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Old 06-11-2017, 07:54 AM   #1  
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Joined APC: Apr 2016
Posts: 12
Default Compass or Horizon?

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 hiring freeze 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/
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:04 AM   #2  
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Joined APC: Mar 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glide View Post
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 hiring freeze 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/
Seems like you have it pretty well figured out. I think it is fair to question any regionals existence in 2-3 years. Just look at Comair. Choose a regional based on QOL. Live in base. RSV isn't horrible in base. Don't make a lateral move to chase an upgrade. Majors don't like jumping around too much unless there is a good reason... ie I wanted to be home closer to my family. Speaking of upgrade, if you are an FO on the 175 there, just know that you will upgrade to CA in the prop. If that isn't a problem for you, then so be it. As for reserve here, yes it was quite a bit longer than it should have been. That is changing pretty quickly. We are ramping up the west coast flying so the change in block negligible with MSP closing. We lost 41 pilots in the last 2 months out of about 780. That's 5%. Things are definitely picking up here. TSH is notorious for waiting until we are understaffed anyways. I imagine by the end of the year, they will be scrambling to find pilots. Upgrade right now is about 2 years I would say. Maybe 2.5 but that still beats most places and is at least on par with the rest. Compass is still a good place to be. It's not perfect, but really what regional is? I hope this helped a bit. Good luck and hopefully I'll see you on property over here.
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:42 PM   #3  
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Joined APC: Apr 2016
Posts: 12
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Originally Posted by VIRotate View Post
Seems like you have it pretty well figured out. I think it is fair to question any regionals existence in 2-3 years. Just look at Comair. Choose a regional based on QOL. Live in base. RSV isn't horrible in base. Don't make a lateral move to chase an upgrade. Majors don't like jumping around too much unless there is a good reason... ie I wanted to be home closer to my family. Speaking of upgrade, if you are an FO on the 175 there, just know that you will upgrade to CA in the prop. If that isn't a problem for you, then so be it. As for reserve here, yes it was quite a bit longer than it should have been. That is changing pretty quickly. We are ramping up the west coast flying so the change in block negligible with MSP closing. We lost 41 pilots in the last 2 months out of about 780. That's 5%. Things are definitely picking up here. TSH is notorious for waiting until we are understaffed anyways. I imagine by the end of the year, they will be scrambling to find pilots. Upgrade right now is about 2 years I would say. Maybe 2.5 but that still beats most places and is at least on par with the rest. Compass is still a good place to be. It's not perfect, but really what regional is? I hope this helped a bit. Good luck and hopefully I'll see you on property over here.
Thanks for your response V1, that's helpful.
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