In the decade before 2020, some may have doubted that hiring and growth could do anything but skyrocket. In the airline world, pilots were leaving one legacy for another or making the move from ULCC to legacy without hesitation. Why not work for the dream company or have the ideal domicile?
Then came the summer of 2020, filled with uncertainty for everyone. In corporate flying, many were concerned that face-to-face meetings would be avoided, making flight departments far less critical and therefor easier to cut. In the airlines, large numbers of furloughs were certain at every carrier.
Those who had seniority or job security of any kind seemed to be thankful for it. Those who didn’t, planned for the worst, including looking for options outside of flying. I believed that the deep cuts we anticipated at most airlines would have been enough to compel those who were thinking of making a jump, to stay put and enjoy what job security they had.
Fast-forward to just a year later, and the short memory of pilots is more evident than ever. Pilots are back to jumping around from ULCC to legacy, from one legacy to another, from legacy to cargo, etc. It is as if the tenure they have with an airline can easily be replaced at another one.
Do pilots have the impression that nothing more can happen to turn the industry upside down again? A look at the rest of the world shows a very different situation than that found in the U.S. Things are very slowly starting to show signs of improvement outside of the U.S., so the idea of leaving any kind of flying position for the most junior spot should be unthinkable.
If you are a pilot who finds yourself in a position of deciding to make a move, likely you have talked to friends in the industry to get their opinions. This is a good first step. But keep in mind that often, friends will offer support yet be less likely to provide help in making a decision. A great resource to consider is Professional Pilots of Tomorrow (theppot.org). PPOT is a mentorship organization that will pair a mentor with a mentee to provide guidance through that decision process of whether to make a move. One of the greatest offerings that PPOT has is a large network of pilots across the entire industry, airline and non-airline, who are equipped to offer counsel and are excited to talk to you.
A career move is never one that should be taken lightly. If you are hesitant to reach out to someone, consider what you have to lose and what you have to gain. You can only benefit from learning others’ perspectives. Those who will be honest with you, who may phrase things differently from your friends and family, and who may potentially give you new ways to look at things can only help you make sound decisions – decisions that you will live with for the rest of your life.