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Legacy Airline vs Fractional

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Legacy Airline vs Fractional

Old 04-12-2022, 11:59 AM
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Default Legacy Airline vs Fractional

Ok boys and girls, Iím hoping to keep this educational and professional. Take the ****-slingin elsewhere.

Having said that, Iím at a legacy airline and senior enough to bid CA with 20 years to go. Iím interested in at least researching a fractional career as this ďbus driverĒ lifestyle is not what it once was. Especially as a commuter with planted roots and no desire to move to a hub at this point. Iíve never been one to choose money over QOL either.

Anyone been on both sides of the fence and care to educate me? Iím interested in QOL, pay, benefits, and overall job satisfaction differences.

Thanks! 🍻

Last edited by Rawhide16; 04-12-2022 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 04-12-2022, 12:21 PM
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Pay and QOL at fracs are certainly reasonable, ie better than most white-collar grinds, but most objective observers would say that long term pay and QOL will be better at a legacy. You can make decent money at a frac if you hustle apparently.

With a frac you won't have to sweat the commute. But you still have to *do* the commute.

Does seven-on work for you? 12 hours/day hot reserve in an FBO? If my legacy needs me to hang out for a while outside of my domicile, they get me a hotel.

OK flying with some interesting characters? True at majors too, some more than others but generally not as bad. At least the airlines kick them to the curb at age 65. I had two buds who did fracs for a while and they complained about that.

Also consider upgrade time... it's pretty darn low at most legacies right now.

Also consider who you'll fly with after you do upgrade. Junior CA's are leaving lower-tier majors to go to the big-three right now... what kind of FO's will general aviation be able to attract in a couple years? The majors will be hiring CFI's soon if they're not already. That was a big part of why left my regional a few years ago, and it turns out that I beat the rush.
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Old 04-12-2022, 02:46 PM
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^^ the post above
Legacy is a better bet than most fractional. Due to pay and benefits. Yes stress will be less with not worrying about commuting. But if you are flexible and do not care about your schedule changing constantly, being gone for 7 days at a time, loading bags, helping the customers with drinks/transportation. Itís hard work but some people love it, some hate it.

If you are going to make the move, only do Netjets, unless you have a gravy 91 gig lined up. They have good pay, and amazing benefits. However you wonít upgrade for about 7-10 years. IMO staying at the legacy might be a better choice, but I have no idea what your QOL or commute is like either! Goodluck
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Old 04-12-2022, 03:27 PM
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11 years at a frac and 5 years at a major so far. Frac flying is fun, interesting, challenging and thereís almost always someplace new every trip. Flying the plane is the fun part and maybe 1/3 of the job. You might very well find yourself stooped over picking up, wiping up, vacuuming up and restocking the cabin of a Phenom in short order, and youíll almost assuredly upgrade into one.

You can do pretty well financially as a careerist. Especially if you eventually find your way into the large cabin planes. The hotel and airline points are nice benefits.

Having said that, itís hard work most of the time with long duty days, a lot of time in FBO crew lounges at all hours and generally being the CSR you donít have to be at a major. The long Jackson Hole or Nantucket overnights are the exceptions rather than the rules. I made as much in my second year at a major as a 10 year Captain with check pilot stipend at frac.

If that sounds like it suits you then have at it. Some people really love it. There are very few people leaving the majors to start over at the fracs without extenuating circumstances. There is quite a bit of traffic in the other direction.
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Old 04-12-2022, 05:27 PM
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I have a question regarding this topic. I'm currently an FO at a regional and considering making jump to the Fractional world. I feel like it would be a nice bump in pay & QOL. Additionally, I've always felt like I should go somewhere where I'd be okay "getting stuck", so I'd be okay potentially making a career there. With that being said, I pretty much have two questions:

1. I've heard it's hard to go from a Fractional to the Legacies but maybe that's changing with how the current hiring market is. Do you think it's realistic that I could go to a Fractional and then make a decision to either stay or try to make a jump to a legacy from there?

2. When it comes down to it, I'd rather be at one that is more stable long term and can ride out the economic waves a little bit better. During Covid it seemed like the Fractional world recovered a lot faster than the airlines and so I guess my question is typically during down turns in the market, do you see the airlines or fractionals being more secure?

Any advice is appreciated, just curious to learn more from those that have a little more experience in those areas.
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Old 04-12-2022, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by CFITlikely View Post
1. I've heard it's hard to go from a Fractional to the Legacies but maybe that's changing with how the current hiring market is. Do you think it's realistic that I could go to a Fractional and then make a decision to either stay or try to make a jump to a legacy from there?
Your best competitive bet for legacies is turbine PIC... that could take a while at fracs. It's possible with SIC, but they probably don't count frac SIC any different than regional SIC.

Originally Posted by CFITlikely View Post
2. When it comes down to it, I'd rather be at one that is more stable long term and can ride out the economic waves a little bit better. During Covid it seemed like the Fractional world recovered a lot faster than the airlines and so I guess my question is typically during down turns in the market, do you see the airlines or fractionals being more secure?
Fracs did better in covid due to wealthy people trying to avoid the unclean masses on airlines, and also avoid lockdown restrictions. Not sure that translates to a garden-variety recession, but somebody on here must remember how fracs did in 2008?

Also, legacy seniority progression is insane right now... grab a number and in a couple-three years you'll be above the conventional furlough high-water mark. At that point, odds are that the worst that can happen is you end up UNA not working for a while, but still getting paid guarantee for the smallest plane on property. First world problem.
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Old 04-12-2022, 09:26 PM
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I did 13 years at USAirways mainline, 2yrs at a regional and then 12yrs at NetJets before losing my medical at age 60 in 2017.
I liked the Fractional Flying so much that when USAirways called me back from furlough in 2007 I opted to take early retirement since I had just turned 50. It's not the place to go if you want to build time for a major airline slot. Regionals are much better for that.

Advantages of Fractionals, especially NetJets:

-Flying is a lot more varied than at the airlines. I've had to dig rocks out of a ditch to use for wheel chocks when we did an overnight at an unattended field. We had to ride the community center handicap van at Marfa, TX because there was no other ground trans available to our hotel 27 miles away in Alpine, TX. We broke at the old Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in PR just before New Year's. We got stuck in a Ritz-Carlton Resort ($700/night) for 3 nights including New Years . Even after 12 years it was rare to not see a new airport during a tour. You will see a LOT of uncontrolled airports.

-You'll meet some interesting people, Governor's, Senators, Representatives, etc and lots of well known actors and sports figures.

-NO COMMUTING (unless you live in the boondocks)

-Pay at NetJets is not that far from what you'll make at a legacy airline. You won't see B777 Intl PIC wages but when I lost my medical in 2017 I was easily making $200K as a Phenom PIC and that was before Flight Duty Pay started. My guess is I'd be doing in the high 200's if I was there now working the 72 day schedule.

-Enough Hotel points and airline miles to do a vacation to Hawaii once a year. My wife and I flew 1st class CLT-LAX-HNL and back again and stayed at hotels using nothing but points. All we paid for was the rental car and of course food and tourist stuff.

-With the 7 on 7 off schedule you know when you'll be working many months in advance which is nice for planning family activities.

-less exposed to furloughs, especially with Berkshire Hathaway backing NetJets. 2008 was a very rare event, share owners had to use their jets as ATM's and it really hurt. Now they've fixed that. Normal recessions should not result in furloughs.

Disadvantages-

-A lot less control over your schedule than you'll have at an airline, especially if you're senior at the airline.

-shorter overnights. Fly for NetJets, see the world thru your hotel room window. More than 12 hours is rare unless you're broke somewhere with no available transportation out.

-you work harder, cleaning, stocking, loading bags, etc. At larger airports you'll have help and there are service centers where NetJet's people will do a lot for you.

-upgrading to PIC. It's not as bad as some posted, remember there was no hiring from 2008-2015 and I think they're about to starting upgrading the 2015 hires before too long.


I probably forgot a few things but I think I got the big points.
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Old 04-13-2022, 05:39 AM
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Like everything else in life there are pros and cons. If you want to make as much money as possible, 121 is the way to go. If you're tired of the commute and have no intention of moving to a major hub, flying for a frac would eliminate that problem. The health insurance at NetJets is arguably the best you'll find in the industry, including the big 3 legacies. Premiums 100% covered and zero deductible.

I've done both and decided to commit to the fractional side. No more 3 hour sit in a 737 jumseat to EWR the night before my trip, and the flying is just more interesting.

That's my take. To each their own.
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Old 04-13-2022, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Rawhide16 View Post
Ok boys and girls, Iím hoping to keep this educational and professional. Take the ****-slingin elsewhere.

Having said that, Iím at a legacy airline and senior enough to bid CA with 20 years to go. Iím interested in at least researching a fractional career as this ďbus driverĒ lifestyle is not what it once was. Especially as a commuter with planted roots and no desire to move to a hub at this point. Iíve never been one to choose money over QOL either.

Anyone been on both sides of the fence and care to educate me? Iím interested in QOL, pay, benefits, and overall job satisfaction differences.

Thanks! 🍻
You are going to work less for the same money at a major vs a frac.

While the 401k at NetJets is pretty good, it still canít touch a 16% direct contribution above your hourly wages.

Health insurance is likely way better at NetJets, specifically.

Qol is pretty subjective. If you ever think you would want a certain day of a week off consistently, then stay at the legacy. You simply canít guarantee that you will consistently get a certain day off every week at NetJets. One offs are easy, but if you want every Thursday off for a kids game or weekends, it would be close to impossible. No matter how long youíve been there.

Also, imo, the no commuting benefit is way over blown. Iím home way more now as a commuter than I was at a frac. Again, I can bid late starts, so I can have breakfast with my kids before commuting. At a frac, you are most likely up early to get into position every time. I will acknowledge that my commute is fairly easy, and yours may not be.
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Old 04-13-2022, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Das Auto View Post
Like everything else in life there are pros and cons. If you want to make as much money as possible, 121 is the way to go. If you're tired of the commute and have no intention of moving to a major hub, flying for a frac would eliminate that problem. The health insurance at NetJets is arguably the best you'll find in the industry, including the big 3 legacies. Premiums 100% covered and zero deductible.

I've done both and decided to commit to the fractional side. No more 3 hour sit in a 737 jumseat to EWR the night before my trip, and the flying is just more interesting.

That's my take. To each their own.
I have been in both - 121, 135 and now in Frac . .. Frac is much more like an airline in that you have dispatchers and lots of support... most 135's is more, "here's the trip - go make it happen". I did a video a few years back showing a typical 10-day trip at our 135. Might help shed a light on things.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1hPVhNumik
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