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Old 01-03-2011, 10:53 PM   #1  
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Default SWA vs FedEx

Hypothetical, If you were offered a job at both which would you take?
To me the choice is clear but I am interested in hearing any thoughts the group might have.

I have weighed very cafefully the pro's and cons of both.
Is there any deeper issues to consider that are not apparent on the surface.

To keep it unbiased I will not say which way I am leaning.
I would like to keep this professional and non-partisan.

Please just deeper insights, pro and cons, no flame baiting please

Thanks Boogie
PS no I do not have an offer but I am setting future goals
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:41 AM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogie Nights View Post
Hypothetical, If you were offered a job at both which would you take?
To me the choice is clear but I am interested in hearing any thoughts the group might have.

I have weighed very cafefully the pro's and cons of both.
Is there any deeper issues to consider that are not apparent on the surface.

To keep it unbiased I will not say which way I am leaning.
I would like to keep this professional and non-partisan.

Please just deeper insights, pro and cons, no flame baiting please

Thanks Boogie
PS no I do not have an offer but I am setting future goals
I read in ALPA magazine a few years ago that the average FedEx pilot only draws retirement for a few years and it tracked a couple decades of statistics. Consider that. Night flying really takes it's toll. To me it wasn't worth the extra money they pay. I was never a SWA fan so I never applied. Good luck landing either, it's a long shot.
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:45 AM   #3  
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Not hypothetical for a handful of folks in our pool currently at Airtran or SWA....
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:57 AM   #4  
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Opinion: The cargo carriers will be adversely affected by technology far quicker than the passenger carriers. We already have the ability to fly large aircraft remotely. I think it's only a matter of time before you see cargo operations over oceans and not populated areas like Shanghai to ANC be flown with one pilot or none. It will take many more years for the flying public to accept that. If you are looking at 10 plus years go to SWA.
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:15 AM   #5  
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Originally Posted by Delta1067 View Post
I read in ALPA magazine a few years ago that the average FedEx pilot only draws retirement for a few years and it tracked a couple decades of statistics. Consider that. Night flying really takes it's toll. To me it wasn't worth the extra money they pay. I was never a SWA fan so I never applied. Good luck landing either, it's a long shot.
Hey Boogie & Delta 1067,

I don't believe the tracked statistics were for actual FedEx pilots...they were for night workers in another group. FedEx, and airline pilots in general, are in better health, and take better care of themselves than average.

Night flying is easier in many ways, but harder physically. FedEx schedules allow generous time off and the best vacation that I know of. You have to be prudent enough to take advantage of the time off to recuperate, and not chase megabucks.

It is commonly misunderstood that all Fedex flying is at night....around 40% is daytime opns......but junior folks will fly at night more, but have more days off than daytime flyers.

I spent 30 years at FedEx, so I'm familiar with the operation.....Great pay, A plan, B plan, 401K, wide variety of flying, excellent maintenance, huge money invested in technology to benefit flight crews,great vacation, etc.

In spite of some sniping here about taxi speeds, I have always heard great things about SWA. Every SWA guy I talked to, loves their job.
Smart management,excellent work rules, and currently the leader in legacy pilot compensation, although I hope Big D will assume that position in 2012.

In the early career years ,SWA pay will exceed FedEx pay for 10-15 years depending on the assumption used. After that, FedEx pulls ahead nicely, with a very substantial total retirement package.

I believe SWA intends to incorporate AT international destinations, and pursue limited expansion in some international markets, so the variety of SWA flying will probably improve.

These two carriers are currently the among the very best flying positions in the world, IMHO, however the future can change as fast as world events.

I currently know one SWA pilot deciding to stay, or go to FedEx, and one pilot having to decide on SWA or FedEx.....two very good alternatives, but a very complex and difficult decision.

Best of luck to all,
BG
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:29 AM   #6  
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You would be very fortunate to get on at either company. As a FedEx guy I can tell you what I love the most is flying internationally. I have lots of friends at SWA who love flying there and it is a great company. I would say the best thing about FedEx is the ability to choose domestic, widebody, narrowbody, or intl. Depending on your state in life and seniority, sometimes one is a better choice than the other. The other thing is that most of our airplanes are widebody so although SWA has great rates, there is a point where wb rates are just going to be higher. Flying all night and doing hub turns does suck though, no doubt about it.
Had I not seen how much fun the international stuff is, I probably would have gone to Southwest and never looked back. As it turned out for me, just like a lot of guys, I went with the airline that called first. One last thing, do you live in a SWA base and intend on staying there, because that seems to be a pretty good lifestyle.
Good Luck!
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:31 AM   #7  
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Default Horse, then Cart

Apply to both. Get hired by one first. Then make your decision. The best is the one that hires you and gets you a line first. Seniority is everything. Fill that square and THEN you might have a decision to make.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:31 AM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satchip View Post
Opinion: The cargo carriers will be adversely affected by technology far quicker than the passenger carriers. We already have the ability to fly large aircraft remotely. I think it's only a matter of time before you see cargo operations over oceans and not populated areas like Shanghai to ANC be flown with one pilot or none. It will take many more years for the flying public to accept that. If you are looking at 10 plus years go to SWA.

That seems logical, but don't a lot of the cargo carriers still use an engineer? Is this just for the older planes? I am guessing that it is just cheaper to operate the older equipment with 3 crew than upgrading the fleet. I could see an eventual shift to 1 pilot in your scenario though.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:46 AM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satchip View Post
Opinion: The cargo carriers will be adversely affected by technology far quicker than the passenger carriers. We already have the ability to fly large aircraft remotely. I think it's only a matter of time before you see cargo operations over oceans and not populated areas like Shanghai to ANC be flown with one pilot or none. It will take many more years for the flying public to accept that. If you are looking at 10 plus years go to SWA.

Look how long it's taken to get new rest rules. I think it'll be 40-50 years before we see it at all in the civilian world. A lot of these cargo ops are very cheap. Can't see them willing to invest in that kind of technology. JMO.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eric841 View Post
That seems logical, but don't a lot of the cargo carriers still use an engineer? Is this just for the older planes? I am guessing that it is just cheaper to operate the older equipment with 3 crew than upgrading the fleet. I could see an eventual shift to 1 pilot in your scenario though.
Many cargo outfits have made a lot of their old airplanes 2 pilot airplanes. The FE position is dying.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:09 AM   #10  
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I have to agree with johnso29 here. Here's my speculation... If, and I do mean if, we see single pilot transport aircraft, it will be in the distant future, and Fedex will continue to use 2 pilot aircraft well beyond that point. (...distant future meaning beyond the retirement of todays rookie pilots)

Last edited by TTOCSMCC; 01-04-2011 at 08:29 AM. Reason: content
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