My trip to Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium was planned in a sort-of short-notice style. After flying with a particular Captain for two consecutive weeks in July, and having him talk me into putting it all together (after seeing my Dodger Stadium print in my little photo book, he wanted a Yankee Stadium print for his wife), I sort of just put it all together. It was kind of haphazard, really. I could have planned better. But all in all, it came out well.
I started out by bidding very carefully for my August schedule. Of course, with my juniority, that backfired completely. I ended up with a blank line, which meant I wouldn’t know my exact schedule until much later in July. That didn’t leave me a whole lot of time to get things planned out for dates and games to attend. Initially, I decided to look into going to New York only, but after realizing that the Yankees schedule didn’t really line up with my work schedule (they were traveling on my days off, save for one home game on the 15th versus Kansas City), I decided to check out the Red Sox’s schedule for August as well. The Sox were on an almost exact-opposite home and away schedule than the Yankees, and it turned out that I could easily see a game in Boston on the 14th and travel down to NYC to catch the one Yankees game I’d be able to make.
The plan was to fly to
Now that the tickets were obtained, it was time to arrange lodging. The commuter hotel (part of the Choice Hotels organization) gives me rewards points, so back to the computer I went to try and find places near the stadiums to cash in those points for free nights. In Boston, it was a no-brainer, as there was a Comfort Inn within two miles of Fenway Park that was easily accessible by subway train. In NYC, it was a different story, though. The closest free hotel room, though not very far away, was only near a line of subway that would take me on a route through some rather unsavory parts of town late at night. Oh well. Free night. I’ll work through the transportation issues later. With lodging covered, only one real hurdle remained: family obligation.
My mom’s 71st birthday was Saturday the 16th. To celebrate, we’d planned to get the family together that morning to see a show at the world-famous El Capitan Theater in
Then my own greed threw a monkey wrench into the works. A very senior first officer had placed a very high-paying two-day trip on the giveaway board that started on the 12th and finished around 3pm on the next afternoon. When you see a two-day trip that pays almost 20 hours in giveaway, you know something’s up. Looking at the trip, I see that it’s scheduled to fly with a Captain who is a company check airman. For FOs, this can mean two things: it can mean putting yourself under the relentless scrutiny of a company examiner for two whole days (not necessarily a bad thing), but it could also mean getting displaced from that trip so that the check airman can give a new-hire pilot their required training. With the amount of money that this trip paid, I’d have been absolutely NUTS to pass it up, so I added it to my schedule. Now, when I did that, I fully expected to fly the trip. Getting displaced would have been a bonus, meaning that I’d have been told to stay home while getting paid the trip’s full value without having to yank a single flap handle.
As it turned out, shortly after picking up the trip, I was notified of my displacement. My plan had worked perfectly so far! But no amount of leisure travel is without its worry for me, so I found myself being preoccupied with thoughts of how smoothly the trip to the East Coast would go. Sadly, it kind of put a damper on a weekend at home that should have been more upbeat.
And it wound up that my worry wasn’t wasted, either. Late Sunday evening, I received a call from crew scheduling informing me that the new-hire First Officer who was supposed to fly that tidy little two-day trip with that check airman had come down sick, and that I was now scheduled to fly the trip. Okay. No problem. There’ll just be a lot more scrambling and a lot less sleep involved in getting to