FAM Flight Tips/Tricks

GMX

Trusted Contributor
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146
I've only done it once and it was to visit a facility. My supe told me to wear a suit! I wore a shirt and tie, slacks, and dress shoes,. I feel like I could have just done khakis and a polo to be honest. It was in November and I was wearing a fleece so I probably could have even worn a t-shirt to be honest...YMMV.

The first RJ was the only one where the captain really went through a checklist with me and told me what to expect and what my duties were. The seat suuuucked (I'm 6'-3"). I had a small murse type bag slung around my shoulder and they gate checked my carry on size bag. Only one pilot asked to see my laminates and all that crap.

The A320s were much roomier and we just chatted and talked the whole time. Both the Captain and FO didn't want their food so they offered it to me. I was like sure but I'm not going to eat two of them! They let me pick the one I wanted and gave the other back to the flight attendants. Let me tell you, the food was better than anything I've ever had on a plane before and this pie they gave me was actually one of the best I've had, serious.

On the other A320 they had a 1st class seat all ready for me but I felt guilty and said well if they don't want me in the cockpit I'll take it but I'm supposed to be in there and then the captain let me in. They were very welcoming too and gave me their food because they brought something else. This crew had mad ATC questions and I explained why things were how we do them. Saw another jet on an exact opposite direction go below at 1,000' according to TCAS and there was no merging target call made. Like the other guy said the closure rate was insane and it looked close as hell. I was shook until it passed.

A couple other RJs were awkward as hell. They thought I was an inspector and it was all quiet and tense even when I was trying to break the ice and be cool. They got all nervous when I asked for names because the FDT thing asked for it when I wrote my summary. I told them all it was basically to get a free flight to check out a facility but they were all shook and I guess I don't blame them, to be honest.

When I could I did try to wait by the jet bridge to catch the Captain and tell him who I was and asked if it was cool if I rode with them up front for FDT.

I also had to make the statement that my layovers wouldn't count towards my 8 hours and that I wouldn't request OT. These were both 3-plane routes both way and well over 8 hours.

I actually did learn stuff from being in the cockpit so it was worth it as far as the agency is concerned and for myself too. It was also worth it for the airfare savings but they were long days and the jump seats were crap. I'm glad I finally did it after 10 years and I'll do it again if needed but it's not something I'll look forward to.
 
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alphawhiskey

Member
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76
I did a fam to CALI in the 320 and 321 almost 5 hours flight. Jumpseat wasnt bad. Went to first class after we departed and came back before we landed. I too had some good meals. The experience is great and the pilots seemed to really like it and encouraged more of it. Lots of questions on both ends.
 

AB19

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187
Not there yet, but we can request a fam flight to check out a future facility and it's a free flight? That seems extremely convenient, and also use it for vacation? So say I want to work at a facility in Orlando I can fam flight to and from there?
 

GulfBravoPapa

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709
Not there yet, but we can request a fam flight to check out a future facility and it's a free flight? That seems extremely convenient, and also use it for vacation? So say I want to work at a facility in Orlando I can fam flight to and from there?
Flight deck training cannot be used in conjunction with leave or holidays. You may go on Friday and return on a Monday, go and come on the same day, go and come on successive days, or do some RDO swapping.
 

alphawhiskey

Member
Messages
76
Not there yet, but we can request a fam flight to check out a future facility and it's a free flight? That seems extremely convenient, and also use it for vacation? So say I want to work at a facility in Orlando I can fam flight to and from there?
If your RDO are tuesday/Wednesday, you would have to fly out on Monday and fly back on Thursday. It's better to do it when your on training because it may be hard to get the leave when your cpc especially if your facility is short staffed
 

axman

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108
So I have read the thread and also have FAM-ed before. My manager mentioned today that flight time MUST be 5.5 hrs or less because of the 1.5 hrs before and 1 hr after. I told him my understanding is it says "up to" (which it does because I just re-read this). I would like to take a flight that is 6.5 hours total flight time. Any suggestions for dealing with the ATM if he is stuck on 5.5 hrs of flight time (without layovers)?
 

GulfBravoPapa

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709
So I have read the thread and also have FAM-ed before. My manager mentioned today that flight time MUST be 5.5 hrs or less because of the 1.5 hrs before and 1 hr after. I told him my understanding is it says "up to" (which it does because I just re-read this). I would like to take a flight that is 6.5 hours total flight time. Any suggestions for dealing with the ATM if he is stuck on 5.5 hrs of flight time (without layovers)?
Your interpretation is correct. Will the ATM now allow you to waive some of that time? You could try calling the FDT Office, I've spoken with them before and they've been very helpful
 

NEatc933

Trusted Contributor
Messages
91
So I have read the thread and also have FAM-ed before. My manager mentioned today that flight time MUST be 5.5 hrs or less because of the 1.5 hrs before and 1 hr after. I told him my understanding is it says "up to" (which it does because I just re-read this). I would like to take a flight that is 6.5 hours total flight time. Any suggestions for dealing with the ATM if he is stuck on 5.5 hrs of flight time (without layovers)?

Just like GulfBravo said, your interpretation is correct. Also, why does your manager care? To my understanding and experience with several FAMs the only say management has in this process is if they can let you do it due to staffing. If the FDT person who has to approve your FAM doesn't like it, then they will kick it back down to you and explain what is wrong.
 

breakaway2000

Legendary Member
Messages
1,693
So I have read the thread and also have FAM-ed before. My manager mentioned today that flight time MUST be 5.5 hrs or less because of the 1.5 hrs before and 1 hr after. I told him my understanding is it says "up to" (which it does because I just re-read this). I would like to take a flight that is 6.5 hours total flight time. Any suggestions for dealing with the ATM if he is stuck on 5.5 hrs of flight time (without layovers)?
For a little more info on potential options when discussing it with your manager. Here is the part of the MOU where he is probably hung up on...

"g. Without management approval, employees may not begin an FDT flight that they know will not be complete by the end of their duty shift.
Note: If, after effecting all optional time and shift adjustments, the participant is unable to complete an FDT flight by the end of his/her shift, overtime must be paid in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)."


What the verbiage actually says and what you quoted above.
j. Participants must be afforded duty status for up to 90 minutes before the proposed departure time for completion of required FDT/provider forms and coordination with airline and security personnel, and up to 60 minutes after the actual arrival time at the destination.

This shouldn't be hard to resolve. Given his current state of mind...

Option 1 - In reference to paragraph g above. Can your schedule be adjusted to work 4 tens that week? Or (since you're eligible for a maximum of 9 total hours), can you adjust your schedule to work a 5-4-9 for that pay period?
Option 2 - An ATM cannot solicit the use of credit hours, but in reference to paragraph g above, "optional time", request 2 hours of credit. It's meaningful work and should be approved.
Option 3 - Like you said above, the language is up to. Say you're simply requesting 60 minutes on the front and 30 minutes on the back.

As with anything, if your ATM is misinterpreting something or you simply want further clarification, step in to his office and call the FDT number together. They're very helpful. Tell them what you're looking to accomplish and how to get it done. They'll probably tell you something along the lines of the options above, but at least your ATM will learn something and the situation will be resolved quickly. If you FAM flight is months away, you can also email the FDT office, that way you have it in writing when you talk to your ATM.
 
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Homsar

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168
So what's the best thing to say to get through that way?
You can’t, to my knowledge. Known crew member is a different system from CASS, and we’re not eligible for the former. Most bigger airports have an employee line, but I’ve never been scoffed at going through the Precheck line with a boarding pass in hand from the baggage drop agents.
 

Maintainvfr

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322
To be honest, I go through the crew line even when I fly normally. OKC is the only airport I've ever been turned away and had to do the walk of shame.
 

DL0509

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349
Does anyone know if you can arrive and depart at two different airports on the same trip? I'm looking at flying into CAE and departing ATL for reference.
 

NEatc933

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91
Does anyone know if you can arrive and depart at two different airports on the same trip? I'm looking at flying into CAE and departing ATL for reference.
I don't think so. If I'm remembering correctly, the only time this works is when its a metroplex i.e. EWR/JFK/LGA, ORD/MDW etc.
 

GulfBravoPapa

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709
Does anyone know if you can arrive and depart at two different airports on the same trip? I'm looking at flying into CAE and departing ATL for reference.
I am pretty sure that you can. Although the only instance I know of it being used was in NYC so perhaps that is why. What does the FDT program care though? Just call them and ask.
 
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