Could someone explain what happens when a pilot is on reserve?
How does reserve work if I live in a different city then I am based? (Live in San Antonio but based in Houston)
Thanks for the help :slight_smile:


Reserve means that you are assigned days to be on call in advance, but do not receive specific trips until within a few hours to a day of the trip starting. For example, I received tomorrow’s trip at noon today. A pilot might not fly everyday of reserve, or they might, it just depends on the needs of the company at the time.

I live in both South Bend and Norfolk, when I am on “long call” reserve I stay home until they call me, but when they convert me to “short call”, which happens frequently, I have to travel to Newark so that I can be ready to fly within 2.5 hours of receiving a phone call. I have a crashpad in EWR that I use for this purpose. The same would apply to you living in SAT, but being based in IAH, you should plan on spending most of your reserve days in IAH as SAT is just too far away.

I strongly recommend moving to wherever you are based, but that is a whole different discussion.


How many days a month are you usually on short call reserve?

Of eighteen total days of work, I usually fly or am on short call 15-16 days. Don’t get any ideas about being paid to sit long call reserve in SAT, it won’t happen.

If I lived at base, how many days would I likely be at home? Also If lived off base, how many days would I be at home?
At the airline that you work at roughy how much seniority is needed to move to more of the desired bases and where were you put at first?
I appreciate your help Chris


These are really impossible questions as things are constantly changing in the industry and with the weather, time of year, etc. What I can tell you is that most airline pilots are guaranteed 12 days off per month and you can count on that.

Same thing with your second question as that is a very nebulous question. Different bases are desirable to different people. I was assigned EWR when I was a new hire and have stayed there since.


Thanks for the help Chris. Have a nice day