Saturday, April 18, 2015

Always pack a suitcase

I'm currently sitting in a Marriott hotel in Alabama. I'm supposed to be cooking up scrambled eggs for my kiddo.

This week I picked up 10 3/4 hours of extra flying. Two day trips.  Five hours and a quarter hours was on Thursday and 5 1/2 on Friday. Thursdays trip went fine.

Friday started okay. The original Captain (who I was looking forward to flying with) and Flight Attendant called in sick for the trip. I had a reserve crew.

We blocked out on time. He took the first leg. Weather. Slight delays as Clearance was issuing reroutes to aircraft waiting to takeoff. Away we went.

Weather at the out station wasn't horrible with 1200 broken and 3/4 mile visibility...except it was a localizaer approach. We needed 1 mile visibility. Our alternate was our hub.

Getting closer the front was passing through. The visibility was 3 miles and winds shifted so we could use the ILS. Fine.

While being vectored for the approach the winds shifted again and we had a 10 knot quartering tailwind. Clouds were still low and the visibility was just 1 mile. We discussed it and planned on landing with a tailwind on the ILS was better than a headwind with the localized as we could go lower with the ILS.

In and done. This was the first of four legs. We planned for a quick turn. Once boarded we were told there was a "Call for Release" program in effect. This meant that the Center controllers needed to meter the aircraft arriving and would sequence us in. My leg. Up and away we went with a minimal delay.

Mild turbulence. In and parked close to on time. Plane AND terminal change.

Originally we had 50 minutes between flights. With the delays we had just 30. I've been around long enough to know when I need to slow down and eat.

I stopped by a Subway and snagged a Veggie Delight Chopped Salad. I get every single option which makes it a steal for $6.

Blocked out a few minutes late. No delays on the departure which was good as there was a huge line of weather moving in from the west. We were headed east.

Great tailwind. At cruise I ate my salad and chatted up the Captain. It turns out he was an Offensive Lineman for the University of Michigan. My wife went to Michigan State. I told him he went to the "wrong" school.

Choppy ride at FL310. We tried FL350...worse. We went down to FL270. Better.

Mild weather in Alabama. With the winds coming from 120 at 9 knots I figured they'd be using runway 15. Nope runway 33. Another tailwind approach. The tailwind through my planning off a bit and I had a firmish landing...which made my Captain laugh as my previous landing was butter smooth. "At least I know you're human," he replied as I had been flying very smoothly until that point.

Once at the gate and parked I whipped out my Ipad to send out a Union email. I then did my postflight and called for clearance. That's when the fun started. ground stop. The first delay was just 35 minutes. We figured it'd be best to board up and be at the ready if the ground stop was lifted. It wasn't.

The next ground stop was pushed until 9PM. My Captain had to be off the ground by 9:02 PM to be legal under FAR 117. He started his day earlier than I did.

After several phone calls we ended up cancelling. Long ago I learned to always bring a suitcase. Never assume you will always come home even if it's "just" a day trip.

I was being Junior Manned to fly the next day. At first it was a 8 AM departure and I'd be done by 10:30 AM. We were annoyed but content. On the way to the hotel they cancelled that flight and assigned us a 2 PM departure done by 4:30 AM. That annoyed us.....our entire Saturday was shot.

I had bought a box of eggs that morning as my daughter asked for scrambled eggs Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon was to be spent going with my family to a friends birthday party. I'd miss all of that.

The Captain had planned to be home last night to go to his kids soccer and baseball games. He'd actually gotten the day off of reserve to attend those functions. He'd miss all of that as well.

The Flight Attendant just wanted to commute home and sleep in her own bed.

For all of this I get 4 hours of extra pay or 200% actual flight time, which ever is greater. Given the short flight I will get 4 hours pay....roughly $170. Not worth it really. I do get another day off this month that I get to pick. Eh.

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