3.5 yrs out of the airlines - Update
Well, it's been 3 and a half years since I last put on an airline uniform. It's been 6 since I last sat in the cockpit of a 737 working for a major airline. With the introduction of the "leaving the career" section, I thought it appropriate to update you on my decision in case it helps anyone else.
Last August I was finally recalled by US Airways. After much deliberation, hours upon hours talking with my wife, my friends, my family, coworkers, etc. I elected to stay in corporate aviation. From time to time over the last year or so I have felt some regret over that decision. Shadows of shiny-jet-syndrome that occasionally pop-up.
But at the end of the day, I think i'm better off than I was before. Had I gone back to the airlines I would undoubtedly have been junior reserve for a long, long time. (If I managed to remain employed through this downturn). That would mean weekends, holidays, and special occasions spent on trips or in crashpads. (Seriously -- would you have moved to Philly?)
Here I make decent money. Not getting rich, but not starving either. I am home most nights. At most I spend 4 or 5 nights a month away from home. I spend nearly every weekend at home, and have not worked a major holiday since i've been here. I am usually on the ground by 17:30, walking in my door by 18:00 -- in time to play with my son for a while before his 19:30 bedtime. The equipment is maintained well, and the other pilots are a pretty good group of talented and safety conscious people.
What i've learned is that there is more to life than an airline career. Although I never expected to take this turn, here I am... and I really don't miss the airline lifestyle much. In a way I feel like the airlines were a single man's job. This job is much better suited to a family.
So 6 and a half years since my major airline furlough... and 3 and a half years since I gave up on the airlines and left my last airline job -- i'm doing ok. It was not a life altering event. I don't feel as though I gave up on my dream... I just modified it a little bit.
Good luck to all considering leaving the hat and stripes behind. I know it's a tough decision and if anyone ever wants to talk about how I made it, feel free to drop me a PM.
Former 737...Former DC9...Former CRJ...Former D328...Former SF340...Former J31...
...Current Learjet pilot.
Save Money. Live Better.