Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Make $43 an hour sitting on your couch!

Right now I'm sitting on my couch watching TV making $43 an hour. I was supposed to be taxiing out for a 5 hour turn.

This morning I woke up in Mexico. It was planned and not some adventure gone wrong. I bid a two day trip worth 10 hours. I added on 3 hours of overtime equating to a productive 13 hour two day trip.

Day one started with me backing out of my garage at 4:40 AM. Just an hour later I was sitting inside a very cold flight deck preparing for my first turn which was on overtime.

Ideally the ground personnel connect warm air to the plane. It had been there all night. Didn't happen. I fired up the APU and turned on the heater.

During my pre-flight inspection I found a small patch of frost on the left wing. Everything else was clear.

In reality the plane would likely fly just fine with that small amount of frost (maybe 3 feet by 2 feet wide). Requirements state the aircraft must be clear of frost on top of the wing. De-icing was needed.

A ramper arrived at the flight deck and asked if we needed de-icing. I told him about the small patch. He saw the same patch and assumed the same. He said the trucks would be ready for us and we would be out quickly.

The Captain arrived and I filled him in. We blocked out with 9 passengers at 6:05 AM, five minutes early. We were the first departure of the morning. We made our way to the deicing pad to see dark trucks. No steam. No smoke from the engines. No rampers.

The wait began. Twenty minutes later the rampers arrived. Forty minutes after blocking out we were finally deiced. So much for being ready for us eh?

Nice Captain and Flight Attendant. Blocked in late and left late. I did get an extra 30 minutes of pay due to the inability of my airline to properly prepare for deicing.

I was supposed to have a plane swap before heading to Mexico. Because we were so late I was able to keep the same plane. Score one for me.

Old crew out and new crew in. Well most of the new crew. The Flight Attendant was fairly senior. I have worked with her a few times. Very nice...but crazy chatty. Like I could walk away and she would still be talking, chatty.

Five minutes to departure and there was still no Captain. The Flight Attendant stated she rode the employee bus with the Captain so she knew he was at the airport.

Two minutes before departure he arrives. He gets a little annoyed with me as I didn't fill out a form that is normally filled out by the Captain. I'm allowed to do it, but not once in 7 years and 4000+ hours of flight time have I ever done the Captain normally does it. I blow it off. I had done everything else from programming the FMS, briefing the Flight Attendant and weight and balance information.

Away we went. I took the leg down. Long but easy flight. There are very few ILS approaches into airports in Mexico. Most have DME arcs. This was no different. I began configuring while on the arc. In and done.

Long ride to the hotel.

This morning started with a 5:40 AM van time. Surprisingly heavy traffic but we zoomed around most of it.

Leaving this airport always makes me laugh. We have to go through a metal detector where EVERYONE beeps. I swear I could go though naked and still beep. We each get wanded down. The security person only spoke Spanish. I speak bad Spanish. We get through fine.

Departing also involved a DME arc. Away we went.

Right now my airline and pilot group are in negotiations. They want me to work for less money among other things. I won't go into details, but I will say morale is low and the pilot group is frustrated. This along with management not abiding by some parts of the contract have made things outside the flight deck less than desirable.

The contract I'm bound by states, and I'm paraphrasing, line holders can only be reassigned by having a member of management or a scheduling representative verbally notify the pilot of a scheduling change. Many times pilots are met at the jet bridge and handed a form and told of their new assignment. That's fine.

Descending into the airport our inbound and outbound gate information prints up. The rest of my crew was doing another Mexico turn. I was assigned something else. Well on paper anyway.

We parked on time and made our way to customs. As I cleared the Global Entry process I expected to see someone waiting for me to reassign me. No one was there. Odd.

I just assumed they changed their minds. I was hungry since we left before breakfast opened at the hotel. Off to find food. I had a wonderful Vietnamese Tofu Sandwich. Truly delightful. I then made my way to my next gate which was the turn to Mexico with my crew. Again I expected someone to be waiting for me.

On the way I picked up some bagels and saw my Flight Attendant. She said there was a new First Officer assigned. Odd I thought as it was my line.

Bagels in tow I arrived to the gate. The Captain was there. I looked at the paperwork expecting to see my name. Nope, another First Officer was assigned.

I then called scheduling. They stated they tried to call me to reassign me. I asked why no one met me to reassign me and was given no answer. Since the flight they reassigned me to had again been reassigned and they staffed my original flight with a new First Officer....I was done for the day.

I get full pay for the flight they pulled me from. I get $43 an hour for five hours of TV watching, doll house playing and relaxing.

Improper planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

I still love my job. I work with an amazing group of talented and pleasant Pilots and Flight Attendants. The climate outside of the aircraft needs to change. It's gotten so bad I've put out several applications to places that would involve commuting for the rest of my career.

For now though I will go back to episode of The Mindy Project is on the DVR.

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