Saturday, May 21, 2011

I keep forgetting things

I normally pack the same items for each trip. For the last two trips I have forgotten something Apple Bluetooth keyboard. This is the reason there are large gaps between postings.

This week I reminded myself three times to grab the keyboard....forgot it again. I am using the on screen keyboard on my iPad for this post, it will likely be short.

Due to impending weather and full flights I decided to leave for my trip Thursday afternoon instead of Friday morning. This meant two things.

1 - I had I one less night at home with my family

2 - I had to buy my own hotel room

I listed on a 4:40pm flight. I didn't get on until 6:30pm due to more senior pilots getting the Jumpseat on the 4:40pm and 5:30pm flights. I did score a real seat though....even if it was a middle.

Once in base I made my way to the hotel.

Friday morning I checked the flights, glad I left Thursday. Storms came through and several flights cancelled. I would likely not have made it up before my report time.

Once again my front flight attendant couldn't commute up, we had a reserve. He is brand new to my airline and was born in 1990....I feel old.

First leg was fine. Moderate chop for most of the fight as we worked around the weather.

Normally we have a two hour sit after the first leg. Due to weather we were now facing a 3 hour sit.

The gate agents smartly left the gate area as there were several upset passengers due to the delay. My crew ate then hung around the gate. We helped passengers as best we could. Most had connections to overseas flights. Our 7:45pm flight pushed out at 9:30pm. We thought being so late we would go straight out. Nope. We were number 16 for departure. Forty minutes later we were airborne.

Our final altitude was FL380. Congested airspace due to weather. Planes were holding all over. All westbound traffic was restricted to FL260 for 300 miles. We looked at our fuel numbers. It wasn't looking great. We could make it fine legally, but our landing fuel was down to an estimated 2700 pounds, my "feel good" number is 3000 pounds. Minimum fuel for a go around is 1200 pounds. Add in enroute delays and 2700 wasn't great.

We finally climbed higher and eventually made it to Fl400. Thinner air and lower headwinds meant our landing fuel went up to 3100 pounds. Better.

Being so late we could not make up time. To make matters worse we were again assigned the furthest runway from the terminal. To add on we were given the longest taxi after landing.

I called our operations to ask if they could pass the word that we had several international connections.

Blocked in 90 minutes late. Most of the passengers likely missed their connections. I felt bad for them, but it was out of my control.

Looking forward to June. I preferenced weekends off over certain cities. I like where I fly this month. I got what I asked for. I have weekends off. My trips are only commutable on the back end. I start my trips at 5am on Mondays and finish at 2pm Thursdays. I will have to commute up Sunday evenings and home in time for 30 Rock Thursday evenings. Crappy east coast flying though.

My wife and I haven't had a day off together since our vacation in April. It's been a little rough, but we work through it. It will be nice to spend more time together next month. She did remark our situation is better than many. Her coworkers husband works on an oil rig. Three weeks on, three weeks off. At least we see each other weekly.


  1. Oh, how I hear you about the commutes!  I guess you can almost bank on inconvenient schedules and the need for plans B,C,D and E if you are to meet the obligations to your employer.  With today's load factors what they are on some popular routes, I guess that you can expect to get left at the gate, waving, more than once in a while. That said, at the end of the month it still might be worth the trouble.  You know - you are the only one that can make that call.  As a professional, you also understand that no matter how you get there oir when you arrive, come Report Time you must be fit to fly that 3 or 4 day line.  I know that you know...  -C.
    Aside...  some reply failures in recent days.  Is your host or server having issues?

  2. My host could be screwy. I'm going to be changing host this summer.


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