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Fractional vs. ACMI

Old 03-16-2021, 12:19 PM
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Default Fractional vs. ACMI

Hey Everyone,

I am currently flying for a large ACMI carrier that is about to begin arbitration for their new contract. I have a close friend that has an interview with both my company and a fractional (Flexjet, to be specific). I've filled him on the good, the bad, and the ugly with my current company, but I don't know a whole lot about the fractional world as I've never flown 135/91K corporate. I'm curious if anyone has experience in flying both ACMI and fractional carriers and can compare and contrast the pros & cons of the job, lifestyle, career progression, etc.
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Old 03-16-2021, 06:47 PM
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Obvious big difference... probably better career stability in the fracs, their business model has only gotten more popular over the years, covid amplified that, and I'm guessing not many of those pax will go back to the airlines.
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Old 03-16-2021, 08:11 PM
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I've done both. 14 years at NJA and now 3 years at my ACMI. It was very difficult to leave NJA but the lack of career progression was a serious downer. That being said the overall QOL at the fracs was decent and the benefits were good but for me I find I really enjoy the ACMI lifestyle. I'm making more at year 3 pay than I was at year 14 at NJA. The layovers are far longer and more fun at my ACMI gig.

The schedule is not for everyone but it works very well for me. Flying a 747 all over the world beats flying a small private jet to Teterboro every day of the week. It probably doesn't need to be said (but I'll say it anyway) that flying cargo is simpler than flying pax, particularly pax that are always used to getting whatever they want. This is my first cargo job and I'm kicking myself for not making the switch sooner. To each their own but I have no regrets in leaving the fracs.
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Old 03-17-2021, 05:31 AM
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The difference couldnít be larger, itís a different universe.
Mostly domestic vs mostly International.
Flying 135 Iíve been to every state in the lower 48. Never realized how impoverished certain regions in the US are.
Check the regs, 135 PIC time does NOT transfer over to 121, unless youíre flying scheduled 135.
Depending on his/her age your friend is at a crossroads, 121 or 135 for a career?
Familyís plans?
My career progression was 135 > 121(s) > ACMI and I couldnít be happier.
Never regretted my choice for even a single day
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Old 03-17-2021, 07:57 AM
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The kicker is probably family... not all families can cope with an ACMI schedule. If it were just me, I'd prefer ACMI hands down. But I simply couldn't do that schedule with the family.
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Old 03-17-2021, 10:43 AM
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Consider 2-3 years with an ACMI before you can bid a family friendlier base and schedule.
Do you currently live in/near a base?
Are you willing to move?
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Old 03-18-2021, 06:11 AM
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Like anything else, it depends. There are good and bad jobs/companies in both.
I've worked at one ACMI (and one pseudo foreign ACMI/scheduled cargo), and interviewed at a top fractional (and wasn't hired).
The best, most alluring part of the fractional position was the known days off/on for an entire year. That was awesome. However, it did come at the cost of eight on. six off. And to me, that's not a schedule I wanted to commit to for my career.
I loved the variety of places the ACMI jobs took me to, and the long layovers that were often like vacations (a week in Guam, hiking in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, strolling through Ginza in Tokyo, spending a day exploring Berlin). That said, it is exhausting and fatigue is sometimes an understatement. You lose track of how many time zones you've crossed, what time it is, and when you need to sleep. Some people cope better than others. However, it will absolutely age you faster and has proven to be bad for your health... but it is fun.
If had to chose between the two, at this point in my life, I'd be more concerned with the stability, retirement, health coverage and fall back opportunities.
You can jumpseat on many ACMI carriers. Might want to give a whirl to get the feel.
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Old 03-18-2021, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post
The kicker is probably family... not all families can cope with an ACMI schedule. If it were just me, I'd prefer ACMI hands down. But I simply couldn't do that schedule with the family.
Same. But at this point it's a non-starter.
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