Real Answers from Real Pilots

January 2020 Schedule

I bid reserve intentionally in January to get some days off that I needed.

  1. Field Standby
  3. All day in BIL
  7. Off
  8. Off
  9. Field Standby
  10. EWR-RDU
  11. RDU-EWR (deadhead)
  13. Short Call
  14. EWR-ORD, deadheaded home to ORF
  15. Off
  16. Off
  17. Off
  18. Off
  19. Off
  20. Off
  21. Field Standby
  22. Field Standby
  24. Off
  25. Off
  26. Short Call
  27. Off
  28. Off
  29. Off
    February bid period begins, I have a line again in February.


Out of curiosity, what is Field Standby?

Field Standby is when we have to go to the airport we are based at (EWR for me) and sit there for four hours. If no flying comes up within that time, you are released for the day. The varies from airline to airline with some not having the practice at all.

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Field standby is probably a fixed hourly rate too?


It is included in the monthly reserve guarantee. There is no real additional pay for being on field standby, but on reserve you are guaranteed a monthly minimum.


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Thank you!

Is field standby something that only reserve pilots do or does everyone do that?

Reserves only.

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Just curious, but do pilots fly a mix of aircraft on a trip, or does each trip only have A319, or 737-800 flights, for example?


We can fly any aircraft within our fleet type. So I might fly a 319 or 320 during my trip. A 737 pilot could fly a 737-700, 800 or 900 in a given trip, but they would not fly a 757 or 767.


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Talking about schedules, I have a quick question, I’ve read that people hardly ever take up other shifts considering Faa rules and different reasons and that make sense, but if your wanting to have a weekend off( have something coming up) not a holiday or anything like that, just a normal weekend back home. Is it possible to switch flights with someone, or have some unpaid off time( if you don’t have vacation days) or choose not use them* if someone is eligible to coverage your shift, and I understand a lot of it would have to do with company and many company’s are often different, but does this ever happen?


First picking up or trading a trip had nothing to do with FAA rules. As with everything getting a day(s) off is a matter of seniority and bidding or getting those days. But to answer your question there’s a few ways at my airline and it can vary.

  1. if you have enough notice you can use vacation days and bid for the days off in the future.

  2. less time but still enough you bid the days you want in your monthly bid

  3. advertise your trip for pickup or ask a buddy to swap

  4. if there’s enough reserve coverage simply drop or trade the trip

  5. (cough, cough) call in sick

  6. if a legit big enough deal call scheduling and offer your first born and maybe they’ll help you out, but it will cost you!



I’ve had success trading trips, but the trade needs to be done before the trip starts. There is such a thing as trading in the middle of a trip (jetway trade), but I don’t know anyone who has ever done it. Both pilots would have to coordinate the trade ahead of time and both have to still be within flight time and duty limitations. Again, I’ve never heard of anyone who has pulled off a jetway trade.

Dropping all of or a portion of a trip (with or without vacation pay) requires adequate reserve coverage.

Part of being a pilot requires that you accept that your schedule will change. Generally speaking, the more time you put in the more optimal your schedule.


Sorry for the confusion Adam, as I meant, I know you can’t pick up to many flights in a row, or have to many hours in a month, because of FAA rules. Not about the trading part of it. But thank you both for the answers. It would definitely be planned 4 or 5 months in advance. Basically it would be just asking for a weekend off for something that’s going on back home. Only couple times a year. Nothing I would make a habit of.

I have a Question… do people who have motion sickness get rejected in their medical test for pilot?


It’s best to consult an Aviation Medical Examiner for these types of questions. However, to my knowledge it is possible for a pilot who suffers from motion sickness to receive a special issuance for their medical certificate. It depends on the severity, if it happens on the ground or in flight, and if medication is required. Each applicant is dealt with on a case by case basis.


how do i consult one?

What about for us workaholics? Assuming it doesn’t violate rest between trips or total monthly limit where you can still make your assigned trips, how easy/hard is it to pick up a trip on your days off?


Difficult to answer? Really depends on staffing. If the airline is properly staffed there shouldn’t need alot of open trips but if you’re flexible there’s usually work to be found.