Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My wife the non-rev guru

My wife and I spent the weekend up in the Northwest. Getting there was pretty easy. Getting back? Not so much.

Before we left home I had a bad feeling about getting back. The flights on my mainline partner were all full/overbooked. The other airlines we had used in the past were all full to cities where we could connect to my mainline partner. I had no idea how we would get home. My wife is the optimist and wasn't worried. She never is.

We had a great weekend with my in laws. The main point of the trip was to replace my mother in laws aging computer. She bought the computer when my wife and I first met seven years ago! The computer was giving her lots of issues and needed to be replaced. I set her up with a 20 inch Imac with a wireless keyboard/mouse and an Apple express wireless router. She will have a much easier time now.

Monday was a bad day for non-rev travel. Not a single non-rev passenger got home on my mainline partner Monday. They all (30 of them!) rolled over to the Tuesday morning flight. Monday night my wife and I began looking for ways home. We listed on the Tuesday morning flight, but it was already oversold. Hmmm.....time for a plan B. I sent out request to friends who fly for various regionals to check loads on mainline flights.

My wife loves the freedom nonrev travel gives her. She has non-rev'd on three other airlines other than my own. She has become quite the non-rev guru. On this trip we would both be non-reving on a new airline.

I used my union website to figure out the proper jumpseat procedure for myself and then used my airline website to see how to ZED for my wife. Each carrier has their own way of doing things. One funny thing is that none of my friends at other airlines know how to jumpseat on their own airline. I have no idea how pilots from other airlines jumpseat on my airline. The reason? Well I, like my friends, use the airline software (which already knows who we are) to list.

We planned on trying for the 6AM flight on my mainline partner first. Then if that didn't work I would jumpseat and my wife would ZED on another airline to connect to a flight on my mainline partner.

My wife used hotel points for a hotel room close to the airport. We caught the 4:30AM van (I welcomed my wife to my world). I bought my wife a ZED pass from my airline while she checked in at the other airline “just in case”.

The 6AM flight on my mainline partner went out full. I couldn't jumpseat due to weight restrictions. No big deal as I wouldn't have left my wife behind anyway. Off to the other airline.

I gave the gate agent the required documents and she listed me on the flight. My wife and I were pretty sure we would make it on, but not positive. On my airline and my mainline partner I can see actual loads. On other airlines I can only get an idea. Yeah.

Thankfully they weren't full. We both got exit row seats (on opposite sides of the plane). Once on board I made a left turn to the cockpit and asked the Captain if it was okay with him if I rode in the back. They were a very nice crew. We chit chatted for a bit and then I went back to take my seat. The flight was fine. The cabin crew was MUCH nicer than the average cabin crew on my mainline partner. It was a nice change.

Once arriving my wife and I made our way over to the next gate. We missed the flight we wanted to get on by 10 minutes. Things worked out fine though as we got first class seats on the next flight.

I started traveling on a 3 day trip last Thursday. I arrived home on Tuesday. I slept in 3 different hotel rooms and 2 nights in my in-laws house. It was good to sleep in my own bed again.

Today is Wednesday. Bids for next month close at noon. Hope I get my usual afternoon airport standby line. I start a airport standby stint for 5 days today. Good times.

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