Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Coast to Coast

Currently sitting a 7E on my way to visit my in laws. My wife is in 7D and my daughter is enjoying her 23rd flight in 7F. My daughter turns one in two weeks and must have set a record for number of flights in one year of life.

My trip was very smooth.

Day 2 was an out and back. I took both legs. Total of 7 hours flying with all of the weather delays.

Day 3 started well. I did however leave my toothpaste and toothbrush at the hotel. I didn't realize this until I arrived at the next overnight.

After the first leg we had a 2 1/2 hour sit. I checked in for my deadhead on day 4. I was on standby but when I checked in I got a real seat. This is important as once I have a seat it can't be taken away.

We left and arrived early to the overnight.

This hotel is kind of isolated. There is a very nice cultural center nearby I found a few months ago. A bit of a walk but they have awesome food.

Food, beer and dessert in hand I headed back to my hotel room. I checked on my deadhead and was surprised to see it severely overbooked. The flight after mine cancelled and most of the passengers were moved to my flight. If I had not checked in I might not have had a seat.

Food, beer and dessert in my stomach I went to bed early…got a great 10 hours of sleep!

The next morning came early with a 5:40AM van. The Captain lives in the overnight city and thus did not stay at the hotel.

I wheeled my bags off a curb to head to the van when it happened. My made in China all metal kit bag handle snapped off. Ugh. Glad it was on day 4. With no handle it was VERY awkward to carry.

We climbed in the van and headed for the airport.

Departure was set for 6:50AM.

I checked to see what reserve was being used to cover the rest of the trip (I was pulled off early due to my vacation). Some poor reserve was being deadheaded out of my base to sit two hours, to fly with my crew to another city, sit two hours and fly back to base. Total of a 13 hour and 55 minute duty day. Yowzers. The pilot was fresh off IOE. Welcome to the real world buddy.

We only had 15 passengers. All were on board at 6:25AM. We blocked out at 6:30AM….twenty minutes early.

My leg. With such a light load (we were 14,000 pounds under max takeoff weight) I put in the lowest possible takeoff thrust power setting to save fuel, wear and tear, and from me having to work so hard on takeoff with all the extra power.

Smooth takeoff. We got "stuck" behind another RJ from a different airline on our route of flight. They were doing 270 in the climb. Our normal is 290. We were assigned 270. With such a light load we climbed at 2000 feet a minute all the way to FL280.

If we had not been slowed we would have been very early.

I briefed my arrival and stated which high speed I planned on. Well during my flare the super light plane floated a bit more than planned. I greased it on and decided not to jam on the brakes and just catch the next high speed. Done.

Blocked in 10 minutes early. I began thinking of someway to fashion a handle for my kit bag……then it hit me.

I said adios to my crew and dug through my suitcase. I found a fabric belt from a pair of shorts and used it to make a handle for my kit bag. Didn't look great but it attached to my J hook and I was able to move around easier.

My dead head flight was delayed a bit. Scheduled for 9:20AM, we left at 9:50AM.

Arrived at my home airport (not where I'm based…..yet) at 3:00PM. Long flight

I had just enough time to head home, swap suitcases, load up my Zune with videos, eat dinner and load up my family to head back to the airport.

On the way I asked my wife to check the gate of our planned flight. Glad I did….the flight suddenly filled up! No seats for us. Thankfully my brother in law lives in driving distance of 4 airports we can fly into. I whipped out my laptop and rebooked us on a flight to a different airport. Done.

I'm off until August 8th. Time to enjoy some time away from airplanes.


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