Dreading the Deadhead
When I first started to fly I loved them. The airline I was working for paid us 100% Deadhead pay so instead of serving 150 people I got to be one of the 150 people. For those of you that may not know, deadheading is when the airline you fly for flies you as a passenger to position you to work another flight that same day or the next day, or is sending you home from an assignment. In essence, you’re a passenger, but you’re being paid to be one.
The airline I work for now only pays us 50% of our normal hourly rate when we’re deadheading. Though the time counts toward total duty for the day, since we’re not “working” they feel we shouldn’t be paid the full amount. I’m not sure how many other airlines offer less than 100%, but I think this adds to why I dislike the deadhead.
I’ve been doing a lot of transcon turns in recent months and recently my favorite trip has swapped from working both legs to deadheading home. I get so flustered when it’s time for me to move my stuff around and clear out the space for the new crew to only throw it all in a seat and overhead and try to settle in. There’s just an uncomfortableness of knowing you’re working but yet, you’re not.
When I’m working everything has a place and it’s in it. My ID and required items are in the same location, on every plane, all the time. As a deadheader it throws off your groove. I recently deadheaded home from Cancun and I lost my eyeglasses and a few other items just because I wasn’t used to having to confine myself to one seat while ‘at work.’
Further, my airline doesn’t allow us to sleep in uniform for fear that ‘someone might think you’re just slacking.’ So now, not only am I already discombobulated I’m changing out of my uniform in the worlds smallest bathroom into something I can relax in since I’ll be sitting there for 5 hours doing nothing.
It’s just overall uncomfortable for me. I’d rather work both flights than sit one out and ‘relax.’ I’m never really relaxing — we’re not allowed to sit in First Class so you’re always stuck in whatever seats are left in coach when they check you in.
What are you thoughts? Do you like deadheading? How much are you paid?