Dear Santa: The Airline Pilot Wish List

December 2012

Subject: Wish List

From: Blog, JetHead

To: Claus, Santa


As you know, it’s that time of year again. How about if we go ahead and stipulate the facts from last year: no, I haven’t been “good,” whatever that is, and neither have you so let’s drop that subject.


And yes, I have more than I probably deserve, what with a good gig in the Boeing left seat, seniority to be a little picky (still flying the all-nighter, Fatman? Bummer.) trip-wise.  So this year, on my Wish List, I’m asking for less:


For starters, how about a little less “ice fog?” I know, for you it’s “no big deal,” Rudolph, red nose, blah-blah-blah. But for me, it’s a Category III approach hand-flown to a fifty foot decision height (admit it: you’re cheating with the “red nose” crap, aren’t you?) which is no easy trick. Yes, I do appreciate the HUD you sent me on the Boeing two years ago . . .

. . . but despite the cosmic technology, less ice fog, more VFR this winter, please.

Also, less “fine dining.” I’m not talking about in flight, like this:


Or the usual Pie in the Sky that I keep eating to see if I can grow an ass as fat as yours:


Instead, I’m referring to the more typical “in airport” fine dining like this:

mac d 2

This is more the norm for “fine” airport “dining,” and it’s all too familiar to have not enough time for anything other than a five minute “shove a burger down your throat” experience at an airport food court between flights. Or worse, depending on the layover hotel and the local weather.

Which is another thing an airline pilot could do with less of: layover hotels.

motel hell 3

I know you never do overnights in hotels, but those of us who do at least 150 days a year would appreciate a little less. Because depending on the location, the foraging for food can become pretty grim as well.

dump 3

Got Imodium?

In fact, there’s the main thing all flight crews would like less of: less hotels, lines, vans, crowds, airport “security,” bad nights of sleep in noisy hotels, scant food, long hours and if you’re still with me, here’s the one thing we all want more of: home.

Because on Christmas, just like every holiday, birthday, anniversary or significant milestone any family ever dreamed up, there will be flight crews in the air or worse, stuck on the ground in “that hotel,” wishing for a little more home and a lot less away.

I know, Fatman, that isn’t the deal: flying means away–a lot. So just knowing that of the things I want less I’m going to get more and more; and the things I want more I’m going to have less and less (what are we up to now, 19 flight days a month?), we’ll just forget about your “list,” I’ll behave as awful as I always do this year, and we’ll call it even.

Thanks for nothing,


P.S. When are you going to learn how to bid?

santa all nighter


23 Responses to “Dear Santa: The Airline Pilot Wish List”

  1. Entertaining, as always. Thanks for these timely drops of humor and information. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Fr. Jeremiah Says:

    Hahahaha! That was great! And, if that was YOUR house…supreme kudos on the decorating job! Sweet! I do hope that you have some time home with your family and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas (and to any of your Jewish readers, a blessed second night of Hanukkah!).

  3. Santa says he will see you at 40,000ft to give you a plane ticket back home =)

  4. Chris,

    Let me start off by saying your blogs are awesome. (Especially for us student pilots)

    I am currently instrument end of course at Embry Riddle.

    From a pilots perspective, I have no idea how you guys can plan a flight, weight & balance, performance, and get weather on such a large scale across so much distance. However, some how you guys get it done, as accurate as can be.

    Anyway please keep the posts coming.

    -Chris Breaux

  5. Oh, hoping for less for ya’. (and we’ve had plenty of dense fog this past month – no shipping it here!)

  6. Chris, you’ll be retired before you know it and will miss being on the road once in a while. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year. Fly safe my friend and watch out for the snow, ice and fog.

  7. Oh boy! You’re in trouble…I can just imagine what’s in YOUR stocking this year! 🙂

    As always, very funny post!

    Wishing you, Darling Bride, and the family a lovely Christmas this year!

  8. I sure hope one day you bind your blog into a book…. This stuff is timeless, and very well written! It would make a great gift for classes of aspiring pilots to come!

  9. Michael Carr Says:

    Here’s hoping you climb up in seniority and fly three return trips a MONTH! 🙂

  10. Great post! And, until you wrote it, I never thought about you pilot guys being in a hotel that much. Makes for a lot of nights for my boyfriend to stay over 😉 I kid. I kid.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Truth be told, I missed my share of holidays and had to fly reserve or crappy lines when I first upgraded to captain. But that was 21+ years ago and now, I just fly turnarounds with 11am sign-ins, home at 8pm, Christmas Eve and day off, New Year’s too. So my bride’s boyfriend is over every night.

  11. Love that, in 2012, you guys are being put up in a hotel that proudly boasts that it has indoor plumbing.

    • Okay, keep this on the down-low, but the sign was actually blank–I used Microsoft Digital Imagery to add the words.

      I actually stop and take a picture of every flea bag hotel sign I encounter on the road–did a 2,000 mile road trip through Colorado, west Texas and New Mexico this past summer so I have a huge collection of dumpy joints with cool signs–and I usually post them on a Facebook check-in at the Hyatt or wherever I actually stay.

      Then Facebook friends typically say, “Damn, that chain has really gone downhill . . .”

      • Doh. How daft am I for not getting that? Perhaps at heart I’m just an arrogant West coast liberal who imagines that all the territory between LAX and BOS might well be populated by unplumbed motels. How privileged (AAdvantaged?) am I. Thanks for a fascinating blog – I enjoy your voice (although I may be a bit slow on the uptake when you do that photoshop stuff).

      • No worries– I wish I could put up a page of these weird, dumpy hotels from coast to coast, it’s like a sociology lesson. And most are still open! “American Backroads,” would make a great blog, and it’s a cool drive.

  12. How about I give you or the next captain I see a big “thanks for a good flight” upon disembarking? Best I can do!

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