Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

That Famous Law!

Bf was on his way to his dad’s 60th birthday celebrations today… I unfortunately was unable to go because I have been ill over the past few days… It’s a standing joke, that every time my mum helps me out by looking after the boys, they end up with tummy upsets; and she ends up following them around with buckets and Dettol for a week! It looked like this was about to become another eerily similar occasion, since she was supposed to look after them so that I could go along too…

However, she is having a massively stressful time at work at the moment with lots of HR stuff that she’s managing, and simply couldn’t risk getting ill herself-so I pulled out of going along.

I was quite sad to miss it, as Bf’s whole family, and many of their friends would be there, and we were taking baby along for them too… My partner asked if I would mind him taking baby along any way, and of course I couldn’t have deprived them of their grandchild on such a special family occasion, especially so soon after they looked after her so that we could get away together-so I agreed.  I watched the two of them leave with a tear in my eye! Very sad of me, as they’ll only be gone 24 hours (but it’s the first time I’ve ever been without them simultaneously)!

Bf’s company regularly offer him overtime days . Basically, pilots in his company end up with their various working days as well as a number of Days Off. These have to be allocated to him to comply with Civil Aviation Authority guidelines. I still dont fully understand the way his roster works, even after almost 3 years with the company (and to be honest, I’m not convinced that he truly understands it either).

However, he is able to opt to sell these days off back to the company, which puts him in a ‘standby’ situation, where they have the option to call upon him to work… If he is notified more than a few days in advance, then he MUST do the flight, but if he is called at shorter notice, he can still refuse it.

Financially, we almost rely on him gaining at least one overtime day per month at the moment (whilst I am still on maternity leave). If he does not, then its beans on toast for the month (haha, well, not quite-but there is certainly less scope for the finer things in life).

It is rare to get double-overtimes’s and even rarer to get offered anything more. He once got offered a triple, but it was out of a base that is MILES away, which meant he had to position down there in a taxi on the Friday in order to meet minimum rest, fly on the Saturday, land in the evening, and position home on the Sunday. We used this as a weekend away.

I was able to go too.  We stayed in a lovely hotel in the centre of the city, went out for a meal on the Friday evening, I spent Saturday shopping, and on the Saturday evening, we went out clubbing (in the days before baby).

In some airlines, it’s quite frowned upon to accept these overtime flights, because airlines use this as a way of keeping their pilot recruitment levels, and therefore costs lower, and pilots in some airlines frown upon the fact that their airline is not recruiting to the optimum level. One of Bf’s friends in one such airline, said that if you do accept it, you tend to keep quiet about it.  The general thought process in Bf’s airline though seems to be more positive; that if it helps keeop the airline buoyant, and enables you to suppliment your income at the same time, then why not?

Bf, had no sooner left the house on the 90 minute drive to his parents, when crewing rang him offering him a triple OT to the Caribbean. It is sods law for him that these calls always come when he (and more often we) have something big planned in our personal diary… I could almost have predicted it… I swear to God, that if we ever do marry, when they get to that point when they ask if any persons present know of any reason why these two people should not lawfully marry, crewing will hunt us down, march in, and offer him a week long overtime trip to a destination he’s never done, but always yearned to!

So, he had to decline today… Still, I’m not upset. Quite the opposite in fact. Relieved is probably a word that’s more appropriate. I will get him back home tomorrow… Happiness is mine!


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