Flying Schedule?

bmellis

New Member
I've read through the sample scheduling on this site for a major airline. Can a pilot expect to be gone 4-5 days consecutively for his/her entire career, or are there schedules available after one has gained seniority that would allow them to be home much more often? For instance, do pilots ever get lucky enough to fly from New York to Dallas and back the same day (just an example) and then go home to their wife or can a pilot expect to be away from their spouse half of the time for their entire career?
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
It differs with every airline, the more seniority you build the more toptions you have and more likely you will get the schedule you want. You really have to like what your doing to put up with all this. You kinda have to think of scheduling as part of the job.
 

bmellis

New Member
I guess I should add some more information... I've wanted to fly ever since I was a little kid helping my grandfather build (flying) models of the plans he worked on in WWII. I really don't mind being at the whim of my employer when it comes to scheduling. With that said, if at all possible I would prefer not to be away from my wife and (potential) kid(s) half the time. I can deal with being away often for the next 10-15 years, but it would be nice to be home more often in the future. Is there such thing as a 9-5 pilot or schedules that have you away only 2-3 days at a time? Is it even possible to be a pilot, have a wife that works, and a kid that doesn't hate you because you're never around?
 

DavidMohr

New Member
We have a couple day lines (some airlines call them turns) every month. DFW-DCA and DFW-JFK are all we have on the 700 out of Dallas. They tend to go relatively senior because they are blocked fairly high and usually have a lot of days off. Personally I usually bid to work weekends to get batter schedules with more days off.

I am actually doing the JFK day line this month. To give you an idea of the schedule:

Duty In @ 10:45 am

Depart DFW 11:45 Arrive JFK 16:02
Depart JFK 17:20 Arrive DFW 20:30

All times are local so it is blocked for 3:17 going and 4:10 coming back. That is 7:27 flying time (sore hind end). The good part is I only do it FRI SAT SUN and only 12 times at that. That is 19 days off and 90 hours of pay.

Keep in mind that we only have four of these type of trips on this equipment in the DFW domicile. Not sure about the CRJ200 or the ATL domicile.
 

seagull

Well-Known Member
While there are some schedules that may have you home every day (never heard of any that are just 9-5, more likely early A.M. to afternoon or mid-day into the evening or some combination), there are two things to consider here:

1. Those schedules come and go for different equipment with the airline, based on the airline's scheduling needs, not your idea of a homelife;

2. Is this really what you want? Do you want to retire and say that all you've done is fly between DFW and LIT your whole career? Or would you rather look back and a career that is a lot more interesting? Flying the airplane is fun, but just between a couple of domestic cities, I'd not be happy.

There is another option, incidentally. After you have been at the airline for a while, apply for a job in training or management that keeps you home all the time, or at least, most of the time.
 

FL270

New Member
I always tell people that are going in to this career to do so with the expectation that they'll be gone a lot! Start out single, or with a VERY understanding significant other. My girlfriend understands that if/when I'm flying for an airline, she'll probably only see me two days a week. She doesn't terribly like it, but she understands it is part of the deal.

That said, most airlines whose schedules I've seen offer a variety of trips, anything from day trips (out and backs or turns) to two, three, four, and even five day trips. Some airlines (Continental for one) have trips that are four days at the longest. Others (Northwest I know is one) do five day trips. Of course, if you're talking UPS or FedEx, particularly on the international side, trips could get longer still.

In order to take advantage of day trips, you would really have to live in domicile. You could wake up in the morning, fly your trip, and be back in your own bed by evening. If you commuted, it would cut way back on your home time ... indeed, people who commute typically avoid day trips like the plague because of the hassle involved.

This job is all about priorities ... and everyone's experience is a little different because their priorities are a little different. Some people want to stay home a lot, others want to see the world. Some don't mind moving to live in domicile, others insist on living where they want to live and commuting. Some people are happy flying domestic, while others want to chase the widebody, overseas flying. It all depends on what you want to do ... and remember, seniority is everything. Early on, the company owns you. Later, as you become more senior, you begin to have some measure of control over your schedule. Of course, it's still ultimately based on whatever lines the company cranks out. Remember, you can't make chicken soup from chicken poop ... and you could be top 10% seniority on your position, but if all the lines in your position are crappy, you're just as screwed whether you're the top guy or the bottom.

I will also make a plug here for corporate aviation. Corporate eliminates the commute because you live where you fly. The variety of schedules here is even wider than at the airlines, but in the two years at my present job I don't think I've ever had more than six or seven RONs a month. Probably 70% of our trips are day trips. My job isn't typical, but jobs like it are out there.

Ultimately, if extensive travel is REALLY a problem for you, then this probably isn't the right field for you. You just have to accept (and more importantly, your family and friends must accept) that as part of this profession you will probably be gone a lot. It's just part of the game.

Good luck!
Russ
 

danielsexton

Well-Known Member
An independent cargo operation or banner towing operation might be an option here. I know one guy who works for a small cargo outfit who is home every night. But then, he's not making $100+k either. I guess it depends on the person, do you want to take a job where you will max out at 60k, flying a small plane into small airports and be home every night, or do you want to do what most of us on this board would like to do, fly the big plane, with the big carrier, into the big airports?
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
I don't want to be negative, but you're going to spend a humongous amount of time away.

There are some "turn lines" at Delta, but they are tremendously senior and they literally come and go. Some months you may have some, other months you have none. It all varies.

Skyway had very few layovers while I worked there, but a few years later, they primarily did 3 and 4 day trips with very few 'day trips'.

If the idea of spending lots of time in hotels makes you crazy, you're going to be sitting in a bell tower before you know it!
 

DavidMohr

New Member
[ QUOTE ]


2. Is this really what you want? Do you want to retire and say that all you've done is fly between DFW and LIT your whole career? Or would you rather look back and a career that is a lot more interesting? Flying the airplane is fun, but just between a couple of domestic cities, I'd not be happy.



[/ QUOTE ]

No doubt. They are a nice civersion sometimes, but if I had to fly day turns for the rest of my career I would jump off the bridge for sure.
 

davetheflyer

New Member
You could always live at your base and bid reserve. Depend on staffing levels, you'd probably spend a fair amount of time at home, but the pay wouldn't be that great.

We offer 1, 2, 3, and 4 day trips. Shorter trips frequently go to senior people who live at the base.

Another option popular with family guys (who are senior) is stand-ups. These trips tie the last flight out with the first flight in. Because of the short time between, the crews stay on duty all night, and are paid half-time while while not flying. Because you go in late and get off early, it's like having extra days off.
 

fly22

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
You could always live at your base and bid reserve. Depend on staffing levels, you'd probably spend a fair amount of time at home, but the pay wouldn't be that great.

We offer 1, 2, 3, and 4 day trips. Shorter trips frequently go to senior people who live at the base.

Another option popular with family guys (who are senior) is stand-ups. These trips tie the last flight out with the first flight in. Because of the short time between, the crews stay on duty all night, and are paid half-time while while not flying. Because you go in late and get off early, it's like having extra days off.

[/ QUOTE ]


Who do you fly for?
 

bmellis

New Member
Thanks for the replies guys... Being away or spending time in hotels doesn't bother me, I'm just wondering how people deal with their kids. I had a friend who's dad flew for delta, I remember that he hated his dad's guts. Of course, the guy could have just been a jerk. Is it common at all to have lines that have smaller groupings of days? Like gone 2 days, back 2 days? Or is it generally 3-5 days away?
 

UIPilot45X

Well-Known Member
You could look into some cargo outfits. Like airnet for example, they fly monday through thursday mostly. Although the catch is that its from 9pm to 6 am (or something like that). Regardless of the exact times, its third shift. Of course, as in everything there are ups and downs, the downs being that your flying in the middle of the night. But if you are a family man its not so bad. From what I hear your children dont even realise you have a job, cause when you work they sleep and when they do the school thing you sleep. Anyway, cargo outfits like that is something you might want to look into. Goodluck.
 

FL270

New Member
bmellis ...

Airlines have everything from one to five day trips ... including two or three day trips instead of four days or longer. It all depends on what kind of lines your company puts out and how senior you are to bid on them. Again, to maximize your time with family, live in domicile instead of commuting. Marry a very understanding woman, and don't have kids until you have that airline job and can get a feel for what the schedule will be like.

As for the Delta pilot's son that hated his old man, there's no telling what the whole story is there. Maybe Dad locked himself in his office when he was home and never spent any time with the kid. Maybe he was screwing around on Mom. Maybe the kid just had issues. Hard to say, and without knowing the whole story, it's irresponsible just to blame the situation on his job.

Like I said, one way or another you'll be working at least half the days of the month as a full-time professional pilot. Let's take an example:

Let's say you are an airline pilot (regional, major, doesn't matter). You are awarded a line for April that has four, four-day trips in it. This means you are working sixteen days and off fourteen days. Half the month is all your time. Each four day trip has three overnights (since the fourth night you'll be back home). So you're away twelve nights, but home the other eighteen in the month (assuming you live in base). That's not quite as bad as it seems at first glance ... at least I don't think so.

An example Continental 737 trip might be something like:

1: IAH-DFW, DFW-IAH, IAH-SFO
2: SFO-EWR
3: EWR-MCO, MCO-CLE, CLE-BOS
4: BOS-IAH, IAH-SAT, SAT-IAH

You'd leave Houston on day one, have overnights in San Francisco, Newark, and Boston, and return to Houston on day four.
 

Nick

Well-Known Member
I can give you some more random "sample" trips from people I know:

AAL B-777 (based at JFK)
1) JFK-LHR
2) LHR-MIA
3) MIA-LHR
4) LHR-JFK

1) JFK-LHR (9AM to 9PM)
2) LHR-JFK (get back at 7PM)

1) JFK-NRT
3) NRT-JFK





COA B-737 (based at EWR)
1) EWR-ATL-EWR-RDU
2) RDU-IAH-PDX
3) PDX-IAH-SAN
4) SAN-EWR

1) EWR-ORF-EWR-ATL-EWR

1) EWR-SBGR (San Jose, Costa Rica)
2) SBGR-EWR

1) EWR-TAPA-TNCM (Antigua and St. Maarten)
2) TNCM-EWR

1) EWR-ORD-EWR-ORD
2) ORD-IAH-YVR
3) YVR-EWR
 
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