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View Full Version : Commuter life FO on reserve


GregSa
07-07-2018, 05:31 PM
I'm trying to get a feel for how commuter life will be for me If I'm a FO on reserve. Also I do not live near a major airport like houston or Atlanta. I do live about 2.5 hrs from Houston's airport but there is a regional airport (LCH) that i live closer to and makes flights to houston very often. Can I fly from LCH to IAH to my base assigned without having to pay or cause issues with the company ? Or will I just have to suck up the drive?

How long did you stay on reserve? How much time did you have off if you commute.

Where is Trans States airlines keeping lost of their pilots as of now?

I don't plan to commute forever. I want to move to domicile if I get hired. But I don't know where that will be and cost of living does make a difference for me. Louisiana cost of living isnt too bad.

Thanks
Greg


NobodyLikesMe
07-07-2018, 06:56 PM
I'm trying to get a feel for how commuter life will be for me If I'm a FO on reserve.

At a regional airline, life as a commuter for an FO on reserve will not be the most pleasant experience you've ever had. In fact, it will feel like you're always working and never off. That's not to say that you won't have any time off. You will have time off, minimal time off (not just a TSA thing, but regional airlines as a whole). Your time that you have off as a reserve FO will be typically two days off generally. You'll most likely have trips that are not commutable (that is to say that the beginning or end of the trips you fly WILL NOT start or end at times that allow you to fly in from LCH or even IAH). This means you'll have to fly in the day before and leave the day after for home.
When you are commuting on your days off, you will feel like you're working because you're at an airport on your days off. You're waiting and hoping for seats sometimes going home and going to work. There's nothing really guaranteed about any of it. You can have a flight wide open with 38 open seats and bad weather or maintenance hits and now the 50 people on the previous flight all took those seats.
Now you're last flight is booked and there's a higher priority jumpseater and you're not getting to work or home. It always felt like work to me. I did it for nearly 3 years before I just moved to domicile. It wears on you quick. Now, the good news is that TSA has a commuter clause in the contract. This means that as long as you give yourself (somebody can fill in here with exact contractual verbiage) but basically two different flights/opportunities to get to work on time and everything falls apart, you're not in trouble. You don't get paid for anything, but you get to keep your job. They also work with you to try and give you some work to do once you do get in. I don't believe it's a total loss, but it's not heartache free. So to answer your question in brevity, it's stressful. NOW, the good news is that you most likely will not sit on reserve as an FO long at all. Once you can hold a line of flying you'll have a better idea of how to commute and more definite times. See when you commute on reserve you're really commuting in to just sit in domicile.

Also I do not live near a major airport like houston or Atlanta. I do live about 2.5 hrs from Houston's airport but there is a regional airport (LCH) that i live closer to and makes flights to houston very often. Can I fly from LCH to IAH to my base assigned without having to pay or cause issues with the company ? Or will I just have to suck up the drive?

You can jumpseat from any airport that has service from a reciprocal jumpseat agreement carrier. Basically any scheduled service carrier you can get a free ride on PROVIDED they have seats. This is the catch. You'll find that LCH may be very hard to get back into since it's a pretty small market. Also commuting from smaller communities limits your options. If you can get to a hub directly, you have many ways to get to domicile (e.g. IAH-ORD-DEN, IAH-EWR-DEN, IAH-SFO-DEN, etc). When you attach LCH to your commute that adds more moving parts to your machine. Now if IAH-LCH has issues or no seats you're kinda stuck unless you can find another carrier. If you're a detail oriented person and you can get a grasp on all of the carriers and what times they leave and the seats they have
etc you'll do well otherwise I'd recommend starting the commute from a hub. Best way to find out? Ask someone who commutes from LCH if you know anybody. It's all about seats. Whatever has the most open seats. If LCH typically has booked flights commuting might be hell and mostly spent hoping another jumpseater doesn't show up.



How long did you stay on reserve? How much time did you have off if you commute.

I only did a month of reserve. My month of reserve was because I finished training after the bids were processed. All of my reserve blocks were filled with trips as soon as they could legally assign them. The regionals are short staffed. I don't think this will have changed. I will disclose that my FO reserve experience was several years ago.

Where is Trans States airlines keeping lost of their pilots as of now?

I think you'll see DEN become the base more commonly staffed as all of the east coast stuff is closing (RDU, DCA, IAD). So look forward to being somewhere in the Midwest or Denver until they announce something else.

I don't plan to commute forever.

THIS IS A GOOD PLAN. Best piece of information I ever got from a CA was how much different this job is when you don't have to worry about commuting. When you can just drive to work, this job is so much better. Take my word for it. I commuted for nearly 3 years. When I finally moved to base, I shed so much stress from my life not worrying about getting to and from work via airplanes and airports during holidays, late nights, and bad weather days.

I want to move to domicile if I get hired. But I don't know where that will be and cost of living does make a difference for me. Louisiana cost of living isnt too bad.

Start researching crash pads if you plan to commute for a while, until you get a feel for what the company is doing and how you like it. Use some of your days off to scout the area for decent places to live at an affordable cost. Talk to some of the crews while you're out there on reserve at the airport.


Hope this all helps. It's a wall of text, but probably the most comprehensive answer I can give to your question(s) which seem simple in presentation, but are actually quite complex in nature.

bnkangle
07-07-2018, 07:10 PM
Short of being incarcerated, I cant think of much worse than 2 legging it to reserve.

Pick a company with an IAH or DFW base.


GregSa
07-07-2018, 10:07 PM
Hope this all helps. It's a wall of text, but probably the most comprehensive answer I can give to your question(s) which seem simple in presentation, but are actually quite complex in nature.


Thank you very much for a very detailed and well informative reply. I really appreciate your time. I know life on reserve is temporary but I'm also still a pilot in the National Guard that still has flight hour requirements to make also. I know its probably not a concern for most especially if you're not in the military with this added stress, but how are they with allowing me "time off" to fulfill my commitment with the military still? I'm not sure if this is something you've witnessed.

Also I was wondering about the 4 commuter hotels given each month by TSA. Will these burn away quickly? Do they roll over? I know that sounds like a dumb question but whatever.

VIRotate
07-08-2018, 02:39 AM
Thank you very much for a very detailed and well informative reply. I really appreciate your time. I know life on reserve is temporary but I'm also still a pilot in the National Guard that still has flight hour requirements to make also. I know its probably not a concern for most especially if you're not in the military with this added stress, but how are they with allowing me "time off" to fulfill my commitment with the military still? I'm not sure if this is something you've witnessed.

Also I was wondering about the 4 commuter hotels given each month by TSA. Will these burn away quickly? Do they roll over? I know that sounds like a dumb question but whatever.

Depends on the trips you get. I used to use all of my hotels rather quickly. Now all of my trips are commutable on both ends so generally I use maybe 1 a month. They do not roll over.

NobodyLikesMe
07-08-2018, 09:23 AM
I know its probably not a concern for most especially if you're not in the military with this added stress, but how are they with allowing me "time off" to fulfill my commitment with the military still?

I have seen this from time to time. I'm not prior or active military, but I know for a fact they are willing to work with you. You gotta understand one thing. Regionals are VERY short on pilots right now. Some regional airlines are shorter than others. I'm not going to dive into who's shorter on pilots and who's better etc. that's a discussion over a beer. What I will say is that the market has changed and it's a very pilot friendly/oriented market now. Regionals in general are willing to accommodate many different issues that they simply, even 5 years ago, were not willing to accommodate. The limit to this is a standard of "reasonable". If you have a reasonable problem and are willing to be reasonable and understanding, these airlines will reciprocate. I knew a guy who went through training then had military commitments and was out long enough that he had to come back through another shorter training circuit in the sims. He had no problems. Went through and I've seen him back out on line.



Also I was wondering about the 4 commuter hotels given each month by TSA. Will these burn away quickly? Do they roll over? I know that sounds like a dumb question but whatever.

What VIRotate said above me is pretty accurate. I never had the 4 commuter hotels. When I commuted it was on you. You get yourself in position and find your own living arrangements. How quickly they burn away will depend on your schedule. The less commutable the trips (I'll refer you back to my answer above as to the definition of commutability) the more hotels you'll need. If you have to commute in for a trip and get there a day before and leave the morning after you'll need two hotels. So that's basically two uncommutable trips and you're now going out of pocket. They do not roll over.

*DISCLAIMER: MY OPINION*

I'd like to just say one last thing to you. You ask good questions, but I'll tell you that, in this industry, Quality of Life (QOL) is everything. If you're commuting you're not going to be happy long run especially on a two leg commute. I've seen guys make stupid decisions all in the interest of "making/catching a commute home". I've seen people get angry at gate agents and all kinds of stuff. It's a pretty toxic lifestyle. If I were you I would look at trying to find an airline where your domicile is drivable. Like the guy below my first post said. In your situation, I'd either move to domicile (if you have the money) or find a regional that lets you live where you are and just drive to work. I'd rather drive 2.5 hours to domicile than commute on a 1.5 hour flight to domicile because that 1.5 hour flight includes more than just putting your butt in a seat. It includes planning which flight you want to commute on, checking the status, the seats, driving to the airport, going through security, waiting, etc.


Once again, I hope this all helps. I'm not trying to encourage you away from TSA or any airline at all. I'm just telling you to really do your research on commuting. It all seems pretty nice to get free rides home etc. until you understand the effort and energy required to put into it for what is all essentially just a gamble.

FlyingKat
07-08-2018, 04:34 PM
Once again, I hope this all helps. I'm not trying to encourage you away from TSA or any airline at all. I'm just telling you to really do your research on commuting. It all seems pretty nice to get free rides home etc. until you understand the effort and energy required to put into it for what is all essentially just a gamble.

Or you move to your base just to have your airline close it and make you a commuter. Regional airlines open and close bases about as often as the CEO changes his underwear. Just ask our guys that moved to IAD. I'd be real careful about moving anywhere for a regional airline. Find yourself a nice airport with lots of flights to different hubs and move there and avoid two leg commutes. One leg commutes aren't a big deal, particularly if you are near an airport with a good flight schedule.

NobodyLikesMe
07-08-2018, 08:10 PM
Or you move to your base just to have your airline close it and make you a commuter. Regional airlines open and close bases about as often as the CEO changes his underwear. Just ask our guys that moved to IAD. I'd be real careful about moving anywhere for a regional airline. Find yourself a nice airport with lots of flights to different hubs and move there and avoid two leg commutes. One leg commutes aren't a big deal, particularly if you are near an airport with a good flight schedule.

Fair point, but this is why I tagged a personal opinion disclaimer to it. My preference is live in domicile first and commute only as a last resort. When I say live in domicile I am also implicitly saying living within a comfortable driving distance of domicile.

If it were up to me and a domicile were closed, I'd move to my new domicile. I'd only commute for the shortest time it might take me to get a new living arrangement. This works for me because I have no friends or family. Moreover, doesn't the company have a contractual obligation to pay for those that are displaced from a closing domicile/base? I'm not a contract expert on this.

Ultimately, it's a choice.

GregSa
07-10-2018, 12:50 AM
Thanks everyone for their input. Its helped a lot and a friend of mine has found the advice in this thread helpful also. I've looked at Denver cost of living for I believe that's where I may be based and I must say the cost of living is kinda ridiculous for anything decent. But things change.

Anyone who is currently with TSA what is your domicile?

GregSa
07-10-2018, 12:58 AM
Also (I'm not sure if I have read this before or if I had asked it, sorry I have been doing a lot of reading and research and information is starting to merge ) base location is based on need of the company I'm sure but how are they about allowing employees to select desired domicile ?

GregSa
07-10-2018, 01:10 AM
Or you move to your base just to have your airline close it and make you a commuter. Regional airlines open and close bases about as often as the CEO changes his underwear. Just ask our guys that moved to IAD. I'd be real careful about moving anywhere for a regional airline. Find yourself a nice airport with lots of flights to different hubs and move there and avoid two leg commutes. One leg commutes aren't a big deal, particularly if you are near an airport with a good flight schedule.


IAD is no longer a thing for TSA? Just trying to understand what's going on better.

Knobcrk1
07-10-2018, 06:22 AM
IAD is no longer a thing for TSA? Just trying to understand what's going on better.

No itís closing.