I’m out on another trip in the far, far west. This one is a 6-day jaunt with three layovers. I was just about to leave my commute hotel room for my check-in when I got a call from scheduling. Just a 3-hour delay in the departure time. OK, so much for trying to pre-plan my sleep cycle.  Once we got started, though, things seemed to work smoothly. Well, except for the time I was in the bunk. Sometimes sleep just doesn’t come, no matter how hard you try.  So, those last 3 hours of the 12:30 flight time were pretty nasty. A night arrival, one hour bus ride and I was in a real bed again, though almost 180 out from the body home time zone.

Now I’m almost through day four, a 30-hour layover in Taipei (TPE). Wake-up is at 4 am tomorrow morning for a 3-hour flight to Osaka (KIX). Then a 24-hour layover and a 12-hour flight back to the US.

I’m not sure what will happen then. I’m at the mercy of the scheduler for the rest of the month, temporarily a reserve pilot. Next month my schedule-holder position becomes active and I will be able to control my life a bit more.  The bidding program gave me two trips next month, one of these 6-day KIX-TPE trips that I’m on now and then a 9-day later in the month with layovers in Tokyo (NRT) and Shanghai (PVG).

Sounds exciting unless you’ve been doing it for 20 years. After a few months of going to the same places, you get sort of jaded. You have a routine that you develop, going to safe, familiar places for your meals and tend to not look around. Once in a while a ‘new’ crew member will talk you into a different outing, but the more trips you repeat, the nicer it is to have something familiar to make it feel sort of like home.


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