Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pilot/Cabin Crew Roster

What are the working schedules of an airline crew? Each month, you will be issued a roster detailing your flying timetable. This is what most crew look forward to including myself as we get to see which exciting destinations we get to visit. Normally in a month, you will have an average of 4 layovers/nighstop and 3 turnaround. For some airlines, you may have 2-3 days of standby in a particular month. For those who wonder what standby means, it is a day when for example a crew call in sick for the flight and you as the standby crew will be called up to replace and operate the flight.

There is no fixed working schedule for an airline crew compared to a normal office 9-5pm Monday to Friday job. Your flight may be a night flight departing between 2-4am, afternoon flight from 1pm to 6pm and early morning flight from 4am to 11am. Delays and cancellations could mean hours are disrupted. As you can see, your roster is round the clock and sometimes I had a hard time sleeping to prepare for the flight as it’s not easy to adjust. Moreover, in a span of few days, you can be in different countries and time zone and experience jetlags, which is a killer for every crew.

Whether you are tired or have insufficient sleep, you are expected to perform your job well by the company. Remember, each flight is different and you may encounter demanding passengers, medical emergencies and etc etc. You have to smile and be alert all the time whether you like it or not. Some flights such as the direct flight from Singapore to Los Angeles by Singapore Airlines, your working hours can be as long as 22 hours. For those wannabes, you may have to ask yourself whether are you afraid of staying up to 20+ hours straight with make-up, shoes and customers to please in an aircraft. Besides, you will be on the move 24/7 and may miss Christmas, New Year eve, birthdays and other important functions. So now you know that being a crew is not that easy after all huh.

Typically in a working day, your transport will pick you up from your accommodation 2 hours and 15 min before STD( standard time departure) and reporting time is normally an hour before that. Airlines are very strict on being late or you missing the flight for whatever reasons. Discipline action will be taken which will affect your promotion or in a worst case scenario, getting fired. In my years of flying, I have never been late for any of my flights before. 

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