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NW Airlink / Pinnacle

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Mar 6, 2002
Does anyone have any info on this airline? I know very little about them. I'm most interested in schedules, upgrade times, NW flight benefits, and training contract (if any).

What would you do if you were offered a class date in the near future with NW Airlink, but you had an offer from Comair as well (Comair class date sometime in the next few month)? Both would be CRJ opportunities.
Schedules at Airlink are generally pretty bad (unless you are in the top 20% of your bid group). Preferential bidding is supposed to be implemented soon (sometime in the next year) but I don't think that will make the situation any better.

Upgrade times vary month to month. A couple months ago they were taking upgrades off of the very bottom of the list but this most recent vacancy needed 2.5 years with the company. There are alot of very senior FO's that don't yet have the total time to upgrade (3500 or 3000 with 500 hours in type) plus many more very senior Saab crews that will all be trasitioning by the end of the year so its always a mystery what the vacancies will look like.

We do get NW flight benefits, $12.50/domestic leg and varied rates for international and hawaii. Cockpit jumpseating on NW is also nice.

There are training contracts and PFT. If you have over 1500/300 you dont have to worry about either of them but if you are between 1200/200 and 1500/300 you will have to make a $10,000 payment to be paid back by the company over the next 30 months. Less than 1200/200 and you just have to pay the 10 grand (unless you are from Gulfstream). There is no pay in training, which can last up to 3 months, and lodging is not provided.

There is alot of growth planed at Pinnacle but in general it is a lousy place to work.
One good thing about Pinnacle is that there really aren't that many lifers. With the exception of some of the old Saab Captain's. That's good in that people will continually leave to the big nationals and majors in the coming years when they all start hiring again. Thus you will be able to move up the seniority list faster and upgrade faster.

But I sense a lot will become lifers now that they are comfortable in an RJ. And a good portion of the guys I've seen here don't even have a college degree, much less a 4-year degree. What a shame, what a sad loss to their careers.
DoinTime said:

There are training contracts and PFT.
There is alot of growth planed at Pinnacle but in general it is a lousy place to work.

Sort of funny how PFT and "lousy place to work" go together, Huh?

I've known a few Pinnacle pilots (hired in at well above minimum quals) who were first rate. They professed to hate PFT, so I can only imaging that cockpit environments can get a little frigid.

The new PFT'ers from GIA is causing a litlle bit of a disturbance in the pilot group. More so when many of us have walked in resumes for our friends with times well above the minimum's. Cannot say I understand the corporate thinking.

We do not have many lifer's so to speak, but if you want to be based in MEM you better plan on being a lifer as that will be the only way to hold a line.

Our growth varies, despite popular belief. Some months we get several new cities then a month or two later we lose many established cities. Basically we are the test carrier for mainline. IF a market preforms well, they replace us usually with a bus. If the market is strong and has many gold and better members the RJ-85 comes into the market.

We are losing all of the Saabs and many of the Saab routes, so I really do not see the validity of growth for this year. Maybe it will be better next year.

With that, schedules are mostly non-commutable unless you are in the top 30% of the senority list (about 3 years or so). It is also hard to say as just about every 2nd or 3rd month we get a decent schedule, the other months the schedules are pure crap. They blame it on NWA planning but it seems that they rather have an angry pilot group then a satisfied one.

Reserve is running about 6 months as a FO, Captain runs 6+ in MEM, 14-18 months in MSP, and 14 months in DTW and since all Saab people will be in the jet by the end of the year expect those number to increase rapidly. You need 3000 with 500 in type to upgrade, there are some anomalies that have upgrades in less time, but you will be seeing them sit reserve for a very long time in the months to come.

NW flight beneifts are ok... basically everyone jumpseats to save the $$$. When you are paid $19.54 with 75 hours guarantee and basically cannot make anymore money until you can hold a line (6-8 months) the $25.00 r/t is like gold. Certain locations are tough to jumpseat to and from as mainline guys do the same thing.

I really cannot complain about the pass beneifts but if you plan on going somewhere outside of the US it can get quite expensive really quick... HNL is about $60, Caribbean is $90, Mexico is about $110, Europe and Asia runs about $135 R/T in coach.

Training contract... yes it does exist... less than 1500/300 you are paying something like $10K payable back to you over 2 years or something similar. I really doubt though they will look at anyone less than 1500/300, why? take a look at this link.


we are the "codeshare" that has taken 37 so far, so why take from the street when they already have a "pool" pf proven PFT'ers?
PositiveRate said:

What would you do if you were offered a class date in the near future with NW Airlink, but you had an offer from Comair as well (Comair class date sometime in the next few month)? Both would be CRJ opportunities.

go with comair...

schedules: reserve for about six months, max of six ready reserves per month, six hours each. preferential bidding system; you construct and bid your own schedule in seniority order.

upgrade: the days of fast upgrades are over. expect about 2 years to upgrade, and then be on reserve again.

flight bennies: same as DAL. best in the industry. can you say "free travel"?

tng contract: non-existent

of course you probably knew all of this, esp. if you have been hired already...

it's a no-brainer, unless you want to live in MSP or DTW...

Yeah, I was hired by Comair back in March and am just waiting on a class date. Actually, after reading this thread, I feel stupid for even asking. I think my impatience got the best of me and when I heard CRJ and class this friday I got all excited, but NW Airlink sounds like a place to be avoided, not pursued.

Thanks for all the info and advise from all the NW'ers....
be patient dude...comair will call. at this stage of the game you don't want to make a mistake that you will regret for 4 or 5 years or the rest of your career for that matter...

you will LOVE it at OH...best regional on this side of the miss!
Patience....haha...I'm being forced to embrace it as I get older. I'm really looking forward to Comair...I know it will be great! Just seeing the comparisons between the 2 airlines makes me more than comfortable to sit around for a lot longer. How does it go...? "I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid..."

Thanks again.

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