry about QOL when you get to your retirement carrier. Until then focus on what will get you the most time to make the next step.
I plan on interviewing for the pathway to Alaska after my upgrade. If that goes well it’s just a waiting game to be honest. I know some people say Alaska isn’t a retirement type carrier anymore, but its plenty enough for me and my family, and I enjoy working for AAG for the most part. I do agree that building 121 PIC is a lot better than sitting around waiting to build time
 

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
I'd say holding a line or at the very least long call in a base that is at most a 3 hour drive away is a no brainer.
Problem with long call is the 12 hour call out seems to not coincide with our commuter policy. As we have to list for two option no later than 24hrs prior. With what happened to me in the past on this exact same commute, I really worry about commuting outside the protection of that clause. Driving is an option, I’m sure if long call I’d just drive every time
 

Autothrust Blue

Ultra-low-cost member
The best quality of life I had at my regional was short call in base. Long call with a 3(ish, when it isn't snowing) hour drive sounds positively lovely.
 

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
The best quality of life I had at my regional was short call in base. Long call with a 3(ish, when it isn't snowing) hour drive sounds positively lovely.
I know, I feel like a Kardashian posting about 1st world problems right now. But as you know, this is the commute that bit me in the arse at my previous employer
 

mikecweb

Third Generation Arizonan
I plan on interviewing for the pathway to Alaska after my upgrade. If that goes well it’s just a waiting game to be honest. I know some people say Alaska isn’t a retirement type carrier anymore, but its plenty enough for me and my family, and I enjoy working for AAG for the most part. I do agree that building 121 PIC is a lot better than sitting around waiting to build time
I'd put yourself in a position to do better than "plenty enough" and use alaska as a backup plan. Like anything though, different strokes for different folks.
 

BrettInLJ

Well-Known Member
Worry about QOL when you get to your retirement carrier. Until then focus on what will get you the most time to make the next step.
Yeah, a 3 hour drive commute is not bad considering. If you were to upgrade to the 175 what is the seat lock time? If it’s only a year and you felt like you made the wrong choice, you could always transition to the QX, right?
 

JordanD

Honorary Member
Problem with long call is the 12 hour call out seems to not coincide with our commuter policy. As we have to list for two option no later than 24hrs prior. With what happened to me in the past on this exact same commute, I really worry about commuting outside the protection of that clause. Driving is an option, I’m sure if long call I’d just drive every time
I think you’re looking for a unicorn scenario as a junior captain. I would absolutely take the line/jet and fly your ass off. Long call is plenty of time to get a full nights sleep and do that drive to work.
 

Soku39

Well-Known Member
This is easy, upgrade on the Ejet.

Edit;

Do be careful with the upgrade in a new airplane, that has bitten many guys before be 100% on your game when you start.

Also its a 3 hour drive which is what I've been doing every single week for almost 5 years, you'll get used to it, it's fine. Like don't try and commute that by air unless you have to, there is so much less stress involved it's unbelievable. If I flew I'd miss out on all kinds of stuff, but with paid commuter hotels, even a 5 am show is fine, can still eat dinner with the girlfriend, do the drive, might not be my own bed, but I get some decent sleep, and I wake up in base 15 minutes from the gate.
 
Last edited:

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
This is easy, upgrade on the Ejet.

Edit;

Do be careful with the upgrade in a new airplane, that has bitten many guys before be 100% on your game when you start.

Also its a 3 hour drive which is what I've been doing every single week for almost 5 years, you'll get used to it, it's fine. Like don't try and commute that by air unless you have to, there is so much less stress involved it's unbelievable. If I flew I'd miss out on all kinds of stuff, but with paid commuter hotels, even a 5 am show is fine, can still eat dinner with the girlfriend, do the drive, might not be my own bed, but I get some decent sleep, and I wake up in base 15 minutes from the gate.
Yeah I will be leaning towards the drive for sure. As far as flying a new plane for upgrade, I previously flew the 175 for another company. I don’t remember much as it’s been a few years, but I do remember it was a little easier in almost all categories than the Q is. I will be well prepared and 100% focused on upgrade for either bird, they will both be challenging and it’s a step I don’t take lightly.
 
Last edited:

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
I gotta say, this last week I was paid to snuggle my daughter, go to the gym, watch some movies, etc. Being on res and living in base is very nice. February is slow for us, otherwise I’d be flying so I get out, but this is a nice change of pace.
I flew twice in January. I’m going a little nuts tbh. But it’s a little different being on call vs your reserve.
 
Top