I started my career at WestJet Airlines in May of 2000 with 5029 hours most of it PIC (Pilot-In-Command) and about half of it turbine experience. I did a lot of sched and medivac flights up in the arctic for the 2 years prior to joining WestJet.
The Boeing 737-200A Ground School was 3 weeks long followed by 24 training hours Cockpit Procedures Training (CPT) and 24 hours Full Flight Simulator (FFS) at United Airline's Training Center in Denver. Each session is 4 hours in length. We now have our own Simulators (B737-200 and -700) which makes things easier. We have to do a ride every year and the 6-month ride is actually a LOFT session, which takes some of the heat off 'ride-it-is'.
As far as working conditions at WestJet, we are allowed to be blocked up to 85 credit hours per month with overtime paid after 80 hours, or simply a 18 working day max, whichever comes first. In the average month I work 70 hours which takes up about 15 flying days a month. There is overtime available if you want it, and we just let our Crew Sched know if we want this extra time and $. There is no reserve at WestJet which suits me fine. We bid for days off and so far I haven't been turned down. The pay is good and the stock options and share purchase program is very generous. We get dental, medical, eye, and disability coverage, and the company pays for uniforms, Jepp Plates, and all of your medicals.
Travel privileges - we get to fly for free if we wear the uniform, otherwise it is $8.00 for anywhere you can get to in one day. This applies to spouses and children up to the age 21 as well. Parents fly for $25.00 standby anytime and you get 12 standby buddy passes each year to dole out to friends and family.
Pairings (Shifts) are anywhere between one and three days - the majority being three days. We do overnights in every city we fly to except for Fort McMurray, Ottawa, and Thunder Bay, although this may change as we grow. You can almost count on two weekends off a month and working either Christmas or New Years Eve but not both.
The company is young, growing, and profitable which makes it a very energetic and happy place to work. There is a real team effort, and everyone pitches in to make things run as smooth as possible. I think we have a bright future and it will still be a great 'ground-floor' opportunity for the next five years or so.
The 737-200 is a fantastic airplane to fly and a real pilot's aircraft. Having done some of the 700 training I can tell you it's an amazing aircraft. It can fly all the way from St Johns NFLD to Port Hardy, BC and hold Vancouver as an alternate, has 140 seats with lots of legroom and is super quiet. Now if they could only develop a flightdeck that you could actually stand up in. They are both very stable and can haul a good load. The flight crews are excellent to work with and it's a joy to be working with such upbeat people.
Come work for WestJet - you won't regret it and you'll never look back!
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