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Quality of Life Questions for UPS & FedEx Crews

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Quality of Life Questions for UPS & FedEx Crews

Old 6th Oct 2013, 14:49
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Or-E-Gun, USA
Posts: 328
Quality of Life Questions for UPS & FedEx Crews

Gentlemen and Ladies,
I've not been admitted to this specialty form for freight pilots. Still, I hope that I am allowed to pose a few questions... If I'm in violation of any rule, please note it, my apologies and I'll go away...

Q1: The two U.S. domestic overnight parcel carriers, FedEx and UPS, stand down about 95% of their ground delivery forces over the usual weekends. Saturday and Sunday deliveries may be possible in some circumstances, but it is rare and mind-bogglingly expensive. So, with a Monday-through Friday completion schedule, does this mean that most domestic FedEx and UPS crews have Friday and Saturday off, resuming work again on Sunday afternoon to make Monday's deliveries? Someone, please explain how this really works for domestic crews.

Q2: Again for UPS and FedEx crews, what are your international trips like? Do you fly many international hops with only a few days in base each month, or do you fly one or two intense sets of organized segments (with rest of course) and then return to base for an extended stand-down? How does it work and how many days per month are you usually away or at home? With or without seniority, senior line holder or junior reserve pilot, does this work for you? Considering both seats and all equipment flown by your line, does this work for you? Of course, we'd all like to have 30 days off each month. Over the longer term, perhaps a rolling year, how many days are you off each month?

Q3: A: Do you commute to your base?
Q3: B: If so, how many round trips each month?
Q3: C: How many miles/legs/hours in your commute?
Q3: D: If you commute, do you think it is worth the time/effort to maintain your current residence (Personal Base?) Would you/could you live at your line's principal base? If maybe, how many more 'full' days off per month would you expect to achieve?
Q3: E: If you do not commute to your principal base, how long have you been residing in/near your line's principal base - or an away base that is stable and likely to remain (ANC may be an example, but only that.)

Thanks to everyone who cares to respond. Any format, including open naritive is just fine. I'm just making a random whatever and trying to find out how pleased - or not pleased domestic and international crews may be. So far, I have no clue.

Q4: For each aircraft type flown, what kind of break/relief/rest accommodations do your airplanes provide? If you fly long international legs with an augmented crew, do you have enough or good enough space to get real rest? What does your line provide? What should they provide? Do you have a galley and crew meals? Good, average or horrible? Please tell me what facilities your usual airplane provides. Again, ordinary text or your own kind of list is just fine.

If I see any informal trends in the comments that I hope will come in, I'll the important details and post them right here. I'm curious as hell, have no otheree agenda and I swear <grins> I do NOT represent the N.S.A., the C.I.A., the F.B.I or ANY government organization. We know that they are listening/reading, but business as usual for me. I just want to know a lot more about your schedules, at-work comforts and your quality of life. Thanks folks. NFZ
No Fly Zone is offline  
Old 6th Oct 2013, 16:09
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,803
Q1 I've been away from that market for a few years but it's mainly Monday night through Saturday morning. The Friday pick-up is at it's destination Saturday morning for Monday delivery (or Sat delivery for a bit more coin.) Saying that, I was surprised yesterday sending a package FedEx. Was trying to get it out Friday for Monday delivery but ran out of time. Went by the FedEx office Saturday afternoon expecting it would get to destination Tuesday. The agent said they had a 4pm pickup and it would be there Monday morning.

I'll let some current brown or purple folks answer the rest.
MarkerInbound is offline  
Old 4th Nov 2013, 14:17
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Louisville, KY
Age: 60
Posts: 11
Q1Answer: domestic

Originally Posted by No Fly Zone View Post

Q1: The two U.S. domestic overnight parcel carriers, FedEx and UPS, stand down about 95% of their ground delivery forces over the usual weekends. Saturday and Sunday deliveries may be possible in some circumstances, but it is rare and mind-bogglingly expensive. So, with a Monday-through Friday completion schedule, does this mean that most domestic FedEx and UPS crews have Friday and Saturday off, resuming work again on Sunday afternoon to make Monday's deliveries? Someone, please explain how this really works for domestic crews.
Q1 Answer: for UPS domestic operations, flying operations occur during the weekdays only, leaving most weekends off for the pilots. We used to operate Saturday sorts, but our ground trucking system is now so efficient, most Friday pickups for Monday delivery are sent by truck over the weekend.

A typical schedule can consist of daily "turns" from your domicile, flying to an out station, wait an hour or so, then one or two legs back to domicile. Go into rest, repeat three more times for the week. This type of schedule gives you a four on three off cycle with 10 days off on the fourth week. These turns can start at either 3am or 3pm with duty days of around 9-10 hours. The 3pm dinner turn is the most common turn.

Since our weekend ground system is so extensive and efficient, another typical domestic schedule begins at the out station with a commercial ticket on Sunday evening or Monday morning
from your domicile, then flying through a sort center (1 or 2 legs inbound, then 1 or two legs back out). Most of this flying supports our Next Day Air (NDA) system, so a typical duty day begins around 2100 hours and you finish by 0600. This week ends with a commercial ticket back home on Friday night or Saturday morning. This type of schedule is typically week on/week off.

Except during our Christmas season flying, which begins mid November for domestic ops, we rarely fly during the weekends. All bets are off during peak, and we end up flying a lot of different trip sequences starting mid November, to include more weekend flying.
upsfr8rcaptain is offline  
Old 4th Nov 2013, 15:34
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Louisville, KY
Age: 60
Posts: 11
Q2: UPS international schedules

Originally Posted by No Fly Zone View Post


Q2: Again for UPS and FedEx crews, what are your international trips like? Do you fly many international hops with only a few days in base each month, or do you fly one or two intense sets of organized segments (with rest of course) and then return to base for an extended stand-down? How does it work and how many days per month are you usually away or at home? With or without seniority, senior line holder or junior reserve pilot, does this work for you? Considering both seats and all equipment flown by your line, does this work for you? Of course, we'd all like to have 30 days off each month. Over the longer term, perhaps a rolling year, how many days are you off each month?
This question is too complicated, but I'll give parts of it a shot:

I've been flying mostly international flying for over 23 years at UPS. I do not care for the vast majority of our domestic back side of the clock flying, I believe that type of flying will kill you quickly. On the other hand, international flying, with all the inherent time zone changes, will kill you just the same, but slower. Plus- it's more fun!

Our typical international trips from our main KSDF domicile (Louisville, Kentucky) vary from nine to twelve days in length. Obviously there are the occasional shorter Atlantic crossings, and some 13 day trips too. Our PANC base is similar, but can have short trips too: Anchorage-Shanghai-Anchorage is a common short trip example.

A majority of UPS pilots choose to commute, so longer trips with fewer reports are the usual first choice. What type of trips go senior or junior really varies by fleet and seat. But most pilots are strictly concerned with days off and commuting issues. Being junior always sucks.

I would characterize our longer international trips as either "global" or supporting an international hub.

For the global trips you can go for 7-13 days to various major cities around the world. I once took an MD-11around the world eastbound in only four legs in 7 days: KSDF-EDDK-VHHH-PANC-KSDF. A typical 747-400 schedule can routinely go Anchorage, Ontario (near LAX), Honolulu, Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai, Cologne Germany, Shenzhen, Anchorage. These are only two examples of many different types of global trips. The MD11s go both east and westbound around the world. Because of its smaller size, our 767s now only fly one around the world trip westbound. Most of it's flying remains within one of the theater of ops.

The other type of international trip directly supports one of our international hubs: Cologne and Shenzhen. Our B767 does a lot of this type of flying. Our Europe hub in EDDK is fed from the US and Asia by the 747, MD11, and common carriage, then the European distribution is flown by fleets of 767s, by both UPS crews, and by European carriers under contract. A typical UPS 767 schedule would start with an Atlantic crossing to EDDK, then support that hub by flying intra Europe for about a week, then an Atlantic crossing back to the states. This trip almost always includes a weekend layover in Cologne. Although this flying is normally done from 1900-0600 hours Europe time, I stay on US East Coast time for the duration avoiding the body clock flip. This is the type of trip I prefer, and I'll typically do 2-3 in a two month bid. A similar operation with 767s operates in China, but those trips are generally longer, 11-13 days. I prefer not to do the long trips.

That is an extremely broad brush view of UPS international scheduling. There are MANY variations I haven't touched upon. And remember: one pilots poison is another pilots treasure. Opinions will vary.

I'll tackle some of your other questions later. I have the time since I'm on a 3 week block off, but nows the time to go outside, mow my lawn and crank up the Bar-b-que! Cheers.
upsfr8rcaptain is offline  
Old 4th Nov 2013, 17:21
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Western USA
Posts: 556
No Fly Zone

I'll broad-stroke answer your questions.

I retired from UPS in 2007 after almost 20 years of commuting and flying international. Not wanting to live in Louisville, I chose to commute, which was the worst part of the job, but I preferred long periods at work to get long periods home. Flying int'l provided me with the best lifestyle available. Flying domestic with short periods off, wasn't my bag.

I primarily commuted on the company flights, with an occasional jumpseat on another carrier. There were times when I would start my trip pairing via a commercial flight to wherever the pairing began away from the domicile. The company would buy the ticket.

Having an international schedule allowed me longer times at home, minimizing the commute. I would net 12-15 days a month duty-free, minus the commute days.

The money was a bit better with an int'l schedule because of the int'l flight pay override and the increased per diem rate. Also, I was a long range nav check airman, so that additional pay sweetened the pot.

It all adds up to what your preference is for quality of life. I chose to live in an area more suitable to my lifestyle and still fly international trips, which meant commuting. Obviously, being senior (Class of '88 when the airline began) helped my cause. Had I decided to live at my Louisville domicile there would have been less complication, but my heart was elsewhere. Life is a compromise, and much of that effort resulted in a comfortable retirement. My theory is to maximize efforts while younger so as to be comfy in the later years. It was all worth it.

Good luck to you, because luck is part of the equation for success.
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