Don’t get me wrong, I’m still flying a decent amount, but for March through June I was flying about 50,000 miles/month all domestic, which is about as much as flight attendants fly. What do I miss the most? No, not the same safety video over and over again. No, not being yelled at about having to return to my seat because I had to use the lav and the seatbelt sign was on. No, not the short four hour redeye where I got no sleep. And no, not the same, crappy shrimp salad several times a week.
Rather, it was the commuters. A lot of United pilots and flight attendants live in Tampa but are based in Washington, so they have to commute to work. It got to the point where I was on a first name basis with almost all the employees, from 777 captains to reserve flight attendants. The most fun had to be when I started and ended a trip flying next to the same United employee from Tampa to Washington and back.
When Ted is gone and they have first class again, I’ll miss the “community feel” of the exit row. It was usually just me and the employees. Even when I’m only doing TPA-IAD once a week, I still run into the same commuters, and it’s always fun to catch up.
Oh, and I’m happy to report that every single pilot living in Tampa commuting to Washington turns on Channel 9. You’re welcome. 😉