Archive for winter

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.

They Say Memory’s the First to Go…I Don’t Recall the Second

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 30 November, 2009 by Thomas

I'm warm in my coat.

I don’t think I was going to post anything, but after arriving in HSV I figured I should would.  It’s that time of year when things start to get a bit cold so I’ve broken out the ol’ winter coat.  It’s a nice coat, a very nicecoat.  I first wore this black, wool, calf-length overcoat in February of ’08 when I went to Chicago to interview for a certain legacy carrier.  This coat does bang-up job of keeping me warm when I can see my breath, and though it is neither company-issue nor compliant with our uniform standards I wear it to work (Company, give me a coat that 1) keeps me warm and 2) looks good and I will wear it).

In addition to having this great coat, I have something else – namely a tendency to forget things that I’ve just remembered and told myself that I won’t forget again.  As we’re deplaning in HSV I remember that I have I my have coat hanging in our coat closet on the plane.  I think that I should probably take it out and put it on the crew bags that I’ve just gotten out, but then decide that I’ll remember it because I have to remember to get my food off ice.  I do remember the food (you see where my priorities lie), but not the coat.  My flying partner reminds me of my coat as we’re going down the escalator to the hotel.

People are on board cleaning the plane, and I’m banging on the door trying to get down the jetbridge to retrieve my prized? coat.  No one comes.  I find the phone list and call the station manager; he’s apparently gone home (of course he has; it’s 10:30pm).  I call the ticket counter, and the lady tells me she’ll be there in a bit after she finishes with a baggage issue.  A few minutes later, instead of an airline employee coming to get my coat I’m assisted by the airport policeman.  Thankfully, he actually does his job and thought it suspicious that someone would sit behind a gate counter and play on his phone when there were no flights going out.  He gets on the radio, moves, shakes, and 15 minutes later I have my coat.  I’ve pissed away almost an hour of a 13-hour layover, but luckily we stay in the airport hotel . . . in the airport.  Whatever . . . I got my coat back and didn’t have to wake up at 6:30 to try and convince the crew that it was actually on the plane.

Oh, and I meant for this to be a lot shorter.