A Lance Captain is a captain qualified F/O. The top 8% are designated as L/C after they upgrade. They can pick up capt trips and get paid capt pay for those trips. Years ago they could seat swap with the capt if the capt was willing. Now they can only seat swap with a check airman.
L/C's try to give away their senior F/O trips and pick capt trips. They have the same recurrent training requirements as line Capt's.
To those SWA pilots, I'm not saying whether the LC is good or bad, just pointing out some pros & cons that folks can see for themselves....pls add your own perspectives to give new folks why it is viewed differently by different folks.
Lance Captain Pros:
1. Allows the company to have extra CAs available for contingency growth that could occur...(not as likely these days but it gives the strategic planners the option regardless).
2. Allows senior FOs to fly as CAs & still maintain their seniority as FOs, i.e. better bid lines they receive, vacation bidding, holidays off while flying CA trips (assuming they can give away their FO pairings/lines
3. All sorts of "trash" trips are picked up at much lower pay rates by LCs who are willing to fill their schedule with less dense/paying CA trips....these trips might be forced upon CAs as "junior available" trips
Many more positives also.
Cons about LC program
1. Less open time available in non-commuter bases since LCs pick up much of the extra flying. They are often the only ones legal to fly since their schedules are clean. Lower pay for CAs in non-commuter bases where CAs who like to pick up extra can't.
2. Base seniority overrides overall seniority....this is perceived by some as circumventing overall seniority....this is the way SWA's contract is written.
3. LCs who commute give away all of their "quality FO lines" & pick up out of domicile which is keeps CAs from picking up trips since often times the only folks legal are the LCs that have cleaned their boards off.
4. Quality FOs trips (high density) are chopped up & broken up....other FOs feed on these trips & fill their boards up with trips that prevent them from signing up for "company extra flying" which may result in higher "ja" (forced flying by junior pilots) rates for FOs since all the "slop" in the system has been absorbed by FOs picking up other trips from FOs vs. waiting for the company to call or bidding on extra fly trips from the company. (probably didn't explain that well, my apologies...rather confusing I'm sure)
Lots of discussions/opinions among pilots about whether the LC is good or bad....it has been with the company since the first day when 2 FOs were designated as LCs to cover extra flying for CAs. Hope that helps...