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Old 06-03-2014, 09:15 AM   #1  
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Default Commuting vs. Domicile

Looking for some feedback from folks who've been there, done that. I just retired from the USAF & was fortunate enough to be hired by United last fall. We've decided to move closer to family, but haven't settled on a location yet.

All through training, I heard "live in your domicile" and while that would greatly simplify life, none of the domiciles jazz me or my wife for the long term. We both like the Nashville area, but everything is RJ out of there.

Currently reserve on the Bus in EWR, but considering a lateral to IAH or maybe ORD in the fall. Here are some random thoughts I've had on the subject of commuting vs. living in domicile:

- Will the SkyWest purchase of larger RJs make commuting easier (i.e. less chances of being weight restricted)?
- Commuting while on reserve definitely blows, but once I'm a line holder & can trade/drop for QOL, will that make commuting less odious?
- If SWA opens a domicile in BNA (I just heard rumors), will that make getting in and out of BNA easier or harder?
- I've heard the percentage of guys living in domicile vs. commuting is 40/60--true? For those who commute, why do you choose not to live in your domicile?
- For those who commute on RJs, what other pitfalls are there? I know SkyWest pilots get first crack at the jumpseats, but what else?

Appreciate the feedback.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:35 AM   #2  
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If you're going to commute, I would go to wherever allows you to hold a line the fastest. Probably EWR.

Look at other carriers too like SWA and Fedex to commute on.

I think the percentage of commuters is like 80% from what I've heard.

Don't make any desicions based on rumor.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:37 AM   #3  
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Guys commute for all the reasons you stated. I was all set to move, and every time I was about ready, something happened. The first 4 years, I kept getting "up" movment opportunities, and the last three, it was all "down."

After 9-11, I was thankful I had not moved, was not stuck with a new (bigger) mortgage, no job, in a city I didn't want to live in, other than the ease of getting to work.

So, why do people commute? I would venture:

1. They like where they currently live (or the attachments, such as kids in school, friends, cost of living, etc)

2. They can't afford to move

3. Uncertainty--they aren't sure where they will end up, a few years down the road from being a new-hire.

Having been in the airline biz for 16 years now, I am more convinced than ever that I will have no guarantee as to what is happening here until I retire.

As to bigger equipment/competitors:

I think the 76ers might help a little (same boat for me with load-limited 50s). But, there is an old adage in the government/city-planning/societal-studies field. When a two-lane road gets congested, they eventually build a four-lane.

But it doesn't help. More people move in, and the process repeats itself. Sort of a "If they build it, they will come."

I think air travel tends to follow the same. They wouldn't be putting that equipment in there if they didn't anticipate the people to fill the seats.

More SWA jets means more SWA commuters...you get the idea.

For me, I would like to move; wife won't. I live with bidding the shortest (and hopefully, easiest) commute I can get.

SOMEDAY I'll move to where I actually want to live....(it's not a United domicile).
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:37 AM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperstick View Post
Looking for some feedback from folks who've been there, done that. I just retired from the USAF & was fortunate enough to be hired by United last fall. We've decided to move closer to family, but haven't settled on a location yet.

All through training, I heard "live in your domicile" and while that would greatly simplify life, none of the domiciles jazz me or my wife for the long term. We both like the Nashville area, but everything is RJ out of there.

Currently reserve on the Bus in EWR, but considering a lateral to IAH or maybe ORD in the fall. Here are some random thoughts I've had on the subject of commuting vs. living in domicile:

- Will the SkyWest purchase of larger RJs make commuting easier (i.e. less chances of being weight restricted)?
In a PERFECT WORLD, it should. However, keep a few things in mind;

BNA is a BUSY market, but increased capacity aircraft may lead to a DECREASE in frequency.

It may not ALWAYS be a SkyWest flight. UAL switches/changes up it's regional partner routes like crazy. May be a GoJets, one month, an RAH next month, whatever.

And most importantly, UAX is an outsourced product. Meaning, the reliability SUUUUUUUUUUCKS!!!!!!!!.

A SKW, or XJT pilot will ALWAYS have JS priority over you on an SKW aircraft if it's ORD or IAH, or wherever SKW opens their next domicile that ALSO has an XJT domicile there.

Quote:
- If SWA opens a domicile in BNA (I just heard rumors), will that make getting in and out of BNA easier or harder?
I guess it depends. Would you be competing with other pilots from places like MDW to BNA? Hard to tell.

Quote:
- I've heard the percentage of guys living in domicile vs. commuting is 40/60--true? For those who commute, why do you choose not to live in your domicile?
This one has been covered at extensive length, and the reasons are ALL OVER THE PLACE. Family, taxes, whatever. And although things have "settled down" somewhat. There was a time where even at the legacy level, they would displace/shrink/close/excess/surplus pilots off one fleet to another with frequency. Meaning a domicile change was often entailed. It gets to a point where one simply doesn't want to pick up and move, chasing this job. It's NOT the military, you DON'T have to "move with the mission". Ask a UAL 737 guy that lives in Seattle how well moving to base worked out. Or, a UAL MIA guy how well living in base worked out. Ask a CAL guy how well living in DEN worked out until they opened DIA, and that little interim 20 year period was.

Quote:
- For those who commute on RJs, what other pitfalls are there? I know SkyWest pilots get first crack at the jumpseats, but what else?

Appreciate the feedback.
See the above. Not having priority on the JS, as well as the operator's reliability are usually the BIGGEST issues with commuting on an outsourced small jet provider.

You asked for opinions, so you got mine, and it's JUST MINE. I've commuted for over 14 years to 8 different domiciles. If you are going to make the "choice" to commute, DO IT FROM DAY ONE. IOW, DON'T get a taste of what it's like living in base from the get go, THEN start commuting. Finally become a lineholder with 15-16-17 days off? Pre-program your brain RIGHT NOW that it'll be 13,14, 15 days at home with some of the lost time off you may suffer from going in a night early or coming home the day after. ALL commutes suck, it's simply to the degree/amount in which they suck.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:46 AM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperstick View Post
Looking for some feedback from folks who've been there, done that. I just retired from the USAF & was fortunate enough to be hired by United last fall. We've decided to move closer to family, but haven't settled on a location yet.

All through training, I heard "live in your domicile" and while that would greatly simplify life, none of the domiciles jazz me or my wife for the long term. We both like the Nashville area, but everything is RJ out of there.

Currently reserve on the Bus in EWR, but considering a lateral to IAH or maybe ORD in the fall. Here are some random thoughts I've had on the subject of commuting vs. living in domicile:

- Will the SkyWest purchase of larger RJs make commuting easier (i.e. less chances of being weight restricted)?
in theory yes, if those planes are assigned to your route but frequency is more important than size. If the last flight home leaves before your trip ends it doesn't matter how big it was.

- Commuting while on reserve definitely blows, but once I'm a line holder & can trade/drop for QOL, will that make commuting less odious?
yes it will

- If SWA opens a domicile in BNA (I just heard rumors), will that make getting in and out of BNA easier or harder?
never trust rumors, and I doubt if swa had a lot of growth in bna to warrant a domicile they would be going to ORD, ewr, or iah.

- I've heard the percentage of guys living in domicile vs. commuting is 40/60--true? For those who commute, why do you choose not to live in your domicile?
depends on the domicile. For jetblue JFK is 80% commuters, MCO is 80% locals.

- For those who commute on RJs, what other pitfalls are there? I know SkyWest pilots get first crack at the jumpseats, but what else?
regionals cancel more frequently than mainline, although Skywest is pretty good. But it may be someone different doing the route any given month.

Appreciate the feedback.
I commute to my current airline. I used to live in base at my old job. Reserve in base might be the best qol job ever, pay usually isn't really high though. Commuting to reserve might be the worst. Some people can commute and some people can't. If you choose to do so you really need to love where you live. Then commuting just something that enables you to do what you love.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:58 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperstick View Post
- Will the SkyWest purchase of larger RJs make commuting easier (i.e. less chances of being weight restricted)?
They are larger in diameter only, they're still 70-seaters. But if they replace 50-seaters (which have weight issues) then yes it should get better. At least the JS should be available on most flights, but ORD is a SKW base and OO pilots obviously have JS priority.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperstick View Post
- Commuting while on reserve definitely blows, but once I'm a line holder & can trade/drop for QOL, will that make commuting less odious?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperstick View Post
- If SWA opens a domicile in BNA (I just heard rumors), will that make getting in and out of BNA easier or harder?
It will get harder if they don't also increase service.

Also BNA has been a base for one or more regionals in the past...this means some of those guy still live there and commute also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperstick View Post
- I've heard the percentage of guys living in domicile vs. commuting is 40/60--true? For those who commute, why do you choose not to live in your domicile?
Sounds about right. Many reasons...spouse's job, kid's school stability, family, hometown, or simply because you can. A key factor is that maximum career progression usually involves multiple domiciles. In many cases it's just worth it to live in a nice place. Many non-pilots would do it if they could get free travel...it's very common in the oil production industry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperstick View Post
- For those who commute on RJs, what other pitfalls are there? I know SkyWest pilots get first crack at the jumpseats, but what else?
Really it's just the weight issue which can limit cabin and jump seats. The CRJ200 is most prone to this and it's more likely to be an issue if alternate fuel is required. In good weather and a "normal" load (ie no excess bags/cargo) any CRJ can take a full boat + JS. Exception might be a short runway and high density alt. Stage length also plays a role...too short can be LDG weight limited, too long can mean that fuel load cuts into MGTOW.

Every bag counts, so leave your flight bag in at your domicile if possible.

Ask about ORD-BNA in the regional forum...somebody will be familiar with the route in question. If the stage length is in the "sweet spot" (I'd guess 1.5-2.5 hours) it might be rare to be limited.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:28 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post
Ask about ORD-BNA in the regional forum...somebody will be familiar with the route in question. If the stage length is in the "sweet spot" (I'd guess 1.5-2.5 hours) it might be rare to be limited.
Somebody say ORD? This was written by some funny dude on here a while ago;

Quote:
nothing like running across Ohare with your roller bag in uniform, looking like a complete idiot, red faced and sweating.. from G-21, or worse L something, all the way to C-99 million for the 2nd or 3rd attempt of the day.. Then you see 8 other red faced sweaty pilots ALREADY at the counter. A quick look at the board also shows a crapload of stby's.. "SonnofaaaB.." THEN, you lock eyes with one of the pilot competition, preferably the weakest, slowest of the bunch (you must quickly do a uniform scan of your competition to determine if they are a serious jumpseat priority threat or not).. and now it's a showdown.. (pilot smart phones quickly searching for next available flight/gate numbers) then, another quick glance at the competition.. Who is gonna run for it?? To get the advantage on the next flight.. You hear that old western showdown music in your head.. "doodiiiiiidooooooo, bow boooow bow.." and you decide to bolt.. back from C-99 million, you bust out a 9000 yard dash to gate F gazillion for the next flight.. you feel great when you get there, you outsmarted all the other chumps trying to commute home that had NO chance in hell on the last flight.. Now, you're First in line waiting to check in, other pilots from the last gate that failed to get on start to show up eventually, you snicker to yourself "suckers".. you plop your credentials on the desk with a big cheesy smile to the gate agent.. then hear the dreaded "sorry Mr pilot, we are weight restricted today and we are asking for volunteers" *%#[email protected]#%@&#$*!!!! Next!

Or my personal favorite.. you are first in line for the jumpseat, no competition, no line, open seats available, no standbys.. but no freakin agent to be found, so you can't check in.. hmmm, nobody is around, you scan the terminal for hostiles (other known jumpseaters).. and determine it's an acceptable risk to go pee. You come back less than 1 minute later to find a line of 35 people including 6 pilots. Gdmmmmmmmmmit! How is that EVEN POSSIBLE???
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:08 PM   #8  
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During my career I have commuted from Chicago to New York, New York to Chicago, New York to San Fran, Portland to San Fran, San Fran to New York, and finally 5 years from New York to Washington. In every case I was following my wife's career choices because my job allowed that, but ultimately I knew I would make it back to not commuting and working out of the New York domicile and living nearby.

If you really have a choice I strongly urge you to live in domicile. If you like Nashville then consider working out of Washington. If you draw a circle 2 hours around IAD you will find an amazing selection of lifestyles and many places with low taxes and low housing costs relative to other domicile choices.

Finally any commute that uses UAX will be a nightmare. If you must commute then look for a location that has mainline service preferably on UAL and preferably more than 3 flights a day.

Personally I found commuting to be absolute hell, and I would do almost anything to avoid it, but we each have our reasons for making the choices we do, but again if you really have a choice I recommend you listen to the voices of experience and do NOT commute.
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Old 06-03-2014, 02:17 PM   #9  
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Quote:
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During my career I have commuted from Chicago to New York, New York to Chicago, New York to San Fran, Portland to San Fran, San Fran to New York, and finally 5 years from New York to Washington. In every case I was following my wife's career choices because my job allowed that, but ultimately I knew I would make it back to not commuting and working out of the New York domicile and living nearby.

If you really have a choice I strongly urge you to live in domicile. If you like Nashville then consider working out of Washington. If you draw a circle 2 hours around IAD you will find an amazing selection of lifestyles and many places with low taxes and low housing costs relative to other domicile choices.

Finally any commute that uses UAX will be a nightmare. If you must commute then look for a location that has mainline service preferably on UAL and preferably more than 3 flights a day.

Personally I found commuting to be absolute hell, and I would do almost anything to avoid it, but we each have our reasons for making the choices we do, but again if you really have a choice I recommend you listen to the voices of experience and do NOT commute.
What he said +1.

I moved to ORD And IAH after initially commuting to both. Do it.

Your life is infinitely simpler w/o commuting and you will have more trips to choose from and more days off. Your wife will thank you.

If you come to TX I'd be happy to recommend some places to live.

Eric
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:02 PM   #10  
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Two words if you commute : Fear and disappointment...
Fear of not making commute to work
Disappointment of not making it home

That's it in a nutshell.

WarE
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