Galley Gossip: 10 Signs You’re Commuting, Non-Reving, Or Traveling Standby

You know you’re a commuter when you pack 20 pairs of pantyhose inside your crew bag. This is what I was thinking as I packed my suitcase to go back to work last week. Of course two seconds later I had to stop what I was doing so I could update my Facebook page with that very thought. Priorities, people! It didn’t take long for the hilarious comments to come rolling in. That’s when I knew I had to create the list: 10 signs you’re commuting, non-reving, or traveling standby.

But first a little airline 101:

NON-REV, NON-REVING, NON-REVENUE PASSENGER: Airline employees and/or eligible family members and friends who are traveling on an employee pass. Travel passes are also known as buddy passes. Non-revs will standby for open seats.

COMMUTER, COMMUTING: is the process of getting to work, in other words, flying to one’s base city. Commuters are Non-Revs, but non-revs are not always commuters.

STANDBY PASSENGER– A passenger or airline employee who is waiting for an open or available seat on a flight they are not ticketed on. Full-fare passengers will often “standby” for earlier flights, while non-revs and commuters standby for every flight.


10 signs you’re commuting, non-reving, or traveling standby

1. You know 10 different ways to make your uniform look like you’re NOT in uniform – so you can have a cocktail. – Kelley Fulmer

2. Your workday starts 15 hours before you sign in or get paid. – Beth Henry

3. A three-hour delay doesn’t even faze you as long as you have boarding pass in hand! Or for that matter an hour sit on the taxiway doesn’t bother you simply because you’re on the aircraft – Sonja Hollen4. You have actually sat in the middle of a crowded gate area and sobbed after an agent just informed you (on your tenth attempt) the flight is full. – Cindy Lunsford

5. You’ve flown five segments all over the country through multiple hubs to get home and still end up 60 miles from home. – Brian Hewitt

6. You’ve pretty much memorized the entire flight schedule of every airline in the US. – Bob Nadelberg

7. You’re happy in a middle seat. – Jim McDonough

8. You have no idea what the flight number is or what time you’ll land. You just know you’re going in the right direction. – Heather Poole

9. The working crew makes smart comments about how many bags and/or their size. – Karol Harris

10. You’ve driven half way across the country because it’s faster than rolling your bags from flight to flight for multiple days. – Brian Hewitt

[Photo courtesy of Akbar Sim]

Gallery: More travel sketches from BBC’s Tim Baynes

travel sketches
We wrote yesterday about Tim Baynes’ delightful travel sketches from around the world on BBC and liked them so much we came back for more. You can (and should!) get lost for hours looking at his drawings on Flickr with fun anecdotes and scribbles bringing depth and humor to his slice-of-life artwork.

Check out some of our favorites in the gallery below, from a look inside the BBC Starbucks to the madness of Dubai immigration during the ash cloud to a quiet barbershop in Tripoli.

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See more of Tim Baynes’ work on the BBC, his personal Flickr stream, or order a copy of his book Doors to Automatic and Cross Check, direct from the artist.



All photos courtesy of Tim Baynes.

Cockpit Chronicles: It’s official. I’m moving to Germany

Apparently I’ve run out of things to complain about, aside from the occasional gripe about the glossiness of the paint on the office walls which was supposed to be flat. There is little in my life that I can truly complain about, especially in light of the current events unfolding after the earthquake in Japan this week.

Let’s live a little, shall we?

Both my wife and I have discussed changing things up a bit lately-doing something more radical than switching to LED light bulbs in the living room, for example.

I even agonized publicly about a few new flying options on my personal blog last month.

Fortunately for airline pilots, there’s an easy way to thoroughly turn your life upside down-at my company, all it takes is a simple keystroke on the computer: 3P/LGA/767/FO/I.

For those of you who aren’t fluent in SABRE codes, that means that I have officially transferred to NY. I’ll be flying the same airplane, thus saving myself six weeks of simulator and ground school training. Nevertheless, it’ll add some commuting time to my day.

I’ve been fortunate in my career to fly from an airport in Boston that’s just an easy hour drive from my home in New Hampshire. I heeded the advice of my brother, a former commuter from Seattle to Chicago.

“Commuting turns a good deal into an or-deal.” He’d say.

But my wife and I aren’t stopping there. Since New York is rather nearby to our home in New England, we decided to do something really extreme (for our family at least), and move to Germany.

For a year.
Paying back a debt

When I asked Linda to marry me, she was more than half way through a degree at Swansea University in Wales. She gave up her degree aspiration temporarily to join me in Alaska. And then Queens. Then Long Island. Followed by three places in Dallas. And on to Denver, then New Jersey before finally landing in New Hampshire which we’ve enjoyed for the past twelve years.

But now it’s payback time. Linda has been attending a nearby university part time, but she wants to study full-time to get her German and English teaching degree sooner.

Studying in Germany, where her mom could watch the kids while I was away at work and she was attending classes, seemed like a surprisingly logical idea when she mentioned it. Not only that, the kids, ages 9 and 5, could really hone their German language skills (i.e. be able to say more than “guten tag.”)

As a pilot, it’s possible to live pretty much anywhere in the world. We have crew members based in New York who live in Anchorage, and a few who live in Europe and fly out of the northeastern United States.

“I can do anything for a year.” I told Linda. And deep down, I know I owe her. She never complained about our moves while I was chasing flying jobs for cargo and passenger operators around the country.

How about the rest of the family?

The kids are surprisingly excited about the temporary relocation. Every night at dinner we’ve been practicing our German vocabulary and they’re able to retain what they’ve learned far better than I can.

To be honest, my German language skills are limited to about ten words. But this experience can only help me get serious about learning more, I’m sure.

So the plan is to rent our furnished house for a year, pack up the pets and just a few ‘comfort’ items and move to the village where Linda herself grew up, near Cologne.

The 3,700 mile commute

My plan is to back up my trips, so that I’ll fly two, three or four three-day Europe flights in a row, with 26-hour breaks after each Atlantic crossing. Instead of a crashpad or hotel near the airport, I’ll be staying with a friend in Manhattan, where I can keep some clothes and do laundry.

If I align my schedule right, I may be able to fly nine or twelve days in a row, followed by nine or twelve days off. This will limit the time spent in the back of an airplane and train riding to and from Brussels or Frankfurt and New York.

It sounds tiring, but commuting responsibly, with 26 hours off before starting my trips should make it easier.

The logistics

Of course there are so many questions about being an ‘expatriate.’ Do I have to pay taxes in the U.S. and Germany? Will my health insurance cover the family overseas? Will the pets have to be quarantined? How do we even transport two cats to Europe? What kind of car should we buy? (Linda has vetoed my choice of a used Alfa Romeo, unfortunately).

As I searched online, one website, How To Germany continued to pop up that answered almost all of my questions.

We’re still looking into those questions, and Linda is currently in Germany signing up the kids for school. I still expect someone to throw a wrench into the whole process at any point.

“You can’t do that. It is verboten!” I imagine someone saying as we apply for a residency permit. But so far, we haven’t run into any roadblocks.

Alas, the perfect writing cubicle

So you should see more posts now that I’ll be spending more time in the back of an airplane, a place where I’m the most productive when writing, since there’s no internet available and few distractions.

And I suspect I’ll have some things to talk about, especially since the two European destinations I’ve been flying to from Boston, London and Paris, will expand to so many more out of New York such as Rome, Barcelona, Budapest, Milan, Madrid, Manchester, Brussels, Zurich and even Rio.

Since today’s Gadling theme is focused around Europe, I’m looking forward to reading about the other parts of the continent I’ll need to visit according to the rest of the Gadling team. In exchange, I’ll be sure to let them know where they can score some LED light bulbs.

All photos by the author.

Cockpit Chronicles takes you along on some of Kent’s trips as an international co-pilot on the Boeing 757 and 767 based in Boston. Have any questions for Kent? Check out the Cockpit Chronicles Facebook page or follow Kent on Twitter @veryjr.

Photo of the day (10.7.10)

I’m one of those weird adults who doesn’t know how to ride a bike. No great excuse, just never bothered to learn as a kid, preferring indoor pursuits and walking on nice solid ground, and it’s become harder to learn as an adult. My husband has attempted several times over the years and now I’m sort of like Toonces the driving cat – I can ride, just not very well. Maybe this fellow in Tokyo is also a non-bike rider and thus looks a bit shamed by the row of bicycles. No matter the reason for his sour face, this photo by Flickr user jrodmanjr is a nice composition in black and white of a city that takes its eco-friendly commuting seriously.

Have a great travel photo you’d like featured here? Add it to our Gadling group on Flickr and we might choose one as our Photo of the Day.

Photo of the Day (02.20.10)

Carpooling is a great way to get to know your coworkers, save money and help the environment. A common concern amongst people who ride-share is that they hate being cramped in the car. Sure, the lack of legroom and sheer number of elbows poking your torso can make for an aggravating commute. But the next time you want to gripe about how uncomfortable your ride to work is, consider this Indian quartet that was immortalized by Flickr user jrodmanjr. Still think it’s rough packing into Steve from Accounting’s Mini Cooper? By no means are these four intrepid cyclists unique. During my time in India, I saw countless iterations of creative motorcycle mounting. Each time I was floored by the bravery of these seemingly calm (and always helmet-less) commuters.

Have a picture of some fearless motorists that you’d like to share? Submit your images to Gadling’s Flickr group right now and we might use it for a future Photo of the Day.