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View Full Version : Commuting: Mainline vs Regionals


Nikon90
02-19-2020, 08:03 PM
Tried searching for some answers on the forum, but I couldn't find much on my question.

I am a dude awaiting my start date and trying to build my house of cards for a bid. I am going to be commuting for at least the next several years. Given that nobody seems to want to go to NYC it makes sense to me to try and bid for there to reap some of the seniority benefits. Only problem is from my commuting airport (STL) it is almost all Delta Connections. Contrast that with commuting to ATL, it is all mainline. Is it better to just stick with the mainline than to risk trying to get on the jumpseat of an RJ?

TIA


SparkySmith
02-19-2020, 08:14 PM
You arenít limited to the jumpseat on Delta Connection RJs. You can travel space available (ďnon revĒ) there too.

The biggest difference for mainline pilots when commuting on company metal is the ability to reserve the jumpseat ahead of time. Six days out going to work, four days out coming home. A reserved jumpseat will only be trumped by a line check, new hire orientation or other even rarer situations like Secret Service. Iíve never been bumped from a reserved jumpseat.

DC allows you to list at the gate when the flight opens (an hour prior). Regional pilots can trump you on their own birds. That happens rarely and you can still take a seat in the back.

My commute is 100% RJ to NYC and Iíve had few problems. Having written that, it seems my home airport is low on the cancellation list when the wind blows or it rains in NYC. Some cities get the ax more frequently it seems. Any significant wx in NYC seems to bring DC cancellations.

My thoughts, which are worth double what youíve paid for them here, is that at worst you can take it for a year or so. Split the difference and bid an airplane that is also based in ATL, if youíre concerned, which will give you an early out if desired. I think the commute to Gotham is well worth the opportunities in NYC. Your evaluation will be your own; some hate it.


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Tailhookah
02-19-2020, 08:57 PM
Tried searching for some answers on the forum, but I couldn't find much on my question.

I am a dude awaiting my start date and trying to build my house of cards for a bid. I am going to be commuting for at least the next several years. Given that nobody seems to want to go to NYC it makes sense to me to try and bid for there to reap some of the seniority benefits. Only problem is from my commuting airport (STL) it is almost all Delta Connections. Contrast that with commuting to ATL, it is all mainline. Is it better to just stick with the mainline than to risk trying to get on the jumpseat of an RJ?

TIA

Iíve done both. A mainline commute is way better than an RJ commute. When I have reserved the JS 6 days out, I donít worry about loads. Period. On an RJ commute, you have to worry about loads, because you wonít know if you have that RJ JS until right before departure. Commuting is a choice. When on mainline, itís a way better, almost no stress commute.

Also, commuting to NYC stinks. A little weather or just traffic flow can mess up your commute. Even on a clear day with no wind there are routine ATC delays. Then you may have to cab it to another airport after landing. Traffic.

Hotels? Very expensive.

If you have a choice Iíd go to Atlanta. I commuted to NYC for 10 years. Iíve commuted to BOS, DTW and ATL. ALL were a dream compared to NYC. And I commute from DCA.

Tail


gliderguider
02-20-2020, 03:47 AM
DC allows you to list at the gate when the flight opens (an hour prior). Regional pilots can trump you on their own birds. That happens rarely and you can still take a seat in the back.


Minor point, but you can list anywhere, help desk or ticket desk for DCI flights 2 hours prior to departure. Does not have to be at that gate, but you still have to check in with the agent working the flight when it opens. Iíve added this to my bag of commuting tricks as not all contracted DGS gate agents are very proficient listing jumpseaters in my experience.

As far as competition for an RJ Js, my commute happens to be between two bases for SkyWest. Thankfully itís mostly mainline but if SkyWest operates the flight itís a guarantee to not get on between the Js competition and S3B1 priority we get on them. Iím to the point where if SkyWest are my only options for commute (usually around the reduced holiday schedule) I just hop in my car and drive 4.5 hours to base.

Not all RJ commutes are equal in difficulty, some are absolutely worse than others based on factors like weight restrictions and competition with RJ pilots and availability of F/a jumpseat. As far as Iím concerned a mainline commute is night and day different for the better.

CBreezy
02-20-2020, 05:02 AM
Tried searching for some answers on the forum, but I couldn't find much on my question.

I am a dude awaiting my start date and trying to build my house of cards for a bid. I am going to be commuting for at least the next several years. Given that nobody seems to want to go to NYC it makes sense to me to try and bid for there to reap some of the seniority benefits. Only problem is from my commuting airport (STL) it is almost all Delta Connections. Contrast that with commuting to ATL, it is all mainline. Is it better to just stick with the mainline than to risk trying to get on the jumpseat of an RJ?

TIA

Don't forget you also have AA and SWA between STL and LGA. In a pinch, you can take United to EWR. Obviously it's more desirable to commute on mainline because of the JS reservation, but there are plenty of options to get to LGA as well.

CBreezy
02-20-2020, 05:03 AM
You arenít limited to the jumpseat on Delta Connection RJs. You can travel space available (ďnon revĒ) there too.

The biggest difference for mainline pilots when commuting on company metal is the ability to reserve the jumpseat ahead of time. Six days out going to work, four days out coming home. A reserved jumpseat will only be trumped by a line check, new hire orientation or other even rarer situations like Secret Service. Iíve never been bumped from a reserved jumpseat.

DC allows you to list at the gate when the flight opens (an hour prior). Regional pilots can trump you on their own birds. That happens rarely and you can still take a seat in the back.

My commute is 100% RJ to NYC and Iíve had few problems. Having written that, it seems my home airport is low on the cancellation list when the wind blows or it rains in NYC. Some cities get the ax more frequently it seems. Any significant wx in NYC seems to bring DC cancellations.

My thoughts, which are worth double what youíve paid for them here, is that at worst you can take it for a year or so. Split the difference and bid an airplane that is also based in ATL, if youíre concerned, which will give you an early out if desired. I think the commute to Gotham is well worth the opportunities in NYC. Your evaluation will be your own; some hate it.


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You forgot FAA which has cost me a Jumpseat at least twice.

Hossharris
02-20-2020, 05:12 AM
You forgot FAA which has cost me a Jumpseat at least twice.

if you get bumped off a jumpseat, company is supposed to buy you a positive space seat in the back.

TO work only.

if youíre going home, good luck.

SparkySmith
02-20-2020, 05:13 AM
You forgot FAA which has cost me a Jumpseat at least twice.



Fair. There is a long list of folks that could bump a mainline pilot from a mainline JS. Fortunately it hasnít happened to me yet.


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CBreezy
02-20-2020, 05:14 AM
if you get bumped off a jumpseat, company is supposed to buy you a positive space seat in the back.

TO work only.

if youíre going home, good luck.

Yes. This is an important point. Luckily, I've never been bumped going home

DenVa
02-20-2020, 05:40 AM
Weigh the options carefully. You will need two hours between flights to avail yourself of contract commuting clauses, so frequency will play a roll.

ALPA says only 28 pilots make the STL ATL commute. That sounds like pretty good JS availability to me. Plus, on mainline you have the FA jumpseat option. This is what I would choose, unless NYC has almost hourly service.

SparkySmith
02-20-2020, 05:53 AM
Weigh the options carefully. You will need two hours between flights to avail yourself of contract commuting clauses, so frequency will play a roll.



ALPA says only 28 pilots make the STL ATL commute. That sounds like pretty good JS availability to me. Plus, on mainline you have the FA jumpseat option. This is what I would choose, unless NYC has almost hourly service.



To be precise, the FOM commuting policy says your backup needs to be DAL or DC. No time requirement between the two.

The PWA (contract) commuting policy says you need two hours between flights. No requirement that either one be on DAL or DC.

It pays to know of which commuter policy you are availing yourself.


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DenVa
02-20-2020, 06:15 AM
To be precise, the FOM commuting policy says your backup needs to be DAL or DC. No time requirement between the two.

The PWA (contract) commuting policy says you need two hours between flights. No requirement that either one be on DAL or DC.

It pays to know of which commuter policy you are availing yourself.


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True. That is why I said contract, which as a new hire, is the one I would go with being on probation. Obviously, everyone has an opinion.

CBreezy
02-20-2020, 06:17 AM
True. That is why I said contract, which as a new hire, is the one I would go with being on probation. Obviously, everyone has an opinion.

As a new hire, unless things start falling apart, I would go beyond even what the contract says.

Baradium
02-20-2020, 12:24 PM
Minor point, but you can list anywhere, help desk or ticket desk for DCI flights 2 hours prior to departure. Does not have to be at that gate, but you still have to check in with the agent working the flight when it opens. Iíve added this to my bag of commuting tricks as not all contracted DGS gate agents are very proficient listing jumpseaters in my experience.

As far as competition for an RJ Js, my commute happens to be between two bases for SkyWest. Thankfully itís mostly mainline but if SkyWest operates the flight itís a guarantee to not get on between the Js competition and S3B1 priority we get on them. Iím to the point where if SkyWest are my only options for commute (usually around the reduced holiday schedule) I just hop in my car and drive 4.5 hours to base.

Not all RJ commutes are equal in difficulty, some are absolutely worse than others based on factors like weight restrictions and competition with RJ pilots and availability of F/a jumpseat. As far as Iím concerned a mainline commute is night and day different for the better.

While the system ALLOWS you to be listed 2 hours prior, you aren't supposed to actually do that. You're only supposed to list using the agent operating the flight.

Baradium
02-20-2020, 12:25 PM
You arenít limited to the jumpseat on Delta Connection RJs. You can travel space available (ďnon revĒ) there too.

The biggest difference for mainline pilots when commuting on company metal is the ability to reserve the jumpseat ahead of time. Six days out going to work, four days out coming home. A reserved jumpseat will only be trumped by a line check, new hire orientation or other even rarer situations like Secret Service. Iíve never been bumped from a reserved jumpseat.


On the way to work, being bumped from a reserved jumpseat is great. Positive space seat in the back in lieu of having to sit in the jumpseat. It's only happened a couple times to me (FAA in my case), but going to work it's not an issue.

Mesabah
02-20-2020, 12:39 PM
Tried searching for some answers on the forum, but I couldn't find much on my question.

I am a dude awaiting my start date and trying to build my house of cards for a bid. I am going to be commuting for at least the next several years. Given that nobody seems to want to go to NYC it makes sense to me to try and bid for there to reap some of the seniority benefits. Only problem is from my commuting airport (STL) it is almost all Delta Connections. Contrast that with commuting to ATL, it is all mainline. Is it better to just stick with the mainline than to risk trying to get on the jumpseat of an RJ?

TIACommuting on you own metal is always better. Also, avoid relying on commuting on the CRJ 200 at all costs, the W&B sometimes restricts jumpseat use.

gliderguider
02-20-2020, 01:14 PM
While the system ALLOWS you to be listed 2 hours prior, you aren't supposed to actually do that. You're only supposed to list using the agent operating the flight.

False. Iíve had this discussion directly with the Jumpseat committee. You are correct that the system ďallowsĒ earlier, but 2 hours prior is the magic number. I was told the source of this is a gate agent memo. At least that is what was relayed to me via the Jumpseat committee chair about 2.5 years ago.

SparkySmith
02-20-2020, 01:17 PM
Commuting on you own metal is always better. Also, avoid relying on commuting on the CRJ 200 at all costs, the W&B sometimes restricts jumpseat use.



I have done fine over four years on the 200. The key is to tell the Captain youíre looking for the seat. Iíve seen them work hard to get me aboard. Never been denied for W&B. Now the Q400s that United Express (maybe CommutAir?) used to operate? Iíve been bounced from that bird before.


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CBreezy
02-20-2020, 01:23 PM
I have done fine over four years on the 200. The key is to tell the Captain youíre looking for the seat. Iíve seen them work hard to get me aboard. Never been denied for W&B. Now the Q400s that United Express (maybe CommutAir?) used to operate? Iíve been bounced from that bird before.


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I don't think they are running -200s between STL and NYC but the -145 can sometimes have problems on legs that long.

freezingflyboy
02-20-2020, 01:55 PM
I must be the unlucky one. In 5 years I've been bumped 3 times and its ALWAYS been going home (2◊) or travelling for fun (1◊). Once was FAA and twice was newhire observation rides. I know; too bad, so sad. One time had the FAA bump a newhire commuting on a flight I was operating but that guy was able to get PS to work.

iaflyer
02-20-2020, 04:29 PM
I'll echo what others have said - a commute on an RJ is much more difficult than mainline. Even though you'd be less senior in ATL, hotels are a lot cheaper and mainline planes cancel less in my opinion, and are rarely weight restricted. When I commuted to NYC as a new hire, I would almost always take the mainline plane to LGA and cab it to JFK than gamble on getting on the CRJ-200 going to JFK.

As a note, the reason someone suggested picking an airplane that is based in NYC and ATL is that you can switch bases whenever your seniority allows you. Since you wouldn't need any training. That would be the 717, 737, 320 and 7ER that are based in both locations. (well and A330 and 767-400 but those aren't a new hire plane... yet...) If you need training to go to a different plane, you would have to wait for your new hire seat lock to expire (1 or 2 years, not sure)

Nikon90
02-20-2020, 05:20 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments. Sounds like ATL is the safer bet to start with.

Redbird611
02-20-2020, 07:21 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments. Sounds like ATL is the safer bet to start with.


Just to echo previous points, I know several STL commuters. They all bailed out of NYC for ATL at first opportunity for the mainline commute. Thereís more flights per day and being able to reserve the jumpseat is a major stress reducer. Iíd say bid a junior airplane (717, 73N) to get the seniority advancement, but get to ATL when able.

ERflyer
02-20-2020, 07:51 PM
I just flew with a STL-NYC commuter. He makes it work and didnít seem overly stressed about it. Holidays have less flights so plan ahead.

tom14cat14
02-20-2020, 08:41 PM
I would think ATL would be a better option. Booking a J/S is a huge stress relief. Then you add in the frequency of flights just adds to ATL side(never thought I would say that). Also another thing to think about, it appears that most schedules suck out in NYC even if you are more senior. As an MSP base looking from the outside it seems that in more "normal" staffing time NYC is always short staffed, ATL usually has more adequate staffing. Of course this assumes they quit running it at redline.

Gone Flying
02-21-2020, 07:19 AM
I have done fine over four years on the 200. The key is to tell the Captain youíre looking for the seat. Iíve seen them work hard to get me aboard. Never been denied for W&B. Now the Q400s that United Express (maybe CommutAir?) used to operate? Iíve been bounced from that bird before.


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I flew the -200 for a few years and with 50 people and an alternate it is very difficult to get a JSr on board. I have even had to remove an LCA from a line check over W&B ( he had the option to remove Pax but it was easier to reschedule the line check) with that said I always worked very hard to get jumpseaters on but sometimes there was just no way to legally do it

SparkySmith
02-21-2020, 07:30 AM
I flew the -200 for a few years and with 50 people and an alternate it is very difficult to get a JSr on board. I have even had to remove an LCA from a line check over W&B ( he had the option to remove Pax but it was easier to reschedule the line check) with that said I always worked very hard to get jumpseaters on but sometimes there was just no way to legally do it



I have no doubt. Iíve never seen a crew on any airline that didnít try to get the nonrevs and JSers on. Very impressive sense of community in my experience.


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EDVPLT
02-21-2020, 09:02 AM
All I will say is itís always easier to commute on your own metal. On the other side if you get NYC I have done that route with Endeavor for years and rarely have I ever seen those flights full and the few times I had someone on the jumpseat, all of them were OAL. You also have WN and AA to LGA and UA to EWR.

Banzai
02-21-2020, 12:38 PM
If you have a choice Iíd go to Atlanta. I commuted to NYC for 10 years. Iíve commuted to BOS, DTW and ATL. ALL were a dream compared to NYC. And I commute from DCA.

Tail

I would have thought the DCA-NYC commute one of the best/easiest in the system.

iaflyer
02-21-2020, 12:44 PM
I would have thought the DCA-NYC commute one of the best/easiest in the system.I never did it, but wait until they start cancelling one of the shuttle flights, because it's already 30 minutes late and the next one is in 30 minutes. And both are 60% full... or the weekend when it's half service.

I agree, when everything going smoothly it's a great commute but...

Big E 757
02-21-2020, 06:43 PM
I never did it, but wait until they start cancelling one of the shuttle flights, because it's already 30 minutes late and the next one is in 30 minutes. And both are 60% full... or the weekend when it's half service.

I agree, when everything going smoothly it's a great commute but...

Exactly....Ēwhen everything is going smoothlyĒ. I commuted ORD-NYC for 3 years each, two different times in my career (so far). 13 shuttle flights a day to LGA, mostly on 717ís during the week, less on weekends, plus hourly service on UA and AA. The last few summers, I never had a hard time getting to work because I was commuting in the mornings, but going home after 3 pm, I was always delayed going home. I donít think I caught an on time flight once from June through early September. If there were more than 2 isolated cells east of Pittsburgh, the delays would start rolling. The good news was that not many flights would cancel so I would just find the first flight going my way and hope the jumpseat was open because I knew itíd be full in the back. Because of how busy the entire Northeast corridor is, it doesnít take much to knock the operation off the rails.

Pogo
02-22-2020, 06:48 AM
Hey Nikon90, I sent you a PM. I'm waiting to bid for my aircraft/base and live in STL as well.