Originally Posted by Otterbox
I personally wouldn't punch at the 17 year point. Lotsa uncertainty with the economy in future and thus the airline industry. 3 years gets you a check that will pay for the roof over your head for life... regardless of what's going on in the aviation industry.
Generally I would agree.
But airline hiring, driven by pilot demographics, will be unprecedented for the next decade, even if no economic growth occurs.
Tow scenarios where I would punch at > 15 years:
1. What the OP is talking about. Dodging a twilight desk tour for a flying job as a full-time guard/reserve (not an option in the Navy/USMC for someone that senior). Best of both worlds, get the retirement and then be current for the majors.
2. Job offer in hand at FDX/UPS/Big Three. Join the reserves and do eight years for the reserve retirement. For someone who had close to 20 AD the ultimate paycheck (delayed to age 60) will be pretty close to a regular AD 20 year check. You'll have military medical available in some form forever if desired. The trick with this option is timing...you might need a formal sep date to get a job offer, so you would probably need to take a leap of faith. Reasonable risk for someone with eminent qualifications in today's environment. If you you're relatively weak compared to peers, or have a black mark this might not be a great idea.
Worst case do 20, go to a regional or LCC for a year or three for currency and then get on with the bigs.
As for the economy...there's nothing really wrong with it structurally. Wall street didn't seem to mind the Nov results. There are the inevitable cycles but I'm not aware of any looming catastrophes.