Spring?

It’s the second week of April and it snowed all morning. The birds are just as confused as most of us walking around in the snow trying to figure out what season it really is. Officially it has been Spring for weeks now and yet the temperature outside and the white fluffy stuff everywhere is telling a different story. Up until today it had simply been too cold to be Spring, but now mother nature is in open revolt of the time-honored tradition of getting warmer in the Spring.

Even with the extended Winter season, I have been doing pretty well avoiding the worst of the weather at work. I think I’ve had to de-ice less than five times so far this winter. I should say, a few times we’ve had to get de-iced, but they completed it at the gate while we we’re boarding. That doesn’t really count in my mind because there is almost no interaction or work required on my part.

I have been Chicago based now since January and I will say the reserve work load is much different here than it was in Newark. I spent a lot of time on short-call assignments in Newark with no actual flying assignments. Chicago is a bigger base by about double, but I’m given either a flying assignment of airport standby pretty much every reserve day. Ironically, as I’m writing this I’m sitting at home on long-call and it looks like I might squeak through until tomorrow on long-call still.

Even though they’re finding work for me almost every reserve day, I still much prefer being based here in Chicago where my commute is under an hour by train over the 2-hour flight to Newark. When I do get an assignment, it means I can leave the house about an hour and a half before I need to be at work and have plenty of wiggle room. A noon assignment in Newark meant I was leaving the house as early as 4am to catch an early flight to be in position on time in Newark.

Regarding reserve, I’m getting closer to being a line-holder. For May I counted maybe 18 people between me and the ‘guaranteed-a-line’ line (g-line). I’m hoping that over the Summer (and maybe as early as May) with the increased flying schedule I can hold a line. Having the extra days off will be nice but the ability to access premium flying would be a nice pay bump.

Of course, I could transfer back to Newark and be a line-holder, but then you have to figure out if commuting to a line is better than just being based at home. Reserve isn’t that bad here and being home at the end of a trip is really nice. Commuting is just so much time each month. Maybe if I was top 25% in Newark and still on reserve in Chicago I would seriously consider commuting again.

Next thing to consider is switching airplanes. Depending on how fast movement happens on the Airbus I might consider the 757/767. The argument there goes back to being a junior reserve pilot versus potentially a line-holder on the Airbus. Junior on the 757/767 probably just means lots and lots of SFO-EWR red-eyes. We have plenty of red-eyes on the Airbus but somehow, I’ve managed to avoid almost all of them. I think I’ve only done one! It doesn’t even really count either because it was LAS-IAH with a block time of like 3:30.

Hopefully it warms up soon. If not, hopefully somebody calls in sick for the Puerto Vallarta layover. Or Miami. I’m not picky, I’ll take either.

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