Really stupid flying question

When an airline pilot works, does he fly the plane & then ride back immediately on the next flight going the opposite direction, as would be considered a “shift” in any other job?  Basically, is the pilot home on a regular schedule or does he work “at will”, where he’d go wherever and potentially stay there between overnight and however long he feels like hanging around in whatever city he happened to have landed in?

Bonus question: I know there are airlines that only give you a pack of those tiny hard pretzels when you ride, and there’s also the ones that give you a meal.  Anyone know one that gives you pretzels, but the big soft buttery kind you might dip in nacho cheese instead of the chintzy little ones?

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About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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