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Corporate Vs. Charter

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Yankee Air Pirate
Apr 10, 2005
Hey folks, just wanted to see if I could pick your brains on a probable decision:

For the past year I have been working as an F/O for a charter company flying various jets and my primary A/C; the G2/3 of which I am typed on. I love the jet, the type of missions as well as the fact that we fly with FAs. I've seen your posts on how all 135 companies are just money hungry crooks and don't care much for the pilots and after being exposed in all levels of the operation, I'd have to say that this outfit is no exception. I've turned down offers on P91 outfits to fly smaller jets for bigger pay because of a sense of loyalty for the company. From time to time, I have regretted those decisions. Now it has come around once again and I have been offered to fly a P91 Citation Ultra/Excel for more $ and 15 minutes away from home, compared to the one day commute I have to drive to and from my current job and stay at a crashpad. The P91 company is very stable and is a multi billion dollar operation looking to add a Falcon50 to the fleet in the next year. The flights are m-f with weekends and holidays off compared to 2 weeks on, 5 days off with the present company. The decision is a bit blurry for me because I love the Gucci jet I'm assigned to. I am at the top of the seniority list and will be the next one due to upgrade to a G4 with type when the time comes in the next year or two. I would love to find a contract position to keep my Gulfstream habit fed during the weekends while I fly Citations on the weekdays but I do not know how feasable that would be for a prospective contract employer..I know for a fact my current employer will probably burn my bridge if I make the transition. So my question to you, friends, is what would YOU do if this was your career?
The present company pays less, however has the capability of making Per Diem and tips. All $ sources considered, the P91 outfit probably pays anywhere from 3k-10k more per annum. Time off is almost the same as the present company is 20 on, 10 off or split into 5x5 off. The P91 outfit has every weekend and holiday off. The present company has its fair share of standby time and the P91 outfit flies hard schedules daily, M-F.

The P91 outfit types all Crew Members on all their A/C, free from contracts. The current company asks for 2 years for initial and 1 year for recurrent. It may also be fair to note that the reputation of the P91 outfit far exceeds that of the present company. Stability would definitely be awarded to the P91 outfit.
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Part 91 is far better in terms of QOL. You don't say how old you are, if you're young and able to put up with the lifestyle for a few more years, the G4 type is extremely valuable, as you know. However there's no guarantee that will happen- the 135 outfit could go out of business or fire you for no reason.

If you plan on getting and staying married, or even if you don't, the Part 91 gig is probably the way to go. the best plane to fly is the one that pays the most.
This one sounds like a no-brainer to me. Go with the Part 91 job. I doubt you'll be able to earn enough per-diem at your current job to outweigh the salary increase at the Part 91 gig (even though the per-diem is tax free.) Most 135 gigs end up like a abusive relationship...."I like this part so I'll just put up with the stuff that bugs the crap out of me." What do you think these 135 operators would do if it was their decision to make? Furthermore...a smaller plane doesn't have to equate to a smaller salary. Upgrade in the G4 with your current employer and you'll be dealing with all of their problems in Geneva instead of Wichita. Doesn't sound like much fun. Look out for #1 cause nobody else will.
Your sense of loyalty to your current employer is very admirable. However, how much loyalty do they afford you? It's a two way street and more often than not 135 operators will cut and run without blinking an eye. Sure they have to train you (more than likely paid by the A/C owner...not 135 Co.)....but that's the nature of the beast in this business. I would make every attempt to reach my commitment but sometimes you have to leave sooner.
I'd go with the 91 operator also (in fact, I'd love to find a job like that!).

Some of you talk about per diem as additional income. I've always thought of it as covering my expenses on the road, and since I like to eat and drink well, it is usually a wash (at best!). Am I the only one who feels this way?

Or maybe you get per diem *and* your meal and incidentals paid for at the 135 operator?
Dude, for what it's worth....

An airplane is an airplane. The only thing in your way is ego.

Part 135 will always be the whores of the industry - I don't mean this in an insulting way to you - I flew 135 also, and while I liked the airplane, we were beat down like a junkyard dog.

Part 91 is easy flying. Really. Not to say those of you working Part 91 don't work hard, you do. But compared to 135 trips, Part 91 trips are easier on your body, your psyche, and your personal life.

Now let me contradict myself! If you're happy in what you're doing, why change? Sure the money may be better - money does not buy happiness. The no commuting thing - I hear you loud and clear.

A lot of people like to pimp the stability card. BREAKING NEWS: There is no real stability anywhere: Fortune 50 Flight Department, 60 yr old charter company, Southwest Airlines, FedEx. What looks great today could very easily be garbage tomorrow.

Bottom line: do what you love. If you love the G3 more than you hate commuting and lower pay, stay with the company you're at. If you want (relatively) easier flying and better pay with no commute, take the 91 gig.

I left a high-paying, left seat, Part 135 job to fly for the regionals simply because it makes me happy. Everything else will work itself out.

Good luck to you whatever you decide - please let us know what you decided!
Burn Baby Burn!!!

If you know your current employer will "burn your bridge" if you leave then kill 'em with kindness and take the high road when and if it comes time to leave. Companies like this don't deserve well meaning people like yourself. Contrary to popular belief...my limited experiece has shown me that a lot of the people that are in charge of hiring understand how these SCUM BAG operators work and will understand the situation after a brief explaination. Your superiors' reference at the Part 91 job will carry more weight in the future anyway. Good luck!

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