Monday, October 20, 2014

I forgot what commuting was like

A few years ago I was forced to commute. I hated it. Going from gate to gate, checking loads.....looking for my name on the standby list. Lots of time in jump seats.

I flew up to another base for a Union event last week. My Union held an event at a restaurant for pilots and their families. The gathering was an informal gathering to allow pilots face to face time with Union reps and have their families be able to ask questions as well. Good turnout.

Getting to and from is my own responsibility. The Union pulled me off the 2 day I had and of course I get paid for it. The Union pays my airline who in turn pays me.

The event started at 5 PM. With full flights and weather I took the 8:50 AM flight up. I was able to get a real MIDDLE seat.

To get home I initially planned on a 7:25 AM flight home. I'm stayed at an airport hotel. I woke up at 4:30 AM and saw that the 6AM flight looked possible. Walked over and by the time I got to the gate it was impossible. I then walked 20 minutes to another airline. Once I arrived the flight was delayed by an hour. I then walked back to my mainline partner. The next flight went out full with a mainline jumpseater.

Next was my flight. Looked bad again. I had no where I needed to be until 3 PM. I had zero desire to sit in a jump seat anyway.

The other airline flight scheduled to leave at 6:50 AM was delayed till 7:22 AM. I mistakenly thought it as 8:22 AM.  So I ended up missing that one as well.

I'm stuck with my backup backup....Spirit. They have a very nice website for airline crews to list for flights and it shows availability. Most airlines require offline air crews to fill out a paper form or list at the gate. I've used Spirit once before. They aren't the most comfortable airline, but it beats sitting in the airport.

There were a few open cabin seats. I was able to score a "Big Front Seat". Nice ride.

Over the weekend I traveled to Fort Lauderdale for a national union event. Getting there was easy as I scored a real seat (middle of course).

Getting back was difficult.

First issue was all my fault. The hotel had no airport van service. We were told to use one specific company and they required 24 hour notice. Well I tried to make a reservation just 12 hours in advance. I thought the website let me and printed off my reservation.

The next morning I was out front at 4:25 AM waiting for the van. The scheduled pick up was 4:45 AM. At 4:40 AM I happened to glance at my print out and noticed the pick up date was October 20th. I looked at my was October 19th!

Months ago I installed the Uber app on my phone. I have never used the service. Thankfully there was a driver in the area. She dropped me off at the airport at 5:20 AM. Since it was my first ride it was free!

My mainline partner had several direct flights. Problem was they were all full. Spirit to the rescue!

The flight was overbooked by 5. There were 2 cockpit jump seats. Another offline pilot was in line behind me. When he heard it was overbooked and there was already a Spirit jump seater he got annoyed and started to leave. The agent told him that a lot of passengers miss this flight, but he still left to try another airline.

Turns out she was right. I got a window seat in the back. I would have preferred a jump seat as legroom is incredibly tight on Spirit.

I'm off for the next 3 days. I have my annual training starting on Thursday.


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