Unfortunately, the payscale on this website is accurate...rounded to the nearest dollar. Lakes pilots have been working without a contract for 5 years and counting...with the same pay. The pilot group, which is represented by the Teamsters, is currently attempting to be released from mediation. They are also soliciting other representation, however, I don't believe that ALPA is an option, so I don't know who else that leaves.
One of the major problems IMO is the general apathy of the pilot group. Most are hired with low time, and figure they will only stay until they get 1,000 PIC...which only takes about 3 years. The most senior pilot on the seniority list probably has only been with the company for about 6 years, and even they feel they have been there a couple of years too long. This revolving door is a management's dream as far as contract negotiations are concerned. Fuel prices combined with the already thin profit margins associated with providing Essential Air Service flying have only hurt the cause for the pilots.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? I don't think so.
I have been researching this company. I know the pay is the worst in the industry, but I want to move to DEN, and don't have enough time for Skywest. I have a uncle that lives in DEN, that has a painting business and have been told I could work with him for extra $$. I was wondering how long the upgrade time is. I would assume it would be fairly low. ATP MINS? Also, I am wondering how the company is as a whole. I know there are a few people that work for Great Lakes that post so please chime in or pm me.
Not a pilot with the company, but I can comment on upgrade times in that I've seen newhire FO's reach CA in 10-14 months. And these were guys that were hired with around 300TT.
Id say about 90% of the pilots are all good people to work with. Mostly a younger more laid back crowd, early 20's to early 30's agewise. Of course there are a few bad apples, but every airline has those.
The company itself? Well...there are many things Im not pleased with, but I'll save those comments for private discussion if you're still interested.
So far as I can see, the two biggest pluses that Lakes has going for it from a pilot perspective are 1) the people you'll fly with. 2) Fast upgrades. You don't come here to make a life long career out of it or become wealthy, thats for sure.
A lot of guys say the class/training is pretty tough.
I've heard the initial training is very tough - but keep in mind it's going to be a kick in the pants your first time pretty much anywhere you go. It would probably be a great experience for you to fly for them - upgrade quick - get 1000 TPIC and move on to another regional, or even mainline. Lots of Great Lakes guys all over the place - and you can take comfort in knowing that pretty much anywhere you go will be better!
Fly 'er like you're with a woman.
I believe it is. I know a few guys that work for Lakes and they say that the company will train you to be a captain because you would move to the left seat once you have the time. I will be starting at Lakes within a couple of weeks (not flying). I heard that a lot of low timers get in as ramp agents, meet someone who would walking their resume, and get hired as FO’s within a few months. For the FO position, lakes states “Recommendation from current staff pilot weighed heavily.” Also, keep in mind that they don’t pay you during training.