Happy Holidays!! NOT!!

December 27, 2007 0 Comments A+ a-

I finished working my trip last night--it was an easy scheduled trip: commute in to Chicago (ORD), work three legs, and end up in Grand Rapids, MI (GRR) for the overnight. The next day, just one leg back to ORD in the afternoon. Easy, right?

Oh, nooooo! Not enough crews for the flying scheduled....some had timed out*, and some had called in sick--not to mention that we are understaffed for pilots to begin with. I wonder which nitwit made the decision to sell tickets for flights they knew 6 months ago wouldn't go...

*Pilots have flight time limitations--they cannot fly more than 30 hours in seven days, more than 100 hours per month, or 1000 hours per year. When they reach the tipping point, it is called "timed out."

Doesn't take much of a brainiac to look at historical records and say...I have X number of pilots--if we manage them well, then only X percentage will "time out" and be unable to fly the holiday crush. Of those that will be able to fly, X number will be on days off, and X number will call out sick....therefore, we'll be able to fly X number of flights over the Christmas holiday.

I'm tellin' ya--let me give running the airline a shot--I certainly couldn't do any worse!

So, we are short staffed over the holidays...I flew Christmas Day and the the day after. We got to ORD after our first turn, and had to go park the plane in the "penalty box." Yep, thats' what we call it--the penalty box, or sometimes, just "the box." This is a holding area for planes waiting for gates.

We get to the box and park, and my Captain makes an announcement that it will be at least 30 minutes before we get a gate. He was being optimistic--plus, that's what the Tower told him...it took an hour and a half! We sat in the box for 90 minutes waiting for a gate.

Why no gate available, you ask? Because there were empty airplanes sitting at all the gates that had to be moved before we could park there. The planes could not be moved because they needed crew to move them. Where were all the crews? IN THE PENALTY BOX!!!!! It was a mess, mess, embarrassing mess out there that day. And it wasn't just us, it was all the carriers--the box looked like a smorgasbord of airlines out there!

Frustrating for me because the pilots have the cockpit door closed and can read the USA Today, call their wives, work a crossword puzzle, check e-mail on their Blackberry.....I am the one who has to try and keep the smile going when my customers are waaa-ay pissed because they may miss their flight to be with their family on Christmas Day because some nitwit couldn't do the right thing and not sell tickets for flights he knew we couldn't staff....

Okay, rant over....

My next trip covers the "transition" which is where we transition our December schedules to our January schedules. So, I have a five day trip starting on New Year's Eve. I'll be ringing in 2008 in beautiful Springdale, Arkansas (
NW Arkansas Regional Airport--XNA). We arrive there around 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve and our van departs the hotel at 5:30 a.m. the next morning. Since that means I have to get up at 4:15 a.m., I suspect I won't be seeing the ball drop this year.

After leaving cold XNA, we go to Miami (MIA) --just long enough to aggravate me with perfectly warm temperatures--probably hovering around 76 degrees when we get there! We will be there for 50 minutes before we are scheduled to leave for Charlotte, NC (CLT). After that, we go to ORD then on to Bloomington, IL (BMI) for the overnight. That will be a long day--scheduled to be working for 11.35 hours.

The next night I end up in ORD--the next: XNA, and after that, finally: my own bed with my own sheets and pillows!

In cat news:

Norm took Emmie to our veterinarian this morning--she was a rescue kitty and we just wanted her to be checked out. Plus, we had her microchipped, should she decide to become a wayward kitty like her older sister, Spikey.... Anyway, he put her into the
Sherpa and she started crying! Meow, meow, meow.... He said she cried the whole way to the vet's. We have determined that everytime she was moved to a new foster home or cage, it probably involved a Sherpa--and she may have thought she was having to leave us. We will do whatever we have to so that she knows she is home and is safe, forever....

So, more pictures of the new baby. The first is Emmie in front of the fireplace with Delaney Jane. The second is me with Emmie--we both just woke up from a nap in my desk chair. The last one is the baby perfecting her "resting" skills!