Monday, August 15, 2011


This has been a crazy sequence. Tiring...and I didn't fly that much.

Day 3 was a deadhead BACK to the base I deadheaded from on day 2. I thought the deadhead flight was a 1:35PM departure.

I left the hotel at 12:30PM. Arrived at the airport at 12:45PM and took my time walking to the gate. I checked the departure boards twice for the right gate and never noticed the departure time.

Approaching the boarding area I thought , "this flight is full, where are all the passengers?!?!?" Then I looked at the board....the flight departed at 1:05PM. Doh!

I was literally the last person to board. Lucky for me there was room for my bags. I've never been wrong about a departure time before.

Four long hours later I was back in the other base. My entire crew was on board as they misconnected the night prior.

Three legs. The first two were very short. He took the first leg out.

Lavatory was inop. Not a big deal on a short flight.

Low clouds and landing into the sun meant a difficult approach environment. Localizer only approach due to terrain. Caught the runway right at minimums about 2 miles out.

Quick turn and it was my leg. Short flight and we had a two hour break.

It had already been a long day. Then it looked like it would get worse.

The plane with the inop lav was the culprit. All remaining flights were well over an hour. Too long to go without a lav. Limited airplanes meant someone had to be delayed...and it would be our flight....two hour possible delay.

I state it was possible as it was still showing "on time" even though the plane we were to have used would not arrive until two hours after departure time. The mechanics were working hard on fixing the lav. I was dreading that long of a delay...another 15 hour duty day...arriving at the overnight well into the morning (way after midnight).

Thankfully the mechanics fixed the lav. Out on time Away we went.

Due to weather we had a much longer route than I was used to (I've flown this route 15+ times in the last 5 months). My leg. We were over fueled by 700 pounds over planned release. Well within takeoff and landing requirements. I climbed at 310 knots (instead of 290) and cruised at Mach.83...instead of .78 taking advantage of the extra fuel.

Landed 10 minutes early. Tired.

Got to the hotel at 12:20AM.

Today I was scheduled to deadhead back to my base at 2:20PM. This sequence was modified as I was displaced by a pilot needing IOE. Scheduling had to get me back to my base within 3 hours of my original time to comply with the pilot contract.

The commute flights from my base to my home looked horrible. Once I got in from the deadhead I would have just 3 flights to get home.

Instead I decided to try and get home from the overnight city.

The overnight was a major hub for two other airlines. I had a plan.

My first attempt would be on my own airline at 9:10AM. There was another pilot listed.....and he was senior to me. I could at least try.

Looking at the getting to the hotel at 12:20 and wanting to leave at 9:10AM was self imposed reduced rest. I wanted to have as much time at home as possible.

I woke up on my own at 6:45AM. Took at 7:40AM van. I was at the gate by 8:15AM.

The gate agent let me know about the other pilot. Twenty minutes prior to departure the other pilot was a no show. An offline pilot approached...he asked about the jump and the agent let him know I would get it.

Fifteen minutes to departure the pilot senior to me arrived.....and got the jump.

Me and the offline pilot looked at the departure board. The next flight was 10:25AM on an airline neither of us flew for.

I'm still new to commuting. I've only flown offline on 5 times in almost 4 years....but never on the airline flying the 10:25AM departure.

He quickly walked to the gate which was at the far end of the terminal. I whipped out my phone and looked up the number I stored (4 years ago but never used) to list for the jump. It seemed it was to the main reservations automated line. Hmmm.

I walked toward the gate. On the way I saw a gate agent and politely asked if she could look at the loads on the flight. She said it was overbooked by 3 but had no jump seaters listed. I then asked the proper way to list. She said she wasn't busy and listed me on the spot. This would become crucial later.

She was very nice and I noticed her name board on her jacket said she was a customer service trainer. Lucky me.

I headed toward the gate. When I arrived the previous offline pilot was there with another offline pilot. I stood back while they listed. I then handed my jump seat forms to the gate agent and took a seat in the waiting area.

The two pilots talked until about 15 minutes prior to boarding. The gate agent approached them and one pilot walked away. I grabbed my things and went close to the desk thinking an online pilot was taking the jump. Nope.

Because I listed 6 minutes prior to the other two and there was only one jump seat....I got it. If the gate agent had not listed me I would have had to find another way home.

Offline jump seats at my airline work the same way, whomever checks in first.

Off for 3 days. I do a crappy 3 day starting on Friday then I'm off for 7 days and come back for a 2 day.

It's all about timing.




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