Pilot Lifestyle
Off reserve
February 17, 2011

I knew I’d find something to write about this week.

Currently, I am enjoying some extra time at home with my family.  The timing of this extended break could not have been better.  Between you and me, I was getting a little worn out traveling back and forth to San Francisco so frequently.  I now feel rested and ready to go back for one of my last blocks of reserve.

Yes, you read that correctly: my last blocks of reserve.  Last night, the March schedules were published and I am off reserve!  My schedule certainly isn’t going to win any quality of life awards.  But, beggars cannot be choosers, right?  I have made the transition to junior line-holder.  I basically received the trips the pilots ahead of me did not want.  But, for so many reasons, any schedule is better than reserve.

I can now anticipate which nights I will need a hotel room in San Francisco and plan accordingly.  My hotel bills will drop dramatically.  I can also notify friends in various cities that I plan to visit on certain dates.

When I’m in San Francisco, I am no longer tied to my cell-phone.  When I’m finished working, I can commute home on my own time without asking someone permission to be “released.”

Holding a real schedule also allows me to participate in trip trading.  I can submit requests to trade my trips with unassigned ones, or trade with other pilots.

I will fly more hours in March.  Therefore, my pay will go up.  Since most of my time away from home will be flying, my meals will be covered by per-diem.

It has been a long time since I’ve “held a line” at an airline.  Before getting furloughed from United, I was forced back to reserve for the last nine months of employment.  There, I went from mid line-holder, to junior line-holder, to senior reserve, to junior reserve, then furloughed.  Month after month, I could feel the rungs of the ladder breaking on the way down.  With only four months of reserve, I am climbing faster here than I fell at United.  Nice to be on the way up again.

Weight Loss Challenge

So far, the weight loss challenge is a success.  All five of us are losing weight and getting in better shape.  I have lost more weight than I expected over the first two weeks of the challenge.  If we continue on this pace, I think we’ve got as good a chance as any team to win.  But, with 52 teams in the competition, I’m sure the numbers will be close!  Two and a half months left to go.

As I was finishing up this post, I received a text message from a member of my new-hire class and weight loss team:

This is the best I’ve felt in a while… Losing weight, getting in shape and FINALLY holding a line does the body & mind well!! 🙂

Thanks Andy.  I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.


Here are some random photos I haven’t worked into any other post:

United is promoting Oprah's farewell season. I didn't get a similar send-off. :)

United is promoting Oprah's farewell season. I didn't get a similar send-off. 🙂

Top of a small winter thunderstorm

Qantas A380 parked behind us at LAX

Another nice sunset over a smooth sky

About author

Renewed Pilot

I've endured a roller coaster career in the U.S. Aviation Industry. Currently flying the 737 on my third try with the same legacy carrier, I have also flown for a regional, fractional and start-up carrier. My piloting experience includes the 737, A320, 727, Citation Excel, Citation Bravo, Saab 340 and many light singles and twin engine aircraft. I reside in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee.

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There is 1 comment

  • Beverly says:

    You gave me goosebumps with this one. Congratulations – you deserve it!

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