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How commuting works

Old 05-22-2014, 03:48 PM
  #11  
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As a commuter, Airbuses are your best friends. 2 jumpseats, and they are fairly comfortable. Most Boeings are fairly punishing in the jumpseat, although not all. RJs of any type are miserable.

Just something to keep in mind when planning. Any will work, but preference for the Airbus. Plus you'll have the entertainment of hearing the plane call the pilot a retard on landing.
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Old 05-22-2014, 04:00 PM
  #12  
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The basic gist is that you will start a successful commute being relatively conservative (i.e. plenty of backup options, all of which are eating into your personal time). As you become more comfortable with the commute and the factors affecting it, you might consider paring down the number of backups or outs you give yourself. When something goes wrong, such as irregular ops from a major weather event.... more backup options.

I never went without one good backup, and that was out of SJC where it was EASY to commute. I didn't get on a grand total of two times in a year out of SJC - one was a mechanical, and upon checking in with the crew who came out to the terminal I hustled down to southwest and was out of there. The other, because a Fed who I swear looked like a real life version of the manager in Dilbert comics wanted the jumpseat on a skywest RJ that was otherwise full. By contrast, going in and out of SFO to DEN (two united hubs) I lost out several times to overbooked flights and United mainline commuting pilots. So along those lines - don't count out OAK and SJC. They will become your friends, especially since they are less delay-prone than SFO.

On the parking front, I have a gem of a wife who took me to the airport, bless her. However, there were times I had to find my own way and did find ways to park near both SFO and SJC for free (neighborhoods) which had some slight risk but worked out OK each time. Some adventurous people park at hotels near SFO and take the hotel shuttle, just pretending to stay there.

Finally, the specifcs of how to work out each airline are something you will figure out once hired. For the skywest airline partners (DL, UA) which you will likely have nonrev benefits on you can make a nonrev listing ahead of time which the gate agents will prefer. Of course they would need do validate you to sit in the jumpseat, but listing ahead of time saves them work. The ALPA jumpseat website details procedures and recommendations for offline pilots on a number of carriers and I always consult this before asking for a ride on a new carrier.

Finally, maybe because I was indoctrinated in the old school way of things -- I always check in with the crew and introduce myself, asking the captain for the ride, even if given a seat in the back and 'listed' as a nonrev.
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:33 PM
  #13  
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Thanks folks, great info to have. I rent a hangar at OAK where I could park my car...hmm...now if I could just talk the Landmark or Kaiser guys into giving me a free ride to the airline terminal side...

Great info, I really appreciate it!
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:02 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by kfahmi View Post
So if I was commuting SFO-ORD, given that those are both AA hubs, AA would seem like a good option, yes? And now that OO will be flying SFO-ORD, that would seem to make that commute a bit easier.
Your first best option on any route is your own company. Next would be any airlines on which you have higher priority and nonrev benefits (ie mainline partners).

Nonrev and JS are two separate things. All US airline pilots can pretty much JS on all US airlines. If the cabin is not full you will ride in the back, otherwise you'll sit in the actual. Some smaller planes (50 seaters, props) are often overweight before the cabin fills up, in which case the JSer is not riding anywhere. Wx at the destination which requires alternate fuel commonly makes a flight overweight. For security reasons, we won't discuss detailed JS procedures, you can get that info from SAPA.

Basically three kinds of Nonrev are available:

1) Company. On company aircraft most employees have priority. Between two company employees it's seniority by DOH, and pilots don't get any special priority...if the janitor was hired the day before you, he rides first. You can normally list and get security docs online just like any revenue pax. A regional employee will likely have to use a mainline partner's nonrev listing system to list on his own airplane.

2) Partners. Regional employees have some priority on their company's mainline partners. This is typically below all mainline employes and their families but above mainline buddy passes and ID90.

3) ID90. Airline employees and their immediate family can usually buy space-available passes at a deep discount off the revenue dare (ID90 = 90% discount off Y fare). This applies to most US and many foreign airlines. Priority is below all other nonrevs BUT ABOVE JS-ing PILOTS.

If you don't have nonrev bennies on an certain airline then you can JS or buy an ID90...most pilots will do JS obviously. List for the JS advance (if possible for that airline) and show up early. Usually priority for offline JS is first-come/first-served behind any company pilots (who can normally bump you at any time).

If you have nonrev bennies then sometimes you have to choose between nonrev and JS listing. You can't be listed both ways in the system. This is a bit tricky. Nonrev is better because your priority for cabin seats is higher than ID90 and JSers...more comfortable ride. But if the cabin fills up then you might need the JS, but if they already put a junior-to-you or offline pilot in the JS and you try to change to JS at the last minute you might get denied. To be safe you should "commit" to the JS 30 minutes prior to departure. Also if weight is an issue you may well be better off nonreving because they will fill EVERY cabin seat they can (buddy passes and ID90) before they put a pilot in the actual JS.

I'll usually list and check-in as a nonrev, go to the gate and try to get some onfo, and then decide whether to switch to the JS. Making this call is more art than science. Usually you live and die by your own decisions on this but sometimes a savvy gate agent will manage the process of switching pilots between nonrev and JS status to ensure that actual company priority and seniority is respected.

One other thing...SKW had at one point (maybe still has) a "policy" that SKW pilot seniority applies to ALL offline JSing. This is BS because SKW has no authority or agreements in place regarding this for other airline's JS procedures, which are normally first-come-first served. Some old-skool SKW dinosaurs still think they roll up five-prior and bump a junior SKW pilot off the JS of a SWA plane. Don't fall for that, tell them to pound sand. It's not enforceable unless you voluntarily allow it (which would be stupid).



Originally Posted by kfahmi View Post
But you're not behind passengers, right? Since if the flight is completely full AND there is no other OO pilot wanting the JS, you get the JS in the cockpit, yes? Wait a minute...does an RJ even physically have a JS?
If you are in a JS status you are behind ALL other pax...revenue, nonrev, buddy pass, ID90. This includes folks who would be lower priority than you if you had listed as a nonrev. They will board EVERY cabin pax before you and then, only if weight allows, do you get the JS.

Pretty much anything larger than 19 seats has a JS...but the Brasilia for example is so weight limited that you can almost never get in the actual if the cabin is full.

Last edited by rickair7777; 05-22-2014 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:03 AM
  #15  
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M20EPilot Quote: Finally, maybe because I was indoctrinated in the old school way of things -- I always check in with the crew and introduce myself, asking the captain for the ride, even if given a seat in the back and 'listed' as a nonrev.

Great advice and great courtesy.

The only time I didn't personally request permission to board and thank the captain for a ride on a non rev was when he was CLEARLY too busy to take the time to talk to me (crap wx and pencil whipping an MEL). It only happened once, and I wrote a note saying that I didn't want to disturb him while he was so busy, but I wanted to thank him. I gave it to the FA to give to him. I have no idea what his response was (WX and a tight turn kept him busy at the destination), but I hope he appreciated the gesture.

Even when I was positive space on a company flight (we didn't do that much), I tried to at least say "hi" just to let the crew know in the case of emergency, they had a company pilot on board.

Maybe what I did was overkill, but I'd like to think I never snubbed a captain.

Short answer: If you are riding for free, be sure to thank the captain. One day when you are the guy signing for the plane, you will appreciate the gesture.
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:17 PM
  #16  
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Wow, thank you for all the detailed and informative responses. Very, very helpful.

It seems like things would be a lot easier if there was one central website where everyone (non-rev'ers, JS'ers, etc) could view all available spots on all available airlines, and list for those spots (with the knowledge that weight issues could bump them at anytime.) Basically just like a crew bidding system, but open to everyone. Seems like it would take a lot of the stress out of everyone's commute. Of course, there'd be a cost associated with building and managing that site, and no airline's going to want to cover that cost.

Sounds like SFO-ORD is do-able, SFO-LAX should be pretty easy (given that there are also OAK-LAX and SJC-LAX flights). SFO-DEN and SFO-MSP sound pretty miserable from what I've heard...

And for me, an OAK commute would be perfect since I'm literally 10 minutes from the airport.

Thanks again, folks -- I really appreciate all the help.
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:48 PM
  #17  
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Just an FYI, Spirit just started a daily OAK to ORD this month. 9 am flight that lands around 3 I think.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:02 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by kfahmi View Post

1) Let's say you commute out of SFO, as I would be. Can you park for free in SFO employee parking or do you have to pay?
You can park in the Domestic Garage at a discounted rate (I think it's $14/day now). You have to get employee coupons from the parking office near the garage exit on Level 3, you just need an Airline ID.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:10 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by kfahmi View Post
SFO-LAX should be pretty easy (given that there are also OAK-LAX and SJC-LAX flights). SFO-DEN and SFO-MSP sound pretty miserable from what I've heard...

And for me, an OAK commute would be perfect since I'm literally 10 minutes from the airport.
Keep in mind, SFO-LAX used to be relatively easy, but there are now hundreds of American guys making the commute since they closed the SFO base at AA.

OAK parking is the best deal if you're paying your own, I think it's around $100 per quarter (3 mos.). Office is in the older terminal upstairs to get an employee sticker.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:23 PM
  #20  
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I commute to & from ORD while living on the West Coast. With that being said, I've never gotten a SAD, gotten bumped or missed a commute. Get there early enough to get the jump if needed & allow a few flights before the last one so you don't get stuck. Some people may choose to play it a little closer (commute in the morning of or the take the last flight of the day in), but you will figure out what works for you after you learn the ropes.
FYI, keep your options open on holidays, it can be a real mess.
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