Real Answers from Real Pilots

May 2021 Schedule

  1. Reserve - not used
  2. Off
  3. Off
  4. Off
  5. Off
  6. Reserve - not used
  7. EWR-BQN (deadhead)
  8. BQN-FLL
  9. Reserve - not used
  10. Reserve - not used
  11. Reserve - not used
  12. Off
  13. Off
  14. Off
  15. Off
  16. Reserve - not used
  17. EWR-ORD (deadhead)
  18. ORD-SJD, SJD-DEN, DEN-COS
  19. COS-DEN
  20. Off
  21. Off
  22. Reserve - not used
  23. Short call reserve
  24. EWR-ORD, ORD-EWR, EWR-ORD
  25. Reserve - not used
  26. Off
  27. Off
  28. Off
  29. Off
  30. Off
    31, Off
3 Likes

Hi Chris, when it says “reserve - not used” how many hours were you on call for that day? Is it typically an 8 or 12 hour period or can it be longer? Thanks

For me that means long call reserve, which in turn means being on reserve 24 hours a day, but with thirteen hours to get to work once called.

So theoretically on a reserve day, you could get a phone call at 3am telling you to be at a certain airport by 4pm? Being ready to receive a call 24 hours a day seems almost more stressful than a normal work day!

Logan,

Yes, I could get a call at anytime and have to report to my base airport (not just any airport) within thirteen hours. I do not find it stressful at all. I simply make sure my phone is turned on with the ringer volume up and go about my day and night.

Chris

Hi Chris,

How often do people get called in the middle of the night out of long call reserve? Scheduling has to sleep too right? :slight_smile:

Alex

Alex,

Chris can answer for UA but our early reserve callout starts at 3am and I’ve been called often.

Adam

Thanks Adam, but in that case you had bid for early reserve right? Meaning you knew going into the month that you would fly early in the day if called? Or is it not a bid but something you request with scheduling to be called early vs late?

Alex,

No you’re correct. I bid for am’s so yes it’s self-inflicted :wink:

Adam

Alex,

United has airplanes in the air 24 hours per day, every day of the year. As such, the scheduling department operates 24/7 as well. I have had plenty of midnight calls, it is not the norm, but it does happen. Our reserve differs from Hawaiian’s in that we are all on long call until they convert us to short call. The short calls usually do not start prior to 3 am. On short call, it is pretty common to get a 3 am call for somebody that just called in sick for their 6 am trip.

Chris

Thanks Chris,

When you are converted to short call do you have the option to ask for early or late calls? I think I’ve read about some airlines where reserve pilots can list themselves as “call me first” or “call me last” or something to that effect.

Alex

Alex,

Sometimes we have an option, sometimes we do not, it really depends on what the company’s needs are at the time.

Chris

To circle back to this thread, my phone rang at 12:30 this morning for a 11:00 am deadhead from IAD to IAH.

Hi Chris,
Thank you for sharing your schedule with us. I’ve been wondering how do hours, flight hours and regular time work, etc. If I read this correctly on a 31 days schedule you were home (or base) 24 days, 8 of them on-call not used, One day on-call (Short call) used, Days with cities you actually have flight hours? How is deadheading classified? flight hours or work travel? How did you get from FLL on the 8th to EWR on the 17th? And from DEN on the 19th to EWR on the 24th? Why are those not consider deadheading? Did you fly home Standby or Positive Space?

Sincerely
Mia Easton

Mia,

I am based in EWR, but I live in ORF. I generally do not include my commute flights when I post my schedule as it is a choice to commute and I strongly recommend against it.

On days that I listed cities, I actually flew, on other days I did not. Deadheading is not a flight hour, but it is paid at the same rate. On the 8th I took a JetBlue flight home from FLL to RIC that night. On the 17th I commuted up to EWR on the first flight of the day. On the 19th I took a flight home to ORF and on the 24th I took the first flight up to EWR. Those are not technically deadheading as I was on my own time. I could have deadheaded back to my base form FLL or DEN, but I chose to go straight home instead. The JetBlue flight was standby, the United from from DEN to ORF was positive space.

Chris

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Thank you Chris, but isn’t commuting to and from home/base part of the job? I mean when you fly you not always end up at your starting point so you must commute back home/base unless the company pays for you to stay where ever you are until you get the right flight to get home/base.

I understand Home and Base are not always the same. So getting to and from Base is deadheading or Positive space but Base to/from Home is commuting at your expense or standby?

Mia

Hi Chris, a related question - when you say you were standby on JetBlue, are you traveling on a higher standby priority as a commuting pilot? Was there also a “jump seat” option available to you on JetBlue (and wouldn’t this give you higher priority than flying standby)? I understand that commuting is not ideal, but just trying to understand the ideal pecking order for getting on a flight - would it be:

  • deadheading
  • jumpseat
  • positive space
  • standby
    ?? Thanks

Ravi,

I’ll jump in on this one and Chris can of course expand.

The first thing you need to understand is if you’re jumpseating to/from work that is entirely your problem. JSing is a courtesy and privilege. JetBlue (or any airline but your own) doesn’t really care if you get to work on time for a UA flight. Further even if it is your own and you’re jsing a) again that’s your problem and b) since you can ride in the JS your priority is last because no one else can. DHing is actually a separate category then pass or non-rev travel.

Priority can and does vary from airline to airline but is roughly this:
Deadhead (can be mustride which is highest and the plane can’t leave without you)
Positive Space
Non-Rev Standby (your airline)
JS (your airline)
Non-Rev Standby OA (other airline)
JS OA

Now within each seniority rules but many have exceptions depending when you reserve the JS or list and others will give preference to certain carriers (ie, their Regional partners).

Adam

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Ravi,

To travel on JetBlue was my choice, thus I was the lowest priority person to get on the flight. The advantage that pilots have of course is that we can occupy the jumpseat in the cockpit, so it is possible to get on an otherwise full flight. The jumpseat is not usually available to other employee groups. Jumpseating is not a higher priority that regular standby, it is a different priority for a different seat, with the option of course to sit in the back if there are seats open there. Generally speaking, anytime one is traveling on another airline, you are generally the last on the list to get on.

The order would be:

  • positive space (this includes deadheading)
  • standby employees and their families
  • jumpseaters

There are of course nuances within this, but this is the general order.

Chris

1 Like