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Any Airlines Ban Pilot/FA Commuting?  
User currently offlinebjorn14 From Norway, joined Feb 2010, 3686 posts, RR: 2
Posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4669 times:

I was reading that 50% of WN pilots commute to their base from other cities. Is this the industry average and do any airlines ban or highly discourage commuting?


"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2858 posts, RR: 48
Reply 1, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4641 times:

The percentages vary widely by airline, aircraft, and (especially) base. A small and shrinking base is likely to have fewer commuters than a large base in an expensive or undesirable urban area. NYC has a huge percentage of commuters, for instance, because it is extraordinarily expensive to live there, is junior (so it has lower paid personnel there), and is not desirable by many people to live there.

It would not surprise me if there are smaller operations that require pilots to live in base, but I don't know of any big US carriers that do. The issue is that no matter how big, an airline has only a very few bases (sometimes only one). People do have lives outside work, and they do end up caring for elderly relatives, have kids in school in a certain city, or are otherwise determined to live in a non-base city. Continental is a great carrier, but I, for instance, have absolutely zero interest to live in Houston, Cleveland, or New York/Newark. Not many new hires can actually afford to live in New York City, but that's where a lot of them end up, so what do they do? They either live 20 people to an apartment in Kew Gardens or they commute (or both). They would go bankrupt to do otherwise.


User currently offlinecobra27 From Slovenia, joined May 2001, 1033 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 4595 times:

One of the reasons I choose aviation proffesion was that I wouldn't be at home all the time and see places

User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2858 posts, RR: 48
Reply 3, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 4521 times:

Quoting cobra27 (Reply 2):
One of the reasons I choose aviation proffesion was that I wouldn't be at home all the time and see places

Well since your profile says you are a student between 21-25 years old, I'm not surprised. At that age it's normal to want to see new things. When you are 20 years older, have a family, have sick parents, a home to maintain, and numerous other responsibilities, you will likely feel differently. If you think this is an easy lifestyle you are in for a surprise. I've been (mostly) everywhere, and there's no place I would rather be than at home at the end of any flight.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20351 posts, RR: 59
Reply 4, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4323 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 1):


It would not surprise me if there are smaller operations that require pilots to live in base, but I don't know of any big US carriers that do.

I believe Emirates requires that crew live in Dubai. They provide free quarters there, although I'd imagine that married crew with families would want their own homes.


User currently offlineDashTrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1563 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4202 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 3):
Well since your profile says you are a student between 21-25 years old, I'm not surprised. At that age it's normal to want to see new things. When you are 20 years older, have a family, have sick parents, a home to maintain, and numerous other responsibilities, you will likely feel differently. If you think this is an easy lifestyle you are in for a surprise. I've been (mostly) everywhere, and there's no place I would rather be than at home at the end of any flight.

Excellent post! I couldn't have said it better. I remember a few years ago turning off the TV in some roach motel I was overnighting in and thinking "what the hell am I doing here when I have a hot wife at home I could be with?". I ended up with a better job, had a kid soon after, and after the shiny wore off the new job I still felt the same way. This time I was missing my kid though, and he was missing me. Now I'm home all the time and miss flying the jet. Can't win.....   

About the OP's question, I don't know of any US airline that outright bans commuting, but I know of some where it's discouraged. Scheduling can make a commuter's life miserable. It was common at the airline I left to fly in for your trip the night before, then work a 5 day stretch. That was either a 1 or 2 day trip, followed by a 3 or 4 day trip. You'd have to spend another night in base, then commute home the day after you finished. Two or three days off, and you started all over again. Most of the time you'd only get 1 or 2 nights every couple of weeks in your own bed. The company knew full well what they were doing, just didn't give a shit.


User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5158 posts, RR: 43
Reply 6, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4153 times:

Air Canada does not require crew live at their assigned/bid bases. However, in light of the Colgan accident at BUF, where fatigue and commuting might be a factor, Transport Canada is now hinting that they might require Canadian airlines to track and enforce duty day and crew rest limitations.

This means that any time a Pilot or F/A commutes using an airline, it can and may be tracked. Perhaps randomly to ensure regs are followed ... but certainly in the instance of an accident/incident.

But that brings up the old argument ... what is worse? Riding in the back of an aircraft for an hour or two with your eyes closed, or commuting through bumper to bumper traffic in downtown Toronto on your way to the airport. One can be tracked and argued safer than the other.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineSQ_EK_freak From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2000, 1644 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (4 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3816 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):
I believe Emirates requires that crew live in Dubai. They provide free quarters there, although I'd imagine that married crew with families would want their own homes.

Emirates does require that crew live in Dubai, but do not require that they live in company provided accommodation. They will provide a monthly stipend if you choose to live outside of company housing, though I don't think the compensation is much (they pretty much drive crew, especially new recruits, into EK apartments...pretty much like college!). For someone like myself who is in their mid twenties the furnished apartments are great, and the cost benefit unheard of in the Western world. I'm great friends with my roomie, and others in the building as well (the EK residential complexes are all occupied by cabin crew). The airline has multiple towers around Dubai, some closer to Sheikh Zayed Road (where a lot of the action is) while some closer to Sharjah (where alcohol is banned). I do believe families can live together if you are a Purser, and for pilots the airline provides villas around the city which are essentially private houses so it's not an issue for spouses and children to all live under the same roof. Incidentally, flight deck crew get private car transports from their villas to EHQ to report for duty, while cabin crew get shuttle buses from the different complexes around Dubai. Not a bad deal in my opinion.



Keep Discovering
User currently offlineRyanairGuru From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 5943 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (4 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3629 times:

Obviously commuting is very widespread, but isn't it kind of risky? What happens when a flight becomes overbooked and therefore a crewmember is stranded in, say, ROC and misses the flight they are working out of JFK??? Do airlines actually offload paying passenger to get crew to the start of their shift?

My step-sister is an BA FA based out of LHR while my entire family including my step-mum (her mum) live in Brisbane. Whenever she gets a SYD run there is always a discussion about her thumbing a lift up to BNE on QF to catch up with the family, but she simply refuses to because if she doesn't make it back to SYD to go home she could be sacked. I guess it would be different though if it was a hub airport in question with stand-by crew on hand.



Worked Hard, Flew Right
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2858 posts, RR: 48
Reply 9, posted (4 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3571 times:

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 8):
Obviously commuting is very widespread, but isn't it kind of risky? What happens when a flight becomes overbooked and therefore a crewmember is stranded in, say, ROC and misses the flight they are working out of JFK??? Do airlines actually offload paying passenger to get crew to the start of their shift?

It is risky...to your career if you don't show up. My company has a policy of three no-shows in a career and you are done. I have been at my carrier for almost 20 years and have none, because I'm willing to come the day before at awful hours of the day if necessary.

If someone no-shows they will be replaced by a reserve crewmember at their origin. The company has the option of deadheading you as a must ride passenger, but it would be under fairly extraordinary circumstances. Most companies have commuting policies that specify how many alternate flights you have to have, and when you have to get in, among numerous other conditions (it varies by carrier, and some are pretty draconian, while other airlines don't have one at all.) If the flight you are working would otherwise cancel you may get a must ride pass, but otherwise you are generally out of luck, lose the pay for the trip, and have to see your supervisor. Logging couch time on the Chief Pilot's couch is definitely not the key to a long career in the airline industry.

Commuting is not something to be taken lightly, in other words.


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