FedEx is NOT mostly night flying anymore, with the USPS contract. Most FedEx pilots are flying widebody aircraft and many of them fly international. Domestic trips range from half-day "out and backs" to week long trips (many with commercial deadheads front and back, FedEx pilots contract does not allow deadheads to be scheduled on company aircraft, so you have a real ticket always, whether or not you choose to use it).
The above schedules can be day or night with a lot of variation in amount of duty/day, etc.
International schedules range from 8 day lines flying trips to Europe and back (each trip is 2 days long and you do 4 or so) to 14 day trips that span the globe, with everything inbetween.
My first two years at Airborne I used to get defensive about, "Well that's nice, but when are you going to try for the majors?" I guess it's something that comes with maturity, now I don't waste my time explaining; I just smile.
Hungrypilot the schedules are closer to week on, week off. But three times this year I have matched up reserve blocks to give myself 30 days off without taking any vacation. You either deal with nights or you hate them. We have two guys leaving for Southwest. One wants 4 on/ 3 off, the other is a 767 captain, who decided he can't do nights.
The reason most people don't know alot about the express carriers is because you don't see too many of us constantly rambling on internet message boards. Guys at UPS, FedEx, and Airborne make good money and spend a lot of time on boats, planes and taking vacations with families. The bulk of guys you do hear from don't spend alot of time complaining about their job. There is a reason our business is the 'secret of the industry.'
You can either be a FreightDog or a Terminal Peacock. There is absolutley no glamor in flying the backside of the clock, but there are perks that many people don't know about. Every job has its pros and cons.
Before I went to pax hauling I flew freight as a feeder to UPS, DHL, ABEX, etc., and I echo the comments that there are many benefits that are overlooked. Here's one I just learned that is causing me to give consideration to go back to freight: security checks. Removing my shoes, watch, cell phone battery from the phone, laptop computer, change, etc. only to turn around and set off the scanner and have to be wanded, frisked (oh, that felt good), and de-belted. It feels good to be so trusted to an airliner full of passengers.
Unfortunately, alot of us in the freight world have to commercial to/from work. And though they can't profile for race, sex, or for being on an expired visa from Saudi Arabia, they can profile you for buying a one way ticket or paying the same day that you travel. I am currently about 7 for 9 in getting "randomly" searched at the gate since 9/11.
The fix would be so easy - don't randomly search anyone with a valid airline ID. But that would make too much sense.....
The other day I went through security at MIA and BOS I was commercialling in uniform to work with a one-way e-ticket. When I got to security I just undressed to my pants and shirt. Everything else I sent through the "scanner" shoes included. The security people just smiled and said "your learning" and I went on my merry way no bag check or anything.
"Oh No not the dreaded real Airline Pilot Crap" It cracks me up when I hear this. Im flying a heavy jet which non of my friends were flying prior to 9/11. Come to think about it, none of my friends are flying now because they have all been FURLOUGHED!!!
As for the night thing, I personally don't care for it. Fed-ex has way more day flying than we do. That is probably the major sticking point at my job is the lack of day flying. The other side of the coin is the 4:30 to 5:00 am wake up calls at the pax carriers. The lesser of the two evils is the night flying for me. I usually fly 25 hours a month and get paid for 75 hours compared to my friends who were flying 80+ hours a month. The night flying is a little less stressful. We usually get direct and if I was told to hold I think I would have to declare an emergency. On the other side, we don't have any of those cutie F/A's on board. I know my wife likes that one!!
The pay is usually pretty close at all the majors. Someone gets a new contract and leap frogs over all the others. You just have to be willing to wait your turn.
I had two offers from major pax carriers but still chose my airline. It's kind of funny now that I think about it. If I had chose either of those two offers, I would be flipping burgers instead of making 85,000 and flying a heavy jet!!
Don't you dare let my wife see your post. She has just accepted the fact that if her husband is going to fly big airplanes for a living that the FA's are just part of it. She will have me applying to your company in a heartbeat.
That's what she thinks....wait till you run into one of our flight attendants on a layover-they love cargo pilot's. I guess they figure that you are fresh meat. I had a Lear driver once stop me and ask if I knew so and so with my company. I happen to know her fairly well, he proceded to tell me about the details of a night past, more than I wanted to know. When he was finished I said ,"I know her pretty well, she's my wife." You should have seen him drop his teeth. I said bye and turned and left---poor guy--my real wife loved that--I saw the FA a few days later and related the story to her. She said he deserved it-must not have been too good of night for her. Fun and Games.