Wednesday, December 24, 2008

He works hard for the money

Kelli and I are comfortable in our finances. Even with all of our differences, one thing we have in common is living within our means. Hmmm I should say we live within Kelli's means. My means are ramen noodles and a 12 pack of Dr. Thunder. If it weren't for Kelli I would be struggling to keep my head above water. My paycheck covers my car payment, gas, flight school loan, and credit card expenses (mostly covered by my per diem). Most months I have a tiny bit extra to cover the smallest household bill...normally the water bill.

I don't like contributing so little so I pick up extra flying whenever I can. Overtime at most jobs pays time and a half. At my airline...not so much. If I pick up extra flying before the day the flying is to be done I get paid time and 20% (so 120% for those who suck in math like I do). If I somehow pickup flying the same day the flying is due I get paid time and a half (the normal 150% that most people earn). I have only been paid 150% once.

Seeing as my days of flying the jet at American Eagle are limited, I am picking up as much overtime as I can. So far I have picked up 13 hours of overtime for this month. In reality I will be on duty for more than 30 hours for that 13 hours. How so? Well follow my overtime I worked yesterday.

I signed up for a Little Rock, Arkansas turn scheduled to depart at 3:30PM arriving in Little Rock at 4:35PM. I then was to depart Little Rock at 5:10PM and finish my trip at 6:30PM back in DFW. My airline requires me to sign in at the airport 45 minutes prior to departure so 2:45PM. In order to make that sign in I have to leave home by 2:05PM to drive to the employee lot, catch the shuttle, clear the security portal (I don't go through the TSA) and then sign in. Airline crew members are only paid their hourly wage when the cabin door is closed and the parking brake is released.

I signed in at 2:45PM. At 3:00PM the inbound plane I was to fly out parked at the gate. By 3:10PM I inspected the plane for safety and began loading the flight plan. At 3:11PM the Captain noticed we were low on hydraulic fluid and called the mechanics. At this point I knew this trip was screwed. At 3:30PM the passengers were loaded up and we were waiting to get hydraulic fluid. By 3:50PM we had hydraulic fluid. At 4:00PM the cabin door was closed and I finally started getting paid. A minute later we were finally being pushed back from the gate. At 5:05 PM I finally saw the runway (the clouds were overcast at 240 feet above the ground!) and made a butter smooth landing in Little Rock....35 minutes late. At 5:10PM we pulled into the gate and open the cabin pay stopped. At 5:20PM the next DFW to Little Rock flight pulls in next to us. At 5:56PM we are loaded up and ready to head back to DFW, my pay clock started again. At 7:10 PM the Captain landed on the far east side of DFW airport (we park on the west side of the airport....DFW airport is is larger than the island of Manhattan). At 7:22PM we pulled into the gate and the cabin door clock stopped. At 7:40PM I was on the employee bus headed back to the employee lot. By 8:00PM I was home.

So for just a scheduled 2 hour 20 minute flight, I was away from home for 6 hours. I was on duty for 4 hours 52 minutes. I signed in at 2:45PM which started my duty clock and my per diem clock ($1.70 an hour). My pay clock ($33 an hour + 20% for the overtime) started at 4:00PM, stopped at 5:15PM, started again at 5:56PM and stopped at 7:22PM for a total of 2 hours 41 minutes. My pay will be $106.92 + $8.16 per diem.Taking that figure and dividing how long I was on duty takes it down to about $23 an hour. Still not bad considering I don't really "work". If I were to include how long I was away from home it brings it down to $19 an hour. Hmm...when I started this blog I thought it would look more pitiful than that. Well I made more money than I would have had if I just stayed at home watching TV.

Hmm...well long story long I like picking up overtime as it's normally easy work and I like to try to help out with the bills.

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