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How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:55 pm
by Sdmccray1984
When an airline like Air Transat runs a twice weekly service from YUL to ATH during summer, what do they do with their flight crews? Does TS pay hotel costs for their crews all the days between return flights, or do crews return to Montreal on the same flight they had just worked (as a non rev passenger)? Also, are there instances where a flight crew member could stay overnight, but prefers to just get back home ASAP and thus go back on the same flight they worked (or another alliance member’s return flight)? Thanks guys.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2021 7:22 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
Hotels, even on long layovers, is standard. Yes, it’s a cost of doing business for the airline. Probably could go right back, but how you get there to fly the ATH-YUL return? The company expects at showtime, so you’d have to buy a ticket to arrive the day before.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:41 am
by TWA772LR
It's not uncommon even for the US3 on transoceanic flights to have multi day layovers on city pairings that have multiple daily service. Hotels are included as well as per diem, and many pilots love that life, while others bid to have just day trips ( think having breakfast and dinner at home everyday). Both those kinds of bids are fairly senior, especially depending on the city for the longhauls.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:54 am
by Starlionblue
Five day layover = five days of hotel and allowances. I've never heard of anyone flying home on a multi-day layover, but I suppose it is possible. :D

In many cases, there are legal barriers as well. E.g. some countries won't let you travel more than a certain distance from the airport if you enter as crew.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:57 am
by VSMUT
In that case in Athens, my guess is the crew would be treated to a mini-holiday, accommodation included. I've done a fair share of those. I love them. Long story short, it is the pilots job to get to and from the base. It is the airlines job to take care of you everywhere else.

When I position from my homebase to the aircraft, it has always been by commercial flight. Current company it will almost always be business class on flights over a couple of hours. The airlines travel desk will buy an ordinary ticket for me. There has never been any consideration for which company they book with, they will just as happily book me with the competitor if they are cheaper, a short-sighted bean-counter decision if I ever saw one.


Starlionblue wrote:
Five day layover = five days of hotel and allowances. I've never heard of anyone flying home on a multi-day layover, but I suppose it is possible. :D

In many cases, there are legal barriers as well. E.g. some countries won't let you travel more than a certain distance from the airport if you enter as crew.


I knew some pilots who would travel home at own expense for the long layovers. The airline put a stopper to it when somebody had a return flight that broke down and got cancelled.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:44 am
by Starlionblue
VSMUT wrote:
In that case in Athens, my guess is the crew would be treated to a mini-holiday, accommodation included. I've done a fair share of those. I love them. Long story short, it is the pilots job to get to and from the base. It is the airlines job to take care of you everywhere else.

When I position from my homebase to the aircraft, it has always been by commercial flight. Current company it will almost always be business class on flights over a couple of hours. The airlines travel desk will buy an ordinary ticket for me. There has never been any consideration for which company they book with, they will just as happily book me with the competitor if they are cheaper, a short-sighted bean-counter decision if I ever saw one.


Starlionblue wrote:
Five day layover = five days of hotel and allowances. I've never heard of anyone flying home on a multi-day layover, but I suppose it is possible. :D

In many cases, there are legal barriers as well. E.g. some countries won't let you travel more than a certain distance from the airport if you enter as crew.


I knew some pilots who would travel home at own expense for the long layovers. The airline put a stopper to it when somebody had a return flight that broke down and got cancelled.


I've never traveled back to my home base, but I have sometimes flown to other countries to see family while on a long layover.

I always book a refundable full fare ticket back to my layover location in case I don't get on a flight with staff travel, and I always travel back at least 24 hours prior to reporting time.

Of course, things could go pear-shaped anyway but management is hopefully more lenient if you have taken reasonable precautions, compared to just rolling the dice.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 3:46 pm
by eta unknown
And sometimes these allowances spin out of control and become so large it affects the route profitability: the former Qantas FRA route springs to mind.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 7:29 pm
by VMCA787
eta unknown wrote:
And sometimes these allowances spin out of control and become so large it affects the route profitability: the former Qantas FRA route springs to mind.


Let me tell you, if the profitability of a route hands on the balance of allowances for crew, the airline has no business flying that route in the first place! If I had a dollar for every airline manager who has uttered those words, I would be a billionaire! In the bigger scheme of things, the allowances are a pittance in the cost equation. I can guarantee you they don't "spin out of control and become so large". Another A-net perpetuated myth. If you have factual evidence, please share, I'd love to see it.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:08 pm
by VSMUT
VMCA787 wrote:
eta unknown wrote:
And sometimes these allowances spin out of control and become so large it affects the route profitability: the former Qantas FRA route springs to mind.


Let me tell you, if the profitability of a route hands on the balance of allowances for crew, the airline has no business flying that route in the first place! If I had a dollar for every airline manager who has uttered those words, I would be a billionaire! In the bigger scheme of things, the allowances are a pittance in the cost equation. I can guarantee you they don't "spin out of control and become so large". Another A-net perpetuated myth. If you have factual evidence, please share, I'd love to see it.


:checkmark:

Heavens forbid that flight crew are actually treated well and get properly rested. We only spend most of our lives in hotels away from friends and family, traveling across multiple timezones and working hours nobody else would consider normal (up to 15 hours under EASA). And related health complications can definitely cost us our license.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:23 pm
by Electra
VMCA787 wrote:
eta unknown wrote:
And sometimes these allowances spin out of control and become so large it affects the route profitability: the former Qantas FRA route springs to mind.


Let me tell you, if the profitability of a route hands on the balance of allowances for crew, the airline has no business flying that route in the first place! If I had a dollar for every airline manager who has uttered those words, I would be a billionaire! In the bigger scheme of things, the allowances are a pittance in the cost equation. I can guarantee you they don't "spin out of control and become so large". Another A-net perpetuated myth. If you have factual evidence, please share, I'd love to see it.


Absolutely right. Contrary to popular belief, crew rest/layovers play a very small part in such decisions, particularly for daily flights. QF ended its FRA flights when they began their JV with EK. The decision also coincided with the gradual retirement of the 747 400s. Anecdotally, QF crew used to typically spend two nights in FRA, with one night in SIN on either side; fairly typical for flights of those lengths.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:29 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
I worked at corporate flight department which hardly spared an expense and crew expenses barely exceeded 5% of the budget. That was without any discounts staying at JW Marriott, Hilton, Shangri-la, Intercon level hotels. Leases, fuel, handling, salaries and benefits were real cost centers.

Re: How are flight crews positioned for non-daily overseas service?

Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:37 pm
by thepinkmachine
It can get even better! We sometimes operate Longhaul charters and the crews get to spend a week (occasionally more) in a 5-star all-inclusive resort.

Some of our pax hate it... :biggrin: