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The details, like why pilots spend an enormous amount of money on fast food and why they were scheduled during the family's yearly vacation to Hawaii even though they bid for a different schedule, can become sources of contention, and often, family members behind feel left out and misunderstood themselves."This is likely a major reason for pilot divorce — the lack of comprehension on what the job entails," says Melinda W., a married first officer at a major airline.Pilots just need to convey the truth, that while the weather in Hawaii is nice and yes, they did enjoy a cocktail at the hotel bar, that they're exhausted and yes, still committed to their marriages. I don't ever dumb anything down and give lots of backgrounds." For others, their best-laid relationship plans didn't work out in the end. An airline pilot's hectic schedule begins right away, usually during simulator training.And even though they try to explain it, many pilots wish their significant others understood what happens around them every time they fly. A number of pilots responded to my request for information to say their significant other ran off with a flight attendant, or that it just didn't work out for one reason or another. If the pilot is coming out of the military, the training environment is one that they've probably experienced before.Once a pilot is done with sim training, they often just want to decompress.
For an unlucky number of pilots, their relationships or marriages end due to one or more of these challenges leading to misunderstandings.
If their partner makes them breakfast with the hope that they'll join them, they'll sleep in.
And if asked where they want to go for dinner, they might respond with "I don't care." Information overload, constantly being in a leadership position and the decision-making faced on the job leaves pilots in a zombie-like anti-decision-making state of mind. After training, a pilot's time home is often brief, and then they'll be off to their reserve location, which means that they have to live near the airport in case they are called upon to fly.
He or she is living with a host of other male or female pilots and flight attendants who are loud, up at all hours and also cranky that they're not at home with their families. After a few months on reserve, pilots get a spot flying the line, which means they can bid on their schedule and be at home when they aren't flying.
Junior pilots - those low on the seniority list - will fly nights and weekends and any other shift that the senior pilots don't want to bid.
It's difficult to convey the amount of work we do it's fatiguing and challenging, especially for a wife and mother.