Real Answers from Real Pilots

A few odd questions

Hello. First off, love this forum. I start ATP in about 6 weeks (Feb 20th) on the 40ME route. I have spent a lot of time reading all these “questions and answers” and the information learned from these posts is unparalleled. That being said, there are a few questions I had that I have not seen an answer to. Odd questions but something that I have been thinking about.

  1. When you’re flying all day on flights not long enough to warrant a meal served to passengers, does the airline have a meal on-board for the crew or is the crew on their own for supplying breakfast/lunch/dinner between flights?
  2. When driving to the airport (domicile or the airport you commute out of), do airline employees have a designated parking lot or an employee pass or are you subject to the same hourly/long-term rates as everyone else who parks at the airport?

I hope I wasn’t too confusing. Thanks!

Hello Robert,

I’m glad you’re enjoying the forum and congrats on starting your training shortly! Hope you’re excited? You should be! No questions are odd (ok well some are), you want to know as much as you can about what you’re getting yourself into and that’s a good thing so let’s go:

  1. As you said if the flights of sufficient length where meals are served we always get one. Sometimes it’s what they’re eating, sometimes it’s a separate “crew meal”. But, in most cases, if it’s a short flight no you don’t get anything and you’re on your own. Not sure if you read my recent response on “per diem” but that’s one of the cases why we have it. Per diem is extra money paid hourly (usually $1-3) around the clock from when you start your duty for a trip till you finish. It’s to cover meals. As a side note when I was at ExpressJet they did have “snack boxes” (granola bars, fruit, whatever) in the crew lounges at all our bases where you could grab something between flights.

  2. Every airline I’m aware of provides parking for their employees. It’s usually a separate crew lot with a shuttle to get you to the terminal. The problem arises if you don’t live in base and commute. I believe (I’ve never actually commuted) that since your not using the company lot the airline will give you a credit that you can use at your home airport to offset the cost, but Chris could tell you for sure since he’s the commuting expert.

Hope that helps a little?



Welcome to the forums and thanks for the compliments. Let’s get right to your questions.

  1. The answer varies by airline and the contract they have with their pilots, but generally speaking if there is not time for the passengers to eat during a flight there is not time for the pilots to eat either. So, you would be responsible to purchase your own meals in-between flights. Keep in mind though that you are paid an hourly stipend called “per diem” to help cover the costs of food. I find that I rarely, if ever, spend as much in food as I receive in per diem.

  2. At your domicile airport the airline will provide parking for you. At non-domicile airports, say one you are commuting out of, parking is not provided by the airline, but the vast majority of airports have discount plans for commuting crew members. I pay $4 per day in Norfolk and $30 per year in South Bend as a commuting pilot.

Good luck in the program, I am glad that you have found this forum to be so helpful!


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Thank you for your quick responses. Flying has been something that I’ve been interested in since I was a young boy and I can’t wait to live my childhood dream. Excited may be an understatement. :grin: