One of the perks of my new jet job is the ability to have my wife hop on an airliner and join me whenever I fly to someplace nice and have to stay for a few days. The company is often hired to fly someone who wants to spend a week in places like Miami, Phoenix, or Las Vegas and then be flown home. And because the hourly cost of flying the jet is so high it’s often cheaper to leave the plane and crew there rather than have them fly home empty and then come back a week later to bring them home.
What makes it a nice cheap vacation is that the company is already paying for the hotel room, so all it costs us is her plane ticket. And usually we stay at Hilton hotels which has the added benefit of free breakfast for 2 because I’m a Hilton Honors member. Heck, the company even gives me per diem. It all adds up to a pretty cheap vacation.
But doing this can have it’s risks because the company can’t always guarantee us that we will stay at that location for the entire time we planned. Sometimes if the plane is going to sit for close to a week my boss will try and find fill in work for us lazy pilots to do. So instead of sitting by the pool for a week drinking margaritas the company might subcontract us out to one or two different charter companies who’ll fly the crap out of us until it’s time to bring our original client back home. And if I’ve flown my wife down to join me she might be drinking alone. Oh, and we will have to pay for her hotel room. So it’s not always a sure thing.
But sometimes my boss can give me an “almost” guarantee that once we land we will stay put for the entire trip.
Which led to a dilemma last week when I looked at the upcoming flight schedule and saw 2 trips that would be fun to fly my wife down to. There was a 5 day trip to Las Vegas that would be kind of fun, I like Vegas. And there was a 7 day trip to the Cayman Islands! And I LOVE the Cayman Islands!
And it turns out that none of the other pilots even wanted to Cayman Island trip because they are boring people. Losers. But the boss was dragging his feet about weather or not the plane would stay put for the week or because the hotels there are outrageously expensive and it might be cheaper to fly the plane back to the US rather than put the two pilots up for that amount of time.
But I was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen. It’s just too expensive to pay for the all the landing fees and time on the plane just to get a cheaper hotel room. But I wasn’t positive, and to make the decision harder was the price of the ticket to get my wife down there. $1000! Oof. Hate to book that flight and then have the trip fall apart.
On the other hand the Vegas trip was solid. The plane wasn’t going to move, period. And the tickets to Vegas were WAY cheaper. But I really really really wanted to go to the Cayman Islands!
But the longer we waited the more expensive the Cayman Islands tickets got and I finally couldn’t stand it any longer and told them to put me on the Vegas trip. Argggg. A five day trip in Sin City with the wife would still be fun. I guess. Not much Scuba diving in the desert though.
I pouted for two days over that decision, especially after one of the pilots who got picked for the Island trip told me that the boss finally decided that the plane and crew would stay on the island for the entire week and would be staying at a really expensive resort. Double Arggg.
I was really kicking myself. We could’ve had a full weeks vacation in the Cayman Islands for two, all expenses paid, for $1000. Did I say Arggggg before? I did? Well, still Arggggg.
I didn’t make me feel any better when that pilot sent me this picture.
His text said-” I bet you don’t have you don’t have this view in Las Vegas.” Jerk
But I felt a whole lot better when I got his next text the next morning.
“Our tropical trip didn’t last long. We’re on our way home due to a passenger family emergency. Good thing you didn’t fly your wife down.”
They spent less than 24 hours in the Caymans. Bummer for them but a close call for us. Because if I’d flown my wife down she’d be stuck there by herself and the cost of the resort would be on us not the company. That would have made for an expensive and lonely trip. Sometimes you get lucky. Now it’s time go lose some money on the Vegas strip. Unless my luck holds.