Monday, August 17, 2020

Doing it because I love it...and I might need the money

 Back in October 2007 I was hired by American Eagle. About a year later they started furloughing. I survived. Barely.

In November 2017 I was hired by American Airlines. Last month I was the recipient of a WARN letter. I have 2251 pilots below me. They bottom 2500 were given a WARN letter. Yep.

Since I knew this was coming I started fortifying my furlough fund. 

Every airline pilot SHOULD have a furlough fund. Airline employees live with feast of famine. I have feast when I was hired....since March's been famine. 

In May I started cutting back unnecessary expenses. In June I began picking up at much extra CREDIT as possible. 

At my airline there's pay hours...and credit hours. Each day I go to work I am guranteed at least 5 hours and 15 minutes pay regardless of how little I fly. For example I can fly a 1 hour flight from Dallas to Tulsa stay the night and fly back to Dallas the next day. I would work 2 hours but be paid 10 1/2 hours. The extra 8 1/2 hours is credit. Work smart not hard. The idea is for the airline to build efficient schedules. 

At American Eagle there was no daily guarantee. The same Tulsa flight would have paid 2 hours. At my current pay rate a simple overnight nearly covers my mortgage. It's a good deal.

My union and airline together decide the max credit I can get per month. The FARs limit how much flying I can do per month. In July I was limited to 100 hours credit. I was able to work the system to get 99 hours and 46 minutes of credit. I actually flew less than 60 hours. 

I'm going all this to help fortify my furlough fund. Right now I have about 5 months of pay in cash saved up. That's normal spending. I can easily stretch that to 8 months as I will have lower expenses sitting at there's unemployment.

Do I think I will get furloughed? I doubt it. I assume there will be another bailout sent to the airlines to cover them thru March 2021. Hopefully by then the vaccine will be out to high risk people and the virus will be on the mend. If not....then a furlough is very likely.

Domestic US flying is still pretty busy. International is light because most of the world doesn't want Americans.

I am an "international" pilot. Mexico is currently accepting Americans. I have been to Cancun more times in the last month than the last year. 

My trips to Cancun were from Phoenix and Dallas. All were full in and out. Americans want to travel. 

Still love flying...still looooooooove the Airbus. 

Photo of the baby bus in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. All that open land and a really short runway!

I'm a little tired....last night I picked up a 1-1 that was supposed to go to Saint Louis and deadhead home later this morning.

Before I left home scheduling reassigned me to fly to Kansas City then deadhead home today. A very strong storm came through last night. It could have been worse as they could have given me much longer flights.

I pulled out of my garage at 7:05 PM.

Delayed a bit but it was a short flight up. My cabin crew were doing a "On Duty All Night" or Continuous Duty Overnight meaning they worked the first flight out in the morning and required NO rest. 

We were supposed to be full. With all the weather only 37 people on board the baby 319. The plane holds 128 passengers. Nice 28 knot crosswind takeoff. Limit on dry is 35 knots. Light plane plus winds meant for a very short takeoff roll. 

I made a decent landing and I was in my hotel room at 12:20 AM. I was scheduled to leave at 11:35 AM to deadhead back to Dallas.

At 4:45 AM my wrist was vibrating. Time to get up. I was on the 5 AM van with the cabin crew. There was no need for me to waste half a day in Kansas City.

Short flight and I pulled into my garage at 7:55 AM just in time to take my daughter to daycare. It was like I was never even gone.

I am at 86 hours credit this month. Actual flying it closer 62 hours. I hope to pick up at last one more overnight. 

I have two Anchorage, Alaska trips left for the month each with 8 hours of extra credit. 

Doing it because I love flying....and might need the money.

For those on social media I am on Instagram and TikTok as Geekinthecockpit. Feel free to request a follow. 

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