Saturday, January 29, 2011

Forgot how things really go

Wednesday I was called out for a simple assignment. Ferry a plane to a maintenance base, overnight and deadhead home in the morning. As planned I would be driving home at 9:30AM Thursday. I would then pick up my daughter from day care and have a bonus day with her.

The Captain I flew with was a Captain that gave me a hard time when I was on probation back in 2008.

He is based elsewhere and we were both dead headed to an outstation...during the winter. He continually rushed me on the ground. I could barely keep up. After deicing he took over the radios (normally my job on the ground) while I finished up. I was heads down when I heard a voice screaming, "Flight 9391 stop! stop! stop!" I was forced against my seatbelt as the plane abruptly stopped. The Captain was about to cross the hold short line right in front of a landing plane. Moments earlier he had read back a hold short instruction.

It didn't get better. For the rest of the flight I was more or less single pilot. I had not seen him since.

He is a very senior Captain. In the top 1%. He was originally scheduled to fly to an overnight. It cancelled and he was reassigned to do my ferry flight.

He hasn't changed much. He was more helpful this time, and I deliberately made it a point that I was not going to be rushed.

I took the leg out. Ferry flights are fun the plane climbs like a bat out of hell. Even with a reduced power (to save wear on the engines and fuel) the initial climb out was a sustained 3800 feet per minute.

This was only my second flight since returning from leave. The matenance base is at a fairly small and isolated airport. Cleared for a visual 20 miles out.

I made a decent landing and we headed to the hotel. While signing into the hotel I looked at the sign in sheet to find the crew of the 8:00AM flight and their van time. They picked a 7:20AM van. Nice.

At 7:20AM we were off to the airport. Once at the gate I saw the flight was delayed....until 9:00AM. Reason? The plane they were to fly was still being fixed.

Nine o'clock came and went. New time was 2:00PM. My contract states any downtime for more than 5 hours at an outstation means I get a hotel. It's black and white.

When I called scheduling to get a hotel voucher (since I already checked out I would need to check back in, plus I was staying past normal checkout time). The scheduler gave me a hard time:

Them : "We are putting you on the 9:55AM Flight."

Me: "It's already oversold and weight restricted."

Them: "We aren't giving you a hotel, you should not have checked out of the first one."

Me: "When I left the flight was scheduled to leave on time."

Them: "Call the hotel and see if you can check back into your old room."

Me: "That's not my job. I want a hotel voucher now."

Them: "Hold on,"

They finally gave me what I asked for...even though I should not have had to ask for it.

I stopped by an airport cafe and bought something for lunch. Nothing at the hotel. Away I went.

Being a "geek" I don't watch much "real" TV.  I watch mostly Internet TV (from Revision3, Cnet and Twit). I connected my Zune to the hotel TV and geek'd out for a bit.

At 1:20PM I was headed back to the airport. The 9:55AM flight was STILL there (also delayed for a mechanical problem)....scheduled to leave at 2PM. My 2PM flight (originally 8AM) was now pushed to 3PM.

The gate agent said the 9:55AM flight was almost full. I might be able to get a jump seat. For a laundry list of reasons my airline doesn't positive space dead heads unless the dead head is needed for a flight assignment at the destination. Pretty crappy. Thankfully I got a seat.

I was released from duty after arrival. By the time I got to my car my wife had already left work and was headed to pick up my daughter. Waste of a day.

My original flight never left and was cancelled.

Friday I was called at 4AM to sit morning standby. Around 7:30 AM I was called to fly a 5 hour turn. Long day. Great Captain.

Off today, Saturday, back to afternoon airport standby tomorrow.

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