If you are a flight crew member and you are gone for days at a time, you might as well live in an affordable place, perhaps in an outlying area, as you aren't even home very much. CWA and RHI were popular bases at Mesaba for this reason, as the cost of living in rural Wisconsin is going to be significantly less than MSP
and it is more peaceful. And if you ever want to get to one of the hub cities, you are just a flight away. CWA and RHI are no more than 60-80 min flights to MSP
, which when you think about it would be a comparable drive for many people if they live in an outlying suburb into the airport as well as waiting for the crew bus. There is quite a lot of inter-hub and inter-base travel by crew members reporting for work. Last time I took the early morning NW MSP
flight, I was stuck behind like 35 NW
pilots and FA
's reporting to work in DTW
. I had never seen so many pilots in one place in my life!
Pilots sometimes rent space from someone or go in on a "crash pad" in the city they are based just in case they can't get home that night. The crash pad is usually just a furnished bedroom in a house or apartment with access to the house's amenities. They would also buy a cheap car as basic transportation from the airport to the crash pad. At Mesaba, the MSP
parking lot at one point was totally riddled with junky old cars that never moved because crew members would get transferred around and just abandon their $500 car because they didn't need it anymore.