Swa Vs Jet Blue

NEO

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I would just like to pose the question... SWA or Jet Blue. I have a friend who is beyond lucky and has been placed in the "delima" of choosing between the two.
I just read an article from a Dallas newspaper about a Capt. at SWA who was retiring. He was only 56 years old and had been the most senior pilot for the past 19 years. He got that sweet deal because he took the risk and stayed with SWA from day 1.
Now, do you take the risk and go with the Blue and end up like that Capt. at SWA? Or go with a proven company that still has LOTS of room to grow, like SWA??

I have some questions for anyone out there smart on Jet Blue.

1. What is the current the pay scale and is it due for any large changes?

2. What kind of retirement plan does JB have?

3. What is the upgrade time?

4. Can anyone please dispell the myth that Jet Blue made a deal with Airbus so they would not have to make any payments on the jets until a later date?

I would appreciate any insight or info anyone has on why they would choose between the two. For those of you who met the Mar 13th decision board. Good luck and don't pass out holding your breath.
 

EvilJim

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So far so good!

NEO,

I started with jB in Feb and have my check ride tomorrow night. I have just been called by SWA and told I have 6 months to get the type to be in the pool. I don't plan to make that decision for at least 4-5 more months after I see what it is like on the line. Training is different than anything I went through in the Navy and the A320 is not like any other plane I have flown. Not bad, just different.

A lot of these questions have been answered in the past. I suggest you search for jetBlue and read all the threads, but here goes my opinion.

I will never have the opportunity to be <300 at any other airline ever. The possibility to be at the top is worth the chance. If it doesn't work out, I have at least made myself more competitive while most other majors are not hiring. Everything I have ever heard is Quality of Life and that equates to seniority. By the end of the year, I should be in the top 2/3 and after 2 years top 50%.

Current pay scale has been posted before, but it starts at about $55.oo /hour for the first 70 hours and then time and half for anything over 70. Capt pay is about $110/hr with the same deal. I don't have a pay scale with me, so the numbers are not exact. The average line is built around 83-85 hours with possiblity to ge more if you want it. I have heard that the goal is to match SWA in pay.

Retirement is a 401K with 3% matching upto 15% of your income or the max limit. Profit sharing last year was announced at 13.5%. Next year profit sharing will go to a different tax deffered account. Also, after the stock goes public, they have a stock purchase plan. 10% of salary at a 15% discount. This has a good potential to make a lot of money.

The company always says upgrade in about a year. Down here in training I have seen giys around the 8-10 month point in class.

We have bought most of our planes. Some of them are then sold to leasing companies and then leased back to us. We get a great deal from Airbus for committing and buying a lot of planes and we don't give up the money in one big chunk. It does sound like a little creative financing, but it makes a lot of money.

I based my decision so far on location of where I wanted to live and the QOL possibilities I said earlier, but here are some other perks.

New laptop computer, uniforms paid for, no type rating required, roll-on luggage.

It is free to apply and has been a great place so far.

Good luck to all,

Evil Jim
 

side stick-n

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NEO,

The choice is yours (or your friends). Only you can make the best decision for YOU. I'll try to answer your questions the best I can.

1. $50.96/hr $76.44/hr over 70 hrs. Plan on at least 81 hours/mo. for $52,896/yr plus $1.80 per diem. I don't expect any changes as the current pay rate is satisfactory to everyone I know. We just recieved in excess of a 30% pay raise in November which I will add was made retroactive to October 1st. We also recieved a generous profit sharing check the end of February.

2. No retirement plan as of yet. However, we do have a 401K with a company match up to 3%. Remember, we are young!!!! And don't forget the 6000 stock options. That "could" be worth more than ANY retirement plan.

3. Upgrade time is still less than 1 year.

4. The idea that Airbus has made a deal with jetBlue is completely false. We make payments EVERY month just like everyone else...........

We also have LOTS of room to grow. We have the same type of company as SWA only we have concentrated on point to point flying a opposed to short haul operations. Our corporate philosophies are very similar but our business concentration is different. Thus, we don't really compete for the same customer. I feel very lucky to be a part of this organization. Everything is great from upper management to the ones in the trenches. There are obviously some risk involved as we are only two years old. However, I think we have proven ourselves to our competitors, our investors and most importantly, our customers. I wish you the best of "luck" in your friends decision.
 

reepicheep

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Do you see many pilots who commute from the west coast.? How flexible is the scheduling - can you bunch your days on and off to mitigate the commute. Yes; I'm the one who keeps asking about LGB.
 

AlbieF15

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FYI...if I wasn't still flying Eagles in ANG (wanted week on/off type schedules) and could live in my domicile, I'd have done JetBlue.

SWA is great, but you will never be top 10% there. SWA flies more legs than JetBlue. JB actually has some decent layover lengths for a pax carrier...they don't dump you out of the plane at 11pm for a 9 am launch. Pref bidding vice hard lines means you at least get a vote in where you want to fly.

If you want to live in Texas, AZ, BWI, or Chicago....SWA is likely a better choice. If you like FLA, NY, east coast, or DC area (eventually) or LA...now you have a tough choice.

Retirement/job security was a big reason I went with FedEx. However...when I advise my mil buddies who are retiring, I tell them to take a good look at JB. If it fails--they still have retirement. If it takes off (and I believe it will) they get rapid advancement and senirority they'll never get anywhere else, and the chance to shape "the next big thing".

I'm easy to scoff at...I passed up a 7 Jan class with JB to go to FedEx. However...I had conflicting obligations and the desire NOT to live near any locations that weren't 2 hops away. FedEx gave me a great chance at a great career without having to move--so here I am. That disclaimer aside...I never even applied to SWA, but JB was very high on my list.

Good luck--you are a lucky SOB either way it works out.

Albie
 

Bluesuiter

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Albie, you seem to be favoring jetBlue for seniority reasons. SWA is planning on probably doubling in size over the next 10 years, this sounds like a lot of seniority fast. You may never become the top 10%, but schedules won't be bad for long with all that growth. You have to admit SWA is a safer bet. You chose FedEx for stability and retirement. SWA has had 30 years of profitability and never put any pilots on the street. Not to mention the retirement, no wait that was another airline.... How do you think jB will fare once the majors get healthy again and perhaps start targeting some of their routes?
 

flyairbusjets

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Hello all,

I am very envous of anyone with a job offer from SWA or JB, but to have to choose from both....you have a GREAT problem :)

Does any JB pilot know when the next classes in April and May are scheduled to start? How short are they for pilots? How big are the classes supposed to be?

Also, does anyone know how seniorty at JB is determined at DOH.....is it based on age or SSN or what??

How do the JB stock options work....IE do you have to buy them, or does the co. buy them for you? Also, if you have to buy them, how much will they cost, and can you buy all 6000 right away? Is there a minimum hold time before you can sell them?

The JB IPO has been announced, does anyone know when JB is actually planning on going public (issuing the stock)?

I'm VERY excited about JB! I know some VERY fine professionals who are there, and some with over 37 years in 121 aircarrier operations. They ALL are VERY happy, and firmly believe JB is here to stay, and will become a MAJOR player in US commerical avaition in the coming years ahead.

Congrats to anyone who is selected for interview or hire at jetBlue Airways!! Good luck Evil Jim on your JB checkride :)

Thanks in advance to anyone who replys with the information I am asking about above :)
 

AlbieF15

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Bluesuiter...

You are right....I was enomored with JB due to rapid upgrade. Capt in 2 years verses 5 sounds good to me. However...like I"ve said on the boards before: "SWA is taking over the world." Anyone going there will (likely) have a great job for many years to come. Never furloughed a pilot....also a nice plus. Great guys, good company PR, nice FAs....SWA ain't a bad place at all!

Now for JB...will they handle competition from DAL, etc.? IMHO, they have a better PRODUCT than most carriers. So...for the same money, more folks will fly on them vice some other carriers. DAL was actually cheaper on some flights to MCO than JB...but DAL had empty seats and JB was full...even without a FF program. I believe JB will make it not because of low wages, company harmony, etc., but because they offer a superior product to the consumer. I've flown mainline on NWA, DAL, and UAL as a paying pax, and I gotta say the seats and entertainment (food be darned) was much better on JB. If SWA goes for the throat on route verses route with JB, JB might have a problem. However...JB has picked routes around SWA strongholds and again....seat verses seat I think JB has a better PRODUCT than the mad-dash SWA seating.

Remember, however...I am just a humble fighter pilot who now flys rubber d*gsh!t in the middle of the night. I may just be wrong....

Albie
 

ivauir

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humble fighter pilot??????


Now I have seen everything:D
 

SpeedBird

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NEO, Bluesuiter, et al. (long post alert)

As others have said, you have a "big problem." :)

As usual Albie has some great words of advice in his post. I too have a friend in the AF (retirement eligible) who also has to make the same decision. Right now his biggest problem is trying to get the AF to release him from stop loss. But that another story.

Anyway, SWA is the undisputed king in airline success and consistent profitability. If we all had been lucky enough to get hired there before 1978, we would all have done extremely well financially (equal to, or better than all the majors), and the journey would have been incredible, in terms of watching the airline grow, and having a lot of fun.

By all means, this success was not pre-ordained, and SWA almost never got out of the starting gate. Those who did throw their hats in the SWA corner (either by choice, or fate) took on a huge amount of risk to stay with the airline when it was just a young, unproven intra-state carrier. Their reward has been equally as great. That is how the risk-reward relationship works. It is one of the immutable truths of business.

However, pilots who are lucky enough to gain employment with SWA today will never be able to reap the same level of rewards as the early "pioneers" did. Now listen, I'm not saying that SWA will not reward you well financially. They just won't be able to at the same magnitude as the "pioneers." What you give up in rewards though, is made back in job security. With SWA, you can't ask for anything better in this area.

Now, JB (IMO) represents the best opportunity, since SWA, for us to hook our wagons to the same star . Heck, even if JB could only achieve 50% of SWA's success, it will be one heck of a ride!
When I applied to JB I had spent a lot of time doing my due diligence beforehand. Because of my background as an MBA grad. I had the chance to study a lot of airline start-up failures, and believe me there was abundant material to read.

Using that as a backdrop, I evaluated JB using my own criteria from these other multiple failures. I won't go into an exhaustive SWOT analysis on this, but suffice it to say JB was (and still is) a very unique and capable start-up airline. The final factor for me in considering JB, was their exceptional senior management team.
This is probably the single biggest factor in why airline start-ups fail (not to mention lack of sufficient capital).

I was shocked when JB called me for an interview in the fall of 2000, and quickly accepted their job offer two months later. I have never looked back from that day with a single regret. This airline has far exceed my expectations in just about every way imaginable. The future looks great and with my relative seniority (<150), I've got to wear shades! :cool:

Now I have to wait and see if time makes me a genius or a bum.

All kidding aside, the bottomline to all this is based on personal preference, and risk tolerance. I accepted a greater level of perceived risk. I didn't do it blindly, but with careful consideration (and a lot of praying!) So far, it has been the right choice.

Again IMO, JB represents the chance "to grab the brass ring" financially speaking, but also to get some extremely good seniority that I could never get at any other airline (I'm 40). This will equate into excellent lifestyle benefits throughout my career.

Yes, SWA has the potential to double in size in the next decade. But at the same time, JB has the opportunity to triple or quadruple in size (see pending airplane orders). I believe that anyone who can get onboard JB within the next three years will be able to grab the brass ring, and be rewarded extremely well for their choice.

(SIDE NOTE)

1. Each new class that is hired is given a stock option strike price that is based on the relative book value of the airline. This means that each class that enters training will pay a higher strike price to exercise their options than the class ahead of them. "Full vesting" will take seven years at a rate of 10%/year in the first five years, then 25%/year in the last two years after the company goes public.

2. Seniority for new hires is based on your age in the class.

3. Yes Martha, you can commute from the west coast. I've done it, but I'm really looking forward to a western hub. It just means that you'll give up more days away from home commuting. I used to fly business/first class on UAL almost all the time from LAX to JFK (right into T6!). UAL's F/As took EXCELLENT care of me. I think I was able to benefit from the windfall of JB's liberal policy for F/A jumseating, but I still tell everybody it was because of my charming personality! THANKS UAL!

If you're not as convinced about JB's prospects and want to take a more secure path, then SWA is probably your cup of tea. Only you can make that choice in the final moment. Either way, for those of us who can get on with either of these fine airlines today, we will look back many years from now and pinch ourselves!:
 
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AlbieF15

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IF I wasn't humble before, the 727 FE checkout made me that way. Flows, checklists, stablizers....I'm not even flying and I'm screwing up. (But I learned how to wrap a mean water bottle with a napkin for the crew up front!) I'm still 650 knots of death and ego in my Eagle, but I freely admit I am in deep water in the 121 world. However...:D it won't take me long until I can do that better than anyone else, too.

Glad we got that cleared up :p

Albie
 

inline

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To Albief15: bet it will be fun and games for the poor F.O. in your cockpit IF you ever upgrade to captain. What a blowhard.
 

InHot

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inline:

Chill!

The guy's telling everybody he's new at 121 ops, it's hard, but he'll suceed.

Sooo many negative waves out there Moriarity!
 

JayDub

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A few quick points:

1. Don't forget to look at the work rules. JB gets paid block or actual, whicever is higher. SWA doesn't do that. I don't have a complete analysis of the differences, but I bet one of the other guys do. That make make a huge difference in pay. Not to mention getting time and a half for anything over 70 hours.

2. Excellent post Speedbird!

3. Hey EvilJim, how'd it go yesterday? The sim broke on my buddy, but he made it through.

4. Inline, LIGHTEN UP FRANCIS!!!!!
 

SpeedBird

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Inline:

I think you're being too harsh on Albie. It looks like you're a fairly recent arrival to this board so perhaps you don't have the same perspective as I do. But Albie is one of the best contributors to these boards.

He has provided a lot of great information, advice, and sound opinions regarding many issues most of us find important, and the main reason for coming to these boards in the first place. Above all, he can be self-deprecating about his fighter-pilot pedigree as a way of diffusing some stubborn myths about fighter pilots in general.

I recommend you take some time and search out Albie's old posts from the last year or so. Not only will you get a better idea of who he is, but you'll probably pick up some good info you can stick in your hat, so to speak.

The only thing about Albie that I'm ticked off with is that he went with FedEx instead of jetBlue! Nevertheless, I'll forgive him of that "mistake." :D :D :D
 

SWA/FO

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Hey Albief15,

I will be in the top 1% of the seniority list at SWA when I am near 60. But I have been told that I will probably choose to retire early, like many do.

JetBlue is a good company. We had an ex-JetBlue guy in my new hire class at SWA. He said "he wanted to go with a sure thing" (living in Chicago weighed in his decision). He had nothing bad to say about JetBlue when asked.

I would not believe everything you read (Air, inc.) about pay at SWA. I just flew with a Captain that has been with the company for 6 years. He said "last year, with pay and stock options (that he cashed in) he made 167,000. Thats not to shabby guys.. Plus a new contract is around the corner.

Now be nice to me....

SWA / FO
 

Mr.Aviation

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Hey SWA/FO,

You WILL retire early because at fifty you will look and feel eighty due to the 8 leg days and 20 miniute turns. Not to mention the lack of automation use by SWA. Oh, did I mention no crew meals? I get tired just thinking about your career. I would go with jetBlue over SWA any day! There is more to a career than just going with the long term sure bet!
 

DCAA320

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Hey Inline,
Albie was just trying to be funny, guess he better keep his day job.

Hey AlbieF15,
You can be my wingman anytime :)


D
 

mvi

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Mr.Aviation said:
Hey SWA/FO,

You WILL retire early because at fifty you will look and feel eighty due to the 8 leg days and 20 miniute turns. Not to mention the lack of automation use by SWA. Oh, did I mention no crew meals? I get tired just thinking about your career. I would go with jetBlue over SWA any day! There is more to a career than just going with the long term sure bet!
Get a clue Mr. Aviation. Who do you work for now?
 
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