Rant Air – Welcome Aboard!

Rant Air – Welcome Aboard! random header image

I Had That “Big Grin,” Once…

May 11th, 2012 · 3 Comments

I normally try to keep to myself while I commute on my airline to and from Phoenix. I most always wear plain clothes and typically squirrel my identification badge away while I’m seated in the passenger cabin. I often busy myself with a book or sudoku puzzle on the iPad, or I simply shut my eyes and listen to music as I dose my way to or from work. But every now and again, a pleasant person sits down next to me and strikes up interesting conversation, which is what happened last week on my flight from LAX.

A young lady tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I could help her find her seat. I explained that seating was “open,” and she asked if she could have the open seat by the window of the row in which I was sitting. A bit of small talk was exchanged (in which I found out that she was a fan of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey club…my Kings’ upcoming opponent in the Western Conference Finals, so…BOOO) before she mentioned how much she loved to fly.

The conversation continued with me saying, “Oh yeah?” and asking her if she flew often. Enthusiastically, she proceeded to tell me how she was actually taking flying lessons out of Long Beach, and that she’d just soloed for the first time two weeks prior. With one of the biggest grins I’ve ever seen across someone’s face, she described what it was like in just about every detail. Clearly, this was something that brought great happiness to her…something she truly loved to do. She asked if I’d had any experience actually flying, and my response was my usual (and purposeful) understatement: “I’ve got a little bit of time in small planes.”

We continued talking about her plans to continue her flying education beyond a basic private pilot’s license, and it was clear that she was at one of life’s many crossroads. With a degree in communications, she’d gone into public relations after college, and I don’t think she could’ve stated more emphatically how much she disliked her field of work. When I suggested that it might be a good time to change her career field (being that she was only in her early 20′s), I could tell by the look on her face that the thought had appeal.

By now her curiosity had gotten the best of her (or she’d caught a glimpse of the crew tag on the bag I had tucked under the seat in front of me), and she asked what I did for a living. I confessed. Instantly, I became (in her mind) a source of knowledge to her regarding the career field, and questions came at me rapid-fire style. What’s it like? What’s the best part about the job? What’s the worst? How long did you take to get to where you are now? How long would it take me to get there?

I did my best to answer the questions, of course, and offered to keep in touch should she have any questions. I’m a bit removed from the flight-training and ladder-climbing phases of the career choice, I’m afraid, so I don’t know how much help I can be to her in planning a potential career change. It was quite nice, however, to see that level of interest in flying in someone as young as she. It provided some perspective, actually, helping me to remember that I am indeed living my dream. That’s something that is remarkably easy to take for granted, especially after twenty years of flying and nearly fifteen years in the airline industry.


Tags: Aviation

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Colin Summers // May 12, 2012 at 5:01 am

    Feel free to pass her my email address. I am at KSMO and fairly recently trained in the area. And I am always looking for excuses to go flying (I like to get up once a week for currency and there’s only so many times you can go to KCMA for their great lunch).

    I’m not a professional pilot, but I can talk about the end where she is now while you have the other end covered.

  • 2 Philo // May 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I’ve been a ladder climber/1900 driver based in Denver for the last 7+ years. I hope to work for your company…Please tell them to give me a call! Ha! If you think there’s any advice I can offer, pass my email on to her. Good to see you’ve come back to the ole blog again. Was the Kings success to blame? Hope you & family are doing well!

    p.s. I have several friends/co-workers of yours based in PHX, maybe you know them. Perhaps we could chat via email? Thanks!

  • 3 Anders // Oct 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    One of my close friends has been working on learning how to fly an airplane, and he just did his first solo this morning. He’s been literally levitating five inches off the ground all afternoon. Next weekend, he does cross country. I know the grin you speak of well.

    You know, it sounds like from the feel of this post, you still have that big grin occasionally too.

    - Anders

Leave a Comment