Linsanity Live!

I really don't know what to call it.  Happy coincidence or serendipitous but my schedule happened follow him.  At first, I was able to get a glimpse of Madison Square Garden's own Boeing 737 (tail number N37NY) preflighting at Westchester County Airport (KHPN) before flying the New York Knicks to Toronto and it just so happened that I was going to be in Toronto for an overnight on the 14th!  It didn't matter that I was going to make the trek by myself because I was set on looking for excitement.  I'll tell you right away, I was not let down!

I arrived at the Fairfield Inn Toronto Airport around 1600 and knew that I needed to search for a ticket (thanks Craigslist), get back on a shuttle to the airport, either pay $33.00 roundtrip for a Toronto Airport Express to Downtown or $6.00 roundtrip for the 192 Express Bus to Kipling Station then transfer two stops on the subway (Kipling --> St. George --> Union) then find the Air Canada Centre, meet up with said ticket seller / owner then venture in and watch the Knicks take on the Raptors. I've done the expensive "quicker" bus but thought that I should save some money since my ticket would end up costing $90 so off I went.

It was really easier as the subway only goes either east / west then north and south and if I missed my stops, I would it them later on the same line. People were friendly and I was able to get around. Granted it was a whole 30 minutes longer than the express, but the game started at 1900 so I had plenty of time.

Union Station was CRAZY!  Food places abundant, and everywhere I looked, people were all talking about Jeremy Lin.  It was almost like a constant meditation and chant all around me.  I was even getting excited as most of the people there were yes, unfortunately for the Raptors, there to watch the Linsanity live.

I met up with the "guy" and to be honest, I'm not all that much of a fan of scalping especially since it was a lone seat but he reassured that I had him number and I was able to get in, sit in my seat and not have anyone kick me out.  Good stuff. The seat was next to a great couple who actually were gifted the tickets months ago and were more than excited that it was this particular game especially that Jeremy Lin was part of his fantasy team!

Admittedly, the game started off slow and at the end of the first half, the Raptors were holding a strong lead and Jeremy Lin only had 9 points but did have 4 assists.  It looked like Stoudemire and Lin were trying to play off of each other but to no avail.  It almost looked like there were communicating in foreign dialects adding to the sloppy plays, mishaps and turnovers.  Hoping for a better second half, the third quarter would only have Lin adding another 6 points with back to back foul shots missing the rim.  At one point, I was afraid that Lin wouldn't hit "the 20" or heaven forbid, the Knicks winning streak would end...all because I was at the game??? I'm not that vain, but a thought, that I'm sure we all conjure up lining up perfectly well as superstition, popped up that it was because I went to game.

Going into the fourth quarter, the Knicks finally started knocking at door and with 1:05 left, Jeremy Lin hit a 2 and 1 tying the game. The arena was on their feet and the chanting began. I was yelling along with everyone else and after a couple of great blocks back and forth, Lin found himself with the ball asking Coach Mike D'Antoni for a timeout. Unexpectedly, Coach waved his hands off and a play was called. Apparently Lin went with an audible and successfully hit the three-pointer! High fives, screams and chants later...the Knicks continued their fairytale and I had the best time EVER!

Great recaps of the game!  Oh yeah, by the way, his 137 points in his first five career starts, is the most for any player who began his career since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77, passing Shaquille O’Neal (129).

WSJ: Lin's Legend Grows With Late Theatrics / Phenom Hits Game-Winner to Cap a Stunning Comeback

ESPN: Linsanity goes international in Toronto

To Fly. To Serve

Last year, British Airways released a truly amazing commercial titled "To Fly.  To Serve." Recognizing the sacrifice the early pioneers in aviation made in mapping the skies, it brings to light what us pilots still bear; the truth in leaving their families at home waiting for their return. I can't stop thinking about it ever since I first saw the ad and wanted to share with you the commercial that still gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.  It makes me proud to be a commercial airline pilot and yes, there are days that I need a reminder.  Maybe someday, the prestige will come back, but until then, we have amazing CGI and story telling to keep us at bay.  What are your thoughts on the advertisement?

Remote Control Jets

Ever since the Chinese perfected the manufacturing of foam / electric turbo aired jets, the price of owning and flying a remote control plane have reached acceptable levels. Not necessarily levels to where you can set it, forget and not land smoothly, but enough where it wouldn't make you cry if you crash landed. If you've ever flown the little RC helicopters at the mall, this is that much more gratifying. Yes, the flight time is kept to a minimum due to battery capacities but 5-10 minutes of flying an awesome 70m F-86 can't beat that!

Extra Day in NYC!

Adelle: fishing on long island sound is cool. adelle 2, everyone else 0. my delicious 12 lb stripped bass fed 6 people! Elijah: Being stuck in NY for an extra day isn't that bad of a thing especially when you have a great friend who lives in Long Island and a good AMAZING friend who lives in the city. Grabbing some brunch and hanging out with Esther till the last minute worked out. Like I already said, extra time is a good thing! We walked pass the cafe that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan met in "You've Got Mail," and got to see the top of the Metropolitan Museum.

Next up was taking the Long Island Railroad to Huntington via Penn Station. It's a normal thing these days that I've come to learn over the last five years and upon arrival, we had a good cookout with some of Matt's friends. It's been a long while in the making, but Adelle finally got to hang out with me in Northport which has become one of my favorite little towns. We grabbed some ice cream at Lic's then went to bed early. Matt's family has always been more than hospitable and once again, great hosts!

Up a little late in the morning, we headed down to Northport Harbor and boarded up the Reverence II with Matt's family! Another "event" that I was excited about. Bruce, Barbara, Chris and Matt, along with Adelle and I departed the Harbor and motored to 11B where we waited for the tide to turn. Matt's poles ended up catching 90% of all the fish. Two bass and a couple of blue fish. An exciting day that also included a great breakfast prepared by Matt's mom, Barbara. It was quite on the bay. Maybe a little too quiet as we ate but definitely proving to be very relaxing and enjoyable.

I shot the video on the iPhone 4. Unedited, enjoy it below!

Here's lunchy!

Happy 29th + 1 to Adelle!!!

Celebrating Adelle's 30th birthday in New York City with great friends and family! Thanks for coming out and making it oh so special!!! We hit up all the spots starting with the High Line, Ippudo NY, Momofuku (Milk), Please Don't Tell & Crif Dogs

Bay to Breakers 100th Anniversary: Our Experience

Adelle and I decided to run the 100th Anniversary of San Francisco's Famous Bay to Breakers 12K 2 weeks ago and here's the report: (sorry it took so long and for that reason this post is extra long) New sponsorship, followed with a new ban of no alcohol on course or ridiculous drunkards running around, Zazzle and the city of San Francisco set out to reduce the mess and ridiculous amount of waste caused by this fanatical race.

The Day Before:

Zazzle held a two day expo where  Saturday would feature a guest appearance by non other than Mr. Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes.  We, and by we, I meant me, had to get a photo taken with him.  Adelle and our friend Joyce waited patiently in line while I grabbed our race bibs, chips and stuff, then Joyce took this great shot!

He's super nice and was easy to talk to.  He would have kept on talking too but I wanted to keep the line moving so I courteously ended the conversation and left.  Interestingly enough, he just finished running across the continental United States four days prior to this appearance!  What an athlete!  Another tidbit of information would be he's amazing 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days in 50 different states.  If you want to see and read more of his stuff, his wiki is quite extensive too! (Wiki: Dean Karnazes)

The expo itself was setup well, a little chaotic for my taste, but if you wanted to get in and out, it was definitely easy.  We bought some new running belts and Adelle even bought some new Nike Free Livestrong Editions for a great price!  Adelle will review at a later time, hopefully, but until then, that's the two cents.  Overall, Zazzle did a great job for the first time hosting such a large and legendary event.

Following up with a great lunch and carb-load dinner, we ended the night early in preparation for the 12K. Adelle and I actually thought of running this race for reals for little did we know that there would be a lot of walking on the course slowing our pace.  I mean, it's not like we are professional runners or ones that have a set time in mind but we wanted to give it our best.  We're "organized" type folk so this is our bed the night before.

The Race:

Getting to the start line was literally a breeze; cold and forecasted to rain. So Adelle and I hurried up a little bit to warm up and got into our coral with time to spare. It was madness with tortillas flying around, naked men and women (mostly men) amazing costumes and fun. When do you ever see people excited to run 12K that early in the morning!?

Along the race, we ran, we walked, we spectated, smelt some medicinal drugs being shared amongst citizens and were just in awe at the awesomeness that this race still was minus the keg running athletes. There was alcohol sporadically throughout the race, policemen trying their best to take the bottle away, but the porta potties along the course were far and few between. Water stations were present but more not operated that well. All in all, a good race with a mediocre pace. Adelle and I haven't ran a race since the 2007 St. Patrick's Day 10K in San Diego so this was a fun one keep pace together.

All the way through the end, we finished strong by the beach and got our cool finisher medals. It was the first time too that Bay to Breakers was handing 'em out, so yes, we feel special. There was even some small time groups selling food at the finish line so we of course indulged. Hand outs were a plenty and the post race party was a blast. We couldn't really stay long because we had to checkout of our hotel by noon so that was that. Although, along the way back to the car that Marella was so nice to pick us up in, we saw a filipino dood sporting a Manny Pacquiao outfit and that was definitely one of the best we all seen. Good job Mr. Impersonator! Sorry no pic because all of us were just too shy.

Here are screen caps of the waaay too expensive race photos. How come all these race pic companies charge so much anyways?

Running Data: Bib # 46246: 1:26:01 // Bib # 46247 1:26:02 You can actually even see some video of both Adelle and I crossing the finish line at the same time by just typing in our bib numbers on the following link for the actual Bay to Breakers 2011 Live Results Page. (link)

I'm not sure if you noticed or not, but we have officially switched to using tap tap tap's amazing "ultimate photo app" for the iPhone called Camera+. You should definitely check it out. If anything, you can check out adellelijah's stream via Instagram is also fun, but there's a bug for iOS 4.1 users that wasn't fixed so I stopped using it. Plus, Camera+ is packed with A LOT more features for those amateur photographers in us. Download it now...we're suporters!

If you want to see some pictures of the craziness along with videos, I found this is an awesome recap. (via nonstophonolulu)

Silva Limited: Custom Bamboo Macbook Pro Case

Deciding on what case to house your precious $2k investment (+/- $1000) is an agonizing feat. There are so many covers, protectors, bags, totes, backpacks, and sleeves to choose from and somehow, someway, you want to be different all while still being cool right? I think that Silva Ltd. has hit the right note providing the look for the coffee house, walk in the park, I'm cool so come talk to me fit. Check it. Over the last year, the latest thing in materials and manufacturing comes in the form of bamboo. Clean, environmentally friendly and always an eye catcher, bamboo has been formed and fitted to serve as bike frames(Stalk Bamboo Bicycles), iPhone / iPod / iPad cases (Grove Bamboo Cases), and now, Macbook Pro cases brought to you by Silva Ltd.

Albeit on the pricer side at $179.99 for either the 13" or 15" model, the Silva Ltd. case features:

● 100% Solid Carmel Bamboo – CNC machined and hand assembled ● Hand-Crafted Leather Strap – Hand burnished and oiled ● Wool Felt Lined Interior – Protects your Macbook ● Hand Rubbed Finish – Hard, glass-like finish ● FREE Shipping

Looks like a solid, fine piece of Macbook Pro worthiness. The company FAQ offers an extensive set of answers to any questions that you might pose. Check it out and tell us what you think? I know that I've been looking for something to replace my 11 year old Brenthaven bag, and this just may be the ticket!

And They're Off!

Being held on May 15th, Bay to Breakers is set to be the premier running event of the year in the Bay Area. It'll be our first attempt running around the hills of San Francisco.

Today, Adelle and Elijah officially registered for San Francisco's 100th Anniversary Bay to Breakers 12K. We haven't done too many long runs, but on the way to training for the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Half and Full Marathon, we thought that this would be a fun way to keep on trucking. And we get to see friends, hang out and just have fun outside of San Diego! Come run with us and register while you can. (we ended up in Corral "F") It's bound to sell out and plus they're giving away finisher medals! Go register now!

Bay Area for the Day: January 9th

"Let's go somewhere tomorrow." - adelle"San Francisco?" - elijah (w/ hidden agenda in mind) "YAY!" - adelle (unknowingly excited)

I will admit that after I told her my idea, she was just as equally excited. The agenda was to include a flight from San Diego to Los Angeles in order to get a direct flight into San Jose airport, have brunch with a awesome friend, make a quick trip to the Menlo Park Telsa Store and maybe, just maybe run into the Model S, then make it to the city for a day of hanging out with another friend of awesomeness background ending it with a direct flight from San Francisco back to San Diego.

To summarize, the flights were open and timing was immaculate! Accommodating a trip to the farmers' market, grabbing a bite to eat at a local hotspot for brunch, a stop over at Apple's HQ in Cupertino, a quick "ohh and aww" session at the Tesla Shop in Menlo Park, then a train that was scheduled to not only depart within 5 minutes of our arrival but was destined to be in Mission Bay Area at another perfect time for pick couldn't have been any better! Adelle and I even grabbed a Red Velvet Hot Chocolate at Coffee Bean and made it to the 3D IMAX showing of Tron: Legacy at the AMC Sony Metreon! I mean, minus the chance of having the Tesla Model S present or a test drive of the Tesla Roadster, or a run in with the man, Steve Jobs and a tour of Apple HQ, it really made out for a great day.

Enjoy the pics!  The only reason why this post is a month back is because you can't necessarily post up or presence right?  I mean, aren't most reality television shows delayed by a couple of months?  e.g. KourtneyKim Take New York | E! Online

Cuddle Class (brought to you by Air New Zealand)

As the main cabin door of an airliner comes to a close, look around closely. You see passengers either looking out over their seats hoping for that rare chance that they can occupy a space without a middle traveler or crossing their fingers and praying to the gate agent gods that no one comes in between them and a faux first class seat. I, for one, am reduced to hoping for any open seat which usually crowns me as the bearer of bad news to those eager travelers. On December 22nd, after four years of planning, a Boeing 777-300ER with the aircraft registration ZK-OKM, Air New Zealand launched an inaugural flight featuring an amazing reconfiguration of the three seat space. Dubbed "Cuddle Class" and officially known as the Skycouch, the airline offers three redesigned seats creating a space for children to play or a flat surface that acts as a futon for adults to...well...cuddle. Looking at the picture, just imagine a twin size bed for two which is better than sitting upright for more than 14 hours in an uncomfortable postion.

Passengers that are interested in this seating arrangement will have to buy two seats as well as the third middle seat for half the price and for the next 18 months, fly Air New Zealand as they will have exclusive rights to this design. Who wouldn't pay a little extra to have that bed conversion for that long haul, trans pacific flight? Peep the now internet famous two people dreaming away on their flight. What a concept! Now how do I get a flight on this aircraft so I can do a proper review of this amazing product?

Air New Zealand Press Release

Romero Britto + Our Apartment

Roaming Lincoln Road in Miami, Florida, I was guided toward the Romero Britto Art Gallery by non other than the soon to be Dr. Jo-Lawrence Bigcas. After an appetizing meal at Pizza Rustica, we headed over for art appreciation. There were quite a few awesome pieces that caught my eye but one in particular was a "gotta have." I inquired about the "signed poster" and asked if there was an actual piece but with no luck. The signed poster though was framed elegantly and even had hand painted borders. The price was a little steep at $695, but I was close to pulling the really close but I kept my cool and walked out. That piece was actually fit the bill of just getting married and being in love so who knows, I just might...What do you think? It's fun, loving and of course, symbolic of adellelijah! Since then, I've been obsessed. A couple of days later, I was online looking for more Romero Britto works on Amazon and found a collection of posters that I enjoyed just as much. Coincidently, Adelle and I have been wanted to hang a piece of art one on the main walls in our small apartment for a while and I think that this would fit the bill perfectly. I can't wait till it gets in!

And as always, use my links to help support adellelijah's amazon store!

On another note, Adelle and I were treated to a University of Miami Hurricanes Football game and even got on the ESPN highlight reel. Peep the pic!

Coo Coo for Coconut Water

While on GTalk with Elijah last week we were joking about a long night out combined with his fatigue from a Sprint Triathlon which lead to a painful in-flight headache and water wasn't helping with his dehydration. I mentioned that he should of taken some Coconut Water because it was better than a bottle of Gatorade since it had more electrolytes. Then I made a joke about what plants crave from the Mike Judge movie Idiocracy, which he didn't get.. I've been wondering about the health benefits of Coconut Water for a while. I was first introduced to it by a friend who swears by it for those long nights drinking; one before and one after. I'm pretty much a Gatorade or Water person to relive the day after pains of my self induced liver poisoning. I tried a sip once, and haven't given it much thought since then.

Without getting into a lot of details about what's in Coconut water, the main benefits are the high mineral contents; specifically potassium. These mineral levels equate to higher amounts of electrolytes than most sports drinks. The potassium levels are twice the amount you would get from eating a single banana.

Why is high potassium important? Well Sodium and Potassium are both alkaline metals and are very close in the Periodic table. By taking in Sodium or Potassium this allows our bodies to move water through our systems faster also it helps with muscle contractions. So science tells me that Coconut Water has the advantage over a Gatorade or Water. Great!

I began to wonder what other applications Coconut Water could have other than the cure for a common hangover. I thought I was onto an untapped resource. Since Coconut Water could be used to help rehydrate, then drinking it on a plane would be perfect. I don't know about most people, but being in the conditioned environment makes me dehydrated. So I proposed that we should work on getting Coconut Water into airports and airplanes.

I was already too late to collect my genius money. Vita Coco and JetBlue started serving Coconut Water to passengers back in 2009. A day late and a dollar short on that idea. This hasn't stopped me, I'm on a mission to buy some to give Coconut Water an honest try and see what else it should be marketed for. I don't know if they're pushing it enough as a sports drink substitute. I think I'm going to pack a few away for my long flight to New Zealand in November.

Update: After writing this article. I spend and afternoon golfing and an evening drinking at one of my favorite dive bars which lead me to become dehydrated. I tried to find some Coconut Water at my local Vons. They did not have any available. I'm beginning to wonder how well companies are doing with their ad campaigns against traditional sports drinks. Do I have to go to an Asian Market to get some?

Additional Links:

Vita Coco -

JetBlue -

Coconut Water -

Potassium  -

Complimentary Vita Coco Available on JetBlue Airways This Fall, AOL Daily Finance -

Idiocracy -

And You Thought Politics was Dirty...

Maybe you've heard of the term "scab", maybe not.  If you work in the airline industry you most certainly have heard it and probably cringe at the very sound.  Up to this point in my career as an airline pilot I have only been aware of scabs from our past.  Things that happened in the industry before I was a part of it.  Saturday I see my first real time exposure to real life, unmistakeable, scabs.  And no, it has nothing to do with a healing scrape or burn.  A scab is the label put on a pilot who does any flying, and I mean any flying, that has been deemed struck.  In other words, when a pilot group goes on strike as Spirit Airlines based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL is doing right now, if you work a flight that flies their passengers under their name with compensation going to that airline (in this case Spirit), you are forever known for the rest of your career as a scab.  It doesn't matter what the motivation is behind it.  Whether your job was threatened or even your families, the unionized pilot groups in the U.S. will generally turn their back on you.  There is even a "black list", mysterious as it is, floating around the industry making permanent record of anyone who has crossed the picket line.  Generally, this keeps you from hitching a ride on other carriers and in many cases will even prevent you from being hired by another airline! And the debate goes on...  Is it really fair to essentially destroy the career of a pilot for what could equate to simply doing the job that his or her  boss demanded they do?  That of course is up for debate.  And many unionized pilots may feel sympathy for a given scab depending on their circumstances.  But the fact remains, it happened.  And in the environment we have today at the airlines, as has been the case for decades, there is no tolerance for it.  Essentially those pilots that chose to cross the picket line are undermining the guys and gals picketing out front.  Mind you those pilots on strike have lost all benefits from their job during the strike, including pay.

Beginning early Saturday morning, the pilot group at Spirit Airlines went on strike over a dispute in the contract they have been negotiating for years.  This has led to stranded passengers, overworked ticket agents, and a reallocation of law enforcement to provide security inside the airport.  The pilots and management at Spirit knew exactly what they were getting into when neither could agree on a contract by the pre-determined deadline.  Today they're all paying for that.  Whether or not the pilots are right or management is right is another topic altogether.

A charter airline by the name of Falcon Air Express was hired by the Spirit Airlines management team to provide transportation to their passengers.  They were Spirit routes, with Spirit call signs flying Spirit passengers.  The union representing Spirit Airlines pilots (Airline Pilots Association) made it clear before the strike that they would consider any pilot that did any flying for Spirit during the strike a scab as permanent record.  Saturday, 2 pilots did just that.  From what I can tell, they were the only two pilots in the Falcon Air system that did not refuse to do the flights.  The other crew members under Falcon Air's employment assumed a great amount of risk themselves by refusing to work the flight.  Having no union representation, you could even argue they assumed more risk than the Spirit Airlines pilots that have walked out on their jobs.  The names of the two scabs have been made public record already but I will refrain from publishing them myself as I have no way to legitimately verify them nor do I have interest in vilifying them further than they already have been.

And the question remains, is it really justifiable to destroy the careers of two pilots who may have a family at home they're supporting?  For all we know that could be the very reason they took the flight in the first place.  Scabs have been around in the airline industry for a long time.  Whether it has been pilots crossing picket lines or alter ego airlines being created by a given airline to undercut their own workforce, the list continues to grow.  At the dismay of most unionized pilots that may be reading this I will dare say that I would never refuse a jumpseat to an alleged scab if they had legitimate reasons to act in the way that they did.  A person with 2 kids at home making $30,000 a year can't afford to refuse a flight.  The industry is asking them to make personal and family sacrifices for the sake of airline pilots around the world.  Those that do refuse that flight should be commended.  They are making a sacrifice for what they perceive as "fighting the good fight".  Those that cross the picket line or accept employment with a scab airline because they have no other options deserve at least some compassion.  Is it a problem?  Absolutely.  Would we all be better off if they didn't exist?  Well, if by all you mean pilots then of course.  But it seems today that the accuser could very easily be the accused.  They throw stones that may come back to knock them right in the head.  What happened to dignity, compassion, and professionalism?  It certainly seems to be lacking in the airline industry today.  Any maybe it's lacking in the American culture altogether.

The action of scabbing and the reaction of those pilots being scabbed against are really dark windows into the flying profession.  Much like I did for the umpire the blew a perfect game with a bad call recently against the Detroit Tigers, I feel for the 2 crew members that work for Falcon Air and will probably never work for another American airline.  Until I get all of the facts straight, which I may never do with absolute certainty, I will refrain from passing judgment on the two Falcon crew members.  When I find out they knowingly undercut the pilots picketing out front of the airport I will feel comfortable in labeling them scabs knowing the consequences that follow.  And even then, if they had a compelling reason, I'd welcome them into my own jump seat in the future.

How a Strike is Perceived by those In and Out of the Industry

On the morning of June 12, 2010 at 5AM, the end of negotiations and the beginning of a strike by the Spirit Airlines Pilots Union began.  Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale since 1999, the airline announced its transition to become America's first Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier in 2007 alongside a re-branding effort.  Continuing the race to the bottom, charging passengers for baggage, carry-ons and drinks, Spirit Airlines is asking for more.  Targeting not only the pilots wages, which are currently 30% below industry standards, as well as work rules dealing with fatigue and pilot seniority, Spirit Airlines is fighting.  Just a little after three years of failed contract negotiations, the National Mediation Board "permitted" the pilots the right to strike.  Since then, various media outlets from the New York Times via The Associated Press to the Miami Herald and MSNBC have failed to mention the certain plights that members of the striking pilots union have gone through, have lived with and are being asked in the company proposal. Since when does a sports athlete without a contract show up to practice or continue to play the game?  Rookies don't practice until they have a firm contract and heck, even seasoned veterans sometimes holdout even before their contract expires!  In what other industry do we see contract negotiations outlasting their expiration and workers forced to continue laboring under older work rules which can sometimes be up to ten years old?  In the case of Pinnacle Airlines pilots, they are still flying without a contract going on five years with negotiations currently stalled.  It took Atlantic Southeast Airlines right around 5 years to negotiate a new contract that was amending a contract created 3 years prior to the start of negotiations!  Back in 2007, Atlantic Southeast Pilots were getting paid rates that were negotiated back in 1998!

The mindset of the mass public, due to misinformation from the media as well as an old school mentality left over from the golden age of flying, is that most pilots make upwards of $200,000 a year.  I'll admit that some do but the majority do not.  I'll tell you right now that in 2006, the average wage for a first year commercial airline pilot ranged from $14K-$50K.  A public website called Airline Pilot Central has most of the US Carriers wages listed as hourly but taking a closer look, an hourly wage earned by a pilot doesn't calculate to 40 hours a week.  It varies throughout the airlines, but an average month can range between 65 hours to 80 hours of pay.  Taking that into consideration, max flight time is federally regulated to 30 hours in a seven  day period, 100 hours in 30 days and 1000 per year.

I pulled data from the public website Airline Pilot Central, specifically these airlines; [Spirit AirlinesAirTranVirgin AmericaSouthwestJetBlue].  I have done the easy part and posted the wages that are current of this publishing comparing airlines that fly comparable equipment.  In this specific case, ignore the A321 category under Spirit as well as the E190 category under JetBlue.

Taking a look above specifically at the 6 year scale moving clockwise (highlighted in red boxes), captains make $118 / $124 / $120 / $193 / $147 where first officers make $67 / $74 / $72 / $129 / $96 on an hourly basis.  These graphics do not take into account the vast differences in medical benefits, compensation and work rules.  Note that Virgin America is the youngest of these airlines and is already offering to pay their pilots more than Spirit Airlines.  One might inquire on why Southwest Airlines is incredibly higher in pay?  It's because they did not take contract hits as much as the Major airlines in the post 2001 collapse and have maintained an industry leading management / employee relationship.  Southwest was once the lower paying of the bunch.

I hope that I have enlightened you to some simple facts where the media has miserably failed in its duties.  Furthermore, I have included a website that details the history and current issues that plague Spirit Airlines.  I encourage you to read further and comment away.

Here is an excerpt from the aforementioned website:

~~~~~~~~ POST STRIKE ~~~~~~~ Understanding the hostilty and frustration, one can easily see why this strike occurred: In the last 30 days, the Investors (1) publically threatened to close the airline if a strike occurred; then (2) went back to the bargaining table while informing customers that if the pilots went on strike it would (fully knowing it could not) continue operating "through the crisis" using other carriers; and (3) today, every Spirit flight has been cancelled stranding thousands of passengers; passengers, many of which chose not to make alternate travel arrangments based on the promises put forth by Spirit.

Their pattern is self-evident. This is exactly how the Investors have approached federally mediated negotiations for the past four (4) years. They have outright lied, stalled and been blatantly deceitful -- so much so -- that at one point ALPA brought suit in Federal court to enjoin their blatant refusal to bargain in good faith. Pointedly, the Judge dismissed the case finding, essentialy, that the Court lacked jurisdiction to enjoin the right to bargain any way one wants.

And to this deceit, where do the needs of the passenger fall? Right behind the pilots'.

I want to fly first class but I don't want to pay for it!

It is cooler than ever to save a buck.  With the invention of things like Amazon, Expedia, Google, and the explosion of Walmart stores all over the nation, it is becoming more and more socially acceptable to shop, eat, sleep and travel on the cheap.  Let’s talk about a particularly effective niche for saving money on travel.  The bargain airline ticket, rental car, hotel room websites. On the surface, this really seems like a win-win for travelers and providers alike.  We get a cheap flight and the airlines are ensured sales to a broader market base.  As with anything else involving the exchange of the ever-influential dollar, it’s far more complex than that.  Many argue these bargain sites have driven the airline industry into the sheep herding business it feels like today.  I tend to agree.

Before the airlines were deregulated in 1978 under Jimmy Carter, the U.S. government strictly controlled their routes, fares and schedules.  This was a stabilizing force for the industry allowing them to anticipate costs and gains years in advance.  The government was also obliged to ensure the airlines retained a reasonable rate of return.  When the price of oil went up, they increased airfares to match it.  This is what many refer to as the “golden era” of flight.  The spotless flight crews, luxurious accommodations, and the feeling of being privileged were all part of the show.  Not so anymore.

The end of regulation marked the beginning of the race toward the bottom.  Prior to deregulation, getting into the airline business was nearly impossible.  This allowed airlines such as American, Delta, Pan Am and United to dominate the market.  After deregulation, airlines like Southwest, US Airways, America West and more recent airlines like JetBlue and Frontier were able to grab a significant share of the market simply by making fares cheaper.  Now the airlines had to deal with the dreaded idea of competition.

Add to that the Internet and the low fare search engines and we have created the perfect storm for low class, low cost flying.  The industry now is narrowing profit margins and charging to the bargain basement as low prices become the driving force behind ticket sales.  And with lower fares the airlines are forced to operate as efficiently as possible, with nothing to spare (including passenger comfort).

The good news is the industry appears to have hit bottom and is headed in the other direction, but not like you might think they would.  Instead of offering luxury meals as part of the ticket price, they are now beginning to offer surprisingly decent meals for purchase in flight.  Want to sleep all the way to Sydney from Los Angeles?  Buy a first class ticket and get yourself a lay flat seat.  Don’t care for the in flight movie?  Choose your own in the back of the seat in front of you for $5.

What’s to be learned in this?  For one, if you just paid $39 for your ticket from Atlanta to Orlando, look at the person sitting next to you if you feel like complaining about the service you received.  Your fellow travelers known as the flying public are responsible for this climate.  If you want to be pampered you’re in luck.  Throw down a few extra bucks and sit up front!  First class is getting better and better with each passing year as multimedia entertainment systems and lay flat seats become the norm.  And it's still a bargain compared to prices of the past.  A 1996 Government Accountability Office report found that the average fare per passenger mile was about 9% lower in 1994 than in 1979. Between 1976 and 1990 the paid fare had declined approximately 30% in inflation-adjusted terms.

The golden age of flying is long behind us but we’re smack in the middle of the silver age!  Just make sure you have that credit card handy when you take your seat and let’s hope we don’t go bronze.