Day 3 started the same time Day 2 started. Early.
On day 3 the aircraft I would be flying had no APU. Not a big deal, but a little annoying as it was humid outside and the ground crew did not connect the ground air. If the APU had been operating it would have been a non-issue. Up and out we went.
Arrived early. Instead of a 2 hour sit before my dead head I had a 2 1/2 hour sit. My crew was to deadhead to an out station and fly the aircraft back. We'd then have a 65 minute sit before heading to the overnight.
I went down to the crew room. At least once a month I over hear some pilot having marital problems or family problems. Pretty sad.
One of the union representatives was at a computer and talking about the trips for next month. Due to managements lack of foresight the trips are really bad. Mostly 4 day trips. Most of the times the trips are 5% day trips, 20% two day trips, 25% three day trips and 50% four day trips. Things have been getting bad for a while. Two years ago I was easily holding 3 day trips, weekends off and 18 days off. Nowadays I get 4 day trips, partial weekends off at best and 14 days off. The beatings will continue until moral improves (or we work for less).
My deadhead was scheduled for 10:55AM. I noticed the First Officers name as he was a buddy of mine.
At 10:30AM I was up at the gate....but there was no aircraft or crew. Around 10:35AM the crew arrived as they had just parked at 10:25 several gates away. Still no aircraft.
Announcements were made that the aircraft was coming from the hangar and would arrive at 11:30AM. In the mean time I chatted it up with the crew.
The First Officer is about 160 numbers senior to me company wide. In base he is about 40 numbers senior. He was hired 7 months before me. He is able to hold 2 day trips for now as a First Officer. He recently bypassed an upgrade to Captain. His reasons are the same as mine as it's not worth it to commute across the country regardless of the money as it will mean much less time at home. We both have young kids. We agreed that when the kids are older and don't think we dads are cool anymore it will be fine to be away more. For now we stay put.
We pushed back at 12:07 PM....more than an hour late. There went my 65 minute sit.
Once at the out station we did a quick turn and blocked out in 24 minutes. My flight back. I climbed really shallow but at a high rate of speed, hoping to make up some time.
The Captain sent in our estimated arrival time. The onboard printer spat out our next assignment, the flight to the overnight. As of then we were all still going even though we were an hour late.
Things were looking great until we were assigned the furthest runway from the terminal. The taxi in time is at least 15 minutes. We blocked exactly as scheduled, 1 hour. Of that one hour over 25 minutes was taxi in and out time.
After parking at gate 19 we packed up and walked down to gate 14. The Captain went to print out the flight release while the Flight Attendant and I walked down the jet bridge.
I noticed a gate agent sitting at the bottom of the jet bridge.
"Oh great, looks like they used a standby Flight Attendant to board your flight." I said to my Flight Attendant.
"But wait, the APU is on...." I continued.
I asked the gate agent if the flight was boarded up for Cedar Rapids. She confirmed it was. I then saw the flight deck door open and it hit me.....they staffed the flight with reserves.
"We've been pulled off," my Flight Attendant stated.
We marched back up the jet bridge. The Captain was still reviewing and printing the flight release. He had just signed his name when I pointed down to where he signed and said, "That's not our names, they pulled us off."
He was upset. He doesn't commute but lives 80 miles outside of town, a 2 hour drive in traffic. The Flight Attendant does commute. She didn't care as she is very senior and was already setting up her non-rev home. I of course live 10 minutes away.
We didn't have to be back until 12:30PM the next day.
I headed for my car. I texted my wife the good news.
As I pulled up to pick up my daughter from day care she saw me from the window. She had a huge smile on her face as she was not expecting me.
I got to spend the night at home with my family instead of a hotel room in frigid Iowa. Additionally I had a 3 hour sit after arriving in the morning, now I would spend it at home.
I still get paid for the flight which is good. Some regional airlines don't have that protection.