Monday, July 11, 2011

When commuting isn't smooth

I've made it home after every trip same day or virtually the same day (arrived home at 1AM a few times). It hasn't been easy.

Yesterday the direct mainline flights were all full and had mainline jump seaters. I had to find a different route.

I looked and found a flight on my airline to an out station, a 90 minute sit, then a flight on mainline home. Looked decent.

The first flight was full. I got the jump seat. The physical seat was more comfortable than the jump seat on the plane I fly, but there was much less leg room.

Once at the out station the mainline flight cancelled. Ugh. I then had an 5 hour wait before my next chance. This is a risk I took flying through an out station. There are only a handful of flights.

I made do. This was a somewhat small airport. Only one place to eat. I was craving a hamburger. The only place to eat has "grill" in their name. I thought, "they should have burgers!" Lies! They had NO hot food. The cashier said burgers were "coming soon" and that all their sandwhiches were cold and premade in the cooler. Nice.

I grabbed a cold lunch and spent 5 hours playing on my Ipad, talking to my dad and then my wife.

One passenger asked where I was headed. I told her I was passing through on the way home. "I don't know how you do this every week, traveling all the time." I smiled, "I love my job."

Commuting is rough. I hate it. This experience has put a big ugly mark on grabbing the first possible upgrade and commuting to be a Captain.

In bound finally came in. Full flight. Same jump seat. Nice crew.

My family was waiting for me on the curb when I walked out of the terminal. My normal 3 1/2 hour commute took 7 1/2 hours.

Off for two days. I head back down Wednesday to start my next 4 day. I have double Canada overnights. Bleh.

After that trip I'm off for 4 days, on for 4 days, off for 3 days then I finish the month with a 3 day trip with a dead head back to base to start my vacation.



  1. In a situation like that, can you just deadhead home instead of to base, or do you have to transit through your base?

  2. I had to go to my base as that's where my trip terminates. After that it's up to me to get home. For the last few months I had been able to take one direct flight home. This last weekend was (hopefully) an anomaly. I have a few friends who two leg commute every week as it's the only way to work.

  3. Thanks for the post and ouch! Commuting is a real bitch, but also a great privlidge.  No wonder so many in your business do it.  That said, with today's load factors and often pared-back frequency and capacity, it can often be difficult to make connections.  One (infrequent) columnist on some big commercial site is apparently commuting for Germany to his NYC base (several airports) as a semi-senior FO at AA.  He does not post much, but I think he is now a couple of months into his new routine. I've not heard anything about how it is working out, but it is sure a serious lot of butt-miles to get home for supper! 
    Ha!  Someday I'll write the story of my 20 months (early 70s, before deregulation) as a military courier based in Europe. There were no frequent flyer miles. The turns were too often jogs between gates, just to catch another 8 or 10 hour flight.  During one memorable calendar week, I made eleven, yes ELEVEN Atlantic crossings in seven calendar days.  "Sleep on the plane," said the boss. "Have clean shorts in your briefcase and shave in the lav' before arrival, and Look Sharp!" said another.  During that brief, 20-month period, I accumulated more butt-miles than *any* flight crew and a bit more than even the most efficiently used aircraft.  Talk about a zombie as times!  Someday I'll explain the details.
    In the interim, I HEAR you about the awful commute.  In other professions, one simply uproots the family and moves to new digs, to accommodate the job.  Or gives up the job, in search of a new one.  Their are prices to pay for both options, but you have opted for family and home stability, a mission that is worthy beyond question.  Hang in there!!  I note severl mentions of the commuting thing ending in the fall, but I do not understand how or why.  Are you then eligible for basing near where you live?  Had you already planned to move?  I'm missing something here, I guess.  In any case, best wishes and safe, happy flying.  -Craig

  4. You haven't missed anything. In less than 3 months I will no longer be commuting. I haven't elaborated on it yet as I am waiting for it happen first. I'll be flying for the same company, but at my old base....


If you are a spammer....your post will never show up. Move along.