Crashpads... what's the deal?

flight-crew

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There is something that has always made me wonder. Why do some pilots lower there standards so low that they will live like absolute bums to save $100 - $200 / month. I'm talking about pilots who live in crashpads that have 4 or more people per room (usually in bunk beds). Seriously, college kids in dorms don't even live that confined. Even worse are the pilots who get one hotel room and put anywhere from 5 - 10 people in there. We're not even talking about an apartment with separate area's like a living room and kitchen... we are talking about one confined area. You won't believe this, but there are some pilots that actually live and sleep in the crew lounge. And I saw this happen at a major airline too when I interned there. So I don't think its isolated to just the regional airlines. They sleep on the couches there and I honestly don't know where they shower. Why don't you just throw down a mat in the terminal so some little kid can say "Hey mommy, look there's the pilot who flew our plane in last night... but why is he sleeping on the terminal floor. Is he homeless?"

I myself am personally staying in a crashpad. The setup I have is my own private room for around $300 per month. And that includes everything and all utilities. The condo has two bathrooms, so that is never an issue. Although a private bathroom would be nice. I realize that most commuters are not there much, but why do some people lower there standards so much? In fact, I'm not even in my crashpad much either. But to have complete privacy when I am there, and a decent setup where I'm not clobbered, seems well worth the extra $100 - $200 I pay over one of the super cheap crashpads. It also allows me to pick up day trips if I want and not sweat it... like a series of 3 days where I end up in my domicile for the night on everyone of those 3 days I am working. I'd also like to add- the other crashpad solution, where guys who pay for their own hotel room when they are there is a viable solution that makes complete sense to me. I just like having a place where I can keep my stuff- like my extra uniform items, extra clothes, and any other misc. stuff. Plus I get high speed internet and digital cable... oh yeah!

I'm not trying to start an argument. I can 100% understand why people don't want to live in certain areas and commute. But why live like a bum when you are there? Do you all of a sudden stop having standards because you are working... but when you are not working and at home in your house with your family, then all of a sudden you have standards and want privacy?
 

Andy Neill

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I can easily imagine a scenario where such pilots have considerable debt/expenses when that $100-200 makes a HUGE difference in their budgets. Some may wish to provide good things for their family at home and are willing to sacrifice their own comfort on the road. Further, I can understand that some would value money more than comfort. Many people would have many reasons for doing this. I'm glad no one has to put up with my snoring.
 

MetroSheriff

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Ummmm, I know this one....


Because they can't afford to do otherwise????
 

sweptwingz

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A few years ago, when I was a Part 135 freight puke in the trusty
"rice rocket" (MU-2) I shared a crash pad out of PTK with a Detroit
based Northwest DC-9 f/o. We were both broke, and heavily in debt
at the time, and frankly had little choice.
According to him, Detriot was such a $%#@ hole, that most of the
pilots he knew that were based there refused to move, and commuted
in, due to the high crime, racial tension, and poor quality of life.
To this day I try to economize on the road. As long as we're flying,
Netjets pays for our meals (every other leg) and you can eat quite
well on the company's tab, leaving your per-diem as pocket money.
As for me, I'd rather be grilling up a pair a New York strips at home,
and budgeting while on the road allows me to do that. I think that
many other pilots feel the same way.
Crash pads, (low budget and otherwise) are simply a fact of life for
pilots who choose not to move.
 

atpcliff

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Hi!

I was in a great crashpad in STL for $100/mo., with 8 of us in a small 2 bedroom. I lived there for about 3 weeks while in training. Most of the time, I was alone. A few days there were 2 guys, and once or twice there were 3 or 4.

Why pay more when you have the place to yourself most of the time with 8 in a 2 bedroom? The crashpad I just looked at, they say the average 5-6 nights/month in the pad.

Cliff
GRB
 

sydeseet

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The difference between $300/month (your rent) and $130/month (my rent) adds up to over $2 G's per year. I guess the answer is simple economics. Yes, I have 7 roommates but I hardly ever see more than 2 or 3 at a time and have spent many nights alone. It's a pain sometimes with so many people but I make up for it with the "paid for" vacation I've earned at the end of the year by living cheap. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.....
 

alimaui

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Well, one can tell by my position that I do not currently need a crashpad, but priorities are different for everyone. And most people dont feel the need to completely maintain to residences even if they be condos apts or whatever. Sacrificing comfort a few days out of the month seems well worth it to me for an extra $200 a month. Even if you are not strapped for cash. An extra $200 a month could go for alot of things more beneficial and a single room with a bathroom and cable.
 

Andy Neill

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flight crew,

For further insights, might I suggest reading:

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy
by Thomas J. Phd Stanley, William D., Phd Danko

It's available at amazon.com.
 

VFR on Top

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Hrmph. $7.99, with no discounts. Ya got a copy these boys can borrow, Andy? ;)

And while I've got your attention: for when the time comes that I've got the hours to apply for employment with your fine company, I'm wondering if being a native Utahn helps in getting an interview or being hired. Any preference for the hometown crowd?
 

Andy Neill

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As a matter of fact, I DO have a copy available for lending. After all, the millionaire next door wouldn't buy the book when he could borrow it, would he?

I've seen more preference given to SkyWest employees (at ANY location) rather than the hometown crowd.
 

Anaconda

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how about crashpadding in a tent at a campground? rumour has it one of our pilots does that in CVG...
 

erjdriver

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Sleeping in the crewroom. Cost: $0
Making friends with the gate agents so you fly 1st class on your way home. Cost of the meal: $0
Still living with your ex-wife who owns the house. Cost: $0

Quality of life of a commuter pilot: Crap.
 

flywithruss

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My $.02

Why people do this is simple ... we are cheap, poor, and/or heavily in debt! Like many other posters, I think there's a cost/benefit analysis here .... it is not worth spending very much money on a place you only need to sleep, and only a few nights a month! Some people may feel differently, and they're the ones who live in domicile or spend big $ on a nice crashpad.

I actually have a theory that it is possible for a pilot to be "homeless" ... save a LOT of money by not actually living anywhere! If any starving regional pilots want the details, PM me! Since I fly corporate, I haven't had the chance to try it.

The things we do for this business, I tell ya!

Tailwinds, y'all ...

R
 

flight-crew

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I'll add a little humor to this...

One of my friends said that he came up with the perfect crashpad solution. This only works for single guys... well, maybe a select few married guys.

Find a girlfriend who lives close to the domicile you are based at. See if she's OK with seeing you every now and then when you are in town, and if she doesn't mind if you stay at her place when you are in town. Not only do you have an instant crashpad for $0, but you won't be lonely either :)~

p.s. - could "flywithruss" please Private Message me on your idea of not actually living anywhere. I'd love to hear the details!
 

ShawnC

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Flight-crew: So we would be like Bond or Kirk, a girl at every port? :)
 

Steve

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flywithruss

flywithruss,

Please PM me the details about not licving anywhere also. Thanks
 

LR25

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Yea its not glamorous, but its cheap.

I lived in an FBO during the day, flew at night with a layover, got around 6-7 hours of sleep a night, woke up early in the morning, loaded the airplane flew back to my base and would go get breakfast then go to the FBO which had a shower and cable TV with a nice pilot lounge.

Did that all week then on my last day in on Fri would drive 5 hours to home to my WIFE and then went back for a Mon night departure.

Cost to me, none.

Its called paying your dues, it aint for the weak at heart.

Heres to all the crashpaders, regoinal guys, freight dogs,especially the freight dogs.

OOTSK's (Order of The Sleepless Knights)
 

flight-crew

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That's exactly what I'm talking about! You basically lived like a bum for 5 days straight. Then went home for 2 days, and then did it all over again.

I'll do the math. You are spending 28% ( 2 divided by 7 = .28) of your life at home. Yet you are spending the most money on and having the best standard of living when you are home. You are spending 72% ( 5 divided by 7 = .72) of your life working. But you spend absolutely no amount of money or anything for that MAJORITY of your life.

Hey man, if you've got a wife and a house then you've got to do what you got to do. I'm not trying to fault you at all. But do you see my point. My point is that why not spend a little money to improve the majority of your life or nights. I'm not talking about a ton of money. Just something where you have a nice setup with you own room. So maybe it costs you $3K per year.... you may not be able to do that 2 week vacation to Maui, but at least you'll have lived decently that whole year - 72% of your life. Your short layovers at night situation is somewhat like a "highspeed", "nap", or "standup" at the regionals. For those you definitely need a place to sleep during the day unless you can function on minimal sleep.

Again, what other pilots do for their commuting situation is there business and only theirs. But I'm just trying to understand the logic behind being so cheap.
 

dispatchguy

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It depends on your life situation. Take me for example, I commute to a dispatch job in PHX from Northern Indiana.

Why you may ask? It's because wife doesnt want to move out there yet. She comes from a tight-knit family, that doesnt fall far from the tree. Since I am the more mobile of the two of us, I do a 2-leg commute each week, yes ouch. If I were single, sure, I'd move to PHX and never come back to northern Indiana, but......

At my c-pad in PHX, I pay 210 a month, but I have my own room as I am a roomie for someone who lives on the southside of PHX.

When I dispatched in DFW, I lived with 6 other guys who flew for ASA in DFW. Never was there more than 3 of us in the pad at any one time. I was there the most, since I dispatched and didnt fly. In some ways, that was cool as I could watch over the place while everyone was on a trip or days off, but the second it was my turn, it was another 2-leg commute back home.

Debt has nothing to do with it (at least for me), it is, however, that airline people, for the most part, arent going to spend money they dont have to. Maintain two "official" places to live can get difficult, whereas at a crashpad, you dont have to. When I came out here to PHX, I moved two rollaboards full of clothes, my flight bag, a wok, egg-scrambling skillet, pizzacutter, a few kitchen utensils, a toiletries. My golf clubs come out after ground school. My quality of life is fine, I have a good air conditioning system.

When I worked for UAL at the ORD F/A crew desk, there were F/As that crashed in the ORD crew lounge. Working mids was an experience as at around 0500 the sleeping F/As start passing the crew desk to get ready for their flights - the last thing I wanted was to see a bunch of F/As bed heads :)
 

aewanabe

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Speaking of ORD crashpads:
UA weren't the only one with bed-head f/a's. I was one of the huddled masses at AA, doing the same thing. I commuted from RDU, and my first year on the line had a nice crashpad. After that I realized I was only spending 4-6 nights per month on average in Chicago, so I "moved" to the crew lounge. The Hilton made that possible, at about 6-7am there you could see crewmembers from all over the place working out and showering for the day.
Our crew-scheduling was centralized though, so not too many of the office staff had to see what we really looked like, unless we slept in for a late sign-in!
 
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