Monday, February 19, 2018

Getting Hired at a Major Airline: Part 2

February 24, 2016 started out like any other work day for me.  I woke up early, got ready to look my best, and headed out the door.  I showed up for work a bit early, only to find out my flight was delayed- bummer!  Delayed flights are just as inconvenient for the pilots as they are the passengers.  Thankfully, however, the plane was on its way to Seattle and would arrive in the next 20-30 minutes.  Instead of hiding out in the crew lounge, I decided to walk to the gate and wait with the passengers, incase the plane landed earlier than expected.

I was in a great mood that day, though I don't remember exactly why.  I met up with the rest of the crew, got to know each of them, and then decided to chat with some of the passengers.  I find passengers don't mind waiting as much when the pilots are there waiting with them as well.  When our plane finally arrived, I headed out to get the walk-around and preflight inspection completed so we could begin boarding and leave as close to on-time as possible.

A snippet of my CRJ cockpit.  She's a beauty.  :)

We were able to get the passengers boarded without wasting any time and were on our way to Portland- a nice short 30ish minute flight to start the day.  Halfway through the flight, the fight attendant called me to say there was a man from "D" that wanted to speak with me afterwards, if I had the time.  Of course I had the time to talk to someone that worked for my dream company!  He was kind enough to be the last one off the plane.

He introduced himself as the Manager over Pilot Selection (No Way!) and wondered if I had an application in.  At this moment, I was so glad I had taken the time years ago to submit my application and that I could say, without hesitation, "Yes."  We chatted for a few minutes, and then he gave me his business card and told me if I was really serious, I could email him that night and he would have his team review my application to see if I scored among the competitive candidates.

After he left I immediately called my husband and told him what had just happened.  Now something I didn't mention before is that I was very pregnant at this point- more than 7 months pregnant, so I was a bit worried about the timing.  Maybe it wouldn't work out?  Maybe I should keep my seniority and stay at the regional carrier?  How would my quality of life be if I had to start over, but at a major airline with a baby?  So many doubts entered my mind, but my husband had none of those doubts.  He told me it was something I had to do (he knew how much I wanted this), so I just went for it.  Having a supportive spouse in this industry is a must!

That night I updated my application again, and then emailed the Pilot Selection Manager to give him my information so his team could look at my application.

On March 5th, just over a week later, I received THE email saying I was invited for an interview!  Words cannot describe the feelings I had reading that email.  Even thinking of it now gives me the chills.  It was wonderful.  When each of you get to experience that, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

This is only part 2 of my series of how I got hired at a major airline.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story.  Until next time, Happy Flying!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Getting Hired at a Major Airline: Part 1

Five years ago I was flying a Brasilia as a first officer based in Palm Springs, California.  One of my first trips ended in LAX, so instead of flying back to Palm Springs, and then up to Salt Lake City (where I lived at the time), I decided to try to catch a flight directly from LAX-SLC.  I managed to get the very last available seat- the jumpseat- on a 757.  I'd never jumpseated on a Delta flight, and I was so excited I could hardly stand it.

When I walked into the flight deck, I was impressed!  The cockpit was incredible and super spacious, and the pilots were awesome.  I'd already wanted to work for D, but now my mind was set.  When I had my hours I would be working for this company, and that was that.  Though my feet didn't touch the ground from that jumpseat, and I had to sit sideways so the captain could push his seat back, that flight was a dream for me.  I was like a kid the day before Christmas the entire time, and I bragged about that flight to family members and friends for quite a while afterwards (which makes it that much more amazing that I am flying that plane today... it's so cool).

Me and my parents and my beloved Brasilia.  I LOVED that plane, even though she was small and old.

A couple of years after that flight, I again found myself in the jumpseat on a D flight with, once again, super friendly pilots.  The first officer told me of his friend who was hired at D, straight from the right seat at a regional carrier.  He told me that if this is where I wanted to work, I should just put my application in and update it every month.  "You never know what will happen," he told me.  I took his advice and did just that.

Filling out an airline application is no easy task!  It took me days to fill that thing out and then quite a bit more time to get all of my letters of recommendation.  But, since I was still a ways out from that dream job, I was able to take my time and make sure everything was completed just the way I wanted it.

A few months after filling out my application, I ran into one of my old friends from flight training who was now a D pilot.  He was in a rush and only had time to say hello, but I was glad I was able to run into him- it's always fun seeing old pilot friends in the airport; especially since we're all grown up now.  However, minutes later he came running back and asked me if I was looking at getting hired at D.  Um...YES!  He asked if he could write me a letter of recommendation (again... YES, please), and gave me his contact information.  I wasted no time emailing him and gave him an update on what I was doing with my life since we'd last seen each other.  He wrote me a spectacular letter, which sat with my application until that amazing day my application was finally looked at.


This is just part 1 of my story- a story that is far too long to put into one blog post.  Stay tuned for the rest.  I'm going to leave you on pins and needles for now.  :)  Until next time, Happy Flying!  

Monday, February 5, 2018

Attitude is Everything

During this past summer, I had a fight from Seattle to Shanghai.  Because this flight is so long, we have 4 pilots on the trip- two captains and two first officers.  We are always paired together with a specific captain, so there's no mixing and matching done with who is flying with who.  Me and my captain volunteered to do the first and third break and let the other crew have the middle break, which meant they would have the takeoffs and landings- basically we were the relief pilots.

During one of the crew swaps I was alone with the other captain for a few minutes.  He had some  'opinions' to say to/about me.  I tried to be professional towards him, but it bugged me.  Who does he think he is??  He thinks he can just talk to me like I'm a 5-year old??  I was pretty upset.  Thankfully, he was not the captain I was paired with, but still.  I was going to have to be up in the flight deck with him again at the end of the flight, and I never wanted to see his face again.  I later found out this captain emailed my chief pilot to tell him his concerns about my attitude and appearance (the chief said it was silly and not to worry about it).

The very next trip after talking with my chief, you wouldn't believe who I was supposed to fly with... yep... that very same captain.  But this time it was a multiple day trip.  I wanted to just call in sick (even though I was already at the airport), and just throw in the towel, but I chose not to.  Instead, I had some serious self talk.  I was going to pretend like I had no idea he emailed my chief, pretend like he'd never said anything to me, and I was going to treat him like he was my favorite captain to fly with.  I did just that, and you know what?  It worked!  He was pleasant, and kind, and we actually had a pretty good trip together.  He said I was a great pilot after our last leg and that he enjoyed working with me.


From the first trip I flew with him to the second, he was a completely different person.  Though I've always known that attitude is everything, it was proven to me again.  If you are having a difficult time with a co-worker, is there anything you could do to change the situation?  Could you treat them differently, or look at them in a different light?  Give it a try because it could make all the difference.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Prioritizing

I'm back!  I took off 2017 from blogging because the year was a busy one.  I had too many things on my plate, and something had to give.  I know in today's world, people are trying to just "do more all the time if you want to be successful," but I enjoy having balance in my life.  I believe it is important to have priorities, and my family is my number one- that will never change.  So I had to give up on blogging for the year to make sure I had time for my family.


I began 2017 working at SkyWest as a first officer on the CRJ.  I few days into the year I finally got a class date at D, February 13th.  I flew my last flight at my favorite regional carrier on February 7 on the CRJ: SEA-PDX-SEA-PDX-SEA.  It was a busy final trip, but a good one.  That route was always one of my favorites, especially on a clear day.  The PNW (Pacific Northwest) is definitely the most beautiful place I have ever lived in.

I took the next few days off after that to get ready for class.  I flew out to Atlanta on Feb 12 and began my 2 weeks of Indoc ground training the next day.  I got a taste of what the company was all about (which made me love them even more) and I enjoyed every second I was out there.  It was an incredible 2 weeks!

After indoc training, the real fun began- systems, sim training, and then flight training in the aircraft.  My life was studying from the end of February to the end of April.  When I finished training I was immediately put on reserve (on call) for summer flying, the busiest months of the year.  Though I was away from home a lot, it was so good to fly that much after training so that my learning could continue and solidify.  I flew a few trips domestically, but most of my trips were to Asia.  Though I was nervous about those long flights, they are awesome as the pilot!  You get a lot of hours in a short amount of time, and surprisingly, the time goes by so quickly on those long flights.

Summer came and went and I finally had some down time with my family.  We took a few little vacations, a longer one to Hawaii, and then I enjoyed some time at home during the holiday months.  I worked all the Holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas), but I had so many days at home before and afterward that it wasn't a big deal.

I have missed writing, and am so glad to finally be back!  I'll go into more detail about my interview and training experiences in future posts, so stay tuned for that if you are interested in becoming an airline pilot, or are curious about what the process is going from a regional to a major airline.

As always, if you need to get a hold of me, email me at trendypilots@gmail.com.  I check it daily, unless I'm on those long flights and don't have Internet access during my awake hours.  Until next time, Happy Flying!