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Old 09-03-2017, 08:07 PM   #1  
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Default Southwest vs Delta

Ok everyone, I'm the luckiest person in the world and have offers from both Delta and Southwest. Both are great companies but I'm not sure which one to choose so I'm looking for advice. Don't bother talking about bases please. I actually live in base for one of these already and don't want that to influence the discussion. (It will heavily influence my decision though.) Here are specific areas that I want to use to compare the two companies:

- Scheduling flexibility
- Pay
- Medical insurance
- Loss of license/Long and short term disability
- Job security
- Time to upgrade
- Other benefits
- Anything else you think is pertinent

Any advice or info is greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-03-2017, 09:15 PM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaplock View Post
Ok everyone, I'm the luckiest person in the world and have offers from both Delta and Southwest. Both are great companies but I'm not sure which one to choose so I'm looking for advice. Don't bother talking about bases please. I actually live in base for one of these already and don't want that to influence the discussion. (It will heavily influence my decision though.) Here are specific areas that I want to use to compare the two companies:

- Scheduling flexibility
- Pay
- Medical insurance
- Loss of license/Long and short term disability
- Job security
- Time to upgrade
- Other benefits
- Anything else you think is pertinent

Any advice or info is greatly appreciated!
Drive to work. End. Of. Story.
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:37 PM   #3  
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Both are great companies. If you live in a Delta base, go to Delta. If you live in a Southwest base but are willing to move to a Delta base, go to Delta. If you live in a Southwest base and are not willing to move to a Delta base, go to Southwest.
It is a completely different job living in base.
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:27 AM   #4  
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Originally Posted by Snaplock View Post
Ok everyone, I'm the luckiest person in the world and have offers from both Delta and Southwest. Both are great companies but I'm not sure which one to choose so I'm looking for advice. Don't bother talking about bases please. I actually live in base for one of these already and don't want that to influence the discussion. (It will heavily influence my decision though.) Here are specific areas that I want to use to compare the two companies:

- Scheduling flexibility
- Pay
- Medical insurance
- Loss of license/Long and short term disability
- Job security
- Time to upgrade
- Other benefits
- Anything else you think is pertinent

Any advice or info is greatly appreciated!
Congratulations!!

As a Southwest pilot, I'll echo the previous posts - if you live in one carrier's base, go with that base. That cannot be overstated enough.

Here's what I see at Southwest:

Flexibility with your schedule can be fantastic. The reason I say 'can be' is because we cannot just drop trips. We can put them in giveaway and we're on the hook until someone picks them up. We can, however, trade with the company, and most of the time I won't fly a single one of my original trips. I'll rearrange my entire schedule even as a junior line holder with relative ease.

Pay-wise, gotta compare apples to apples. You'll make more at Delta if you're chasing the quickest upgrade. But, there's a reason why 6000 other pilots pass on that upgrade, but if you live there, it ends up being a no-brainer. As an FO, from what I gather on apples-to-apples comparison, Delta makes more on a per-hour basis, but on days-away-from-home, SWA probably makes more simply on account of our flying being structured more productively. Some guys focus squarely on per-hour basis, while others look at the time away from home vs. final pay stub. I don't know how much ability to make extra junior pilots have at Delta, but here at SWA, if you want to work, you can work and make more, right up to FAR 117 limits, but all your choice. I've seen 2nd year FO's make north of $200k averaging 170-180 TFP working their butts off and having no life, to the guys only flying their 13 days a month making a tad over 120k and enjoying plenty of time at home or even have a whole other career on the side, and everything in between. I work a bit more than an average pilot, but I also manage to enjoy time off and I'm looking to finish my 2nd year around $170-175k gross working about 17-19 days a month, not counting any retirement or per diem in those figures.

Medical insurance - I'm pretty happy with Regular Plan at SWA. I don't pay any monthly premiums. My deductible is $300 dollars for the year and max out of pocket is $2500 for the family. Downside - this particular plan doesn't cover preventative medicine. But then again, not paying any monthly premiums can pay a lot of that preventative medicine. We have other plans as well, there's a whole other thread about it.

Loss of license/short term/long term disability is where I think we lack the most among the big carriers. My biggest problems with our current plan is that the company dumps your medical coverage after a year (someone please correct me if I'm wrong), and the union ends up paying your COBRA payments. You and your family also lose your travel benefits too even on Southwest. You have to ask your Chief Pilot for a pass and though they're usually very good about it, it's wrong and you should never have to deal with that. There has been some progress on the travel front, but it still lags substantially behind our peers. Judging by what I'm seeing and hearing, this is one of the biggest things to fix in any future contract negotiations.

Job security - well, the company brags about never having laid off a single employee. They haven't laid off anyone after 9/11, or the Great Recession, or after Airtran merger. They almost did at one point, but ended up not to and still retaining that record. I like our scope clause better than the other big 3. I would royally chap my rearend to see Southwest Express EMB-175 or some other subcontracting entity flying our passengers, but that's normal at Delta, and United and American for that matter. One thing I'd mention that both the union and the company told our newhire class was that in order to run our current schedule using Delta's rules and contract, we'd need something like 2500 pilots on the property overnight. Think about if/when the economy tanks. Makes you think... but overall, Southwest runs a pretty lean ship.

Upgrade time... well, depends who you ask and even more importantly, depends on your preferences. Are you willing to be the plug captain or you want to hold out for a particular base or perhaps want to hold out for a line holding captain position? Here's where I'm going with this... if you read this board, people will tell you it'll take 15 years to upgrade. If it takes you 15 years, it's probably due to your own preferences. Current junior captain upgrades are right at 10 year mark. Given the hiring and staffing numbers the company is talking about, and the timeline to achieve those numbers (12,000 pilots in 2022), if they stick to that plan, I'd say you'd be looking at the earliest upgrade in 6-7 years. Bear in mind that the current plug captain is sitting at 61% total seniority. Now, if you want to wait, and a number of people do.... it'll take you longer. It's all timing. People hired in the last couple of years have had a tremendous upward movement, and it's forecast to continue providing the economy doesn't take a major nose-dive.

In parting shots, it really boils down to you and what your preferences are... if you want to fly a heavy, don't come here. Personally, if I lived in a Delta domicile, I'd go to Delta. If you live in a Southwest domicile, go to Southwest. One cannot stress enough how much different this job is when you simply drive to work. Think of it this way... a commuter will fly a 13-day line, but he'll spend maybe 15-17 days away from home. He will still only make 13 days pay, and also pay for hotels in their domicile. You live in domicile, and if you choose to work 15-17 days, you'll make tens of thousands of dollars more per year being gone the same amount of time as a commuter working only their schedule; or you can have that much better quality of life and have that much more time off at home.

Good luck with your decision. It's a great problem to have.
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:21 AM   #5  
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^^^^ what he said.

Had 3-4 people in my new hire class quit to go to DL but they lived in DL bases. IMO pay and upgrade is secondary to QOL. If you can drive to work....do that. If you don't care and/or have an easy commute then the other would weigh on my decision where to go. Driving to work makes it a completely different job.
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:32 AM   #6  
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Delta has variation of flying.
Different equipment and long haul int'l.
Not sure if SWA will ever convince themselves to move up to bigger airframes.
The above also affects pay.
At SWA, we work hard for our well earned pay. Think America's largest commuter airline.
My top priority ever in this business was job security. Up to now, nobody beats SWA on that.
Good luck with such a fortuitous decision!
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Old 09-04-2017, 02:36 PM   #7  
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Loss of license/short term/long term disability is where I think we lack the most among the big carriers.
Agreed on that point.

The second thing we lack most in compared to a legacy is reserve rules. Reserve basically sucks on many fronts. There is no long call, so you must be able to make checkin within 2 hours if they call you. There is no trip ownership, the company may assign you something, and then later assign you something different. At other airlines you have the protections of a line holder once you accept a reserve assignment. Also, there is no way to drop or trade reserve days, you're pretty much stuck with what you get awarded. Lastly, the company has been slowly increasing the percentage of reserve lines. The good news is that on reserve you generally make good money, due to the changes made in the last contract. However, you will work for it.

There is no push from SWAPA to improve reserve currently that I've seen.
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Old 09-04-2017, 03:25 PM   #8  
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Agreed on that point.

The second thing we lack most in compared to a legacy is reserve rules. Reserve basically sucks on many fronts. There is no long call, so you must be able to make checkin within 2 hours if they call you. There is no trip ownership, the company may assign you something, and then later assign you something different. At other airlines you have the protections of a line holder once you accept a reserve assignment. Also, there is no way to drop or trade reserve days, you're pretty much stuck with what you get awarded. Lastly, the company has been slowly increasing the percentage of reserve lines. The good news is that on reserve you generally make good money, due to the changes made in the last contract. However, you will work for it.

There is no push from SWAPA to improve reserve currently that I've seen.
I'd say that's mostly right. We have trip ownership now against other pilots which is more than we had before the CBA was signed. Any company has the ability to change rsv assignments if something works better logistically....it's called a reassignment or reroute. You can change rsv days also if you find someone willing to swap...just can't change with open time (which would be nice). I'm betting a couple other tweaks to rsv will happen with CBA 2020. I'd bid RSV if we could move days a little.
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Old 09-04-2017, 06:16 PM   #9  
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Default Southwest vs Delta

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Agreed on that point.



The second thing we lack most in compared to a legacy is reserve rules. Reserve basically sucks on many fronts. There is no long call, so you must be able to make checkin within 2 hours if they call you. There is no trip ownership, the company may assign you something, and then later assign you something different. At other airlines you have the protections of a line holder once you accept a reserve assignment. Also, there is no way to drop or trade reserve days, you're pretty much stuck with what you get awarded. Lastly, the company has been slowly increasing the percentage of reserve lines. The good news is that on reserve you generally make good money, due to the changes made in the last contract. However, you will work for it.



There is no push from SWAPA to improve reserve currently that I've seen.

Sounds like you got hired after the current contract was signed. The reserve was truly awful before then because you'd end up sitting for free. In other words, they'd use you up to your guarantee and then not use you the last few days keeping you essentially covering 2-3 days for literally 0-2 TFP total for days ergo "sitting for free." Now, your sitting unused means 6 TFP for that day; you fly LAS-BUR-LAS and you get 6.5 minimum for that day regardless where you sit for the month and regardless if you fly less than 6 TFP that day. You get more if you fly more.

Also, the reason there's no long call for reserve is because of the requirement that all open flying has to be run through open time before being assigned to a reserve allowing people to bid on it for straight or premium. It'll go straight before being assigned to a reserve and possibly premium as well. Though Long Call could possibly work for Daily Open Time for the next day, the bulk of the trips that end up needing coverage are in Hourly Open Time and those may need coverage in as little as 3-4 hours or so, but may go premium as well.

Also, trip ownership - you can select it if you choose to in CWA. You can also choose to put your reserve assigned trip in giveaway. I've managed to give away a few trips letting me stay at home and collect 6 TFP per day for bumming around the house instead of having to go to work.

Something else about our reserve rules that's unique and very much unlike the legacies: we are paid per day now and not a monthly guarantee per se and you are paid rigs as if you're a line holder. You can also get quite a bit of premium on reserve if they start messing with your trip just like a line holder.

For example, if as a reserve you're given a trip that ends in a DH to domicile the following day and you get reassigned later on for that next day, that day 2 pays premium if it brings you back later than originally assigned time. I've had 3 day reserve blocks paying as much as 35 TFP while only blocking around 10 hours over 3 days. That's the reroute and reassignment portion that flyguy81 is talking about. This is how a number of our reserves end up with 125+ TFP for the month only working their schedules. And for this reason, you don't see too many people offering to give away their reserve blocks in giveaway like before the current contract.

Personal opinion, but if they allowed us to trade reserve blocks with the company like they do line trips via ELITT, the reserve would likely go quite a bit more senior. That's the only reason I don't bid reserve. But I do pick up occasional reserve blocks or trade my line trip with a reserve for his reserve block which is also something you can't do at most airlines. Gotta take the good with the bad...
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Old 09-05-2017, 07:19 AM   #10  
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I suspect an additional RSV call-out option will be on the table when we start doing Red-Eyes. We already cant cover our full schedule with the current AM/PM RSV periods. I agree with what was stated above that the ability to trade RSV days via ELITT would be a huge boost to QOL and RSV would get more senior almost overnight. And to the OP: Drive to work. End of story. Been in the 121 world for 13 years, commuted(2+ hour flight) for 6 and the people telling you its a different job when you drive are 100% correct.
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