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Married Comair Pilots...How's Life?

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Well-known member
Nov 26, 2001
I have a question for Comair pilots who are married? How do you do it? My understanding is that you get ten days off per month...is that correct? Is it difficult to get more if you want it? How does commuting affect that? Here's my deal...I've been flying full time in the Guard for awhile but have a class date with Comair. I'm getting married soon and I have some serious concerns about the time (or lack thereof) my wife and I will be able to spend together balancing Comair and the Guard job. It's complicated by the fact that she wants to work and I will have to commute from another city (a major Delta hub). I can get about 400 hours a year of C-130 time in the Guard if I keep doing that full time and soon that will be PIC time. My goal is to get to the majors someday but many times I find myself wondering if the move to Comair will be a good one or if I should just stick with the Guard (bumming) and enjoy life a little more. Is your spouse satisfied only seeing you ten nights a month? It's a tough one...your thoughts please.
I dont work for comair but another regional wholly owned. I can speak for the 10 day off thing. IT SUCKS. and if you have to commute it's even worse. Things at WO carriers are pretty bad now although comair seems to be doing the best of all of them. They also have their problems but the guys that work there could tell you more than I ever could. Back to days off, with only 10 days off you usually get them in at 2 at a time sometimes 3 but not very often. If your trip or reserve period start early you have to be in your domicile the day before now your down to 9 days. If your trip ends after the last flight out, you get another night in domicile your down to 8 days off. This is in just 1 week you have 3 more weeks to go. Granted this is worst case but it seems to work this way most of the time. My opinion is to stay in the guard wait a year or two and go straight to Delta. Otherwise you may get AIDS... Aviation Induced Divorce Sydrome.
Congrats on the class.

Here at Comair, we get 11 days off (min) a month starting July 1. Reserve pilots get 1 group of 4 days off in a row, 1 group of 3 off in a row, and the other 4 can be separated or grouped. Once off reserve, it is typical to get 14 or more off in a month. Continuous Duty lines are another option (especially for a commuter who would otherwise be on reserve). You will get the min days off with a CD line, but the company pays for your hotel while in CVG in between trips (i.e., don't have to have a crashpad). You can only do a maximum of 3 back-to-back CD's and must have at least 2 days off in between groupings of CD's. Basically, you get released from the third CD early in the morning, have the rest of that day off, have the next two days off, and have most of the next day off until you have to be in CVG for a late report (This all adds up to equal 15 nights at home per month). I mention the CD line because a lot of commuters feel it makes commuting easier than if they were on reserve.

I don't commute, and I am home a lot more than I was before the strike. Sometimes I think my wife is ready to kick me out of the house, but then again - I don't commute. Having to spend any time away from your family is never easy (especially a new wife), but I'm sure you will make the right decision by continuing to research it and include your future wife in the decision.

When is your class date?
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FR8mastr states "My opinion is to stay in the guard wait a year or two and go straight to Delta." I definately wouldn't stake my future on this happening. Nothing is certain in the airline biz!

It sounds like you don't really enjoy the guard but only for the fact that it affords you a decent quality of life. An airline can do that too although not instantly.

Commuting works well for most folks AND there is a commuter clause in the contract which takes some of the pressure off. I'm guessing the commute would be from Hotlanta. There are around 10 flights a day to ATL I believe. I know several folks who commute from there without any problem.

As for the days off you will get 11 starting July 1st. Once you get a line (and correct me if I'm wrong here but reserve might be around 6-8 months??) you'll average around 14 days off.

The bidding of CD lines is in my opinion great for commuters for the reason Fatigued stated. I know many an FO and Captain who commute and bid these and LOVE them! More time at home and with family. If I commuted I'd be all over the CD lines!!

Congratulations on the Class date!!! see you soon (I hope!) :D

the lasttime i mention i was going to atlanta for a few days my wife said i'll help you pack.

she cant wait till i get done and working air cargo from there, neither can i don't get me wrong , but some times you got to get out.
PIC Turbine

If you want an airline job you need PIC turbine. I am 100% civilian, so was about 50% of my class. The Civi guys were all 5,000 to 7,000 hour guys. The military guys were all 1,700 to 2,500 hour guys... Seems like the math is pretty easy. Stay in the military and get the job with a lot less flight time.

Now don't get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for every person who has worn a uniform for our country. I have no problem with X-military aviators getting jobs with low flight time. The two worlds are just different. You may have to fly around the world, away from home and get shot at. The Civilian may have to fly around the world, away from home and blow his back out loading and unloading freight. Each man pays his dues, just in a slightly different way.

If you have the chance to get C-130 PIC time, I think you will be a lot better off then flying for Comair.

Now as to the wife (to be). To make it in this industy you must have the support of your spouce. Commuting to reserve will make you miserable fast. Add an upset wife to the mix and you got problems. If your wife can not handle you being gone close to 50% of each month, then you have no business being in this industry, or being married. (you have to choose which one you want more...) There are very few major airlines flying a lot of turns from a base (Aloha and Alaska are about it). Unless you are lucky enough to fly for one of the above two - you will be gone on 2 to 4 day trips. You will burn up days off commuting, while you are gone - the dish washer will break and spill water all over the kitchen floor that will run into the down stairs bed room and ruin the ceiling, the cat will swallow some string and need to go to the vet, the kids will play hooky and get caught smoking, your wife will be disappointed when you can't get your anniversary off from work for the 3rd straight year, Christmas will be celibrated in 3 states with 4 different parts of the family - because you are the ones who can travel for free and these visits will be in the first two weeks of December because you will be working the week of the 25th.
If your wife isn't into the job as much as you are... its a hard road.

But... if you have the love and support of your wife, THIS JOB ROCKS!
I'm a regional pilot married to a regional pilot. I think not seeing each other constantly keeps us married. One of us will always have to commute though which does suck.

You raise some good questions.

As a retired National Guard type (non-rated), I was able to extend my time at home by bidding days off in front of, or behind drill weekends. That gave me a block of six days at home while commuting from Texas. I took a pay hit from Comair, but the drill pay made up for it.

Since you have AFTPs, I recommend grouping those together, preceded/followed by your immovable days off from Comair. I could see you having one six day block and one seven day block of time off during a month.

I don't recommend bumming in the Guard. Try to do both if your family goes along. Turbine PIC time is important. If you have Part 121 time to go along with it, you'll be better off than the next military guy who has military turbine PIC time but no Part 121 time.

Send me a PM if you want some bidding tips. I going on a four-day trip tomorrow, so it may take a while to respond.

Fly safe!

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