Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trip trading

My last trip ended normally. We had a pilot from Great Lakes in the jump seat on the last leg. She jump seated on my flight two weeks ago.

One of my students went to Great Lakes when I came to my airline. He is a Captain on the 1900. Still I am making more than $12000 a year more than him even though I am a First Officer. True he is building turbine each his own.

Once done I began my commute home. Or so I thought. Massive cancellations. I had 3 flights to get home. Two of them, which were full, cancelled. Not looking good

On my way to the crew room I saw a friend of mine from ATP who is at another regional. He was Fedexing himself home. Fedex is very nice to commuters. You can call and literally reserve a seat. The negative is they aren't at the terminal. He has to take a cab around the airport to the cargo ramp. He has a direct flight to an airport near both of our houses. If I wanted to fly to my home airport it would be a two leg commute. Even then it parks at the cargo where near the terminal. No thanks...for now.

I made my way to the crew room, dropped off my bag, then went back up to the terminal.

After finding an unused gate I began looking for a way home on the computer. I know the basics of our reservation software. While standing there several passengers came up to ask questions. To passengers anyone behind a computer must be a gate agent. I answered the questions the best I could, ending with, "I'm a pilot so I can't do as much as a gate agent." Most understood. One lady was upset that I couldn't rebook her on another flight. Bleh.

I looked at two leg commutes. I know that there are red eye flights out there. If I could connect to one I could fly all night and get home in the morning....not having to buy a hotel room.

No good. Everything was overbooked or cancelled all together. I had one flight home to try.

The standby list for passengers was over 120 people long. I only saw one other pilot listed for the jump seat. I knew his name and I knew he was senior to me. If he showed up I would be staying the night on my own dime.

Delayed. The gate was very busy as there were twice the number of passengers as seats on the plane.

I did see a few mainline pilots waiting around. They weren't listed for the jump seat so I assumed they were deadheading. I hoped they wouldn't take the jump seat and give up their real seat.

Boarding started. A little chaos ensued as a few non-english speaking passengers attempted to board with standby vouchers. They didn't understand why they couldn't board. Then a few seats were double booked at some passengers were rebooked at outstations. Finally boarding was done. I was the only pilot there.....jump seat it was.

Late night flight. The flight crew was tired as they had been delayed all day and had to circumvent thunderstorms on the flight home.

As uncomfortable as the jump seat was I did sleep a bit.

I walked off the plane at 1:30AM. The terminal had passengers strewn about sleeping as their flights had cancelled. I was glad to be home.

Yesterday I recovered from being tired. I only had a few hours of sleep before my wife left for work and my daughter woke up. As tired as I was I was happy to spend time with my daughter.

Next month my schedule is not very desirable. I was able to trade one crappy trip for a better trip. I hope to trade all of my trips. Time will tell.


  1. The commutes are a bitch, but you made it - again.  The saving grace and the REAL reason is that face time with the daughter.  That's what its all about.  Yea!!  While the FedEx option does not seem to be a winner for you at the moment, keep it in your pocket and Plan X.  Someday it is going to look pretty good!  Lastly, I'm just guessing here...  If you get to know someone in your line's IT department, they can probably set you up with a web-based portal into the flight operations system, whatever you need to see to make your commuting guesses.  With same, you can use the laptop in some isolated corner and not have to rely on an unused gate terminal and pretending to not be a real gate agent .  The IT folks may not WANT to do it, but you know that it CAN be done.  Enjoy that face time with the daughter.  How old?  -C.

  2. I can use my Ipad to look at commuting's just slower. My
    little bundle of joy is 9 months old rapidly approaching 1 year. We aren't
    sure where we will celebrate her one year on earth...New York, Los

  3. Got it, thanks.  Nine Mo and pushing 12 is way cool and that FTF time is the best thing on your plate!  -C.

    ??  Says 7 comments, but showing zero.  I do not understand this software.  Maybe I'm not supposed to.


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