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View Full Version : Retire now or in three years?


BravoZulu
12-07-2018, 04:16 PM
Greetings all. I am a long time reader and appreciate all the great feedback and advice given on here. Here is my situation -- I would love to hear your thoughts of wisdom.

I am enlisted active duty and retirement eligible. I am not in an aviation field, however I have worked off-duty as a CFI on evenings and weekends for many years. I have 2500 TT and all the associated minimums for a full ATP. I am looking toward interviewing with regional airlines in the near future in pursuit of my second career. I am 47 with a masters degree. If possible, I would love to be able to conclude my airline career as a NYC-based narrow body FO at one of the big 3, but here is my dilemma:

I absolutely love my job in the military. It is rewarding, fulfilling, and nourishes my soul, and quite frankly I don't want to leave. However under High Year Tenure, I am forced out in three years. Possibility for advancement to the next rank is slim, so this time frame is the reasonable expectation I have to work with. Additionally, my field has limited application outside of the military. I am struggling mightily with this choice, even after having had numerous conversations with my wife and friends. I can:

1. Retire summer 2019 at age 47 to get in on this hiring wave now and maximize my airline career, but sacrifice three years of what I love doing.

2. Retire in summer 2022 at age 50, get all I can out of the job I love, get a modestly better pension, but potentially eliminate my possibility of getting to a major airline.

If my chances of making it to a legacy are very low even if I begin next summer at age 47, then I would just stay the three more years in the military, followed by a 15-year career at a regional. But what do you think? Are my prospects for a major strong enough to warrant retiring now?

Thank you all in advance for your input, I will consider all of it carefully.


new guy
12-07-2018, 04:26 PM
If you are 10, 8, 9....Maybe even 5 years away I'd say no. But retirement. For the rest of your life....."guaranteed"

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

Otterbox
12-07-2018, 04:44 PM
Greetings all. I am a long time reader and appreciate all the great feedback and advice given on here. Here is my situation -- I would love to hear your thoughts of wisdom.

I am enlisted active duty and retirement eligible. I am not in an aviation field, however I have worked off-duty as a CFI on evenings and weekends for many years. I have 2500 TT and all the associated minimums for a full ATP. I am looking toward interviewing with regional airlines in the near future in pursuit of my second career. I am 47 with a masters degree. If possible, I would love to be able to conclude my airline career as a NYC-based narrow body FO at one of the big 3, but here is my dilemma:

I absolutely love my job in the military. It is rewarding, fulfilling, and nourishes my soul, and quite frankly I don't want to leave. However under High Year Tenure, I am forced out in three years. Possibility for advancement to the next rank is slim, so this time frame is the reasonable expectation I have to work with. Additionally, my field has limited application outside of the military. I am struggling mightily with this choice, even after having had numerous conversations with my wife and friends. I can:

1. Retire summer 2019 at age 47 to get in on this hiring wave now and maximize my airline career, but sacrifice three years of what I love doing.

2. Retire in summer 2022 at age 50, get all I can out of the job I love, get a modestly better pension, but potentially eliminate my possibility of getting to a major airline.

If my chances of making it to a legacy are very low even if I begin next summer at age 47, then I would just stay the three more years in the military, followed by a 15-year career at a regional. But what do you think? Are my prospects for a major strong enough to warrant retiring now?

Thank you all in advance for your input, I will consider all of it carefully.

You may make it to a legacy, you may not regardless of when you decide to retire.

If youíre having fun and donít mind working for a discount since youíre retirement eligible keep with it. When youíre ready to retire go to Endeavor or Republic and stay NY based until you make it to a major or retire as a regional captain.


awax
12-07-2018, 04:45 PM
You meet the requirements for an ATP now?, so, if you separated now (with full retirement?) and are willing to flex on the quality of life at the regionals for a few years, I think it's reasonable to expect to be very competitive at the majors by age 50.

15 years, at an average salary over $175K/yr would supplement that military retirement quite nicely.

viper548
12-07-2018, 04:50 PM
A 15 year career is plenty of time to make it to a major airline. There will be a lot of movement in the next 10 years and if you sit out the first 3 you are certainly diminishing the career you will have.

Financially you would be better off leaving as soon as you can. Regional FO's are making 50k, Captains $100k. Major FOs 100-300k, CAs 250k-350k. You won't have enough time left to make widebody captain at a major, but they're down to 5 year upgrades on the narrowbodies. You could very well make widebody CA in 15 years, so each additional year you spend in the military is one less year at the top pay of an airline career. Staying an additional 3 years will probably cost you about $750k.
Is it possible to go over to the guard or reserves so you can do both?

Adlerdriver
12-07-2018, 04:51 PM
If you are 10, 8, 9....Maybe even 5 years away I'd say no. But retirement. For the rest of your life....."guaranteed"

He's going to get a retirement either way.

To the OP. I don't think the 3-year delay is going to preclude you from getting to a major. If you get on with a regional and upgrade, I think you'll have a shot once you get the quals. It's just going to be 3 years later than it could be if you bail now.

You just have to decide if extending your military career for all the reasons you mentioned is worth KNOWING you're going to take a hit in seniority at whatever airline (regional or major) you end up at.
From your post, it's pretty clear this isn't all about money, but I have to ask: Have you done the math on retiring now and opening the "check of the month club spigot" ASAP along with your new airline career pay versus staying in and delaying retirement for 3-years.

PRS Guitars
12-07-2018, 05:03 PM
If you are 10, 8, 9....Maybe even 5 years away I'd say no. But retirement. For the rest of your life....."guaranteed"

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

Reread his post. He said retire in 2019 vs retire 3 years later. Retire either way

Sliceback
12-08-2018, 06:21 AM
AA regionals have a 'flow program'. Currently about 7 yrs to 'flow' to AA. Not an guaranteed interview program, it's a no interview pipeline to a job at AA.

I just looked at the retirements starting in 2026 assuming that you went to an AA regional (one has LGA and the other has PHL). You'd retire around 9,700 in you retired from the military now. In LGA that's the bottom of the barrel line holding Captain for 1-2 yrs (68%, with 99% being the junior guy). In PHL it would be the bottom reserve Captain or 64% on the A330 FO seat flying to Europe. You'd have about 4 yrs on the 330 as FO.

If you wait three years the picture changes. Using today's numbers you might upgrade to CA in your last one. And your anticipated future seniority would slot into the 330 FO in PHL for your last year on reserve.

Basically what you're adding to your career is the best three years in the airline career. If you're hustling as a G4 (777/787/330) FO you'd be adding about $900K to $1 million to your career earnings. What's the dollar value of staying three additional years projected over 35 yrs in retirement?

The peak retirements are 2023-2026. It reduces each year after that. If you stay three additional years almost 2400 new hires ahead of you that you'll never pass.

No one can know how valuable the joy of your current job brings to you. But we can show you the dollar cost, of around a million dollars, that you'll lose but not leaving now. As well as the options you'll have by being 2,400 numbers more senior for every year of your career.

Sliceback
12-08-2018, 06:39 AM
Assumptions - you go to an AA regional and stay there and flow in 7 yrs starting January 1, 2026. Seniority numbers are based on the start of the year and the known retirements as of today (typically get 10-15% additional per year).

DOH 1/1/2026 1/1/2029

2026 15,000 Army
2027 14,100 Army
2028 13,300 Army
2029 12,635 15,000
2030 12,000 14,400

2031 11,400 13,800
2032 10,900 10,300
2033 10,300 12,700
2034 9,900 12,200
2035 9,400 11,800

2036 9,100 11,400


If you live in Buck's County you'd have about 1+45 to JFK, 1(1:15?) to EWR(limited flying) and 1-1:15 to PHL. Exit 8 on the NJTPK would be an hour to JFK, 30 minutes to EWR and 1:15-1:30(?) to PHL. Move further south and PHL drive decreases while NYC increases.

Seniority numbers and relative seniority in LGA(include JFK/EWR) and PHL

n/b FO (x=retirement percentage @ 9,100) (plug = bottom guy) -

LGA x - 1% PHL x - 11%
50% - 14,000 50% - 12,100
75% - 14,700 75% - 13,100
Plug - 15,000 Plug - 14,000

W/b FO - (777 JFK, 330 PHL) (PHL seniority should go more junior as 787's replace 767's) -

JFK x - 63% PHL x - 47%
75% - 10,200 75% - 10,200
Plug - 11,800 Plug - 11,400

n/b CA (320 comparison in both bases) -

LGA x - 62% PHL - x - 93%
75% - 10,600 75% - unable
Plug - 11,400 Plug - 10,100


NYC is more junior. What seniority hit would you accept to take the easier drive to PHL and not have to cross the Hudson and drive the BQE or Belt Parkway??

Sliceback
12-08-2018, 07:04 AM
Taking the previous data and putting into a yearly context -

2026 new hire retiring end of 2036 -

Four yrs n/b FO in LGA
One yr 777 FO in LGA
Six yrs 320 CA in LGA

2029 new hire retiring end of 2036 -

Six years n/b FO in LGA
One year 777 FO in LGA
One year 320 CA in LGA

Using 2019 pay rates I'd estimate the career earnings of ^^^ at roughly -

2026 - $2,405,000 + $385,000 (B fund, no ROR included) = $2,790,000

2029 - $1,400,000 + $240,000 = $1,640,000

Difference of $1,005,000 + $145,000 = $1,150,000.

My best guess estimate at the financial value of a three year delay. You can't sue me for it, no guarantees of future performance, but it's something to think about. You're not giving up the first, or average, three years of your career, you're giving up the best three years of your career.

How many ball players wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame if they lost their three best years of their career?

The 2026 hire can decide he loves flying the 777 FO and fly it for 7 yrs instead of upgrading. The 2029 new hire would only be able to do it for 2 years on reserve. It's a great gig but being a line holder is a better gig and you can bid reserve any time you want.

Captain? Six years vs one year. Perhaps 3 yrs as a line holder for the 2026 new hire and never for the 2029 new hire.

Ask an airline buddy want the difference that seniority means. It's a big difference. There's no balancing "well he had Christmas off last year so what leave do you want this year?" The guy one number ahead of you gets what he wants, every single month for his entire career, before they consider what you want.

ExAF
12-08-2018, 07:59 AM
If your second career is going to be airline flying, you are better off starting it ASAP vice waiting 3 extra years. Once you are past your retirement eligible date in the mil, you are basically working there for half-pay and missing out on establishing yourself in your next career. One of the hardest things for a career military person to comprehend is how critical DOH is in the airline business. A week can make the difference between getting furloughed and not, working Christmas or not, getting that summer vacation or not, getting a regular line schedule or commuting to reserve, upgrading to captain or not....you get the drift. Seniority is EVERYTHING in the flying biz. Yes, you will miss the comradery, the people and the mission, but I think you will be better off in the long run if you get started on that second career as soon as you are able.

rickair7777
12-08-2018, 08:36 AM
I've seen this before, people tend to cling a little bit to what they know.

Nobody can stay in the military forever (well except maybe Jim Mattis).

You've already done 20 years that you love. I don't think three more years of the same is going to be worth a (for sure) big seniority hit and (possibly) preventing you from reaching your airline career goal.

Odds are that the airlines will be interesting and rewarding as well. With good QOL and relative financial security to boot.


Disclaimer: No absolute guarantees in the airline industry, although the massive retirement numbers should mitigate any furloughs due to "routine" economic hiccups.

Sliceback
12-08-2018, 09:57 AM
What's the retirement value increase? $150 a month? $1800 a year? For 35 years? That's roughly $70,000.

The projected numbers for leaving to the airline is almost $1,000,000 more for the additional three years after subtracting your current pay and the retirement benefit you'd get from three additional years. In other words, if you had an offer to leave the Army for $300,000 a year would you leave? That's the back end offer you're being offered if you leave instead of staying for three more years.

As Rickair and ExAF said military people don't understand the value of seniority. I just provided the simple math of what the delay could, and mostly likely will, cost.

Again, as Rickair said, people tend to favor the known and extend it vs. reaching for the unknown. Good luck on your decision.

PRS Guitars
12-08-2018, 05:55 PM
The above 3 posters have all made great points. Iíll pile on, you definitely need to jump ship in 2019. I would give the same advice to an officer, but for enlisted, this is a no brainer.

They arenít paying you enough to justify staying. You essentially would be sacrificing your familyís wealth to stay in. Get out of your comfort zone and move on.

Start prepping though, and be aware, you will pay more taxes than you are used to, since right now 1/3 your income is tax free.

Rama
12-08-2018, 08:21 PM
A three year difference in seniority is huge. It makes a big difference in upgrade, quality of life, and being able to bid for the place you want to live or the aircraft and schedule you want to fly.
Take the retirement as soon as possible. It will also help pay the bills on first year pay.

CLazarus
12-08-2018, 10:03 PM
If possible, I would love to be able to conclude my airline career as a NYC-based narrow body FO at one of the big 3

I absolutely love my job in the military. It is rewarding, fulfilling, and nourishes my soul, and quite frankly I don't want to leave. However under High Year Tenure, I am forced out in three years. Possibility for advancement to the next rank is slim

Are my prospects for a major strong enough to warrant retiring now?


Just a few comments regarding the selective quotes above. All things being equal, jumping ship ASAP for the much higher pay/seniority makes complete sense. However, in your case all things are not equal. When I got within range of retirement I was ready and happy to leave. You don't sound ready or all that happy at the prospect. Ask yourself, if you did actually get promoted and could stay longer than three years would you want to? If yes, I wouldn't be in a rush to go out the door. You can get your ducks in a leisurely row over the next couple of years, decide which regionals/majors you want to target, work on your resume/apps, and time your retirement to happen the day before you start at a regional (while still on terminal leave). Also, if you left now but never got hired at a major... would you regret leaving early?

I think you could get hired at a major if you retire now or in three years. I was 44 when I got hired and I was shocked that out of 20 new hires, there were eight guys older than me and I think the oldest was 55+ years old. And if you want to be NYC based with a major, you could do that pretty much out the gate with UAL at least (I'd bet DAL and JB too, but have no idea if NYC is junior at AA). And of course, there are regionals with NYC bases too.

Also consider this, the economy has been expanding for almost a decade now and warning signals are starting to flash. When the economy finally stalls, we probably won't see another lost decade at the majors but I'd expect the hiring wave to subside to attrition replacement levels for a few years. On the other hand, I think the regionals will be hiring regardless as they are so short manned to begin with and you sound exceptionally well qualified to get hired at one vs. someone straight out of ERAU or somesuch. I wouldn't blame you one bit for making the leap ASAP, the others are right that you would likely be giving up significant $/seniority. But I also think in your case you have valid reasons to linger a while longer.

Sliceback
12-09-2018, 05:18 AM
It's a tough choice if you really love what you're currently doing. But most guys, especially late bloomers, really love flying for a career also. That's the hard, and unknown factor that's hard to define and everyone's value of X vs Y will be different.

A comment about older guys getting hired. He'd be 50-51 yrs old and a 2,500-3,000 hr CFI with it appears to be limited larger or jet time. 53-54 before he could upgrade? So he'd have perhaps 7,000 hrs TT, 4,000 hrs jet, and 1,000 hrs TPIC at 55?

Part of the matrix is comparing resumes vs age. That's an unbelievable resume for a 25 yr old, at 55 it lags the pack. It would be interesting to see the resumes of the older guys getting hired at the majors. I'd guess the big flight hours and broad experience resumes come from older guys. Seven thousand hours, and only 1,000 hrs TPIC, 4ith 4,00 hrs PIC, doesn't stand out. It's average. New hires are averaging 5000-7500 TT for guys 36-37 yrs old at the big three. I'd guess that the 50+ yr old guys have above, or much above, competitive resumes.

Just another unknown to ponder.

rickair7777
12-09-2018, 07:55 AM
It's a tough choice if you really love what you're currently doing. But most guys, especially late bloomers, really love flying for a career also. That's the hard, and unknown factor that's hard to define and everyone's value of X vs Y will be different.

A comment about older guys getting hired. He'd be 50-51 yrs old and a 2,500-3,000 hr CFI with it appears to be limited larger or jet time. 53-54 before he could upgrade? So he'd have perhaps 7,000 hrs TT, 4,000 hrs jet, and 1,000 hrs TPIC at 55?

Part of the matrix is comparing resumes vs age. That's an unbelievable resume for a 25 yr old, at 55 it lags the pack. It would be interesting to see the resumes of the older guys getting hired at the majors. I'd guess the big flight hours and broad experience resumes come from older guys. Seven thousand hours, and only 1,000 hrs TPIC, 4ith 4,00 hrs PIC, doesn't stand out. It's average. New hires are averaging 5000-7500 TT for guys 36-37 yrs old at the big three. I'd guess that the 50+ yr old guys have above, or much above, competitive resumes.

Just another unknown to ponder.

Some airlines are discriminating against older pilots who "stagnated" or did not have "career progression". I'm a smart guy and I'm not sure why they would bother to do that, one of the BENEFITS of this job is that you can use your seniority any way you see fit. And some folks got stuck during the lost decade. They may be applying some models from the 9-5 world. They also may just be using that as way to age discriminate if for whatever reason they prefer young pilots (perhaps to minimize avoidable training events over then next 15-20 years).

But I would think that a career-changer would get some benefit of doubt on that, as long as he progressed his (full time turbine) aviation career at a good clip.

Also some employers will seek age diversity, to avoid creating *another* retirement bubble X number of years down the road.

I've also observed that some majors actually like older new-hires, because they are far more likely to just settle in and get comfortable rather than keep chasing a gold ring once they grab the brass one.

Given the demographics in five years, he should have plenty of opportunity at the majors, possibly even the big three (they will hurting the most about then).

Hilltopper89
12-09-2018, 08:15 AM
What's the retirement value increase? $150 a month? $1800 a year? For 35 years? That's roughly $70,000.

The projected numbers for leaving to the airline is almost $1,000,000 more for the additional three years after subtracting your current pay and the retirement benefit you'd get from three additional years. In other words, if you had an offer to leave the Army for $300,000 a year would you leave? That's the back end offer you're being offered if you leave instead of staying for three more years.

As Rickair and ExAF said military people don't understand the value of seniority. I just provided the simple math of what the delay could, and mostly likely will, cost.

Again, as Rickair said, people tend to favor the known and extend it vs. reaching for the unknown. Good luck on your decision.

This.

I tell friends who are still in but retirement eligible that you’re basically working for free every day after 20. Do the math and you’ll realize that the money over time is considerably better by retiring and starting at a major as soon as possible. Add in the time value of money and compound interest and you’re probably talking a million dollars or more by waiting those 3 years. Making the jump is not necessarily the answer but the question is, after you’ve done the math, are those 3 years in a job you love worth the number of dollars you calculate to leave on the table in that period? You have to consider the pay raise (after year one) as an FO, the sooner upgrade and associated huge pay raise, and the value of the company contributed retirement plan. Run the math for staying an FO til retirement, and upgrading at the earliest opportunity...6-7 years or so. I think you’ll be startled how much $$ that is. Certainly factor in the increased monthly retirement pay as well, although also realize that that extra $500 a month is less than 2 hours of work as a major airline captain. Only you can answer that. I know what I’d do. I did 20 years flying single seat jets and wouldn’t trade this airline for that job for almost any amount of money. It’s too easy and the money is too good.

But you won’t know if you made the right decision for 20 years. Ask all those hired in the lost decade. All I can base my advice on is what I’ve known...and the last 6 years it’s been pretty good to be at a legacy.

CLazarus
12-09-2018, 09:34 AM
I've also observed that some majors actually like older new-hires, because they are far more likely to just settle in and get comfortable rather than keep chasing a gold ring once they grab the brass one.


Yup, not only this but older new-hires will never reach the top of the pay scale or camp out there for a couple of decades. So long as there are replacements in the pipeline, hiring older guys keeps labor costs low.

PRS Guitars
12-09-2018, 09:58 AM
And if you want to be NYC based with a major, you could do that pretty much out the gate with UAL at least (I'd bet DAL and JB too, but have no idea if NYC is junior at AA). And of course, there are regionals with NYC bases too.

.

At AA, NYC is ridiculously jr in all seats all equipment. Iím actually considering doing exactly what a Sliceback suggested and moving to Bucks County, beautiful area and I can upgrade in LGA until I can hold PHL. I actually donít mind my commute, but we just arent happy in our home state of Colorado any more.

Hilltopper89
12-09-2018, 10:08 AM
At AA, NYC is ridiculously jr in all seats all equipment. Iím actually considering doing exactly what a Sliceback suggested and moving to Bucks County, beautiful area and I can upgrade in LGA until I can hold PHL. I actually donít mind my commute, but we just arent happy in our home state of Colorado any more.

I am doing just this at United. NB CA and moving to Bucks County.

PRS Guitars
12-09-2018, 10:19 AM
I am doing just this at United. NB CA and moving to Bucks County.

I will PM you in the future, we are in long term planning mode right now. I was actually born in Doylestown but only lived there for 5 years. Iím looking at nearby farm property. My grandparents lived on 1750 Farmhouse (unfortunately now torn down). I have very fond memories of that house, and would like to get something similar.

Hilltopper89
12-09-2018, 10:25 AM
I will PM you in the future, we are in long term planning mode right now. I was actually born in Doylestown but only lived there for 5 years. I’m looking at nearby farm property. My grandparents lived on 1750 Farmhouse (unfortunately now torn down). I have very fond memories of that house, and would like to get something similar.

Perfect. No brainer for me.

BravoZulu
12-09-2018, 04:17 PM
I am blown away and humbled by the extensively written advice you have all given me. There is a wealth of wisdom in all your words, and I greatly value it, thank you!! Sliceback, your well-researched presentation of the seniority/financial metrics is awesome. There is one section of it that I don't quite grasp: n/b FO (x=retirement percentage @ 9,100) (plug = bottom guy), and the tables that follow. What exactly is the information here? My apologies for not understanding it. CLazarus, the concerns you mention are valid, and do play into my overall assessment.

I will tell you all that your mostly unanimous positioning on my query is definitely making me lean toward retiring this upcoming summer. The phrase "you would be sacrificing your family's wealth to stay in" sure struck a chord. To everyone that has contributed here -- you made a difference! Admittedly, there is no certainty that I can make it to a legacy, so that is where I'll be rolling the dice. I hope to get into a NYC-based regional where I would be happy staying should that be the end place of my career. It seems currently that Republic and Endeavor are the leaders in that, but things always change of course.

The discussion started by Sliceback and Rickair about the hiring of older guys is an interesting one, that hopefully will continue.

PRS, amazingly, I was also born in Doylestown. I now live in Connecticut, and hope to remain here through my airline career, hence the NYC base preference.

Thanks again, everyone.

Sliceback
12-09-2018, 06:57 PM
Plug = the bottom guy on the seniority list or in a bid status. 15,000 guys. Junior large w/b FO and Captain plugs are around 11,500.

X = % at retirement if you were in a specific bid status. IE NYC n/b FO? Top 1%.

9,100 would be your expected final seniority if you retired now.
11,400 is your expected final seniority number if you stay in three more years.

Those numbers assume a frozen pilot corps size. Reality is probably a 1.5-2% annual increase? Which would improve your end of career relative seniority. Instead of ring 9,100 of 15,000 if would be 9,100 of 17K? 18K? 19K??

Sliceback
12-10-2018, 04:46 AM
Sliceback, your well-researched presentation of the seniority/financial metrics is awesome. There is one section of it that I don't quite grasp: n/b FO (x=retirement percentage @ 9,100) (plug = bottom guy), and the tables that follow. What exactly is the information here? My apologies for not understanding it.

<snip>

I hope to get into a NYC-based regional where I would be happy staying should that be the end place of my career. It seems currently that Republic and Endeavor are the leaders in that, but things always change of course.

The discussion started by Sliceback and Rickair about the hiring of older guys is an interesting one, that hopefully will continue.

PRS, amazingly, I was also born in Doylestown. I now live in Connecticut, and hope to remain here through my airline career, hence the NYC base preference.

Thanks again, everyone.

No problems not understanding the information/format. It's a learning process and perhaps I didn't explain it well enough.

I'll repost it with some verbiage. If you don't understand it others don't either and hopefully guys can look at it and get a better insight into how the seniority system actually impacts you. In your case we're looking at data for 1/1/2026 vs getting hired on 1/1/2029.

The previous portion of my post covered DOH (date of hire) and the seniority number you'd start with and annual advancements based on retirements. Retirements are a given, growth is a hope. Even the law changing to 67, 70, unlimited, at some point people will retire.

Sliceback
12-10-2018, 05:09 AM
Repost -


n/b FO (x=retirement percentage @ 9,100) (plug = bottom guy) -
as a 1/1/2019 and 47 yr old you'd retire around 9,100 seniority after starting at 15,000.

LGA x - 1% PHL x - 11%
at retirement (X), 9,100 would be #3 on the AB in NYC. That's 1% of the total NYC AB FO manning. In PHL 9,100 would be 11% on the AB

50% - 14,000 50% - 12,100
To reach the 50th percentile in a bid status, in this case NYC AB FO, your seniority has to be 14,000. In PHL it's 12,100. Using the DOH and yearly seniority advancement shows you'd start 2027 at 14,100 so you'd be at 50% NYC AB FO in Feb-Mar 2027, or approx. 13-14 months. In PHL you'd need to get to 12,100 to reach the 50th percentile. You'd start 2034 at 12,200, with only 400 retirements that year, so you could expect to reach the 50% in April 2034. That's 5 yrs and 3 months after your hypothetical hire date. That's a HUGE difference, 13-14 months vs 63 months, to reach the mid pack n/b FO percentage.

Keep in mind that's the percentage of overall manning, to include roughly 25% reserve, in a bid status. You'll also hear guys say "I'm about half way up the line holders". That's roughly 50% of the 75% of the manning that can hold a monthly schedule.

A general observation is that you can hold a line once you achieve 85% of a bid status (frequently lower than that), IMO decent trips start once you're approx. 65% of a bid status, and once you're at 40-50% of a bid status you can hold, IMO, reasonable flying. All rough estimates that vary due to the individual bidding habits of guys senior to you and the type of flying your fleet does. For example right now PHL 767 has no bad Europe trips. None. It's just best, better, and even better.

75% - 14,700 75% - 13,100
Plug - 15,000 Plug - 14,000
with a pilot corps size of 15,000, and the plug being at 15,000 in NYC, you can get it immediately. With PHL's current plug being 14,000 as a 2026 new hire you'd get to PHL in roughly 13-14 months. As a 2029 new hire, using the DOH and projected seniority advancement by year, it would take until August of 2030, and 20 months, to get to PHL.

This is why guys talk about relative seniority. It's where your seniority number fits into the overall seniority list, the seniority of guys in your base, or the seniority of guys in the seat (jobs) you're looking at. The data I'm providing shows the seniority number you need to get to 75% or 50% and your final percentage if you retire from the specific jobs listed (NYC and PHL n/b FO, w/b FO, n/b CA).

W/b FO - (777 JFK, 330 PHL) (PHL seniority should go more junior as 787's replace 767's) -

JFK x - 63% PHL x - 47%
75% - 10,200 75% - 10,200
Plug - 11,800 Plug - 11,400

n/b CA (320 comparison in both bases) -

LGA x - 62% PHL - x - 93%
75% - 10,600 75% - unable
Plug - 11,400 Plug - 10,100


Let me know if it still doesn't make sense. Every question you ask is a question others have so the discussion is helpful to many.

rickair7777
12-10-2018, 07:44 AM
PRS, amazingly, I was also born in Doylestown. I now live in Connecticut, and hope to remain here through my airline career, hence the NYC base preference.


Even more reason to pursue the airlines and majors. NY is the junior base for pretty much all the best majors. At DL west coast CA was recently over ten years while NY CA was under ten months... that's at least a million $ right there. Heard FDX was the same.

If you actually want to live there, you'll enjoy a career-long schedule and financial windfall compared to other airline pilots. I'd push hard to get hired by one of those majors. The same applies to the regionals.

CLazarus
12-10-2018, 08:33 AM
CLazarus, the concerns you mention are valid, and do play into my overall assessment.

Just do me one favor BZ, between now and when you hit "submit" on your retirement make sure you closely follow the state of the economy. We may not go into reverse again like 2008, but it seems to me that the music may stop soon. I first started working on my apps almost two years before I retired. I only hit "submit" on them once I'd committed myself to retirement and was ready to interview. My first interview request for a regional came the next day.

Sliceback
12-10-2018, 11:57 AM
Envoy, as a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, has a guaranteed flow through agreement to AA. Roughly 7 yrs estimate right now. It will slow down as AA's retirement bubble peaks and reduces.

Right now that's great deal. I'd guess it's value will significantly decrease as AA's retirements slow.

Example - next 7 yrs of retirements total (2019-2025) - 5861
Starting in 2026 the 7 yr retirement total is - 4659
Starting in 2029 the 7 yr retirement total is - 3573

The reduction in retirements should increase the expected time it takes to flow through.

C37AFE
12-12-2018, 08:37 AM
Greetings all. I am a long time reader and appreciate all the great feedback and advice given on here. Here is my situation -- I would love to hear your thoughts of wisdom.

I am enlisted active duty and retirement eligible. I am not in an aviation field, however I have worked off-duty as a CFI on evenings and weekends for many years. I have 2500 TT and all the associated minimums for a full ATP. I am looking toward interviewing with regional airlines in the near future in pursuit of my second career. I am 47 with a masters degree. If possible, I would love to be able to conclude my airline career as a NYC-based narrow body FO at one of the big 3, but here is my dilemma:

I absolutely love my job in the military. It is rewarding, fulfilling, and nourishes my soul, and quite frankly I don't want to leave. However under High Year Tenure, I am forced out in three years. Possibility for advancement to the next rank is slim, so this time frame is the reasonable expectation I have to work with. Additionally, my field has limited application outside of the military. I am struggling mightily with this choice, even after having had numerous conversations with my wife and friends. I can:

1. Retire summer 2019 at age 47 to get in on this hiring wave now and maximize my airline career, but sacrifice three years of what I love doing.

2. Retire in summer 2022 at age 50, get all I can out of the job I love, get a modestly better pension, but potentially eliminate my possibility of getting to a major airline.

If my chances of making it to a legacy are very low even if I begin next summer at age 47, then I would just stay the three more years in the military, followed by a 15-year career at a regional. But what do you think? Are my prospects for a major strong enough to warrant retiring now?

Thank you all in advance for your input, I will consider all of it carefully.

Get out now!!!! Life is so much better. Buddy in similar case as you got out. 3 years later was at spirit and he did it at your age. Plus your working for 50% and Not receiving possible disability. Any benefit of staying in is outweighed by future airline earnings. Only thing that sucks is paying med. I just budget 300 month for that for premium and max out of pocket

Biggest thing is seniority. If there is a downturn. That can be difference in staying or getting layed off. Take first class you can. Know reservists that One guy took the next class than his buddy and after 9/11 he was let go and had to go back to reserve job.

BravoZulu
12-12-2018, 04:42 PM
Sliceback, thank you for taking the time on that detailed explanation, it cleared up everything. Youíre right, there will be many other readers who will benefit from that.

The income difference of the three years is pretty staggering. Iím gathering that it is from being able to spend more years as CA at a major (assuming I get there). But hereís a question: I will definitely seek QOL over max pay in the final years of my career, and the idea of being in the top 1% of FOís in NYC sounds very appealing. Is this thinking sound?

BravoZulu
12-12-2018, 04:46 PM
Just do me one favor BZ, between now and when you hit "submit" on your retirement make sure you closely follow the state of the economy. We may not go into reverse again like 2008, but it seems to me that the music may stop soon. I first started working on my apps almost two years before I retired. I only hit "submit" on them once I'd committed myself to retirement and was ready to interview. My first interview request for a regional came the next day.

CL, will do. Iím being cautious in this approach, and looking at all the variables as best as I can. If I jump ship this summer, I will be sure to have all my ducks in a row first.

rickair7777
12-12-2018, 04:54 PM
But hereís a question: I will definitely seek QOL over max pay in the final years of my career, and the idea of being in the top 1% of FOís in NYC sounds very appealing. Is this thinking sound?

Depends. If you're totally comfortable financially, the sure.

For most folks, assuming kids out of the house, it would make more sense to upgrade and bank the cash the last few years. You could probably net $100K/year more as a junior-ish CA vice senior FO. Widebody FO might be about a wash with NB CA, but your seniority might actually be better as a NB CA.

But it's your choice either way, no US majors have a "forced upgrade" policy anymore.

Prettywhacked1
12-12-2018, 05:50 PM
I got out at 11 years, 9/11, called back to active duty for 2, furloughed, returned to AD, retired in 2010.

Not my intended path, but if an AD retirement is nearby, retire. The health care savings alone is worth it, plus the jingle.

Just my .02

Sliceback
12-13-2018, 04:29 AM
Sliceback, thank you for taking the time on that detailed explanation, it cleared up everything. Youíre right, there will be many other readers who will benefit from that.

The income difference of the three years is pretty staggering. Iím gathering that it is from being able to spend more years as CA at a major (assuming I get there). But hereís a question: I will definitely seek QOL over max pay in the final years of my career, and the idea of being in the top 1% of FOís in NYC sounds very appealing. Is this thinking sound?

A comment about the top 1% on the AB in NY - that's the current snapshot. A seniority number of 9,100 is the top 7% (roughly #18 of 247. Sep 2017 bid month) on the 737. Over time that should balance out so perhaps 4% as an average in the future.

Checking LGA bidding patterns for guys 9100-9499 seniority. Thirty eight guys -

n/b CA - 26
n/b FO - 7
777 FO -5

In NYC 18% of guys at your final seniority number are still in the n/b FO seat. SIxty eight percent have upgraded.

Of the 12 FO's who could be CA only one is retiring in the next 7 yrs. He retires in 2019. He could be a line holder but chooses to stay senior at a cost of at least $100K and possible up to $125K. So the other 11 have the option of upgrading before they retire. Most guys choose that. Some guys do upgrade in the their last year or two just to have done it. Both jobs are great, CA is better.

Everyone's personal evaluation of QWL vs income is different. Roughly 70% choose the money and 30% are choosing better seniority but they're also 58 yrs old and younger. The overwhelming majority eventually choose the money. And it's not uncommon that the guys not chasing the money have significant outside income which reduce the desire to chase $$. Or they have significant outside hobbies/careers, or family requirements, that dictate that they keep as much seniority as possible.

Xray678
12-13-2018, 10:04 AM
BZ....I didnít see anyone address this so here goes. Itís not all about the money. You say you really enjoy your job in the military right now. I get it. I ejoyed my last job in the AF. But, I love my job as an airline pilot. My company is great (Delta). The flying is great. The people are great. The opportunity to non rev on days off is good (used to be great). Not to say they are all great, but I enjoy the trips I fly. Then as a bonus, I get a few days off. Days off with no responsibilities what so ever.

Whatever you do, when you do go to an airline I think you will find you like it as much or more than your current job.

Sliceback
12-13-2018, 02:56 PM
I know what Iíd do. I did 20 years flying single seat jets and wouldnít trade this airline for that job for almost any amount of money. Itís too easy and the money is too good.

But you wonít know if you made the right decision for 20 years. Ask all those hired in the lost decade. All I can base my advice on is what Iíve known...and the last 6 years itís been pretty good to be at a legacy.

Hilltopper probably had minimum, or no time, at a regional trying to improve his resume. Keep that in mind when you're at year 2, 3, 4 or 5 trying to get to the majors. The number of people who ***** is high, the number of people who walk away is almost zero, especially at the majors.

Hilltopper89
12-13-2018, 08:49 PM
Hilltopper probably had minimum, or no time, at a regional trying to improve his resume. Keep that in mind when you're at year 2, 3, 4 or 5 trying to get to the majors. The number of people who ***** is high, the number of people who walk away is almost zero, especially at the majors.

Yes. I was blessed enough to get hired straight out of active duty.

OrionDriver
12-15-2018, 02:55 PM
A lot of guys are advocating for getting out sooner to get the coveted seniority number. I think this argument has a LOT of merit - and this is what I did but... My philosophy is a bit different now. You stated several times how much you enjoy what you're doing for Uncle Sam. It has a lot of meaning to you. I would not make your decision based purely on financial considerations. If you are truly happy doing what you're doing now, keep doing it until you can't do it any more - then find something new and enjoy able to do.

In the long run you'll probably make a bit less money and you'll probably be a bit less senior. But you'll have three more years of your life doing something that you KNOW brings you joy, vs three years of something you THINK will bring you joy. With your retirement and whatever flying job you get you'll surely have enough income to be comfortable. $$ =/= happiness, nor does seniority - although they both help!

And since none of us know how long we'll really live, I'd rather have a couple of more years of doing what I know I enjoy than rolling the dice on something new.

PurpleToolBox
12-23-2018, 02:50 PM
Three years? My God stay in!!! There are people who live the rest of their lives not working on an enlisted retirement.

Since you are older youíre never going to see great seniority so donít give up your retirement for it.

PRS Guitars
12-23-2018, 02:58 PM
Three years? My God stay in!!! There are people who live the rest of their lives not working on an enlisted retirement.

Since you are older youíre never going to see great seniority so donít give up your retirement for it.

Re-read his question.

He can retire now or stay for 1 more enlisted assignment and retire in 3 years. Either way, heís going to retire. Iím guessing that might change your answer.

Sliceback
12-23-2018, 04:03 PM
A lot of guys are advocating for getting out sooner to get the coveted seniority number. I think this argument has a LOT of merit - and this is what I did but... My philosophy is a bit different now. You stated several times how much you enjoy what you're doing for Uncle Sam. It has a lot of meaning to you. I would not make your decision based purely on financial considerations. If you are truly happy doing what you're doing now, keep doing it until you can't do it any more - then find something new and enjoy able to do.

In the long run you'll probably make a bit less money and you'll probably be a bit less senior. But you'll have three more years of your life doing something that you KNOW brings you joy, vs three years of something you THINK will bring you joy. With your retirement and whatever flying job you get you'll surely have enough income to be comfortable. $$ =/= happiness, nor does seniority - although they both help!

And since none of us know how long we'll really live, I'd rather have a couple of more years of doing what I know I enjoy than rolling the dice on something new.


At the end of his career, if he could predict the future, would he prefer three more years of doing what he's currently doing or would the best three years of his airliner career, perhaps as a 777 FO flying around the world or an A320 CA in the U.S., more interesting?

We have lifelong pilots upgrade with months to go to retirement just to be a major airline Captain. There's a value in that too. He knows how much he values his current job but it's hard to understand how much you might appreciate the new opportunity. It's a tough call.

Like the NFL player who retired to be a regional FO. What!?!?! It was step one that he had to take for the transition to his next career. He's loving being a major airline pilot for the last 20 years.

PurpleToolBox
12-23-2018, 04:59 PM
Re-read his question.

He can retire now or stay for 1 more enlisted assignment and retire in 3 years. Either way, heís going to retire. Iím guessing that might change your answer.

Agree. I misread. If you are retirement eligible now, bail as fast as you can.

PNStoKLIT
12-30-2018, 04:38 PM
Greetings all. I am a long time reader and appreciate all the great feedback and advice given on here. Here is my situation -- I would love to hear your thoughts of wisdom.

I am enlisted active duty and retirement eligible. I am not in an aviation field, however I have worked off-duty as a CFI on evenings and weekends for many years. I have 2500 TT and all the associated minimums for a full ATP. I am looking toward interviewing with regional airlines in the near future in pursuit of my second career. I am 47 with a masters degree. If possible, I would love to be able to conclude my airline career as a NYC-based narrow body FO at one of the big 3, but here is my dilemma:

I absolutely love my job in the military. It is rewarding, fulfilling, and nourishes my soul, and quite frankly I don't want to leave. However under High Year Tenure, I am forced out in three years. Possibility for advancement to the next rank is slim, so this time frame is the reasonable expectation I have to work with. Additionally, my field has limited application outside of the military. I am struggling mightily with this choice, even after having had numerous conversations with my wife and friends. I can:

1. Retire summer 2019 at age 47 to get in on this hiring wave now and maximize my airline career, but sacrifice three years of what I love doing.

2. Retire in summer 2022 at age 50, get all I can out of the job I love, get a modestly better pension, but potentially eliminate my possibility of getting to a major airline.

If my chances of making it to a legacy are very low even if I begin next summer at age 47, then I would just stay the three more years in the military, followed by a 15-year career at a regional. But what do you think? Are my prospects for a major strong enough to warrant retiring now?

Thank you all in advance for your input, I will consider all of it carefully.

I recommend retire now, go regionals, and hopefully you will make the majors after some 121 time. You loved the military career, great! Now come love another career with much better pay and QOL before itís too late.