Archive for NYC

Winter Weather and Another Reason I Love My Job

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 20 December, 2009 by Thomas

Click to enlarge.

I was supposed to start a three day trip today, and I guess, despite mother nature’s best efforts, I technically did.  Originally, my schedule had me working four legs today and ending in Newport News, VA, but last night Crew Scheduling called and told me the first two legs were canceled and that I and the crew would be ferrying (flying the plane without passengers) to RIC to work the last two legs and end in PHF.  Around 5:00am scheduling called again to tell me my show time would be 9:15am instead of 6:45am – I’m all about sleeping in – and ferrying a plane to LGA only to work the flight back to DAY.  All this because of the snow that hit the east coast over the last couple days.  As a lineholder, I get paid for my original schedule or the two flights I was actually on today, whichever is greater (obviously, the four flights I didn’t work were worth more time than the two I did), so I kinda get paid to not work.

I really enjoy ferry flights.  There’s no one on board the plane, and I get to ride up in the flight deck.  It’s amazing the stuff that goes on up there during a flight.  What with all the buttons, dials, and switches, it’s a wonder people can fly anywhere; how do pilots learn it all?   Also, with all the chatter that’s going on with ATC, it’s amazing anything can be understood.  I’m not that great at understanding everything ATC tells those guys to do, but usually I can pick up on our call sign and flight number, frequency changes, and altitude changes.  Other than that, I’m totally lost.  It’s still cool, though.  Every time I ride up there (so far, only three times) I’m like a kid in a candy store – my eyes are open wide, and I have a goofy grin on my face.  It’s the coolest thing.

Today’s weather flying into NYC was just perfect.  You could see the Statue of Liberty clearly, and the new Mets stadium.  The captain pointed out Rikers Island (I watch Law & Order: SVU), but I couldn’t find it.  The Expressway Visual Approach was super cool to watch, and I got some good pictures and video of things.  To see my pictures, head over to Fotki; to see some videos, just go here.  The captain even let me enter a new altitude with the fancy little dial and twice let me adjust the vertical speed (the rate at which we descend) with the press of a button and the turn of another dial.  It was like I was an eight year old kid.  I’m no pilot, but I’d sure like to be.

Even though I had a good day and got to do something that I think is cool, I still feel pretty sorry for all the passengers that got jerked around.  Of course, it wasn’t the airline’s fault, but that’s who they’re going to hold responsible.  This was the second day in a row that weather caused lots of cancellations.  I take pride in my work and who I work for, and this bad weather makes us look bad, again, even though it’s not our fault.  But at the same time, if I’m told to fly on an empty airplane, you better believe you’ll find me up front with the bus drivers.  I just hope everyone got to where they were going and that they were compensated for their troubles.

Why I Do This

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 17 December, 2009 by Thomas

There are lots of different aspects of this job that I really like.  I like the flexibility in scheduling; no day, week, or month is ever the same.  Sometimes I have very long days, and sometimes I have very short days.  I also get to work with different people.  Some of those people are awesome, some are OK, and some I’d rather not ever work with again, but it’s always different.  I get to meet some interesting characters on the plane, too.  Some are incredibly attractive, some are funny, and some are just rude, but I never know what combination I will get when boarding begins and we close the main cabin door.  Some months I work a lot (when holding a line), and some months I don’t work very much at all (when I’m on reserve), but the constant and unpredictable variety is a huge part of why I love my job.

However, the main reason I got this job and still love it as much as I do is for the travel benefits.  Twice this month I’ve tried to take a day trip to NYC, and while neither has worked out and I haven’t left town, the ability to go there for the day and sleep in my own bed at night is a major perk.  And I can do it for free.  Hopping on a plane is like hopping in a cab for me.  I can jet to Europe for $40.  Awesome.

Right now I’m in Valdosta, GA (WTH is that?) visiting my best friend and his wife.  It’s great to be able to just say, “Hey, I’ve got a few days off.  I think I’ll go somewhere and not spend a single red cent getting there.”  I don’t have to take my work home with me, and I can do whatever the heck I want.  I’m not paid a whole lot, but I didn’t sign up to earn a paycheck.  I do this job to be able to fly wherever I want to whenever I want to, and for the time being I don’t want to do anything else.  I love my job.  Oh, and I’ll try to get some stories from the line instead of being all philosophical and crap.