Real Answers from Real Pilots

Nashville commute?

(Kevin Neal) #1

Hello and thank you for taking the time to answer this question. I have searched the site but I am not able to find an answer. I live just outside of Nashville TN. I have a son that is in the 6th grade. His mother and I are divorced so I need to stay in the Nashville area. There is an ATP location here so I have access to the Carrier Pilot program. I am 45 with a masters degree. Based on some of the other post that I have read I think that I will be able to be hired pretty quickly.

I looked at the map that shows the locations of the regional airline locations and there is not one in Nashville TN. Which is surprising to me. I will not be able to move until he graduates high school simply because I love him and do not want to be away from him for years while he completes his primary education.

Do I have options that would allow me to stay in Nashville or should I consider following other career paths?



Welcome to the forums and thank you for the introduction. I am a divorced father with three kids myself, so I fully understand your plight. To my knowledge, Nashville has never been a hub for any major airline, so it is not surprising that there are not any regional airlines based there. UPS does have a base there, but they are considered one of the top jobs in the industry, so even applying to them is a long way off for you.

With no airlines based in Memphis, your only option if you want to fly for the airlines is to commute to work. I am a commuter myself, I commute to Newark from either Norfolk or South Bend, my kids live in Norfolk. While commuting is not ideal and it does take a significant amount of my free time up, it does allow me to live where I want to and still work in New Jersey. I spend several nights per month in EWR in a crashpad that I would not have to if I lived in base, but many times I am able to get trips that allow me to travel to and from work the same day that the trip begins or ends.

I will also say that a significant portion of the industry commutes, you will not be alone in this. While it is not the perfect solution, it will allow you to follow your dreams and still be an active part of your son’s life.




I’m afraid you need to work on your search skills. There are literally dozens of threads on commuting in the forum. As Chris said while not ideal it’s quite common.


(Kevin Neal) #4

Thank you Chris! I do appreciate the time you spent on answering my question. I will try to do more research on commuting because I am unfamiliar with the way this works for now.

(Kevin Neal) #5

Thanks for your response Adam. This is my first time on this site and I am not able to find a search feature that allows me to sort. Please give me some direction so that I do not ask a question that has significant information already posted. I would prefer to not have to consume time from anyone if the information is already available.

(Joshua McDowell) #6


The magnifying glass is not the easiest thing to see, it blends in nicely with the rest of the web page. Different from other forums I’ve seen, this forum pops up with individual threads pertaining to what you are searching for as you type in search bar. Also, when you are creating a thread, I’m sure you noticed the search function was activated as you were writing your thread giving you examples of posts and threads that may be similar to what you are writing. Hope this helps, and happy studying!



Here is the 411 on commuting. The airline will assign you a base when you are first hired, after that you will be able to bid for other bases as they open up. Sometimes it takes a few weeks to be based closer to home, other times it can take years.

The airline does not care where you live, they simply care that you show up to work on time. Let’s use my commute as an example. I mostly commute from Norfolk to Newark. Often times my trips start at 1pm or later, so I usually fly up that morning on the first flight of the day. I take the first flight as it usually has available seats and it gives me a few other flights as backups. This means that I am getting on a 6am flight and often flying until late at night, so that first day can be long. Other times I have trips that start early morning, so I come in the night before and spend the night in Newark. If there are bad storms forecast for EWR I usually come up even earlier just to make sure I am in position for work. All of this commuting is on my time.

To commute you need to find a flight with an available seat. There is also an extra seat in each cockpit called a jumpseat that is available for use. Seats are filled in seniority order, so the longer one has been at an airline, the easier it is to get a seat. I usually have pretty good luck, but there are times when I get bumped and have to wait for another flight.

In Newark I could get hotels, but that is expensive, so most pilots go in together on a crashpad, which is basically a house or apartment with a lot of bunk beds that can be used for short stays and does not cost a lot. Think a cross between a college dorm and military barrack.

Now all of this sounds stressful and like a lot of work, which it is, but when I get home to my lake front house in Michigan, it is all worth it to me.


1 Like
(Jason Anderson) #8


Great information as usual, thank you. How many share the crash pad with you and if you don’t mind me asking, what is your share of the cost? From your experience, is what you do typical for the average commuter?



I do not mind you asking one bit. There are about 70 people total in my crashpad, but generally there are only 4-9 people there at a time. I have never seen more than 10, ever. I pay $195 per month, which is on the low side. Typical costs range from $200 to $300 per month. I would say that my commute is pretty typical. There are some that commute via two legs (i.e. SBN-ORD, ORD-EWR) that is significantly more difficult and I would really try to avoid that. I do not foresee that being an issue for you commuting out of BNA.


(Ankel Rodriguez) #10

Chris hello to you, on the topic of commuting and EWR since you have plenty of experience moving in and out of that airport. EWR is 30 minutes away from me, less if no traffic. I would in the future like to avoid commuting at all costs if possible and have been looking into CommutAir, and ExpressJet being that they have a base in EWR and both participate in the United Career Path Program which is my major airline goal. United is also based at EWR so my question to you as a pilot with experience in the location, which of these 2 airlines or any other for that matter would you opt to go with if you were fresh out of ATP with 1500 hours and do you know anything that may help about the United Career Path Program?



I’m sure Chris can comment more on the Career Path. As for the Regionals back in the day it wouldn’t even be a question. I was at ExpressJet and flew out of EWR for 9 years. ExpressJet flew jets while CommutAir only flew turboprops. CommutAir has evolved and grown considerably and ExpressJet has experienced a resurgence as well. Both are fine carriers. You’re still a fair amount of time away from making that decision and ALOT can change over 2 years. As it gets closer I’d talk to pilots, look at equipment and pay scales and make your decision based on what’s actually happening then vs what you think might be.


(Ankel Rodriguez) #12

Wilco, thanks Adam.



I am really not able to speak on the United Career Path Program other than what is publicly available as I simply do not have any further information. Both airlines you mentioned are good to work for. I would recommend going to the one with the fastest upgrade time as that will help you flow to the major airline the fastest.


1 Like
(Dan Howe) #14

Chris, am I figuring this correctly?! 70 people all paying $200 a month must be a pretty decent accomodation for $14,000!



It is decent, but you need to remember a few things.

  1. This is New Jersey, so home prices and taxes are incredibly high.
  2. Transportation and cleaning services are provided for that price, neither of which is cheap to maintain.
  3. The owner of the crashpad has to make a profit for all of the time that they put into running it.

I would call it “decent”, but not much more than that.


(Jason Anderson) #16


Wow! That is way more than I expected. That does make it a reasonable cost at least. I’m not out of BNA, I’m a Montana guy so my life will be rough until I get on a path where I feel like I can move my family, but that is a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Thanks for you help!