Thursday, February 7, 2019

So that was being a line holder....

I expected to complete my flying in January with a nice Toronto overnight. The overnight was the "short" one which means a hotel by the airport. The "long" overnight is downtown.

Regardless the overnight was 7 hours and change worth of flying. Nice long legs and I enjoyed the company of the Captain I was paired with.

Well that particular day was the day a crazy arctic front was moving across the country. Temperatures were well below 0 farenheit. On the leading edge of the front was crazy wind and snow.

That morning I had deadheaded in from San Antonio. I then had a two hour and thirty minute sit. At my old airline I was paid only per diem for the sit time. At my new gig I get paid 1 minute for every two minutes over 2 hours thus this sit made me 15 minutes of pay or an extra $35. Not bad.

There's a new employee cafeteria at the airport I had been meaning to try. With all this sit time why not? Glad I did. A burger, fries and drink was only $7. All freshly made in front of me.

While waiting for my meal,  I noticed my departure time was pushed back an hour. Our ETA was right at the worst of the wind and snow. I took my time eating.

I then went for a walk around the airport. I perused the regional terminal where I spent 10 years of my career. I rarely see anyone I know as most pilots I know have moved to mainline or other carriers. This day was different. I ran into a former student of mine.

He had recently flowed to mainline and was commuting home. He had just finished his checkride on....the Airbus. We chatted about how much better things are here and I got a few tips on the Bus. My delayed departure time was only 50 minutes away so we parted ways.

Once I got on the airport train my time was pushed back another hour.

This put my 11 hour 30 minutes overnight down to just 9 hours 30 minutes. It would be adjusted as we needed at least 10 hours in order to have the required 8 hours of sleep opportunity.

I decided to head to the plane anyway. It had been on the gate for 2 hours. At worst I could set everything up and get comfy.

I was supposed to fly the last "Classic" MD-80 to YYZ. Classic means legacy AA. Most remaining are the newer MD-80s acquired from TWA in the merger. 



Onboard were all three Flight Attendants. They were antsy to go as they had to be off the ground within 3 hours due to duty time. The Captain and I were legal until well past that.

I greeted them all and stashed my bags. I took a look at the logbook and headed out for the pre-flight.

Each time I round the nose of the MD-80 I smile. It really is a good looking plane. Airbus 319/320/321 and 737s all look the same. The Mad Dog has style.
The Super 80 graphic has been removed from all aircraft...but can still be seen faintly on a few.



Back on the flight deck the Captain arrived. We discussed the weather, fuel, route and alternate. We set up the aircraft and he left to get a printout of the release. My airline is almost free of paperwork. The flight release isn't needed on paper, but some like it. To each their own.

A note on cancellations. Contrary to popular belief airlines hate cancelling flights. Cancellations mean much more work getting passengers, bags, cargo, aircraft and crew where they need to be. Most cancellations result in more than just a single flight as the plane is likely supposed to keep flying from where ever it's going.

I said that because once the Captain returned....the flight cancelled. He was a commuter and immediately called scheduling to confirm he can go home. Contractual guidelines at airlines often allow scheduling to reassign pilots after a cancellation. We were both released.

Bummer I didn't get to fly....but I still get paid. This is important as I'm now on second year pay.

I'm on reserve in February. I bid short call. Short call pays a minimum of 76 hours (instead of 73 for long call). I skated thru the first 4 days of short call without being called. Quality of life is much higher being local instead of commuting. I spent the entire weekend with my family instead of a crash pad. The only odd thing was taking two cars to visit a friend instead of one. If I got called I didn't want to have to inconvenience my family. From call to airport time isn't defined at my new airline, but it is supposed to be reasonable. Under 3 hours is deemed reasonable. For long call minimum notice is 12 hours.

I start 5 days of short call tomorrow followed by just one day off and 4 more days of short call. After that....I'll be training to be a Bus driver. Almost done with my distance based learning.
The distance learning app my airline uses is much more enjoyable than my last airline which used a Windows only browser application. 

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