I got a facebook msg from a pilot who's early on in his training. I decided I'd just copy/paste my response here because I'm feeling a little lazy today.
"LAX parking lot is home away from home for airline workers - Los Angeles Times
It's a pity. I wish I had more to look forward to pursuing a career in aviation. Have you heard of this kind of arrangement before?"
I saw that article too. Oddly enough, it's not the first I've heard of it. I have a friend who flies for Piedmont. His family bought and renovated an old bus for a family vacation. Nick was based in NC but got displaced to Roanoke recently. Instead of bothering to find a new crash pad he just put everything in the bus, hooked his jeep up to the back and found a KOA near the airport that had showers and wifi.
The sad thing is, I think it's a great idea. Here's my personal airline experience. Just after I got hired on at Spirit, they opened a San Juan base, which is where I got sent to. The crashpad there cost me $400/month, and I had to pay $12 each way in taxis to get to the airport. On top of my $800/month rent at home. After a 1 1/2 months there I was able to transfer back to FLL. My crashpad was $250/month, but at least I drove my car from Daytona to FLL every week so that I'd have a car while there (I was on reserve). Buuuuut after 2 months in FLL, after a round of furloughs, I got displaced to ACY. There aren't any crashpads in ACY since Spirit's the only show in town. I had to stay in a hotel and rent a car. Plus, everything out of ACY is day trips, so I had to have a hotel every night. Total cost for the month? $2400. Add that to my $800/month+utilities back home, and I was in the red for the month.
So after all that, I seriously see the plus of having a crashpad on wheels, and the next time I get displaced, I'm looking into a RV. :)
On the career thing: just keep the faith. That's why my older pilot friends tell me. You're in a good spot right now. By the time you get all your ratings people will be hiring again. It's not a glamorous career anymore, but when I'm cruising at FL390 amongst all the contrails I really couldn't care less ;)