Saturday, August 13, 2011
Airplane Pinball; and why pilots really run through airports
So I have been thinking about this quite a bit the last couple times John has commuted, because invariable I end up sitting in front of the computer looking up flights (direct and indirect) to get John home. John has an EVO phone, but for some reason he doesn't use it to it's full potential, ie: looking up his own flights. Take for instance the last time he commuted home, he's in LAS which is huge, wandering from gate to gate to see if he can get on different flights. That's when I came up with the idea that he was like a pinball, wandering from gate to gate, and terminal to terminal bouncing around looking for a way home.
Which leaves me to my second point, when I say wandering sometimes it is wandering, sometimes (not often but does happen) it is flat out running to try and catch a flight. Pretty much the ONLY time you will see a pilot run (I mean flat out dead run) through the airport is to commute. Now most of the time going to work, it's better planned, because they know when they have to be there. On the way home however it becomes a free for all. What? You say the flight got in 20min early? Well if you RUN you can make the next flight home, otherwise you will be stuck sitting in the airport for 3 hours. This is when the running occurs. I don't (personally) know of ANY instances where he was running at work, if they switch planes and he was late coming in, the whole crew will walk. And NO is not to milk the clock by any means, they don't get paid until the cabin door actually shuts, so as a side note anytime you see a pilot he isn't getting paid, they ONLY get paid for the flying part.
You may be thinking all this (frantic running) for 3 hours? Remember that the pilot who is doing the mile sprint through the airport may only be home for 30 hours a week!