Each company would probably rate as one of the better regionals to be at in todays economy. If you are fortunate enough to be hired by both of them right now, here's a brief look at some of the factors.
1. Bases. Comair has CVG and MCO and may be opening up DFW based on the rumor mill. Also, their MCO base is rumored to be on the chopping block. ACA has IAD, ORD, LGA, BOS and CVG. If you live near one of these cities, it will make a great difference in your quality of life in your first couple years at these airlines, versus having to commute. Note at ACA you may not get your base of choice, but within a year you should be able to transfer there.
Also don't base whether you take a job at Comair on the rumor they may open DFW - you'll learn quickly in this business how fast rumors fly...
2. Reserve. I understand reserve at Comair is a fairly lengthy process. At ACA it goes in cycles but not too many new hires spend more than 2-3 months on reserve. It makes a huge difference in your first year enjoyment at the airlinesif you are able to hold a line, get into a groove, and more than the reserve guarantee (which would probably be capped at 80 - lineholders typically will get more pay, as well as perdiem, which can be upwards of $400/mo). Also note ACA reservists tend to fly a lot, versus I've spoken to some Comair folks who fly every 2 weeks on reserve.
3. Work rules. Comair's contract probably set the standard for regionals right now. ACA's contract isn't bad either.
4. Training. ACA has improved a lot in the last year. Most people at ACA who show any sort of aptitude and enthusiasm for the job are getting thru. Don't know much about Comair.
5. Upgrades. Both companies are running probably 2-2.5yrs to upgrade. Can't speak much for the future, but it will be a fairly long process. ACA hasn't had a system-wide rolling bid come out in almost a year, and there's a lot of frustration built up in the pilot corps on that issue. I don't know exactly how Comair is progressing with their upgrades, but it is probably similar.
Pilot Depedability Program: you call in sick more than 7 times in any rolling year, you're fired
you check in late more than 3 times in any rolling year, you're fired
yes, its FAA approved and in our ops manual, of course the union will fight any enforcement action initiated by the company since the policy is not in our contract, but it still makes a pilot weigh his/her fitness for flight. A pilot shouldnt be faced with that decision.
ACA is looking for a new System Chief pilot and not many, if any, "top of the list" line pilots want the job.
Commuting policy: i dont know if Comair got one with the last contract, but at ACA you list on a flight with a back up flight and you are unable to get on those flights, you are not held accountable for missing your trip. The flights you list on must be flights that ACA can track, ie. Delta, United.
Junior manning: At ACA when you get done with a 4 day trip looking forward to 3 or 4 days off, scheduling cant touch you. They can extend you on the last day (ie. another round trip with premium pay, 150% first two times, 200% each time thereafter in a month) but you do not get extended into a day off and/or they cannot call you on a day off to "draft" you for a trip. Your day off is a day off, unless you want to pick up open time
Schedules: Word is out the we are to be getting new software to "optimize" the lines, however, we have been hearing that it is in the company's best interest to build productive lines for more than a year.
Fleet plans are unstable at ACA due to the Dornier insolvency and no recent word has been brought forward from the company on intentions.
United is a BIG piece of the ACA pie. United is VERY unstable.
Rumours starting that our Charter operation is a flop and wont be around for long.
We are hiring like crazy, but those hired could be the "furlough cushion" if things take a turn for the worst with fleet plans and United.
Just the facts, including rumours, Good luck with your decision!
-The only base you will assigned to is CVG, no one goes to MCO.
-You're going to fly the jet, the CRJ.
-I was hired in Nov 01, after two months training, and three months on reserve I now have a line, time on reserve depends on hiring.
-commuter clause, list on two flights if you don't make it no penalty, just keep skeds up to date.
-don't know how many times you can be late, but if you can't show up on time you don't belong at Comair.
-training was great, everyone wants you to make it, if you're having trouble there are lots of people to help.
-even on reserve I had no trouble commuting home, skeds will normally release you toward the end of your window to commute home.
-you get a Delta pass card with the same travel benefits as any Delta mainline pilot, don't know if ACA gets the same. Non-rev is much better than trying to jumpseat.
-the planned hiring is over 600 pilots in 2002-2003.
- great place to be, hope this helps.