After sleeping all day, we headed back out to Dulles for the late evening flight back to San Francisco. It was still light at departure time, but, the sun had already set. As we climbed up towards the flight levels, the sun rose again on the western horizon. Basically, we out-climbed the sunset. Shortly thereafter, the sun set from our new vantage point of 36,000 feet.
Commuting on red-eye/day sleep trips
After only twenty months with the company, my seniority allows me to bid the weekends off. This allows me to be home and attend all the family activities on Saturdays and Sundays. But, there’s a little trade-off: At my seniority, I still cannot hold weekday trips that are commutable on both ends.
For the last month and a half, I’ve been flying all three day trips. The front of the trips are commutable with report times in the late afternoon. I haven’t had any problems getting a seat on my primary flight and arriving in San Francisco about four hours before my report time.
The first day of each trip has three short legs. It has been some combination of a Las Vegas or Los Angeles “turn” followed by a layover in either San Diego, Las Vegas, or Seattle.
On the layover, I stay up really, really late. If you have any questions about infomercials broadcast in the middle of the night, feel free to ask.
On day two, I sleep as late as possible… late enough to make any college student proud. It is not uncommon for the clock to display “PM” by the time I roll out of bed.
Hours later, I board a van that takes me to the start of an all night duty period. The first flight goes to San Francisco or Los Angeles. After sitting for an hour or two, we continue on a red-eye to the east coast.
Once at the hotel, I sleep all day. My alarm clock is set as a “backup,” but sometimes it actually wakes me up forty five minutes before van time.
After the final six hour flight of the trip, we arrive back in San Francisco around 11:00pm.
Since I am off the next day, my goal has been to get home as early as possible. For the first few trips, I killed time at the airport and jumped on the 5:30am flight back to Denver. I arrived about 9:15 in the morning.
Then, I decided to get a little more creative.
American has a flight that leaves San Francisco at 12:30am. Two trips in a row, I’ve secured a seat on that jet. It arrives in Dallas at 5:40am CDT.
When I arrive in Dallas, I take the long escalator up to the AirTrain. A few minutes after exiting American’s massive hub of gates, I arrive at the E Terminal. Just around the corner from the bottom of the escalator, Frontier’s 6:30am flight to Denver awaits. Both weeks, the agent has immediately printed a boarding pass with a very nice seat displayed on it.
Frontier’s flight arrives at 7:15am MDT… two hours before the first non-stop out of San Francisco.
Am I crazy? Probably… a little bit. But, by effectively managing my sleep, it really doesn’t take that much of a toll on me. Last week I made it home before the kids left for school. That made it all worth it.
Here are a few random photos from the last few weeks: