All I want for Christmas

A family member pilots passenger aircrafts for a large commericial (and purposely anonymous) airline. His employer provides an online flight exchange portal, which he and his colleagues use to “trade” their randomly-assigned flights in order to vie for consecutive weeks of vacation time.

Each flight requires a pilot and a co-pilot. Some of the flights are assigned to n00b pilots with fewer than two months of experience flying passenger aircrafts. For such a flight, the co-pilot is swapped out for an instructor pilot about one week before the flight departure; however, the original co-pilot still receives the same compensation had he or she actually co-piloted. Since they are opportunities to get something for nothing, these flights have high value on the flight exchange. On top of that, most of the pilots are veterans, so these instructional flights are rare.

It goes without saying: for Christmas, I built my family member an arbitrage bot to snatch up these instructional flights!