I celebrated Christmas two days early on Sunday morning as I had to go to work Sunday afternoon. Supposedly easy three day trip.
My normal crew for most of the trip. My Captain did somehow pull off getting Christmas day off so I ended up having a reserve Captain for half the trip.
Days one and two were long....8 hours flying each day but easy. My whole crew felt like we were just living in the plane as we were in the same physical plane for almost 11 hours after all was said and done.
On day 2 my Captain went home and the reserve filled in. Since I had already flown 7 hours and 3 legs that day I offered up the last leg to the reserve Captain. He took it.
Short flight, but really bumpy due to weather. We had not expected the weather as the ride in earlier was fine. My cabin crew attempted a service. I called back and let them know to sit down as it wasn't safe.
Arrived to the hotel at 11PM....tired.
Next day more weather came into base. Delays started mounting.
Very high winds all around. The inbound was 30 minutes late....so we were 30 minutes late. Instead of departing at 12:30PM we left at 12:58PM.
Winds were 280@25G35....taking off runway 33. Gusty. My leg.
Fairly smooth takeoff roll. At around 400 feet we cleared the hills around the airport and got rocked around a bit.
Weather at the base was:
33025G33KT 1/2SM SN FG SCT005 OVC015 00/M02
Landing runway 1L.
Fairly smooth ride down the ILS.
Broke out around 1400 feet. Previous arrival reported that around 500 feet things got "squirrely". Steady snow and gusting winds.
I turned the autopilot off around 900 feet. I don't trust it with windy conditions.
Approach speed was a blazing 148 knots. Sure enough at 500 feet the winds shifted. We got rocked and rolled. Up, down, left and right.
I fought to stay on localizer.
Around 350 feet things settled down. The nose was pointed far to the left and we were slightly left of course.
I left the power up until about 10 feet. I kicked the nose to the right and aileron left. Down.
Visibility was dropping fast. Tower couldn't see us. We couldn't see them.
Amazingly there was an open gate.
The snow fall increased. It took 45 minutes from when we parked to get the door open as there was a problem moving the jet bridge. Finally blocked in at 2:42PM.
Normally on Christmas day my company puts out a big Christmas dinner. Cancelled this year due to weather. Nice.
Last turn for my trip was supposed to leave at 2:30PM. Not going to happen.
Deicing trucks were breaking down. Operations placed a 30 minute gate hold on all departures. Delays started getting worse...and gates filling up as flights were coming in....but none going out. Soon every gate had a plane attached.
More delays. Flights still arriving...with no gate to pull into.
Four o'clock came....no flights had taken off since I arrived.
By five o'clock several flights stuck out away from a gate were reporting they were reaching the 2 hour mark. One more hour and fines start.
Mechanics were called in to taxi planes off the gate.
It wasn't enough. To avoid the fines vans and buses were sent out to planes around the airport. Passengers and crews were off loaded...the planes were literally abandoned.
Six o'clock came. My cabin crew had enough and called in to be taken off the flight.
Around 6:30PM I checked my schedule. I was taken off the flight to the overnight and a new First Officer was assigned. I was then sent an email stating I was junior manned to fly back the next day. Problem was they never had me getting to the overnight.
I called scheduling. They were in meltdown mode. I calmly explained the situation. The agent was a new hire...no idea what was going on with my schedule or our contract. Finally fixed.
Junior Manning manning in it's most basic definition is being forced to work when you're supposed to be off.
I always pack an extra days worth of clothing and supplies.
My wife wasn't happy I wasn't coming home, but she understood.
In the end....next month actually...this will end up paying off...literally.
I will get my full 20 hours pay for my 3 day trip.
For the junior manning today (December 26th ) I will get paid time and a half.
Additionally I picked up a 5 hour turn to be flown on this morning (I had planned on being home last night). Since I was pulled from that flight, I still get paid for it.
When the dust settles I will get an extra 9 hours pay....or roughly $400 for working an extra day.
The only problem now is figuring out what time I will get home.
When weather hits like this crews and planes are all out of place. Getting everything back up and running is rough.