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Family Time in the Airlines

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New member
Jul 22, 2002
I am thinking about getting out of the military in about 4 years and am trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. One of the biggest reasons that I am pulling the plug is the amount of time that I spend away from home during these 100+ day TDY's to the desert. Many of my friends have gone the airline route and I am considering it. But I want to be home every night. I was wondering if there is a job out there maybe flying out and backs every day or commuter jets or something that will allow this.

It seems that the Palace Chase program in the AF has all but died. Does anyone have any info on the chances of a junior O-3 getting this?

Fly safe.
If willing to live in Memphis, you could fly am or pm out and back and be home every day at FedEx.

At some airlines, you might be able to be at your hub every night--but I'll defer to guys with experience there to give you advice.

And yes...you're gone in the airlines...but 3-4 days with a cell phone, hotel phone, and/or email is a lot different than 90/120 days in the sandbox with a 10 minute morale call per week.

Good luck.
I Palace Chased from AETC to AETC in the Fall of 2000, and I seem to be the last one around who actually got it approved (it helped being a 141 guy). I think you are correct with your assessment of Palace Chase - as long as Stop Loss is even in the air, PC is gone.
As for staying home, don't limit yourself to finding a job that only flies out and backs. If you can find an airline that has a hub where you (and your family) are willing to live, bidding reserve and sitting at home can be a great deal! It all depends on how the airline runs the reserve system, but senior guys at my airline who bid reserve can sit for almost two months before they take a trip to get a landing! You get reserve guarantee every month and are technically on call 16-18 days a month, but if you're going to be singing along to a Barney tape with your kids, you might as well get paid for it!
Good luck!
I sing along to Barney tapes and I don't have any kids!!
How junior are you? I was talking about this today on my way to Centennial (APA) in Denver. PC is dead right now because 1) stop loss and 2) they need the junior guys in the cockpit right now. But wait a few years when us "junior" guys get a little more senior....there are only so many positions within the Air Force, and my year group produced a LOT of pilots. So PC may come back one day. My plan is to finish up my C-21 tour here, then do a tour in the Herk and try to PC....still another 5 years off, but things may be different by then.

Just look at the guys who are senior captain/major right now...when they were right out of UPT, they were afraid they wouldn't have a job with the AF the next day...beginning around the late 1990s, if you had a pulse, you could pin on O-4 and you couldn't get out short of dying.

Things are always changing....being part of an overpopulated year group may help you later in years after the AF finally does get caught up on pilot production.
I have heard about the reserve good deal that you talked about, but it seems like it would take 6 to 9 years before you have the line number sufficient to bid those. Can you give me an idea of the average number of days I can expect to be gone per month in the beginnning of an airline career? Are there any airlines that are better than others?


It has changed a lot since the furloughs, but a classmate of mine when we were very junior bid not to fly. In a month he would fly 2-3 one day short trips, usually with less than 1 hour legs, in a month. The only disadvantage for him was that it was always an 0400 call for an 0600 show.

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