Crash Pads and Flight Attendants

For many young aviators making the leap (of faith?) into professional aviation, it comes as a shock that their first paycheck, indeed their first many paychecks, seem a virtual David to their bills' Goliath. A typical regional airline job starts paying in the high teens or low twenties. That reality combined with the fact that most new pilots lack the seniority to live in more desirable cities yields an interesting phenomenon know as the crash pad. A crash pad can be a variety of things. In general it consists of anywhere from 3 to 15 or more pilots, flight attendants or other flight crews commuting from their actual homes to a common domicile. They may or may not know each other, frequently assuming that their airline's extensive background checks will weed out anyone that may have bodies hidden under their porch, or otherwise be an undesirable roommate. This group of aviators will pool their funds and strain their patience in order to share a common address near the airport at a fraction of what it would cost to pay for a hotel (because these crews choose to commute, the airlines are not responsible for paying for their accommodations). Since most pilots or flight attendants are only sleeping in this home-away-from-home for a few nights out of the month, you will frequently see several people "living" in the same apartment, house or condo with the hopes that any given night will not attract more of the occupants than there are beds. Other crash pads limit the number of occupants to the number of beds, although futons, air mattresses and couches are frequently fair game as well. In most places you get your own bed, although not always. For less money, some crash pad owners allow "hot bunking", which means you may show up ready for rest, only to get into bed and realize the sheets are still warm from the previous occupant!

A Flight Attendant in College

Being a flight attendant was great and it helped me go to college and get my degree.

There are bad things about being a flight attendant, but there are a lot of good things that can come out of being a flight attendant.

When I first started as a flight attendant, the only thing that I had was experience from my customer service job. I never went to college, my job before took up a lot of my time that I didn't know how to fit college into my life. Then I became a flight attendant and that's when I saw the opportunity to go to college and get my degree.

When I first started as a flight attendant, I was on reserve. Lucky for me, the company was growing so my time on reserve was quite short. A few months after starting and I was holding a line. I didn't actually start going to college until almost a year into flying and it worked out great because my schedule was getting better by that point.

Airline Reserve & Probation

A new flight attendant was on reserve for a regional airline. New flight attendants are on probation for their first six months of work and are usually on reserve any where from a few months to a year or more.

Flight attendants on probation are restricted in a way from calling in sick or anything like it for sex months. If a flight attendant calls in sick during a probational period, they can get their probation extended for longer than than the six months and get occurrences.

Flight Attendant Over Worked, Safety Issue

A regional airline flight from Jackson, MS to Dallas Ft. Worth:

The flight was running three hours late all day long due to weather. They had already flown four legs by the time they got to Jackson, MS. While boarding the aircraft they were told by flight control that they were on a ground hold for at least an hour. The crew had already worked from this point close to 14 hours at this point. Although that is already a long day, the crew can only be scheduled for no more than 14 hours, but can work up to 16 hours. This flight plan was also going to take the crew over the 8-hour max flight time per day. At the time, they were already at 6.5 hours. The flight crew was handed an original flight plan that would take them south of Texas to avoid the weather that was on the eastern side of Dallas Ft. Worth. The flight time was going to take the crew over the 16-hour duty rule.