Sunday, May 10, 2009

One more night

On my last overnight. Ready to be done.

This morning started early. I woke up at 4AM. I never sleep well on reduced rest overnights. I went down to eat breakfast at 4:50AM. At 5:00AM I was in the back of the hotel van on the way to the airport.

After clearing security I made my way down to the plane and began my morning routine. I had the plane all set up when I realized I didn't have my clearance yet! I had used our flight release to setup the plane. After a quick call to ground, problems were solved. I had the leg out. Weather at the base was 2SM vis and 200 foot ceilings. The Captain called the approach lights at 200 feet. I saw the runway soon after. I wanted to redeem myself after pounding the plane into the runway the day before. I made a very, very, very nice landing. I even gave myself an "attaboy" with a PA after parking at the gate.

The next flight out was textbook.  We only had 9 passengers. Captain landed and we taxied into the outstation.We turned the plane (passengers and bags off, passengers and bags back on) in just 18 minutes at the outstation! It seemed like longer.

While at the outstation, my wife sent me a text that my next flight had changed to a different aircraft. This meant I would be deadheading. She was going to fly on my flight for the first time with me at the controls. Afterward we were going to have lunch and then she was going to fly back home. After a few text she decided to still come along as she was hungry. One of the many benefits of this job is being able to bring my wife along to eat lunch/gamble/explore the city while on a trip.

The flight back to base was full and had a jumpseater in the cockpit from United. We all chit chatted en-route. He was getting furloughed in the fall after 10 years with the company. He was happy to have enough notice to find something else.

Once back in base (and another stellar landing!) I met my wife at the gate for the flight to the overnight. My crew would all be deadheading. A very nice gate agent gave my wife and I exit row seats together. I hate deadheading. I like to see the view out the front window. Oh well.

After landing my wife left to get the rental car and I met her soon after. We had a very nice lunch and she hung out with me at the hotel until her flight was supposed to leave. The flights were delayed. This is the second time my wife has tagged along with me. The first time was a few months ago.

The overnight then was 18 hours long on a Sunday. The city I overnighted in had a casino. We love to gamble. We rented a car and had a great time gambling. I would be flying the first flight out the next day. Before we left to the overnight, the return flight had 40+ open seats. When we got back to the hotel the flight was full. A flight had canceled that night and all the passengers rolled over to the morning. I tried to reassure my wife that the first flight of the day is the most missed flight as passengers sleep in/decide to take a later flight/just don't show up.

In the morning we drove to the airport and dropped off the rental car. The rest of the crew was taking the hotel van. The ground crew were a little confused seeing a First Officer arrive by himself. I prepped the plane for the return flight before the crew arrived. The plane sat right in front of the departure gate and I could see my wife from the cockpit. She sent me a text that ALL the passengers showed up and she wouldn't be getting on. Feeling bad for my wife I went up to the gate and gave  her my laptop bag. The passengers gave us an odd look. Here was this pilot giving his laptop bag to some passenger? Yeah. My wife then sat in the airport for 12 HOURS missing 7 other flights! A flight attendant who was commuting to work (and also getting bumped off flights) saw my wife sitting there and asked if she worked for the airline. After a few minutes the flight attendant realized she knew ME and told my wife that if she didn't get on a flight she could stay the night at her house. Airline people take care of each other. Thankfully they got on a flight home.

Tonight my wife is sitting in the airport as I sit in the hotel. The flights are delayed but she will get home. She got to see a little excitement as a passenger was hauled off the inbound plane in handcuffs.

Tomorrow I have an early 5AM van again. Just three legs and I am done with this trip. I have really enjoyed the crew. I am off for two days before one more 6 day reserve stint. After that I am off for 8 days!

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