It's a tough time to be in the airline industry, but the good times are normally very short lived anyway. The economy was already having a huge negative impact upon all of them, then the spike in oil just drove more nails into the coffins, with no end in sight. I'm a first officer (copilot is the hollywood term) on a 50 seat 'RJ', and just found out today I'm going to be laid off, AGAIN for the second time in 7 years in this darn industry. Timeline was just 'summer or fall'. It took me 3 years to get back into the industry after the last layoff as jobs were so scarce. Since this is a seniority based industry, that means I lose all those years spent working my way up from the bottom. It's not like other jobs where you can make lateral moves based on experience, here you start of the bottom no matter what, bottom pay, bottom schedules, etc. I nearly went bankrupt last time, and my wife and I are still pulling ourselves out of the debt incurred from that whole mess. Ugh!
This time though, I saw the writing on the wall, and my wife and I decided it was best to move back to our hometown of SLC asap, from where I'd just commute to work into Houston every week (ie I won't be home hardly ever). It's home though, that's where friends and family is, and we might need the support structure and job connections. Last time this happened it of course caught us by surprise, and we were in Portland where we didn't know a soul, and it nearly destroyed us. So at least this time I had a feeling and was able to plan a move just in the nick of time.
People have many misconceptions about it being a high paid and glamorous job. If you work for Fedex or UPS, it might be, but those are 1 in 1000 pilots that get those positions, and you have to know someone on the inside to 'sponsor' you. And here at the 'regional' level, we get paid peanuts. Seriously. But you have to put your years in here just to have a sliver of hope of moving up in the industry, hoping all the while to not get caught by a furlough. If so, you lose what you've built up.
I'm very seriously considering leaving this god-forsaken industry all-together. After working in it for 13 years, I'm going to have to start over at the bottom again after this. Back to wages I made 13 years ago, for the second time. This job really does destroy families and finances. Well, since my degree is in av, I may have to go back to school, in my 30's for crying out loud, with no idea what else I would do, as this is all I know. At this rate I'll never own a house of my own. My poor wife is in shambles. She's sick of being poor, of moving cross country, of lack of stability, never seeing me. Ugh. I have no clue where to go from here. Sorry for the rant guys, but thanks for listening.