Saturday, May 28, 2005

Extended into Infinity

As usual at my airline, the MegaWhacker crews are running ragged to pick up the slack left by the jet. I just looked at a comparison of reserve utilization between the MW vs the CRJ; it's like 80% vs 30%. This whole week, we've had both MW spares running jet routes.

Two routes that've been covered all week are a Portland-San Jose roundtrip and a Portland-Spokane roundtrip. Now, it's been fairly evident to the company that these routes would need to be flown by MegaWhacker crews; still, crew scheduling for some reason doesn't like to notify us until the last minute. Both wednesday & yesterday, I got a 4:30am wakeup call to fly to San Jose. I knew the reserves were flying these trips, so I asked about it the night before. "Nope, nothing on your line yet," I was told. When I'd query whether they had someone slotted to fly to San Jose the next morning, crew scheduling acted like they didn't know what I was talking about. C'mon, you've only called out crews for it this entire week!

So I get the O-dark-thirty wakeup call from crew sched saying - surprise! - they need me to fly San Jose. I shower & dress & drag myself to the airport by 6am. The passengers are often unhappy to find they're on a turboprop vs a CRJ. On Wednesday, one guy angrily demanded "to get the 737 back on this route!" Sure, sir, if you can find 150 friends to go with you every day. Once underway to San Jose, I make a PA about the weather and route, & explain that "the good news about the aircraft swap is that this airplane has more legroom and comfier seats. The bad news is we'll be 15 to 20 minutes late."

Both days I did the trip, the Captain called crew sched from San Jose to see if we had anything else on our lines. Each day, crew sched said there was nothing, yet by the time we got to Portland, they'd extended us to do a Spokane roundtrip that was already one hour late. C'mon, is there absolutely no foresight here or what!? Yesterday, we got done with the additional Spokane roundtrip only to be extended again, this time with a roundtrip to Seattle that was also an hour late. We had happy passengers all day, let me tell you.

So basicly an easy two leg, 3.5 hour day turned into a 6 leg, 7.5 hour grueler. That's okay, I got paid more. But it'd be nice to think that crew scheduling knows what the game plan is in advance, and give us on the front lines a bit of warning.

*Rant Concluded*

Oh yeah, Melody & Janae in crew sched - I'm not mad at you, you're my babes!