Yes, two entries back to back. Hope it’s not overload 😉
Today (east coast time) is the last day of my first month based in Los Angeles again. The airline I work for has two bidding bases: Los Angeles (LAX) and Washington, DC (IAD). I’ve been based in both places twice now. When I was first hired, I was based in IAD. A year or so later, I bid over to LAX for seniority reasons. A year or so after that, I bid back to IAD due to the prospect of more flying there (and less in LAX). Though that worked out well for a period of time, the pendulum seems to have swung the other direction, so I’m back to LAX again.
The timing of those base changes has caused people to think I’m nuts. They’re probably right. After holding LAX for a period of time, I bid back to IAD, even though I lived in California. That certainly seems to be a strange move if you think about it. And then, having just moved from California to New Hampshire, I’ve bid back to LAX again. Another surprise.
One things that reduces the adverse effects of these cross country base changes is our home basing policy. While we bid for our monthly schedules based on our bases, our travel starts at the closest airport to where we *live*. So, though, I bid out of LAX and sometimes am paid starting in LAX (that’s a bit complicated), my personal travel responsibility ends in Manchester, NH. Once I’m there, the company arranges (and pays for) my transportation to wherever my first live flight will originate (sometimes LAX but not always).
My motivation for bidding back to LAX this time was the forecast increase in Pacific freight flying and the reduction in Atlantic flying. Our one Atlantic freight contract was moved to the DC-10 and will likely end all together at the end of this year or sometime next year. Meanwhile, we’ve improved our position in the Pacific dramatically. Prior to a couple of months ago, we had a contract with Eva Airways and a contract with China Airlines, each for one year for one airplane flying freight out of Taiwan. The China Airlines contract will end soon, but we signed a new contract with Eva for two years and three airplanes. We’re also getting two new MD-11F’s and have signed contracts to fly them, one with Air Canada and one with a Thai/Aussie joint venture. Both will be on Pacific routes and that flying is most likely to be assigned to the LAX base.
So, having moved to New Hampshire, it appears I’ll be spending the next ‘phase’ of my career flying mostly Pacific trips. I enjoy the flying over here (I’m in Taiwan right now), and freight is much less stressful than passenger flying. Now, if we could just get a few more airplanes and contracts, I could upgrade to Captain 😉