Adjusting Airline Schedules After Award

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.


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Changes in Draft Instrument Procedures Handbook

New Instrument Procedures Information from FAA










Looking at the Changed FAA Procedures

The FAA has published a draft version of the Instrument Procedures Handbook, the official textbook of sorts for flying in Instrument Meteorological Conditions. It has been some time since I last looked at the IPH, probably 15-20 years. Back then it was a hardcover book in black and white that even then seemed outdated. This new version is exactly the opposite, with great color diagrams, modern material and even some discussions on things that aren’t yet in place. I give the FAA a lot of credit.  It’s still a draft but it looks good.

We’re Here to Help

If you’re like me, and have been flying in instrument procedures for years but haven’t looked at this manual, you probably aren’t inclined to look at the new one.  As I went through this, I took […]

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Reserve Schedules

How Airlines Cover Flying That Isn’t Assigned

We have talked about how airline pilots get their schedules and how they work. There are some pilots who don’t have assigned flying at the beginning of the month. They are used to cover flying not covered by other pilots because they’re sick, no one was ever assigned, they had delays and cancellations in their original schedule or any number of reasons. These pilots are generally called “reserve” or “stand by” pilots. In this article we are going to discuss aspects of this type of schedule and what it can look like. Just like in the other cases, every airline will be different, in fact with reserves it will be even more so. I’ll cover some of the general aspects but know that a particular carrier will some unique characteristics.

Bidding Schedules

Usually, at the beginning of the month, a reserve pilot will know what days they are working.  Typically, once all the lines are assigned, reserves will have the opportunity to bid (or they may have already bid and their schedules are assigned.)  This usually consists of a series of days during which they are responsible for being within a certain distance of the airport. For many carriers, this time is around two hours to the crew room from the time you get a call with an assignment. Some carriers have a concept of long call reserve which may be 14 hours or more, giving them time to commute to base from home (sweet!). […]

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