Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hurry up and wait

Six days. That's the most consecutive days I can work. I don't do it often. Most schedules are built 4 on 3 off. Every now and then the stars align....or unalign....and I end up working 6 days straight.

Work started on Tuesday June 22nd and ended on Sunday June 28th. Each day I had morning airport reserve assigned.

Tuesday wasn't bad. Eight hours of standby and I went home.

Wednesday was busy. A flight was supposed to leave at 7:35AM. The First Officer for the flight signed in for his flight more than an hour prior. At 7:37 my phone rang. The First Officer was a no show. Must have had a family emergency.

I grabbed my things and made my way out to the plane. Just twenty-one minutes later we were on our way. Long turn. Blocked back in to base at 2:10PM. Done for the day. Total duty 8 hours 10 minutes. Total flying for the week 5 hours 29 minutes.

Thursday....just 8 hours of airport reserve. This was great as I was able to go to a Doctor visit with my wife and pick up my family flying in for our baby shower.

Friday. Clocked in at 6 AM for airport reserve. At 9AM I was called for a deadhead to an outstation to pick up a plane and ferry it right back. The deadhead flight was running late. Instead of leaving at 9:40AM the flight blocked out at 11:00AM.

Once we landed I had a voicemail. I was to deadhead back on the same plane I deadheaded in on (departing at 12:15PM). My flight was cancelled. Nice. Not Nice? The flight was oversold. I was on standby. Went out full with a deadheading pilot in the jump seat. I would have to wait.

This is where things started to suck.

Weather moved in. The next flight was supposed to leave at 1:40PM. Delayed. I checked scheduling on my computer .They were out of Captains and had started Junior Manning. Passengers began arriving. Small airport. My airline is the only scheduled carrier. Small waiting area. As each hour ticked by the passengers grew more and more upset. By 4PM I was tired.

My phone rang. I didn't answer. It was scheduling. I'm not required to answer. After literally 6 phone calls I finally gave in.....foolishly. Since they now had me on tape (all calls recorded) and positive contact, I was assigned to fly a ferry flight back leaving at 6:30PM. Not happy. Tired. Hungry.

I made my way to the hangar. The plane was almost ready. Stashed my bags on board and headed to their breakroom. A few minutes later I was "enjoying" a mushy hot Hot Pocket,a V8 and a bag of mixed nuts.

The Captain was still at the hotel.  I called and verified he was on his way. ETA 5:15PM. It was just 4:20PM.

Not much I could do. I fired up the APU and began preflighting the plane, programming the FMS and preflighting the cabin (since we had no flight attendant on board I had to make sure all the safety equipment was there).

That took all of 20 minutes. I made my way to the cabin and air from the packs made for a nice relaxing space.

Captain arrived at 5:20PM. We blocked out at 5:48PM.....right behind us? The deadhead flight I was supposed to be on.

After landing in base, we parked the plane on a pad instead of a gate. This annoyed me. Scheduling assigned me to fly a plane back that wasn't going anywhere? Later I learned it sat on that pad for over 30 hours. Nice. Blocked in at 6:44PM. Total duty 12 hours 59 minutes.

Saturday started with a 6AM sign in. Tired already. Called at 9:40AM for a 11:35AM departure. Another 5 hour plus turn. At the outstation it looked like it was going to be a very long day.

After we blocked in to the outstation(11 minutes early) the flight attendant opened the main cabin door. I then heard a very loud crash. Something abnormal happened.

The door on my plane has integrated stairs. A motor assist the door in closing and opening. When the door is first opened gravity takes the door most of the way down. The last few feet a motor helps slow down the fall and kicks out a wheel for the door to sit on.

The motor didn't kick in and the wheel didn't kick out. Not good.

What was good was that a contract mechanic just happened to be at the gate when we arrived and was talking to a ramp manager. Both were watching us come in. The mechanic saw the entire thing happened. He immediately started looking at the door. After the passengers were off we tested the door. The motor brought the door up fine, but when lowering it never slowed down the motion. The wheel DID kick out properly though.

The mechanic inspected the door then got on the phone with my airline to get a MEL for the lowering issue. We blocked out 2 minutes early.

Tired. Really tired. Flew Mach .83 for most of the way back. Blocked in 25 minutes early at 5:02 PM. Total duty 11 hours 17 minutes. Total flying for the week so far, 11 hours 50 minutes.

Sunday I was really hoping to not work. Six AM sign in for airport reserve. At 9:40AM I was called for an odd assignment. Fly to an out station then fly to another base and deadhead home. Something was fishy.

This out station is normally served by another regional carrier. More over there were only 20 passengers on the first flight and 1 passenger on the second flight. Why send my plane? Because they needed my plane in another base and this was a way of getting in there without losing money on a ferry.

Blocked out for the first leg at 11:00AM. An hour and 10 minutes later I was turning base to final on a visual approach for runway 20.

It had been over a year since the Captain or I had been there. During the rollout we both looked over at A terminal and noted how empty it looked. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the tail of an the new fancy terminal across the field.

After blocking in we were told there was a ground stop at the next airport. Instead of one passenger we had super high tier frequent flier and 2 nonrevs. Another revenue flight was delayed....with empty seats...going to the same base. Hmmm whatever.

Captain and I grabbed lunch. Ground stop lifted. Blocked out at 12:54PM...right behind the other revenue flight.

Right before takeoff, the other flight got a reroute. Good as they would be out of our way.

All attempts to fly fast failed. Congested airspace. Not only were we slowed to 250 knots at FL310, but we were given no less than 3, 90 degree turns to reduce the spacing.

Eventually we were lined up for a 22 mile final. Windshear reports were coming out. Ten knots plus and minus during the flare reported by a 737.

Our approach turned out busy, but fine. Blocked in at 2:26PM. I was initially supposed to catch a 2:45PM deadhead on mainline home. Lucky for me it was delayed.

I grabbed dinner and found an empty gate. My deadhead was overbooked and I was on standby. Standby you ask? But you're deadheading!

Sometime ago flight crews at my airline were always "positive" space on deadheads. Positive space means a seat is either reserved or a paying passenger is bumped for the flight crew member. Then some bean counter got upset as they were losing money by bumping paying passengers.

Now flight crews are positive space IF, upon reaching the destination, there is a flight assignment for them (meaning they are going to work a flight). If there is no flight assignment waiting for them, then they are standby.....the top of standby.....but still standby.

Tired. This was my day 6. Flight crews can only work 6 consecutive days. On the 7th day they MUST be free from all duties. This includes deadheading. If I didn't get on a flight I would be stuck in this base on my day off. I would get an extra day off plus Junior Man pay for deadheading home on a day off...but it's less than ideal.

Boarding began at 4:10PM. My name was called. I got a real seat. Nice.

My seat was near the front and thus one of the last zones to board...normally. I had to stash my flight kit and suitcase. If I wait until I am supposed to board, I will likely not have room. Whenever I am in uniform and deadheading I board early. Which is what I did.

The agent scanning boarding passes initially looked at my boarding pass and began to say it wasn't my turn to board. She then looked up, saw I was in uniform and I replied, "I'm deadheading, I just want to stash my bags." She let me on.

Long flight. Blocked in at 6:55PM. Tired. Three long days in a row.

I had family in during the weekend. Barely saw them. They left Sunday morning. I was tired all day Monday and most of Tuesday recovering.

I flew more in those 6 days than I did the rest of the month. I didn't mind the flying, but the really long duty days got to me. Lots of sitting around doing nothing.

Off till Friday. New month starts where I'm back on regular reserve.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Career in Aviation

Imagine landing your dream job. A job you've wanted all your life. The first day of work you get handed this huge book that spells out a formal agreement between you and your new employer.  A formal contract. You start at the bottom of course but you know one day things will get better.

You read through the book and start to question things. "Is it really necessary to have such explicit work rules ? Can things really get to the point where I have to reference this book?"

Years go by and your pay and quality of life go up. A kid or two is born and your life is budgeted around your pay at your dream job. Life is good.

Management begins to blatantly violate the contract. The Union is filing grievances almost daily against management. A new contract negotiation period is rapidly approaching. Negotiations start as expected: Management wants more work with the same or less pay, the Union wants the work dictated in the contract with the same or, more likely, better pay.

Negotiations stall. The contract expires. You're not sure, but it looks like Management is using the old contract to keep the furnace in their ivory towers warm. Your dream job isn't so dreamy anymore.

Now in most professions you could leave with your experience....say 8 years...and go to a new job in the same industry and start out with the pay equal to your experience. An accountant with 8 years experience can get a new gig and get 8 year pay. Not so with the airlines.

Over the last month or so I've had friends ask why flight crews strike? Why not just go to a new airline? Well it's because they would have to start all over again. Flight crews would have to start back over at year one pay and year one seniority. I believe this is true for all non-management airline positions. Airline CEO's and Analyst of course have golden parachutes that allow them to leave Air Express and go over to Steel Air and get the same...or better pay.

Employees at major airlines have been there for 20+ years. Starting over isn't an option. They have to fight for their jobs.

True we all know this going into it, but it doesn't make it right.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Slow month

Flown a whole 6 hours this month. Only two hours with passengers on board. Slow month.

Next month I have regular reserve. This means I simply know which days I work...not when...not where. I think it's because the airport standby lines had weekends off...thus they went senior.

Airline hiring seems to still be a slow trickle...but better than nothing. Friends at various regionals say their airlines are either hiring or recalling furloughs. Hiring mins are all 1000+ hours.

Since I've been sitting around the airport a lot lately I've been examining the stuff I carry....gadgets. Most days I have a laptop of some sorts (15 inch Macbook Pro or HP 5101 10 inch Netbook), Zune HD for music and video podcast, digital camera, Bose QC2/UflyMike and my Nexus One cell phone. That's a lot of stuff. Would like an ereader. My wife has a Kindle DX. Big. I am debating buying a Kindle or Nook but it would be another device to tote around.  I have tossed the idea around of an Ipad for a while. It *could* replace my laptop and Zune HD thus reducing my gadget count by one. Two problems. Ipads are expensive and they can't do the multitasking I am used too such as watching a video while updating a blog. Oh it's hard too be a geek.

It's 6:35AM. I have 7 1/2 hours of airport appreciation left. I am assigned to do the same thing for the next 5 days. Slow month indeed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


One advantage airline pilots have over mere mortals....moving our works days around.

As I have blogged about in the past, I have a baby on the way. I've made all but one prenatal appointment with my wife. To do this I have been moving my reserve days around. If I were a line holder I could have done the same by swapping trips around.

Due to my moving my days around, I was on regular reserve Monday instead of my "normal" airport standby. I was assigned a horrible trip. It's known as the "repo trap".

Originally I was assigned the following with a sign in time of 8:45AM and the first departure at 9:30AM:

Flight 1 - Ferry a plane from my base (call it Fargo) to a maintenance base...(call it Omaha).

Flight 2 - Test another plane via a local flight around Omaha

Flight 3 - Fly that plane back to Fargo (assuming it passed the test flight)

Flight 4 - Ferry another plane back to Omaha

Flight 5-  Deadhead home to Fargo getting in around 6PM

Not great...not bad ....but this is a repo trap. I've done these before and have been caught in a loop between the two cities for 4 days!

Monday morning I checked my schedule. Changed. Now deadheading to Omaha, but everything else was the same. Eh...fine.

The Captain I was flying with isn't my favorite guy. He's very much all about himself and is hard to get a feel for.

The first deadhead went fine. Arrived in Omaha at 10:34AM. We hitched a ride to the hangar via a company truck...single cab....I sat in the middle.

[singlepic id=460 w=640 h=480 float=center]

Ah the life of a pilot.

Once there....the plane wasn't ready. Big surprise.

The test flight was needed as "creaking noises" were being heard by flight attendants in the galley area. The plane was due for an interior freshening so it was assumed that ripping out and replacing most of the interior fixed the issue. I decided to travel "light" today and brought my netbook which I keep in a very small case. I keep my Bose QC2's and UFlyMike in my "real" laptop bag. This meant I had to use the company supplied David Clamps.

[singlepic id=456 w=640 h=480 float=center]

At 11:51AM we blocked out for the test flight. Captain's leg. Plan was to fly up to  9000 feet and stay in the area around the airport.

Just prior to V1 a Rudder Fault message (not a caution or warning) popped on the screen. No reaction required. During climb out however things got worse. Stall Fail caution. Then the standby instruments started failing. The good news? No creaking sound. Back to the airport we went. At 12:19PM we blocked back in. Lunch time.

We walked over to the terminal. I had brought along a small lunch bag, but wanted something warm. Hot pretzel sandwich called my name. I finished my meal while the Captain waited on his. He was in the middle of eating his when his phone 1:19PM....from "unknown". Scheduling.

I learned long ago to never answer a call from "unknown" while on a trip...especially on reserve. He answered.

Scheduling wanted  us on the 1:40PM flight (boarding now!) to deadhead back to Fargo, sit around, and ferry another plane to Omaha. Again the Captain was eating lunch. He could have easily said he would call them back when done eating. Heck he could have easily NOT answered his phone! Nope. He got his lunch to go. We then got a ride back to the hangar to get our bags, a ride back to the terminal, through security and on the plane which was now being held for us. The flight blocked out at 1:45PM. At 2:35PM we were back in Fargo. My schedule had been changed again.

Headed to the crew room to check some contract stuff.

I have been assigned airport reserve for most of the last 18 months. I know it well. It was my understanding scheduling couldn't force me out of my "line".  As is they were going to have me overnight in Omaha and thus forcing me "out" of airport reserve on Tuesday. I called scheduling. After being placed on hold for a while they came back stating the could indeed force me into an overnight. I asked the Chief Pilot. Same story. Now I was in a corner.

If I called in fatigued (I wasn't at that point...but I was tired) I would have to be back at the airport at 6AM for airport standby. If I kept flying I would overnight in Omaha, deadhead home Tuesday morning and then who knows what. Damned if I fly. Damned if I stay. I flew.

At 4:20PM we were blocking out to ferry a plane to Omaha. On climb out the tower noticed our very high rate of climb and said, "Pretty light today eh ? Have fun and contact departure". We were a scant 50,000 pounds....25,000 pounds under max takeoff weight.

[singlepic id=455 w=640 h=480 float=center]

At 5PM we blocked into Omaha (Captain flew fast).

Next flight...another test flight. Same plane that failed earlier. My turn. Plan was to fly an extended pattern and make sure everything worked. The Mechanics found the issue. During the two weeks the plane was in for maintenance the pitot tubes weren't covered. Bugs got in. All clean now.

We blocked out at 5:54PM. Light. Having not flown in a while I decided to actually hand fly it. Flew up to 6000 then made a wide 180 for a downwind. No issues.

High rate of descent with everything hanging out I made a tight approach. Very nice light weight landing. Blocked back in at 6:12PM.

Thirteen minutes later at 6:25PM we blocked back out for Fargo. Scheduling had cancelled the last ferry flight. I would be sleeping at home.  My leg. Flew fast.

Another nice landing at 7:09PM. Blocked in at 7:13PM. Not going home. The ferry flight was reinstated. One MORE ferry flight back to Omaha for an overnight. Getting tired.

I grabbed some food and sat down. I pulled up the RADAR on my phone. Storms moving toward Omaha. Nice.

The flight was scheduled to leave at 8:15PM. At 7:40PM my phone started ringing...."unknown". I didn't answer. After the third call I answered. "First Officer, where are you ? The Captain is waiting for you on the plane." I advised I was eating dinner and would be there when I was done. For whatever reason he was in a hurry. I was not. Rushing gets you no where fast.

At 8:15PM we blocked out. Storms moving in all around the area. Long lines for takeoff. Somehow we got rushed to the front of the line. Other planes waiting had to turn back to the gate for more fuel.

Growing really tired now. RADAR full of was indeed moving in. Heavy rain just north of the Omaha airport.

[singlepic id=457 w=640 h=480 float=center]

[singlepic id=458 w=640 h=480 float=center]

Captain bounced it onto the runway at 8:53PM. I pulled out my phone to call the hotel. Had to really think about where I was. I scrolled through my contacts before I finally zeroed in on the correct hotel name. I was at that point passed tired. I was fatigued. I had done 7 legs. I called the hotel while he went to print out the hotel vouchers. I checked my schedule. They had me on a 8AM deadhead flight. Less than 9 hours at the hotel. No thanks. I called scheduling and had them put me on the 9:30AM flight. I know I needed more than 9 hours of rest.

At 9:30PM I was sitting in the back of the hotel Lincoln Town Car (beats a Chevy van!) headed to the hotel. Called my wife as I knew she would be going to bed soon.

I walked toward my hotel room at 9:50PM. I had to recheck my hotel room number twice. I was clearly more than tired.

This morning I hitched a ride to the airport with the crew of the 9:30AM flight. Once back in Fargo I was released until tomorrow. Good as I am still tired.

Middle of the month and I have flown a whole 5 hours. Talked to a buddy in another base who's junior to me. He'll be holding a line AGAIN next month. More days off. But commutes.

Back to the airport at 6AM.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The dreaded pink slip

Check rides. An hour or two (or more!) of your life that shows just a sample of your knowledge and abilities. Kind of unfair. We all have bad days. If a bad day conicidies with a check ride it could haunt you for the rest of your career.

I'm no Superman. Just an average guy, yet I have never failed a check ride. The reason being is I am somewhat superstitious and eat the exact same meal before every check ride....a McDonalds Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddle. Seriously. I have gone out of my way to secure the sugary, salty, fatty, artery clogging delicacy...especially hard while in Florida for my CFI initial. I have been very lucky as I felt I almost failed my private single and CFI initial. I was told I used "all limits of the PTS".....but passed. Nice?

When applying for my airline there was a box to check if I had ever failed a check ride (I don't remember the exact verbage). I know friends that have been hired with one or two failed check rides.

There is one examiner at my old flight school who was known to fail guys for truly trivial and minor reasons. Another who is old school and would fail an applicant if he made a minor mistake, but only once. This examiner wouldn't charge for a retake and typically wouldn't fail for minor mistakes again. Of course with the two different examiners the latter started charging for retakes and being a little more lenient of mistakes. For the record I have never had an FAA examiner, only designated examiners, so I paid for all of my check rides.

I am on a 4 day weekend and commuted down to KGKY yesterday , which is my old flight school. It was neat to be around a general aviation airport. Nice day, lots of planes moving about. Funny how a Lear 25 doesn't sound annoying and loud when I'm at an airport.

The ATP location there isn't nearly as busy as it was back when I was there. Less than 1/2 the number of CFI's around. I thought for sure I wouldn't know anyone. I was wrong.

A CFI was there that I knew when he was still a student. Nice guy. Great guy. I asked the obvious, "You're still here?" question. He has over 2200 hours. An ATP. Tons of multi.....and 3 check ride bust. He had applied to my airline but didn't get hired. He has over 500 hours MORE flight time than me! He is hoping to find a corporate gig. Really sucks as he has every right to be hired. I can only assume it was the check ride bust.

While there another CFI recognized me blog. A year or so ago this website had a different name and I was more frank about my gig and life. Small world.

I took a walk around the facilities. Not much had changed. I did find a few "paper tigers" for Seminole training. Back when I was there I practiced flows in a chair and pretended to be in a cockpit. Now students can sit in chairs and practice flows and checklist behind a photo mock up.

[singlepic id=453 w=640 h=480 float=center]

[singlepic id=454 w=640 h=480 float=center]

Much nicer. The same thing I did when I got hired by my airline. I spent hours in a small room with a mockup of my cockpit going through flows.

I miss teaching. I love teaching. Hopefully the industry picks back up and I can teach the RJ course again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The $5000 question

Slooooow times for me. Flew 2 hours last week. Sat airport reserve 4 days....32 hours.

I've discussed in the past that I did all my flight training at AllATPs. I did the Self Paced Program for both the Private and the Airline Career Pilot Program. I started with 0 hours on May 5, 2006 and finished late March 2007 with Commercial Multiengine Instrument (also Commercial Single) and my CFI tickets (Instrument, Single and Multi). After that I sat in the right seat as a CFI for 300 hours or so before heading to my airline.

Before I made that jump though I did take the ATP RJ course.

[singlepic id=450 w=640 h=480 float=center]

This is one of the ATP Frasca RJ FTD's in Jacksonville.

Now before I go further I can already hear the screams, "No one needs an RJ course!", "The Airline will train you!". "Why waste that much money!?!?!?". All valid.

The full price is $4,995. At the time ATP offered the course for free if you instructed for so many hours for them. My total cost was an airline ticket to Florida, a rental car and a hotel room for a week. I used my airline miles for the ticket and slept on the couch of a buddy of mine who lived there. So really I paid for a rental car for a week. But would it have been worth it if I had to pay the full $4,995?

[singlepic id=452 w=640 h=480 float=center]

Took this one during my RJ course while in Jacksonville.

My interest in flying started when I first saw Microsoft Flight Simulator back in 1991. I "flew" literally thousands of hours throughout the years. There are some really nice models out there that have very accurate systems. The ERJ145 from Wilco Publications is amazingly accurate with several systems correctly represented. The CRJ they offer is nice, but not as perfect. Anyway, I was used to glass cockpits and basic concepts before I even started at ATP. I really thought I would get little benefit for the RJ Course. I was wrong. I learned quite a bit.

The concepts of flows (going through a series of motions and then using a checklist to make sure I did everything), profiles (a set way of flying the aircraft), dealing with emergencies and true CRM (Crew Resource Management) were heavily emphasized during the week long course. I was a little concerned that I would learn everything on a CRJ (that's the type of FTD the use) and then get hired flying an ERJ and be confused. Non issue as the course teaches a broad overview of jet concepts.

When I got hired by my airline I was much more comfortable in ground school and the sim. My sim instructor was very skeptical of me passing training as I only had 560 hours total time. He pushed me hard during training. I still remember flying a DME arc single engine to an ILS, in Mexico, in a valley surrounded by mountains, at night, in IMC, no autopilot, no flight director. It started normal and things just went down hill. It wasn't pretty, but I did it. After that session he was a little less skeptical, and I thought I was ready.

In my initial new hire class at my airline there were pilots with as few as 500 hours to former military guys with 5000+ hours. Sitting next to me during initial ground school as a CFI who had a little more than 2400 hours. He was teaching at a school in Arizona as well as flying a King Air 200 on the side. Lots of experience, but all with steam gauges. Turns out he washed out in the sim. He just couldn't keep up with the glass. All the time and effort he spent over the months preparing for the interview, studying for ground school and preparing for a nice career was wasted. I am pretty sure he had a "career day", where the airline takes you in and offers you a chance to leave without having  mark on your FAA record. This way he can go on to another airline without having a negative mark against him. Even if he got hired by a new airline the next week, he was still at least 2 months behind money wise. Would it have been worth $5K to him to take the RJ Course?

For full disclosure, I did get hired by ATP to teach the RJ course for a few months back in 2008, right before the hiring spree at the regionals stopped. I enjoyed it. My background is teaching. I double majored in college in Journalism (with a photojournalism interest) and Sociology. I planned on being a high school teacher for Newspaper and Yearbook. Although I never taught a day in High School I did teach computer repair classes at a local community college. A few of the students I taught in the RJ course I still talk to today.

Five thousand dollars is a lot of money. It's more than I earn in a month...almost two months. It's 4 months of mortgage payments. A year of car payments. Another 20 hours or so of twin time. I won't say the RJ course is right for everyone. Anyone who's flown glass (G1000 or Avidyne systems are awesome), had lots of formal training with checklist and CRM, and has a basic understanding of jet operations will likely be fine. For everyone else, I would at least give it a good thought as it could (and I mean could) really help ease the transition from flying a prop to a jet.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Someone else's overnight

I sometimes forget that my domicile is someone else's overnight.

A buddy I worked with at ATP had an overnight here last night. We arranged to go out for dinner. My wife and I picked him and his flight attendant up at their hotel.

During an awesome Greek dinner we discussed our jobs and my wife made the comment, "So it really is that bad out there." His stories as just as bad, and some worse, than mine. I quizzed him on a few work rules, even though mine aren't great, quite a few are better than his. This is of course like having an only slight psychotic girlfriend instead of a mildly psychotic girlfriend. Both companies are crazy, one only slightly less so.

He was on an interesting trip. His crew had a deadhead here and then two legs today. His Captain never arrived for the deadhead. The same Captain last week never showed up for his trip. On that flight the passengers were boarded and he had everything ready to go. It took 50 minutes for a reserve Captain to arrive. Another hour to leave the ground. He pondered calling scheduling last week and last night about the missing Captain....but didn't want to do someone else's job. If no Captain arrived last night he would have misconnected and would end up deadheading to his next overnight. I checked just now, flight went out on time.

His flight attendant last night thanked me for allowing her to tag along. She said most pilots at her airline don't want to take flight attendants along. I was a bit surprised. I enjoy going out with my crews. The problem I encounter at my airline is most of my flight attendants are older and mostly "slam clickers". A "slam clicker" means you get to the hotel, go to your room and lock the door. Not being social. Long overnights can get boring. Eh.

Beyond work rules we discussed pay. His is significantly lower than mine. He picked his airline based on a quick upgrade that went away as the industry slowed down. If things had stayed status quo it would have been perfect as he would be a Captain right now. As of now there is no upgrade in sight. Same for me.

I posted a link on Twitter yesterday ( )about an article showing an overview of the regionals in the United States. Of the regionals mentioned, only Skywest, American Eagle and Horizon appeared to have a good outlook. Expressjet was described as being in a tough spot along with Mesa. Who knows...tomorrow things could change.

Nothing is changing for me. Just sitting in the bowels of the airport. Waiting for...well change.