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View Full Version : Horizon or Compass?


glide
06-11-2017, 06:57 AM
APC is the most awesome forum. I have learned so much about the 121 world from reading hundreds of pages of APC. Yes, there’s a mix of negativism, sarcasm, alternative facts, also good solid info (thanks Snacky and others) – but overall so informative. APC has helped me decide to leave my desk job and join the fun.

My situation: I feel very lucky to now hold two job offers, so I need to make an important decision and I kindly ask for your comments and opinions. I have to decide between (First Officer) Compass and Horizon. I am now a part time pilot for a 135, legacy-oriented, hold ATP already, no mil/TPIC, early 50s, live north of Seattle. Staying on West Coast is important due to family. Skywest is not an option.

From reading hundreds of pages of APC, discussion with current FOs at both regionals, retired legacy friends, and interviews, here’s my summary of Compass vs. Horizon so far:

Compass positives

· SEA base available (though not guaranteed out of training).
· E175 is a definite for this new FO bec the entire fleet is E170/175.
· Upgrade: E175 is the definite upgrade path bec the entire fleet is E170/175. (2-2.5 years?)
· Compass serves AA and Delta, so there’s more selection for non-rev/family/companion travel.
· Reserve times coming down due to pilot attrition and no hiring from Dec to June 2017.
· Compass has some sort of a 4-day per month hotel thing that makes commuting easier.
· Compass pilots do not have as many complaints about management practices as much as Horizon – Compass pilots seem happier despite the MSP closure and (temporary?) lack of reserve flying.
· The aircrew team morale seems to be good.


Compass negatives

· Pilots think Compass might not be stable as a regional – losing a base, sending AA jets to Republic, and a Dec-June hiring freeze in this environment is seen as troubling. Will this airline survive 2-3 years?
· Compass owns no aircraft - AA could pull all their planes at end of contract in 2020 (?).
· Compass pilots say there is minimal flying due to ~100 excess FOs (changing due to attrition?) – it will take longer to reach 1000 hours SIC.
· Reserve times: extended due to recent MSP base shutdown and no hiring from Dec to June 2017 (maybe changing now in June 2017?).
· New hire might go to LAX base initially for some unknown – perhaps long – period. (SEA is my preference).
· FO pay at $37 slightly worse than Horizon at $40.
· Trip rigs– which I do not fully understand yet – seem to be worse than at Horizon.
· The new crew scheduling system – “IOCC” – seems to have many snags and difficulties.

Horizon positives

· Owner AAG will likely keep Horizon around forever to use as whipsaw on SKW, and Horizon makes money for AAG (despite revenue shellgame).
· E175 is a definite for this new FO.
· SEA or PAE (2018) base for the E175 – close to my home.
· I like that Horizon is expanding its fleet (30 - E175s), holding fleet numbers for 2017 on the Q400, and expanding into PAE as a new base in 2018. This is good, right?
· FO pay at $40 slightly better than Compass at $37.
· There seems to be more non-rev/family/companion travel benefits than Compass (?).
· Trip rigs (E175) – which I do not fully understand yet – seem to be better than Compass.
· Training said to be good.
· The aircrew team morale said to be good.

Horizon negatives

· Upgrade path (3 years?): from Horizon FO E175 is CP Q400 – “brutal” is the description – OR lateral move out to a DEC at another regional OR no-TPIC FO at a major (iffy?).
· Many pilot complaints about Management (AAG) practices (bad hotels, delays in the min trip rig, etc.) - seems to be bad morale among pilots toward Management.
· Horizon owns no aircraft - Management (AAG) has threatened in the past (and followed through) to give away aircraft (CRJ200/SKW) as a union negotiation tactic.
· Lots of “lifers” extends the time required for upgrades and other seniority-based advantages.


I highly appreciate any opinions from current FOs and industry vets to help me make this decision to join either Compass or Horizon, and I thank you in advance. I am posting this in both the Compass and Horizon forums to encourage comments from pilots at each of these regional airlines.
Glide/


snackysmores
06-11-2017, 02:43 PM
It's good that you're doing a lot of research, I can only speak for Horizon but I know the Compass contracts can be pulled just as fast as they lost MSP a while back. You really need a crystal ball to try and predict what is going to happen in the industry. I certainly hope it doesn't happen to them.

As for Horizon, if you have a jet class (in writing) you won't have a bad experience. A lot of the griping and misery we display here is caused directly by the plane and schedules we're flying, and if you get the jet you will essentially be free from all of that BS (6 leg days, cancellations, mx, winter etc).

As far as the trip rigs go we are paid block or better, duty time, or trip time away from base.

Block is paid 1:1
Duty time is paid 2:1 (say you have 4 hours of block but 10 hours of duty time...since your duty time was higher than your block you will be paid at duty time divided by 2, so 5 hours in this case.
Trip time is paid 4:1. So if you have low block or duty time days, if the time away from base is higher than both block or duty time, (say 76 hours) it would be paid 76/4 or 19 hours for the trip minimum.

As far as job security goes I would say Horizon is in a better place right now unless compass wins another multi year extension. We aren't going anywhere.

The transition from jet to Q captain would be tough but it's not impossible. It wouldn't stop me from picking the jet.

Taylor814ce
06-11-2017, 02:54 PM
If one gets Jet and don't want to transition to Q for upgrade, what's the estimate for upgrade? So Ejet FO Direct to Ejet Captain.

What can a senior EJet FO expect in terms of days off per month? Much reserve?

Thanks!


snackysmores
06-11-2017, 02:56 PM
If one gets Jet and don't want to transition to Q for upgrade, what's the estimate for upgrade? So Ejet FO Direct to Ejet Captain.

What can a senior EJet FO expect in terms of days off per month? Much reserve?

Thanks!

We've had some junior people get awarded jet CA because the senior pdx guys won't want to commute. It went down to a 4 year pilot...If the PDX base opens at any point it will shoot up to about a 10-15 year upgrade.

As we get more jets, and later on down the road if they replace Q's with jets (if we get the second batch of 30) it will come way down.

As far as days off, a senior person can expect somewhere around 14-15.

Not sure what the reserve times are going to be, but on the Q400 there is ZERO reserve right now. Everyone is flying.

kbay hombre
06-11-2017, 05:58 PM
Not a pilot at either airline but used to live north of Seattle (Whidbey Island) so I know the area well. Otherwise, my situation was recently very similar to yours.

My two cents.. Go for Horizon. As much as people ***** on here about Horizon, if you're local and care more about staying local and commuting less, it seems like the best bet.

If you're guaranteed the 175 as you say, then you'll get SEA right out of training and perhaps PAE later on since QX will be flying the 175 out of there too. Given that Compass isn't a local company and may or may not exist in 5 years let alone be in Seattle, it seems like a no brainer to me that you'd go to QX (even on the Q400) if quality of life is more important to you than upgrade time. If upgrade is more important, maybe go to Compass instead, but do so with the risk of having to commute if Compass leaves, and knowing that the majors are hiring FO's with no TPIC right now so how important is upgrade, really?

Squeakygreaser
06-11-2017, 10:44 PM
I have something to say about this, I got furloughed from Horizon 8 years ago and I'm going back. I'm not even wanting to be seattle based and I'm going just hoping they eventually open a PDX jet base. I think this is a no brainer Horizon is looking to add between 18 and 60 airframes over the next 6 years and Compass just lost 7. I believe to Skywest. Growth is everything to a pilot because your ability to get weekends off summer and holiday vacations all boils down to getting people behind you on the seniority list. Compass may have a two year upgrade now, but Horizon will probably drop from a 2.5 year upgrade to a 2 year upgrade on the prop and the jet upgrade will probably end up around 5 years. I can't see Compass upgrades going anywhere but up with the airframes they have lost. You hear a lot on these forums about how you'll never upgrade in the jet at Horizon. That will not be the case if they add 60 jets. I think people aren't really taking into account how much growth that is and what that growth will do to upgrade times. Also, a lot of those super senior Horizon pilots, they don't want to go fly the jet. They are old dogs, they don't want to learn new tricks, if they have to commute to fly the jet they won't do it. As an indicator, they are already offering jet upgrades to people at 4 years. And that's with 8 jets on the property.

Also because Compass is not growing they don't need pilots that bad so they aren't offering any bonuses to my knowledge. So the difference in pay in your first two years favors Horizon by about 25k.

The real question for me and I don't know why you haven't considered this: is what is going to happen with Alaska and Skywest, the guy at the interview said they intend to expand their agreement with Skywest, and this is at a Horizon interview. So it really remains to be seen where the smarter money is if you want to be 175 based in the Northwest. I can't get any feel for which way Alaska is going to go with that. Right now, it seems like the biggest obstacle facing Horizon is Pilot staffing. They are probably pretty close to tapped out on how much money they are going to offer to bring on First Officers. If they can't get pilots at this pay rate (40+10) they may turn the flying over to Skywest in the hopes that Skywest can get the airframes staffed.

Ratso
06-11-2017, 11:28 PM
[QUOTE=Squeakygreaser;2378008]I have something to say about this, I got furloughed from Horizon 8 years ago and I'm going back. I'm not even wanting to be seattle based and I'm going just hoping they eventually open a PDX jet base. I think this is a no brainer Horizon is looking to add between 18 and 60 airframes over the next 6 years and Compass just lost 7. I believe to Skywest. Growth is everything to a pilot because your ability to get weekends off summer and holiday vacations all boils down to getting people behind you on the seniority list. Compass may have a two year upgrade now, but Horizon will probably drop from a 2.5 year upgrade to a 2 year upgrade on the prop and the jet upgrade will probably end up around 5 years. I can't see Compass upgrades going anywhere but up with the airframes they have lost. You hear a lot on these forums about how you'll never upgrade in the jet at Horizon. That will not be the case if they add 60 jets. I think people aren't really taking into account how much growth that is and what that growth will do to upgrade times. Also, a lot of those super senior Horizon pilots, they don't want to go fly the jet. They are old dogs, they don't want to learn new tricks, if they have to commute to fly the jet they won't do it. As an indicator, they are already offering jet upgrades to people at 4 years. And that's with 8 jets on the property.

Also because Compass is not growing they don't need pilots that bad so they aren't offering any bonuses to my knowledge. So the difference in pay in your first two years favors Horizon by about 25k.

The real question for me and I don't know why you haven't considered this: is what is going to happen with Alaska and Skywest, the guy at the interview said they intend to expand their agreement with Skywest, and this is at a Horizon interview. So it really remains to be seen where the smarter money is if you want to be 175 based in the Northwest. I can't get any feel for which way Alaska is going to go with that. Right now, it seems like the biggest obstacle facing Horizon is Pilot staffing. They are probably pretty close to tapped out on how much money they are going to offer to bring on First Officers. If they can't get pilots at this pay rate (40+10) they may turn the flying over to Skywest in the hopes that Skywest can get the airframes staffed.[/QUOTE


Signed,
Forrest Gump

glide
06-14-2017, 07:44 PM
Thanks for the responses everyone, very helpful as usual.
Glide/

Freelindy
06-20-2017, 06:57 AM
I have something to say about this, I got furloughed from Horizon 8 years ago and I'm going back...

...The real question for me and I don't know why you haven't considered this: is what is going to happen with Alaska and Skywest, the guy at the interview said they intend to expand their agreement with Skywest, and this is at a Horizon interview. So it really remains to be seen where the smarter money is if you want to be 175 based in the Northwest. I can't get any feel for which way Alaska is going to go with that. Right now, it seems like the biggest obstacle facing Horizon is Pilot staffing. They are probably pretty close to tapped out on how much money they are going to offer to bring on First Officers. If they can't get pilots at this pay rate (40+10) they may turn the flying over to Skywest in the hopes that Skywest can get the airframes staffed.

First part, I sure the heck hope you weren't flying airplanes in those 8 years...because, whisky tango foxtrot, career regression is not a great life-plan.

Second part, key reason to stay away, management said the opposite regarding Skywest flying to get the recent letter of agreement passed.

You will not be happy with the post Lamar era.

snackysmores
06-21-2017, 11:58 AM
For what it's worth, take a look at the contract issues we complain about and then hop over to the compass thread where one of their biggest gripes is having to wear a hat.

Squeakygreaser
06-21-2017, 12:02 PM
First part, I sure the heck hope you weren't flying airplanes in those 8 years...because, whisky tango foxtrot, career regression is not a great life-plan.

Second part, key reason to stay away, management said the opposite regarding Skywest flying to get the recent letter of agreement passed.

You will not be happy with the post Lamar era.

So anyway.... Does anyone here think that compass or Skywest is currently the better option if you want to be based in either Portland or Seattle? PDX for me, Seattle for the original poster. If so why? Can the upgrade at Compass possibly stay as low as it is? As far as whether I've been flying the answer is I have, just not very much. It's possible I could go to Spirit or Frontier just not sure I want to deal with that commuting situation, or learn to fly an airbus in 4 sim sessions. But I've certainly listened to some people who feel the opposite. I'm always open to hearing new arguments as to why I or others should do something different.

Sincerely,
Forrest Gump

N200NN
06-22-2017, 09:39 PM
Can the upgrade at Compass possibly stay as low as it is?

As of the last award, the most junior captain has been on property for about 16 months. We also lost about 90-ish pilots in the last 4 months to attrition. Having ~740 on the seniority list, thats about 12% of the entire pilot group. Just some things to consider.



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