Real Answers from Real Pilots

Crash pads and flights home

I would like to know how often you guys have to stay in crash pads. Also for pilots who live away from their home base, how hard is it to get quick flight back home. I know it depends on where home is but is is pretty easy to get on flights (not during holidays)?
Also I know its best to have your family live where your home base is but with constantly moving up the ladder and changing bases what is the reality of this.



When I was a full time commuter I spent about four nights per month in my crashed, sometimes more and sometimes less. I never found it terribly difficult to get back home, just time consuming.

There really is no reason to constantly change bases in the airlines. I have been based in Newark for twelve years straight. If you pick a big, well established base then odds are that you could spend your entire career there.



Since I’m not a commuter (nor have I ever been) I’ve never stayed in a crashpad. That said I do go back to NY every month to see family and the answer (like many questions) is it depends. There are so many factors that can effect the loads on flights, not just holidays. Perfect example I was in NY just this am and wasn’t planning on coming home for 2 more days. Well NY is expecting 2-3’ of snow, the airlines starting cancelling flight and I was forced to leave this am and the flight that had 40 open seats last night had 0 this am (fortunately I was able to get the jumpseat but if there was a more senior pilot I would’ve been out of luck). But wx, yes holidays, school Spring Break, airline sales, destination events all can ruin your day and make a very easy commute into a nightmare.

As Chris said you can go your whole career at one base but that’s really your decision. Some pilots move chasing airplanes or upgrades. As with many things it all depends.