Sunday, July 10, 2011

Time off

It's been a bit since my last update. I had almost a week off. I did pick up an 11 hour 2 day trip on overtime. After that I spent 5 days with my family. My mother in law was in town as well. It was very nice to not think about airplanes, overnights or commuting for a few days.

This current trip started with a dead head on mainline. This was nice as it took care of my commute.

The dead head was to another hub to start my trip. Oversold flight. I had a seat in coach. On a whim I asked the gate agent if there was any room in first. She laughed but then said, "wait, an international connecting passenger is very late, here ya go!"

Great way to start a month. First class, free meal and a big seat.

The 3 day trip was easy. Just 4 legs...12 hours.

My Captain was new to me. Nice guy. He hit me up for some electronic information after I talked about all the crap I carry (IPad, Kindle, Roku, router). On the second night we walked over to a Best Buy and I gave him the full HDTV differences and important info. After an hour we then hit up a Hooters for beer and wings. Long 18 hour overnight.

This morning it was one flight to the hub. The plane arrived the night before. Preflight done I began programming the FMS when I noticed a status message that wasn't normal. We tried a CTRL-ALT-DELETE to reboot the plane (powering off and on) but it persisted. Grrr. I finished up getting the plane ready while he called in to get an MEL amended to our flight release.

He had a 11:45AM commute flight home. I had a 11:55AM flight for a two leg. Arrival time was scheduled for 11:25AM.

Thankfully it's a Sunday and there are fewer flights. Operations got the MEL issued quickly and we blocked out on time.

My leg. Shallow climb and fast cruise. The computer showed an ETA of 11AM. Great. Then it happened. "Turn right heading 080 spacing." Ugh. Followed quickly by , "Reduce speed to Mach .75 spacing". Ugh.

Gusty approach. Smooth landing. Blocked in at 11:20AM.

Since the Captain's flight was before mine I agreed to shut the plane down and he ran to catch his flight. I was hoping the ramp crew would connect the external power so I could shut down the APU and exit stage left. Didn't happen. After the last passenger was off I shut down the plane and made a dash for the crew room.

Kit bag stowed away I headed to my gate. There was an offline jump seater in line. I knew I was the only on line jump seater. Full flight.

I got the jump seat. I had not been on this plane in a few years. Took me a minute to figure out how to operate the jump seat. Once done I settled in for a quick flight.

Nice crew. The FO I recognized from me sitting airport standby for 2 years. He is very junior to me but flies a different aircraft where he is able to hold a line in my old base. We talked a bit about the differences in aircraft and quality of life.

Once at the out station I headed into the terminal and out of the corner of my eye saw a cancellation posted for my next leg. Ugh.

I snagged a computer and checked...yup cancelled. Next flight was 5 hours from then. This is a risk I took by taking a 2 leg commute through an outstation. There was no hope of me making a direct commute today as all flight are oversold and there are several mainline jump seaters.

So here I sit....I will get another jump seat on the next flight. It's on my airline and I'm (so far) the only pilot listed.

I'm off Monday and Tuesday. I was originally off Wednesday but I trip traded into a trip that gets me back Saturday afternoon so I can go to a friends birthday party that night. The good thing is after that I'm off for 4 days before rejoining my normal line.

With vacation at the end of this month that bleeds into next month, August will be short. I'm anxiously awaiting September when all this commuting will come to an end. For now....I wait.

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