Real Answers from Real Pilots

Commuting

To all the real world pilots,
As i’ve been doing tons of research about ATP and the career path it makes for new pilots, my biggest concern is commuting.

Currently I live in the bay area, but I’m noticing most of the regionals hubs are based out the east coast. I honestly wouldn’t mind commuting across the country to work, however i don’t know how committing work as a pilot. May someone please explain. I know this is way down the line for me but its something Ive been thinking about.

Thanks!

Hi Earv. Not a Pilot (yet) just a interested party but as everyone on the forum we like to help lift each other to their full potential.

Adam really drives it home on this topic Commuting vs Domicile on how the Airlines work with hiring based on where you live and some insight on commuting vs living near your domicile.

Im sure the mentors will be pretty quick to reply but figured i would help out while you wait for them to respond.

Earv,

There are plenty of regionals that have domiciles on the west coast, LAX, SFO, SEA, all come to mind. Commuting basically means that you get toad from work on your own time, via airplane. I have committed for the past twelve years from Norfolk to Newark. I typically make my way to EWR the day prior to a trip and then spend the night. I fly my assignment and then make my way home. The flights are free, but I am doing this on my own time. To me it is worth it to be able to live where I want to.

Chris

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great thanks a lot!! I wonder how the crash pads work? Are they safe?

thanks Chris for the reply! How do you like the crash pad deal? LOL When I hear the word crash pad in my head it dosent seem all that nice lol.

Tom,

Thanks for jumping in and helping out :slight_smile:

Hi Earv,

Commuting is a big issue for many pilots. First off not sure where you got your facts from but there are actually quite a few Regional bases on the West Coast (SkyWest in particular). Here’s a link that might help http://pilotjobs.atpflightschool.com/airline-domiciles/
That said the majority of the pilots I know do in fact commute and all make it work. The nice thing is you can literally live ANYWHERE (I know pilots who commute from Europe, Asia and Australia). The bad part is you’re obviously going to lose a day off here and there. The other problem is although pilots can jumpseat on virtually any airline for free, there has to be room and more important you’re responsible for getting to work on time. If the weather is bad like it’s been you may have to commute in a few days prior to make sure you’re there. If you’ve got the first flight in the am you’ve gotta get there the night before. If you come in on the last flight when you finish your trip you’re there till the next day etc.

Crashpad is a VERY general term used by crews to refer to “temporary” lodging at you base. It could be a shared hotel room with 12 other pilots or it could be a very nice apt you share with 1 friends. Crashpads are as nice or as scary as you make them.

Adam

Crash pads are usually houses or apartments that several pilots go in on together and set up as a place for people to spend a quick night at, they are not meant to be long term accommodations. While crashpads are not typically found in the most expensive neighborhoods they are usually in pretty safe areas. I had a crashpad for twelve years and never felt unsafe there.

Chris

thanks @Chris @Adam @Tolento47

My last question is:

I notice some of the regionals like envoy offer a commuter benefit where they pay for 4 hotels a month while a pilot is commuting. Do anyone one know how such program works?

Earv,

This is just one more example of how much in need the Regionals are for qualified pilots. Until recently I had never heard of such a thing EVER. How it works is pretty much what it says. The airline will pay for 4 hotel stays a month. I’m certain there are restrictions and limits to how much and for how long but again this is a very new deal and MUCH better than it has ever been.

Adam

Hey Chris! Does the airline pay for your hotel or food on the commute? Since you commute does that mean you’re away from your family for days and days at a time then you see them when you return?

Dakota,

Commuting is on your own dime as I chose to commute and not live in my base. It really isn’t that expensive, I only need a hotel room a few nights per month.

Whether you commute or live in base you will likely spend several days at a time on the road, it is just the nature of the industry. Some pilots are able to do single day trips, but that usually comes with seniority. The vast majority of trips are three to four day trips. The good news is that after a trip a pilot usually has several days in a row at home.

Chris

Chris

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Understood. How does one go about commuting? To make sure its free of charge?

Dakota,

As pilots we can “jumpseat” on virtually every airline in the country free of charge. If there are seats in the back you’ll get one but if not you’ll be riding up front with the pilots. Problem is if it’s a “popular” commute (ie, base to base) or a holiday weekend and there are a number of pilots commuting. If there’s no seats in back AND someone else (senior) claims the jumpseat then you’re out of luck. Since again commuting is a choice it’s YOUR responsibility to get to work. If that means you’ve got to leave a day (or 2) early because the flights are full that’s what you have to do.

Adam

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You don’t, you move to where you are based.

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