It was the day after the Superbowl in 2003. My pregnant wife, two sons and I were walking out of the Logan’s Roadhouse in Manassas, Virginia. As I opened the car door, my cellphone rang. While settling down into the driver’s seat, I flipped the phone open to answer.
Although we lived twenty minutes away, it was a very long drive home. A few times, my wife asked whether we needed to pull over so she could drive. My focus was overcome by sadness, fear and anger. A part of me had just been ripped away.
The person on the other end of the phone had informed me that I was being furloughed on April 1. It was a very cold conversation… the woman with the unpleasant task simply read from a script. When I hung up, reality sank in. I knew the furlough was coming, but I thought I was safe until June. I was wrong. The after effects of 9/11 had reached my seniority number.
Both pairs of eyes glanced at the master caution light and then to the lower ECAM screen. Once my brain took a quarter second to process the malfunction, I knew what was about to happen.
We had departed Los Angeles ninety minutes earlier. On a nice day, the flight from LAX to San Francisco runs about fifty five minutes in the air. That morning, the weather on the west coast was beautiful… except for the few square miles encompassing SFO. About forty five minutes after takeoff, the NORCAL controller starting issuing delay vectors. The visibility on 28R had dropped to 500′ RVR. To conduct a Cat IIIb approach and auto-land, we needed 600′ RVR.
Recently, I stumbled upon an unopened packet of paper Airbus A320 cockpit panels. These panels are used by pilots during initial training. When unfolded and setup correctly, the panels help new pilots memorize switch locations and “cockpit flows.” (If you’re not familiar with the term, a flow is a memorized series of steps that are performed in the same order each time and usually followed up with a check-list.)
I have no use for these panels. So, I thought it would be fun to give them away to a blog reader.
Pilots and flight attendants spend an abundance of time in hotels. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed the benefits of spending half my nights in hotels and resorts. I’ve also learned most of the pitfalls.
Therefore, without further hesitation, here is my list and some accompanying stories of sixteen things that can go wrong during a hotel stay…
The first three weeks of December were a challenge. I intentionally stacked my schedule heavy at the beginning of the month so I wouldn’t have to fly over the holidays. Three weeks in a row, I worked the same high time four day trip that finished late on the last day. After a redeye commute, I was home two and a half days between trips. While I’m thankful my seniority allowed me to bid the schedule, flying it took an enormous toll on my body. In the future, I will spread my trips more evenly throughout the month.
With the third trip complete, I’m enjoying Christmas and New Year’s Eve with my family in Tennessee.
My work for 2013 is complete.