For class, they had us sit in seniority order. Seniority was based on the last 4 of our SSNs with the first number of 9 the highest seniority and a 0 the lowest seniority. The last four of my social started with a 2, so I figured from the moment I got hired that I would be one of the most junior pilots in class. Much to my surprise, however, I was smack dab in the middle. How did I luck out with that?
As a side not, from the moment I got hired the year before, my husband and I planned on me getting the MD-88 and being based in either Detroit or New York, because my social number was so low. I'd heard there was going to be a 2-year seat lock, so my husband and I planned on having to move because commuting for 2 years is not our cup of tea.
Right before lunch came the most nerve-racking time of the entire day-- the listing of the airplanes and bases that were available for us to bid on. For our class drop, there were a few A320 slots [Atlanta or NYC], four 7ERs [Atlanta] (757-200, 757-300, 767-300ER), a few more 717s [Atlanta or NYC], and quite a few MD88s [Atlanta or NYC]. During lunch, I began to get a feel for what some of the guys were going to bid for. I knew if I could get the 7ER I would be able to eventually get back to Seattle as that plane has a base here, but I had to play it off cool because I didn't want some of the guys senior to me to know how much I wanted that.
The 7ER was my first choice, for obvious reasons stated above. The A320 was my second choice because I knew I could at least get to SLC with that plane, and we have family there so we could always move. My third choice was the 717 because I knew I could eventually get to LAX, and I was okay with living in SoCal again. My fourth choice was the MD88, and I really hoped it wouldn't come to that.
|I took this photo from the back seat of the 767ER|
This doesn't have to do with the first day of class per se, but a few times a year the company will come out with a bid for pilots to change bases, airplanes, and/or seat position. It just so happened that there was a bid still open for 2 more days, so for those of us that wanted to, we were able to put in bids to change our bases. I wasn't that confident I would be able to get Seattle from that bid, but I put a bid for #1 Seattle, #2 SLC, and #3 LAX hoping that I would at least be able to get one of those 3 bases. The results for that bid came out the following week, and I got Seattle! What? How could this be? I was going to be the most junior first officer on that category for who-knows-how-long, but I didn't care. I wasn't going to have to commute and I was going to be on reserve at home. I could handle that.
After the bidding was over we were finally able to relax and enjoy the rest of the day. We learned a bit more about the company, which got us even more excited than ever to work for them. We all left class feeling motivated and excited about our future careers.