The Pains and Benefits of Commuting For many, a great thing about being an airline pilot is the schedule flexibility. You often have multiple consecutive days off with no work responsibilities. This is different from other jobs where you may have to do work at home, monitor a phone or even just be stressed about work. Often, […]
Manipulating Your Schedule After Award
Here we are, approaching the end of our journey on how airline pilot schedules work. For the final installation on getting your schedule before the month starts, we need to talk about what happens once your schedule is awarded. As with everything else we’ve talked about: pairings, bidding and reserves, the specifics will vary with each airline. Some will have systems like I describe here, others will have more or less flexibility. This is a general overview. I encourage you to leave some examples of how it works at airlines you’ve been at in the comments.
Once you’ve gotten your schedules for the next month, that often isn’t the last chance you have to adjust your schedule. Often, all the available flying isn’t covered because of things like training, bidding preferences, vacation, etc. You get the idea. Many airlines will take this left over flying and create lines of flying, sometimes mixed with reserve days which can then go to junior pilots.
Previously, we talked about schedule pairings. They are a collection of flights into a 1-4 day schedule that start and end at a pilot’s base. These are constructed, usually by the airline but often with some type of input from the union or other committee. This usually happens 1-3 months before they are flown.
I find myself having to explain how my schedule works often to non-airline employees. I get asked “what route do you fly?” Or “what cities do you go to”? The truth is, before I got into the airlines, I didn’t really understand it much myself. What I have come to learn is that the schedule of an airline pilot can be one of its greatest benefits. Yes, you are often away from home for periods of time and that can be trying, but you also frequently get more days off than in any office job. […]