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low cost 900 hr vs EK 900 hr

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low cost 900 hr vs EK 900 hr

Old 20th Apr 2016, 23:11
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Europe
Age: 47
Posts: 157
low cost 900 hr vs EK 900 hr

Lots of threads mention the tiring 900 hrs with EK, crossing time zones, insufficient rest, factored hours, etc. A wild guess is that most of you fly around 100-150 sectors a year. Compare that to 900 hrs low cost (more achievable, thanks to EASA) 450-500 sectors, crossing some of the busiest airspace in the world, stepped climbs, stepped descents, frequency congestion and changes every 2 minutes. This is far from sustainable in a career span.

The BIG question here is - and I never yet seen this asked - which one is more tiring in the long run: 100+ sectors long haul EK style or 450+ sectors short haul. Replies only please from those that have experienced BOTH! This will be important to take into account if ever I'd want to consider making a jump, despite all warnings....
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 00:25
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Inmate of District 11
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I have done my share of multi sector European flying and have been at EK for a reasonable time. This is my fair and un biased (of any company name) thoughts on ULR flying in comparison to short haul multi sector flying.

Short haul = tiring v ULR = particularly fatiguing

Short haul = local well known airspace v ULR = the globe is your area of operation

SH = known seasons and expected weather v ULR = there's always every kind of weather on the planet at all times somewhere you may go to.

SH = familiar airports v ULR = you can't remember the globe and can divert anywhere at any time.

SH = same crew for the day v ULR can be with the same crew 9+ days ( so you better get along)

SH = seeing your family most days v ULR = periods away from family

SH = more piloting the aircraft v ULR = you might end up doing 1 take off and landing a month

SH doesn't radiate you over the pole v ULR = like smoking back in the 60s, no one really knows the true health implications until many years later.

SH = ATC known standards v ULR the USA, AUS have ILS PRMs or SOIA approaches and other aviation issues, get used to a lot of new lingo and changes.

SH = known procedures and standards v ULR = QFE meters to QNH feet conversions and transition altitudes of heights above your normal cruising altitude.

SH = consolidated procedures v ULR that considers Threshold Weigths, DARDs, HF, NAT track procedures, CPDLC,

SH = doing 4 sectors and going back home to bed v ULR = a flight time alone around 16 hours without the pre and post flight duties.

To SPECIFICALLY ANSWER which one is more tiring, the bean counters have their hands into all companies globally. All pilots everywhere are getting worked hard, we are ALL tired. ULR means being awake in a hotel through the night and asleep through the day pretty often. Sitting in your hotel room all night, watching foreign TV is not a glamorous lifestyle some think it maybe. If I had my time again, I am sure I would not chose the same path I have been along.

I could go on but I am sure you are getting the picture..


Last edited by jack schidt; 21st Apr 2016 at 00:38.
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 06:31
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Up in the air
Posts: 547
I've done four years in each... I've never been as tired and exhausted as I am today. Sure, after 5 days of LCC I was tired, but not fatigued. I woke up, went to work, came home, had a couple of hours with the family, went to sleep for 8 hours and went back to work. Just like a normal person, having a normal daily rhythm and normal life. The four days off between work patterns allowed me to recharge. Now? I go to bed at all hours, wake up all hours go to work at all hours to cross God knows how many time zones to try to get some rest in less than 24 hours due to transport from/to airport and made up duty times. Than having best case 1-2 days to recover before the next one, need I tell more...?
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 07:20
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Hot place
Posts: 57
EK by far!

I've flown with Ryanair, EasyJet and currently and Emirates. Hands down, EK is the most fatiguing! Ryan and easy had their challenges and was tiring but the flying at EK is fatiguing!
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 08:27
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Here
Posts: 57
I do confirm the above and I'm not a person who is reliable as I just started working Long Haul, but Long Haul hasn't changed for the last 40 years. It's not like the world just started implementing time zones and different weather and atc. Fair enough, we fly more which exposes us more to these factors but saying that waking up in a hotel in the night and sleeping in the day while watching foreign tv is not different from 35 years ago. The difference is perhaps that we have our smartphone and Skype calls to keep us company. Long haul is long haul, if you don't like this life don't start. EK/QR/KLM/LT/AF and so on have exactly the same effect on long haul. EK just flies more, but the hotels and the experience will not differ.
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 08:47
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: free Europe
Posts: 90
One more thing in addition to all the truth above. It is 900 block hours in your LCC but it may be 1,200 block hours at EK. Don't underestimate the effect of factoring that EK is applying to augmented flights. For example on a 15:45 SFO-DXB I only got 7:00 credit as stick time.
In addition you will be forced to show up one hour before checkin. It adds up.
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 09:58
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Below the tropopause
Posts: 376
Originally Posted by Odins Raven View Post
As has been stated 900 hours multi-sector LoCo can make you physically tired but it is repetitive and routine therefore easier to manage mentally.

EK is far from routine and repetitive but taking off at 3am every time and landing 12 hours out of time zone takes it's toll very quickly.

But when as an expat, you have absolutely no control over your life and what happens to you or your family this can have a huge effect psychologically - multiplying the effects of job-induced fatigue. This of course is not a big factor in you LoCo where you have protection from EU work rules and are probably living in your home country or one that's culturally similar.
Unless ones LoCo is Middle East based. Then the only difference would be the lack of timezones and factored hours. The rest is just same same...
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 10:28
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Blighty
Posts: 560
The problem is that at EK you are doing both at the same time... "Loco" turnaround one day, the next day a longhaul flight involving different time zones, the next day another turnaround followed by minimum days off and then a ULR... Etc.
And that is what is punishing and taking its toll on the body and your home life.
Like oddins, I have done both for a considerable time and this is far more difficult on the individual.
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 10:44
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Dubai
Age: 35
Posts: 110
In Loco you also have the option of going part time at somepoint or moving to a quieter base.
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 10:55
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: OZ
Posts: 199
Never quite understood how hours can be factored for augmented crew given that the OM-A says that:

Augmented Crew Responsibilities include (but are not limited to):
• Participate in Pre (&Post) flight Briefings and Flight Planning.
• Participate in flight deck briefings and to actively monitor the flight path
of the aircraft and actions of the PF [pilot flying] and PNF [pilot not
• Maintain a situational and operational awareness.
• Bring to the attention of the operating crew any abnormalities or
departure from SOPs and previously briefed intentions.
• Duties delegated by the PIC [pilot in command].
• Care must be taken to ensure that no aspects of any
operational responsibilities are overlooked.
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 11:59
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 281
I don't put much rocket science in it - but I did both - mulitple sector short haul Europe(and Australia) and Long Haul in QR.

I have to say that short haul makes me less tired, there is always something to do, turn around is usually short, then flying again. The shift is over quickly, controllers in Europe are qualified and good. Same down under.

Long Haul instead involved far to much night flying for my taste, is long and horribly boring(IMHO, don't want to insult anybody). Was very happy when I left long haul and could start again flying narrow body short haul.
On top - if you like flying you have more chances to do that actually doing short haul.

Career - well. Depends what is important for you.

I will never do Long Haul again, ever. I just found it boring and waste of my time when on layover away from home. Others might like that kind of lifestyle.

But I was always(!) tired during my years with QR doing long haul. Sure, it can happen as well doing 4 sectors days in a row short haul. But you always recover easily, especially you do not need to recover from bloody multiple time zone flights and doing the same the next day in the other direction.
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 12:59
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: The Sharp End.
Posts: 433
Some very valid and well written posts above.
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 20:35
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: EU
Posts: 586
It has always been the same:
Shorthaul pilots look like shit but feel good; long haul pilots look good and but feel like shit…

Isn't that what makes EK so special and what we're all jealous of?; that mix of short and long haul? (Ooopss, incoming )

Last edited by golfyankeesierra; 22nd Apr 2016 at 06:42.
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 20:35
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 11
Second all of the above. Did SH. Moved to LH. Found it too exhausting. Moved back to SH. Happier and more rested now than ever before, knowing that the grass is not always greener elsewhere...
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Old 21st Apr 2016, 23:32
  #15 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Europe
Age: 47
Posts: 157
Some great replies here, many thanks to all. The conclusion so far seems unanimous. It gives me a different perspective now, underlining what in my gut I already knew. Generally speaking, it does seem that BA pilots tend to prefer long haul, moving from LH FO to SH Cpt and eventually back to LH Cpt. Apart from the pay incentive, I get the impression these guys prefer the long haul life style. Having said that, they may do only 75% of what EK do, which may make it all more digestible.
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Old 22nd Apr 2016, 09:20
  #16 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Europe
Age: 47
Posts: 157
Just to round it up, anyone care to share their average annual duty hours? Loco tends to be 2x flying hours, so around 1400-1500.
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Old 22nd Apr 2016, 12:04
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Tranquility Base
Posts: 40
Shorthaul earlies makes me tired, really tired, 5 earlies in a row take its toll. However, one good night of sleep, and I am fully recovered. But this is only 50% of flying, there are also the other 50%, the late shifts where you only start in the afternoon and end usually between 22 and 23 o'clock. That is really chilly.

My colleagues on longhaul tell me they have more colds, their immun system seems generally lower in their experience, and over the years most (funnily not all of them) developed some sleep disturbances. And they fly 900h block max, no factoring like at EK. So I guess EK longhaul is even harder.
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Old 22nd Apr 2016, 15:09
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: In the State of Perpetual Confusion
Posts: 185
Some great replies here, many thanks to all. The conclusion so far seems unanimous. It gives me a different perspective now, underlining what in my gut I already knew. Generally speaking, it does seem that BA pilots tend to prefer long haul, moving from LH FO to SH Cpt and eventually back to LH Cpt. Apart from the pay incentive, I get the impression these guys prefer the long haul life style. Having said that, they may do only 75% of what EK do, which may make it all more digestible.
Long haul can give a decent lifestyle but IMHO, that ends at about 75 hours per month. At 90+ hours, it's just debilitating and that's not even taking into account all of the duties that receive no credit at EK.
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Old 22nd Apr 2016, 15:35
  #19 (permalink)  
short flights long nights
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 2,919
When I joined EK and we were flying about 75 hours a month, the lifestyle was great. When I left, and we were doing 95 hours + a month, it was simply killing. IMHO on the current EK rosters you can't be expected to survive, something will go wrong with your health.

Prior to EK, I did short haul in Europe for 17 years (not loco). Yes we had earlies in a row and you got tired, but as others have mentioned, a couple of days off and I felt OK again.

With the EK rosters, I felt all I could do on my days off was to sleep to try and feel a bit better to go and get destroyed again. EK these days is a young mans game I feel, if you hang out to 65, I think you could well be dead by 68. ( my opinion only, backed up by no medical research).
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Old 22nd Apr 2016, 21:55
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: downtown dustbowl
Age: 43
Posts: 274
Have a close friend at EK and says the airline screwed up last year cos he flew 899:54 and they lost 6 minutes of productivity last year. Jokes aside. he says he walks into a room at home and can't remember why he did so. Subtle but poignant. Like has been mentioned numerous times before, one of the most incipient symptoms of fatigue is the inability to identify such a state.
The FZ disaster was an unfortunate eventuality. The circumstances tragically lined up. I sat in my flight deck today and pushed my trim down for 12 seconds. I can assure you, that is not a normal or sane thing to do.
Fatigue is a clear and present danger in this region and we are flirting with danger every time we step into the flight deck knowing that we have been cornered and pushed to our limits.
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