Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nonreving Fun

                                 Our successful nonrev trip to Japan!

So the airlines try to sell nonreving as a "'perk" of working for them, in fact the regional dh worked at told them it was worth $10,000 a year. I would have rather had them pay him the extra $10,000 to be honest, it would have been more useful.  For non-aviation folks nonreving means non-revenue passenger, it is flying standby if there is a seat available.  Airlines have different agreements with other airlines regarding this, at dh's airline I can fly on them and also pay taxes (plus some) to fly on other airlines.  Weather I fly on dh's airline or a different one it is still standby, seat available.

So lets start out with this, nonreving is not for the faint of heart.   When you nonrev you are last to get on, heck I have had some gate agents send me down to the plane when they aren't even sure there is even a seat left, only to have to walk back up when everyone shows up.  You also stand the chance of being treated like crap by the gate agents.  Now as a paying passenger you're probably sitting there saying they treat everyone like that, which might be true.  The difference is that you (as a paying passenger) can complain or at least be mad about being treated like crap, where as I (when a gate agents screams at me, yes it's happened) has to stand there and smile and say "I'm sorry."  Even though I'm not sure what I did and I'm sure not sorry, because if the gate agent reports to the company that I was a rude/angry/pita, in anyway we would lose our pass travel privileges and dh could lose his job.  So that's the downside, dealing with unpleasant gate agents, and not knowing if you are going to make your flight, hard to plan a vacation that way.

So the perks when they work are fantastic.  We just got back from an awesome whirlwind trip to Japan, courtesy of nonreving.  The flip side is that we didn't know we were going for sure until we got on the plane, which makes it hard to plan but thankfully our friends who we were visiting understood.  It also meant that we had to adjust our travel day once (or twice) but it all worked out. The key with nonreving is Flexibility..  If we hadn't made the flight we had a backup, and we had a backup to location.  If we couldn't go to Japan we would have gone to Europe or Hawaii, or really where ever there were empty seats.  Flexible.

    Our less than successful trip to Frankfort for Christmas Markets...but a lot of FUN!

The key with nonreving (besides Flexible) is fun! Honestly that's the best way to look at it.  One of the most fun nonrev trips I have done was to Disney World for Mickey's Christmas Party with our friends.  Originally we were all going to meet in Frankfort, but because of the Lufthansa strike dh and I couldn't get there.  So we all changed courses and headed to Orlando for some Disney Fun!  Even getting to Florida was a bit of a challenge for dh and I, when we walked into Midway it was chaos due to weather.  So instead of going to Orlando we went to Tampa and drove over, I booked the car when we were walking down the jet bridge! Again Flexible.

The honest truth is if you can't be flexible and have to be someone where, or if you don't want to deal with crappy gate agents and middle seats, buy a ticket.  I have bought tickets in the past and actually have some for later this year, if its a strict timeline and super important then buy a ticket.  Nonreving is not for events where you have to be there.  For instance I will buy a ticket to get on the cruise and nonrev home, I for sure don't want to miss the cruise but don't mind if I sit for a day (or two) in the airport on the way home. 

So happy travels no matter where you end up!!

"You must always be able to predict what's next and then have the flexibility to evolve."
Marc Benioff

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Tale of Two Perspectives

,                                                Perspective

Perspective is something I think is important to have in the aviation industry. Everyone has a different path in this industry, some come from military background, some go to college specifically to be an airline pilot, there are many paths to being an airline pilot.  With each path each pilot has taken comes perspective.
There is no "wrong" path be becoming a pilot, where people run into a problem is that they believe that their perspective is the only one. 

In this industry luck truly is 90% of when/where you get hired, the other 10% (I would say) is networking.  Since luck does play such a huge part in your career trajectory, people who have been lucky lack perspective on what happens to the less fortunate.  This doesn't make them bad people, but they also aren't necessarily people want to talk/work with. 

A Tale of Two Perspectives

For example dh flew with a CA (we will call him Bob)a few months ago that he has become friends with, he is younger than dh (that gets more and more common these days) but he was a great guy, I even got to meet him once when I was non-reving!  Bob is great and very down to earth, easy to get along with, and understands that nothing in this industry is a given.  Bob was furloughed from his regional and was lucky to get hired on where is now currently and upgrade relatively early in his career.

Now onto CA Jack (again not real name), Jack is also younger (younger than Bob even) Jack got hired here when he was 22.  Jack isn't a bad guy (hey he bought everyone coffee!) but lacks the perspective of a hard airline career.  Jack tends to think every one can do what he did in their career and doesn't understand how someone can be 40, have a masters, and still only be an FO.  Jack can't understand this because Jack's never had anything bad happen in his career, he lacks perspective, and to be honest acts entitled.  This comes across when talking to him in his attitude.

Honestly though age has not much to do with perspective, it seems life experiences are much more of an indication on this.  I have met some really great down to earth guys in the industry that are in their mid to late twenties, these are almost always the guys who have been either A) furloughed or B) worked at an airline that went bankrupt.  These guys pass no judgement on anyone, after all they understand the instability of the industry and the way it works.  I have also met 40+ year olds who act/sound immature because they have been lucky in their career and don't understand why everyone doesn't just do what they did.  Then there are the guys who have been lucky and they know it, these guys are great, no condescending remarks and comments about how "easy" they have had it.

I *might* be biased but dh has a pretty good attitude about his career.  He's been through a furlough, a fake flow through, his regional being sold, and he still loves his career and won't even consider doing something else besides flying, trust me I've tried.  But recently he's gotten really down on himself and his career, this has something to do with his very sad W-2, but also he's flown with a few guys recently who have been the lucky ones and lack perspective, and think that everyone should have done what they did.  These aren't the people anyone wants to fly with, so even if you don' have perspective have some understanding that perhaps not everyone is as lucky as you.