For the last few months I’ve been bidding, holding and flying nothing but transcon turns. For me, doing so provides me with more time to work on stuff like this blog, and a bit of normalcy in my life since I get to sleep in my own bed, every night. For the May bid I had decided that I wanted to change things up a bit and work a few trips with layovers to earn some of that per diem, and get out of the LA area. Well, my last trip, a three day — turned in a four day, and that was just the start of it.
Believe it or not, day one of my trip flew through San Francisco, and we were on time, the whole time! Shockingly the weather was perfect, blue skies even, and we arrived in Seattle on time at 10pm. On this trip, I was flying with my good friend and fellow Savvy Stew Patti, once we got to the hotel we met up in her room ordered some pizza, watched TV, then off we went off to bed. We spent the next day roaming the streets of Seattle, before working a super late redeye into New York which departed at 11:45pm and arriving at almost 8am the next morning. Those are always a challenge. Landing at 8am, means its really 5am in Los Angeles and means we’ve been up for almost 20 or so hours by the time we land.
Good thing a storm was rolling in, which would give us a bit more time to relax. Our van time was set for 6:30pm back to JFK for our flight back home to Los Angeles. At around 4:30pm I received a phone call from our Captain, who hilariously referred to himself as “The Commander,” and he said the following:
Well, we’re delayed. Now the question is how long? Take a guess at what time our new van time is.
I was still so groggy I couldn’t even think fast enough to play along. Come on, guess! What would really put a wrench in our days off tomorrow? he added. I don’t know, 10pm? I said. WRONG! 11pm.
We were now scheduled for an 11pm van, for an 11:30pm show, and a 12:30am departure. Doing the math, that puts us back in Los Angeles at 3:30am, which really, is like working a redeye in the opposite direction. A reverse redeye.
I called my crew and told them that they can stay in bed and relax. We now had more time to recover from the redeye the night before and prepare for this one.
There was one problem though, I was hungry and expecting to eat the airport — now I’ve got to figure out where my meal is coming from. Most airlines have a “long” and “short” layover hotel — this was a short layover before the delay of only 10 hours, so we’re stuck at a JFK airport hotel where anyone who dares to venture out risks being shot in Jamaica, Queens. I’m originally from New York and even I wouldn’t dare.
I phoned Patti and told her about my plight, and she had said that she had tons of food in her lunch bag that her husband had packed and to head on over for a picnic. And, that’s exactly what I did. We had a Delay Picnic in her bed of cheeses, fruit, nuts, and anything else we could find in her bag.
A few minutes later I get a phone call from crew scheduling. We were delayed another 30 minutes.
I retuned to my room and tried to nap, but it just wasn’t going to happen. Finally, at 11:30pm we headed off to the airport. When we arrived our plane wasn’t even on the ground yet so we strolled through the deserted terminal in search of anything that might be open. Especially, Starbucks. No luck though.
When the plane finally arrived we met the inbound crew. They had been delayed in Los Angeles for 7 hours themselves, but unfortunately for them, not in a hotel but in our crew room.
When we boarded.. surprisingly the passengers were nice. No one complained, no one questioned the weather (which had cleared up by now). The only question on their mind: What time do we land?
Well, by the time we got in the air, our scheduled arrival was 5:15am in Los Angeles.
That had to be the hardest flight I’ve ever worked. Trying to remain awake from 11pm to 5am my local time was something that didn’t come without struggle, coffee and great company by my crew.
Working a reverse redeye though — not something I’d like to do again.