Day 1 begins. It’s a strange feeling knowing that you won’t get to see your friends and family for 12 days. It starts with driving to the Belt Line Station DART rail station. This is the last stop on the orange line before reaching DFW airport. Parking is free, and the ride only takes about 10 minutes and costs $2.50. I prefer this process over parking at the remote DFW parking, where the daily rate is $10 per day, and the shuttle is actually slower than taking the DART rail. There are some security concerns, but I haven’t had any issues in a year. It takes me about 40 minutes to get here from my house. I left in the middle of the day, so I didn’t have any traffic problems.
The last stop on the Orange Line is Terminal A at DFW. This works out great, because Known Crewmember (KCM) is also in Terminal A. I’ve never waited more than 5 minutes to get through the TSA checkpoint. My company sponsors me and pays for my KCM, but I would gladly pay out of pocket. If you airline a lot for your 135 pilot job, I highly recommend that you convince your company to signup. As far as I know, the program is available for any Part 135 operator, through NATA Compliance Services.
I’m flying on flight AA 1544 from KDFW to KIAD. My aircraft is sitting at KJYO, so I will rent a car from Hertz and head to the hotel. Luckily, I was able to upgrade to a first class seat. This old Mad Dog is pretty uncomfortable when sitting in the back. It’s definitely seen better days, just like the old Falcon 50s that I fly. Endless drinks, warm peanuts, and a simple salad round out the fare. There is no entertainment system on board, but you do get access to GoGo’s entertainment system if you bring an iPad. Not a bad setup. I watched Assassin’s Creed, and it was God awful.
I generally prefer Uber over renting a car at large airports, but both can be equally annoying. Uber at KIAD is really simple. You follow the signs to ground transportation, the doors are clearly labeled, and you select your pickup door in the Uber app. Within 5 minutes, I was being whisked away to my hotel near KJYO.
I’m a Marriott guy, so I found a Springhill Suites that didn’t seem too bad. They’re generally nothing fancy, but get the job done. This one didn’t disappoint. Upon arriving, I found out that the previous crew had some issues with my airplane, and it is down for maintenance until they get it fixed. I still have assigned duty periods, but probably won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. I’ll probably go check out Washington, D.C. tomorrow, as I have never had the chance.