For the past few months, like most pilots in the country, I have been keeping an eye on the industry and especially about the hiring trend. It looks like there might actually be a light at the end of the tunnel as almost every regional airline is gearing up for another round of hiring. Hopefully the economy including the fuel prices, will stabilize enough to allow each pilot to get an opportunity to move forward in their career. As of right now, thousands of skilled professionals are standing on the sidelines, waiting to get back in a cockpit ; and for a pilot, not flying is almost like saying goodbye to a dream. That is mainly because in order to be marketable and competitive for an airline, pilots usually have to be current in their skills. The longer you are grounded, the smaller your chance of being hired gets. I have been contemplating the possibility to jump ship too but because I have worked hard to get to where I am, I do not want to make a random move, as you always know what you leave but never know what you will get. I have targeted a specific company called American Eagle, an entity of the AMR group, which also owns the industry giant American Airlines. I had previously applied in 2008 with 300 hours of experience, but was caught in the fall of the industry and just like other airlines, AE had stopped hiring suddenly. Three years later, I decided to resend an application thinking that my extensive cargo experience across the country would be a good fit. Plus, I really would like to fly passengers and not be always working on the back side of the clock… just a personal preference. And it seems like my perseverance paid off because today Eagle invited me to attend an interview session in Dallas, scheduled for January 6th. I am thrilled. This is definitely a step forward.
Being an airline pilot has its perks, like discount travel passes, but definitely has some less enjoyable sides, but are abviously a full part of the career. When everybody is looking forward to the end of the year because of the chance to have a bit of time off and gather with family for a great dinner watching 24 hours of Christmas story, most of us are working to make sure that everyone has a good time. While passenger airlines are trying to make sure they safely bring people to their winter destination, I with my fellow freight dogs are doing our best to get every packages under their dedicated christmas tree. I am really just trying to make it sound more glamorous than what it is. Maybe if we had some reindeer painted on the side of the plane and were allow to wear red outfits I would feel better about it. Truthfully, It is not always with a smile that I look at the situation. I haven’t been able to spend Christmas with my relatives in France for a few years and I do miss it. But I am lucky enough that my girlfriend understands and deals well with my schedule. I am at least able to be home at 2 in the morning on Christmas day for 24 hours and same thing for new year day. It is not much, but I have to admit that it is better than spending it completely alone, during a layover in an hotel room. With my one day off a week, I also face the complicated organization of getting the presents on time, and as always I have waited the last minute and spent more time waiting in line to pay than to find what I was looking for. Even after all the stress, I am still in a Christmas spirit, enjoying as best as I can my holiday season.