Archive for reserve

Hot Reserve

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 13 January, 2010 by Thomas

As you may or may not have noticed I am posting less and less these days.  When I started this wee little blog I was a fancy lineholder meaning I was working regularly and had more chances for more stories and inspiration.  Well now I’m back on reserve, and I expect it to stay that way for the foreseeable future (unfortunately, I don’t qualify for any government assistance programs).  This particular post is more a means to vent some frustration than anything else.

Like I said in the above paragraph, I’m back on reserve.  Reserve is not a fun way to live.  The main reason I don’t like reserve is I don’t make a whole helluva lot of money.  My airline guarantees me 72 hours of pay whether I fly that much or not; most months I do not break guarantee.  While it’s great to know I will get something every month, it’s not nearly enough (what can I say, I have expensive tastes).

Another reason I so disdain reserve is that I must maintain daily contact with Crew Scheduling.  Some of the schedulers are nice people who are simply doing their job, and that job can sometimes piss off the crew members.  However, some of the schedulers are also mean, spiteful people who condescend to crew members and talk to them like children and jerk us around with our schedules just because they can.

I also hate reserve because I never get late reserve times like 8:00am or 10:00am.  If I’m assigned those times then I don’t have to worry about Hot Reserve.  It has come to my realization that scheduling hates my guts.  Why, I do not know.  Every single time I start a new block of reserve days after a day off I am given 5:00am Hot Reserve, which means the rest of my reserve days will start at 5:00am (a double edged sword to be sure).  For Hot Reserve I must wake up well before the sun is up so I can get dressed in my snazzy uniform and be at the airport where I spend the  next ten hours of my day dying on the inside ready to cover any last minute call offs.  For the rest of my days spent on call I am given 5:00am home reserve, which theoretically allows me to sleep.  Most of the time I can sleep through a large portion of my reserve period (it lasts until 7:00pm) – that is unless scheduling calls me at 5:00 to come in as a replacement flight attendant on hot reserve.  This doesn’t happen often, but it did happen recently.

After having Hot Reserve the previous day I am rudely awakened by the most skin-crawlingly awful ring tone and asked to come in again because the original hot reserve flight attendant was used.  Thankfully, the voice on the other end of the phone belongs to someone I like and I just roll with it.  That was the third time on Hot Reserve this month; tomorrow is the fourth.  I imagine I’ll get up to six days before the month is over.  This is getting old.  FML.

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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.

Life on the Bubble

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 2 December, 2009 by Thomas

When it comes to my monthly schedule, I’m living on the bubble. My seniority in base is just high enough where I can hold the reserve schedule I want if I bid reserve (meaning I get the days off I want, but not necessarily the work) or if I’m lucky I get whatever is left over of the trips after all the bids have been awarded. Yes, I must bid on my schedule every month, and most times I have no idea what days I will be on call/working or off to trot about the globe. It’s never the same, which plays a big part in why I like this job so much. I call this uncertainty the bubble, and frankly, I don’t know why anyone might call it anything different, but I’m sure someone does.

For the month of December my company was offering Enhanced Leaves of Absence, meaning we could not work and not get paid, but keep the job and keep the flight bennies. There were also several weeks of planned absences what with vacations and recurrent training coming. Needless to say I was pretty sure I would be awarded a line for the month, even if it was just a build up line (a build up line is a schedule made up from leftover trips that weren’t or couldn’t be awarded due to vacation or leaves, enhanced and otherwise). But when I was in the bidding process I had a hard time deciding what to bid for. I wanted the 11th-14th to go to Arkansas with my family to see my Granmama (yeah, that’s what I call her, emphasis on the Gran), but I also had to bid to work on the 15th and 16th so I wouldn’t lose any days off with my recurrent training. Adding to that, I also wanted to try and get Christmas knowing I wouldn’t possibly get it for the second year in a row.

Well, kiddos, I didn’t get the 11th-14th, but I did get Christmas and big chunks of days before and after. Peep my schedule for the month:

Click to peep it, G.

Yeah, that’s right. I have the 23rd-28th off. I’ve not even been here two years, and I’m a fancy line holder and holding Christmas. Also, if you’ll count them up, I have 14 days off. Fourteen days is roughly (and by roughly I mean exactly) equivalent to two full weeks. It also gets a bit better here: the 15th and 16th is recurrent training so I get paid to sit in a classroom and be “taught” things I already know and not deal with ornery passengers. I’m only actually working 15 days out of the month. December will be pretty sweet except for the fact that all those trips are on the dreaded CRJ-200; I couldn’t trade away any of them. Thankfully, I work with the same pilots on two of those trips, and those guys are cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Hopefully, life on the line will continue next month, but I have to expect to be back on reserve so I don’t get my hopes up. You just never know when you live on the edge in the shadows on the fence on the bubble (I tried other phrases; they just don’t work).