Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Stow Your Carry On Bags


It's the time of year when the number of carry on bags increase substantially. Students traveling home from college, gifts for a variety of holidays are packed, and coats and heavier clothes for colder weather just take up more room.

By quickly getting settled in your row and properly stowing your carryons, it helps speed along the boarding process, which in turn helps facilitate an on-time departure.

Unfortunately, there's only a finite amount of space in the cabin. Most airplanes do not have a secret little space somewhere in the galley. And if we do, trust me here, our crew bags have already been stowed there to free up a little more cabin space for you.

Before the airplane door can be closed, the flight attendants must verify that all carry on bags have been stowed. This means that they need to be in the overhead bins or pushed forward beneath the seat in front of you.

If your bag is sticking out of the bin in such a way that it cannot be closed, it is not properly stowed. Ditto if you bag sticks out from the seat in front of you so far that you can't stand up. If they are on your lap, not stowed. On the seat next to you, not stowed. In the aisle, not stowed.

Get the picture? There are usually only two options: overhead or beneath. Repeat, overhead or beneath.

Review: Ask the Pilot

I just finished reading the book Ask the Pilot by Patrick Smith.  Smith is an airline pilot and freelance writer who has a weekly column about air travel on Salon.com.
 
The book is a collection of essays written by Smith, along with some questions and answers.  Although not written in a techno-nerd style, the answers give a good overview of technical information including how planes fly, turbulence and weather, and safety related issues, along with some historical airline information.  Smith also does a good job of debunking many of the myths of air travel. 
 
Ask the Pilot does just what it set out to do:  it gives a sometimes serious, sometimes irreverent, look at air travel from the point of view of a sometimes pilot, sometimes passenger.
 
It was a quick, enjoyable read, and I recommend it to anyone who travels a lot, or who has a curiosity or fear of flying.
 
Now, if only there was a book, Ask the Flight Attendant.  I'm guessing a few of those questions would be answered differently.
 
 
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Monday, November 28, 2005

Medical Referral When Traveling

It's taken me years to find health care providers that I trust.  I am happy to share referrals with friends, because I truly like and respect these providers.  However, since I'm on the road almost as much as I'm at home, there are times when I need health care when I'm not at home.  If I'm working, I can generally count on my airline referring me to an appropriate health care provider. 
 
However, if it's not an emergency, or if I'm travel for pleasure, I may wish to seek out someone on my own.  My first option is usually to contact friends who live near to where I am and ask for referrals.  That usually will solve the problem, as I have friends around the country.
 
I read about an additional resource that will also help in finding a doctor when I'm on the road.  It would also be useful for someone who needs to find a new doctor because they are moving to a new city. 
 
David Cowan writes in his blog Who Has Time for This about a doctor search and review site sponsored by Helthia.  While I hope that I would never have to use it, I have the feeling that this is information that is going to come in handy.  You might, too.
 
 
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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Rumors of Snow



I've been talking and exchanging emails with friends who are hearing rumors of snow. I've heard from friends who say that it's been snowing where they are, but no one has said that it's sticking to the ground and piling up.

No one, that is, except my friend Geoff in Zurich. (You may want to check out his blog, Zurich Gnome, which covers Formula One racing.) Geoff sent me a few photos that he took while out for a walk, and while he apologized for the quality of the photos, my experience with phone cameras have never given me results this good.

So far, Zurich wins the snow contest, And check out that blue sky!


New York Times "Blogs From the Road"

I read a good article in my New York Times this morning (Travel Section, page 6).  The article is also available online:  Wishyouwerehere.com:  Blogs from the Road.
 
The article talks about the need to keep in touch with friends and family while traveling, and explains how blogs can fill this need.   While this is old hat for many of us travel and blog regulars, it does provide a brief overview of the concept along with some resources.
 
 
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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Black Friday Results

I survived Black Friday. 
 
The morning started with brunch with friends, and then we proceeded to tackle our respective shopping lists.  The stores were crowded and people seemed to be in a buying frenzy.  Overall, though, everyone seemed fairly polite and well-mannered.
 
We took a break in the late afternoon and met for a little fortification - cocktails and appetizers - and then continued shopping.
 
I finished up everything on my list, giving me no legitimate excuse to venture out for additional holiday shopping.  But, I have a couple of layovers coming up that happen to be in cities that many would consider some of the great shopping meccas of the world.  Alas, I have no will power.
 
 
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Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

Today is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and reputed to be the biggest shopping day of the year.  There is even an "official website" for Black Friday, where you can receive the latest information about sales and rebates in your area.
 
Now, I like shopping as much as the next flight attendant, which is probably more than the average person, but I'm not sure one day of shopping deserves its own website.
 
Nonetheless, I am venturing out to do a little shopping today.  We're not leaving early, having already slept in and had a lazy morning cup of coffee, but we're ready to head out soon. 
 
My shopping list isn't long, having chosen fiscal responsibility at Christmas time many, many years ago.  I've been cultivating an idea list all year long, so now it's a matter of actually making purchases and checking things off the list.  For many people that's the worst part, but for the shopaholics in us -- it's nirvana.
 
Of course, I delight in the sights, sounds and smells of the holiday as well:  The arrival of Santa Claus, the decorated windows.  The smell of pine, roasting chestnuts, coffee.  The carols playing, musicians and singers performing on the street corners. 
 
Yes, it's the beginning of the holiday season, and my holiday spirit.
 
 
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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving here in my corner of the world; a time to give thanks for the many blessings of life. (OK, it's also a time for a huge meal with family and friends, football, and probably more than a few spats between the previously mentioned family and friends.)

One of my blessings this year is for the gift of community that I have found in blogging. I've only been at this for three months, and already I've have made so many new friends. Friendship is a blessing, and it would be a sadder existence, indeed, without you in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving.


NOTE: To all non-U.S. readers, Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Holiday Airport Tips

For those of you who still have traveling to do over the long holiday weekend, you may want to check these travel tips from the TSA.  They also have a detailed list of permitted and prohibited items.
 
Pack smart.  Be prepared to wait.  Be patient. 
 
Happy Thanksgiving!
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thanksgiving Preparations

Tomorrow is the day before Thanksgiving here in the U.S. I'm having a house full of family and friends over, so that means tomorrow I must become a whirling dervish.

The morning will be spent finishing cleaning the house, and doing the last minute grocery shopping. The afternoon will be spent cooking, taking care of other meal preparations, and decorating. From the moment my feet hit the ground in the morning, till the moment my head hits the pillow at night, I'll be busy, busy, busy.

That's why I found this little quiz so amusing. And because I eat cranberry sauce all year round
.




You Are The Cranberry Sauce

A little sweet, a little sour - you've got the flava!
Though, you do tend to squish in people's mouths...

Pack Your Toothbrush

If you travel as much as I do, you are probably on the lookout for items that will make packing easier and less cumbersome. 
 
Anytime that I can pack more efficiently (and lighten my load), I'm all for it.  And what could be better than finding an item that does double duty, allowing you to pack less?
 
Arieanna at She Knows Best posted about the OHSO, a combination toothpaste holder and toothbrush.  Evidently, you fill one side of the container with toothpaste and the brush is on the other side. 
 
It looks pretty sharp, and would save a little bit of room in my already crowded toiletry bag.  It's going on my Christmas list.
 
Ads by AdGenta.com
 
 
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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Questions? I've Got Answers

I've been enjoying a lazy weekend at home following several grueling days of flying.  Everybody seems to be getting into position for the Thanksgiving holidays.  Flights have been oversold, patience is wearing thin, tempers are short, and it is good to not be on an airplane right now.
 
Since my energy is at a low ebb tonight, I thought I'd just answer a few questions that have been sent my way.  If you have a question of your own, please feel free to send it my way.  I'll collect and answer them in a future post.
 
 
What's your favorite layover?
Well, since it's pretty cold most everywhere, right now my favorite layover is anywhere warm and sunny.
 
 
How do I get a free movie or drink on a flight?
There are actually lots of way to accomplish this, and ALL of them involve being nice.  I'll write more about this in a post.
 
 
Can flight attendants accept tips?
I believe that every airline has a policy against taking tips.  But if a passenger insists, most flight attendants will smile and say thank you.
 
 
Will you be flying on Thanksgiving, and if so, what will you do?
I won't be flying on Thanksgiving.  Crew members who are away from home will be looking for ways to celebrate the holiday while on their layover.  At hotels where a Thanksgiving dinner is being offered, most crews will gather as a group to celebrate.  If the crew restaurant is closed, they will look for other options.  Many times a flight attendant or pilot who lives in a city where there are layovers will open their home for dinner.  It's never fun to be away from family and friends on a holiday, but there are ways to forge a sense of community with your crew.
 
 
How about Christmas?  Will you be flying then?
Fortunately I am senior enough to hold the holidays off.  I've paid my dues, though, flying holidays for lots of years.
 
 
What airline do you fly for?
Ah, that must be kept confidential.  In keeping my anonymity I can be more honest about what's going on in our business.  It also helps to make sure that I keep my job.
 
 
 
Ads by AdGenta.com
 
 
 
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Friday, November 18, 2005

Your Co-Star in the Movie of Your Life

Apparently I may have missed the boat with my question about who would play "me" in a movie.  Every star needs a co-star.  As a dear friend pointed out today, "I don't care who would play you.  I care about who would play the guy who you are with."
 
A valid point indeed, and one that required little pondering.
 
So, for my leading man, or should I say men:  Johnny Depp for the hot looking hunk.  I swooned over him in Chocolat, lusted after him in Pirates of the Carribbean, and my heart ached with tenderness for him in Finding Neverland.
 
For a more mature leading man, I'd choose Steve Martin.  I found his romantic side endearing in Roxanne.  He seems like the kind of guy who would make me laugh as well as make me feel desired.
 
Who would share top billing with you?
 
 
Ads by AdGenta.com
 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Movie of My Life

I had dinner with one of my crew members tonight.  That doesn't usually happen with me, as I tend to me a bit of a loner on my layovers.  I work with these people all day long, and I need a break from them once I'm on the ground.
 
Today, however, one of the women that I worked with was fun, as well as incredibly interesting.  Originally we had intended to go to a movie, but we miscalculated transportation time, and missed the start.  Instead, we decided to go have pizza and beer.
 
Mid-way through a pepperoni, black olive, and mushroom pizza our discussion returned to the topic of movies.  We discussed our favorites, the sleepers, the ones we loved but were embarrassed to admit, and the ones we hated but everyone else loved. 
 
Eventually we started talking about our life as a movie, and who would play us in the movie.  We need a young version and the older version of ourselves.  I haven't completely decided, but I'm leaning toward wanting Jennifer Aniston for the young, sexy me, and Blythe Danner for the older, mature, yet sexy me.
 
Who would play you in the big screen version of your life?
 
Ads by AdGenta.com
 
 
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Court Awards Compensation to Bumped Passenger

Over booked flights are a part of the airline business.  The no-show factor is so high, that airlines justify selling more seats than are available on a plane in order to ensure that seats are filled, and profits are made.
 
Most situations are resolved through a voluntary bumping process.  Passengers agree to not travel on a particular flight in exchange for a package that the airline is offering.  This could include hotel and meal costs, free tickets, or anything else that an airline may be offering as an inducement not to fly.
 
The involuntary process is a nightmare.  It creates stress for the airline employees, and they are not the people who have made the decision to overbook a particular flight.  It results in angry passengers, and can cause them to miss connections or lose deposits on vacations.
 
USA Today reports how a recent involuntary bump resulted in a small claims court decision in favor of the passenger:
 
Thatcher A. Stone, an aviation lawyer, was awarded $3,110 by a Manhattan judge for his expenses and inconvenience after he and his 13-year-old daughter were kept off a Continental Airlines flight at Newark Airport on Christmas Day 2004.
 
Read the full story for details.
 
On a personal note, I had friends who were flying out of Newark that day, and they said it wasn't a pretty scene.
 
 
 
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Airport Transportation

If you are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday next week, you need to give thought to how you intend to from your home to the airport. 
 
This is a very busy travel time.  Spending an hour today to take care of these arrangements will save you time and headaches on your day of travel. 
 
There are several options:
 

Stay at a hotel near your departure airport that offers a special "stay and park" rate.  Then just take the hotel shuttle to the airport.

Take a car service to and from the airport.

Drive yourself and park off-site.  Be sure to make a parking reservation, as most lots will be completely filled up, and you don't want to discover this when the clock is ticking down toward your departure time.

Have a friend drive you and pick you up.  Do this only if you don't like the friend all that much.  You are going to have to spend hours in traffic, and are only moving the headache from you to your friend.

Shared van service.  A variety of companies offer portal to portal airport shuttle service for travelers coming from the same general area of the city.  You do need to allow a little extra time as you will be making several stops.  If you have more than two people traveling, it's probably cheaper to just arrange for your own car service.

Public transportation.  If a bus, train, or subway can get you to and from the airport, it's probably cheap and fast.  You will have to tote your own bags, so if you are traveling with lots of items, this will be cumbersome.

Taxi.  It's not as reliable as a shared van service or a car service, but if you have a corporate account you can probably depend on them to show up on time.  Arrange for pick up in advance.

 
Planning ahead will make things much easier, but remember, whatever choice you make, it's going to take patience and humor to get through it all. 
 
 
 
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Moving On


Thanks to all of you who have commented or sent me emails about Mr. Amazingly Gorgeous.

The comments seem to fall into two categories:

1) Those who say good-bye, good riddance, and that I deserve better.

2) Those who say to make one more contact, that maybe something has happened and that I will always wonder if I don't make the effort.

I've given this lots of thought, and count me in the first category. I really can live with the decision not to contact him.

I think Einstein said it best!



Monday, November 14, 2005

Good-Bye Mr. Amazingly Gorgeous

I haven’t written a follow up about my dinner with Mr. Amazingly Gorgeous. Let’s just say that while it didn’t go exactly as planned, it probably went about how I expected.

I was excited that we were both going to be in the same city at the same time. I made my way into the city and to his hotel room, leaving plenty of time so that I wouldn’t be rushed. I hate rushing. Especially when I am trying to make a good impression. When I was nearly to the hotel (which, I might point out is a 5-Star property in this particular city), my cell phone rang. It was Mr. A.G.

I was expecting the worst. This time it wasn’t that bad. His flight had been delayed, he was taxiing in during the phone call, and it looked like it would be at least another hour before he would be at the hotel. No problem! This I can handle.

The hotel is in a nice downtown neighborhood, so I spent the time wandering in a couple of the shops. Finding nothing of interest, I decided to go to the lobby bar of the hotel for a glass of wine. I was still a little nervous about the whole thing, so I figured a nice glass of red would calm my nerves.

I found a comfortable couch, ordered my drink, and reached into my purse for a book. (I always carry one with me for just these waiting times.) I had been sitting and reading, and enjoying my wine for about twenty minutes when an attractive, well-groomed man sat on the couch opposite from me. I looked up, acknowledged him, and he smiled back and engaged me in conversation.

He was witty and charming, handsome, articulate and VERY interesting. We chatted up a storm. As he was leaving, he handed me his card and said that if I was free the next day that he’d like to take me to lunch. I told him that I was unavailable for lunch, but he insisted that I take his card and encouraged me to keep in touch. I smiled and tucked the card away as he left.

About the time that I was finishing my wine, Mr. A.G. walked up to me in the lobby and gave me a big hug. He looked, well, amazingly gorgeous. His eyes sparkled, his smile was big, and when he told me how glad he was to see me and how much he had missed me, I believed him.

We went up to his room, which turned out to be the penthouse suite. He had it lit with dozens of votive candles around the room, in the bathroom and shower, even out on the balcony. Music was on, a bottle of wine was open on the table. Everything was romantic and beautiful, and I was so glad to be there.

We relaxed and caught up on everything for awhile, and then there was a knock on the door. It was one more surprise - he had arranged for an in-room massage for me so that I could relax as he finished up a little business. The massage therapist and I relocated to the bedroom, and I enjoyed blissful pampering. When finished, I put on one of the hotel’s big fluffy robes and padded out into the living area of the suite.

Another surprise! Mr. A.G. had ordered in dinner and it was set out in a beautiful arrangement. Salads, steak and lobster, cheesecake for dessert. We had ate, sometimes feeding one another (I know, that sounds sappy). We had more wine. It continued to be wonderfully romantic.

All my doubts were vanquished. I believed that I had just misunderstood the intensity of his work schedule, the ever competing demands on his time. I thought that I must have been selfish, and that this display of affection and attention was designed to show me how he was quite willing to integrate me into his life and heart.

When I left, I showered him with profuse thanks. When I returned home, I sent an email thank you, once again telling him what a marvelous time I had had, and how much I appreciated what he had done.

And that’s the last I heard of him. He’s not responded to my email, nor returned the one call that I placed to him. It’s been nearly a month.

I am through!

And any day now I might dig out that business card that I tucked away somewhere.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Help for Dry Skin

When Flight Attendants find products that we love, we stock up on them.  We buy for ourselves, other Flight Attendants, friends, family, you name it.  We expect everyone to love it as much as we do.
 
Here' one item that's rates very high right now on my list of favorites:  La Source 60-Second Fix Kit for Hands from Crabtree & EvelynAnother Flight Attendant friend turned me on to this product, and I've been hooked ever since.
 
We are constantly washing our hands, and our serving, handling of trash, and the dry cabin environment really takes it toll on our skin.  It's parched, and is looking and feeling dry and scruffy.  I'm sure that other frequent fliers complain of the same problem.
 
Enter the 60-Second Fix Kit.  It's a 2-step treatment consisting of a scrub that exfoliates as well as giving your hands a smooth protective coating, followed by a cream.  There are a variety of fragrances in addition to La Source.
 
I use it every day when I'm flying, and it's made a world of difference.  My hands are still not as "soft as a baby's bottom," but it's a big improvement.
 
If you fly a lot and have other product recommendations, please let me know. 
 
 
 
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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Goofing Off

You know how it is, don't you.  You're busy.  Too busy to actually take a break and have dinner, return phone calls, spend time with a loved one, read a book, or exercise.  You're parked in front of the computer the whole time you're talking about how busy you are.  Good thing nobody can see you screen or they'd see you current high solitaire or Minesweeper score.
 
If you're "too busy" but still need a little interruption, try the Letters.2 typing game.  At least this time you can claim that it's not goofing off, you're just working on your typing skills.
 
It took me a few seconds to figure out the gist of the game, but my score was 685.
 
 

Friday, November 11, 2005

Light Bulbs

Question of the day:
 
Why do hotel rooms have reading lights by the bed and only put in 25 watt lightbulbs?
 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Non-Smoking Room

On the desk in my hotel room is the following placard:
 
You wanted a non-smoking room.
This room wanted a non-smoking guest.
It's fate.
 
What a nice way to establish the smoking issues without being threatening or negative.
 
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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

French Women Revisited

I finally finished reading French Women Don't Get Fat.  Actually, I finished it about a week ago, and I loved it so much, that I went through it a second time.  I got even more out of on the second go-through.
 
I've tried a couple of the recipes found in the book.  They are delicious!  My favorite (so far, at least) is the Cauliflower Gratin.  Yummmmmmmmm!  Have several more on my list to try as soon as I get a few days off.  I've also been trying to take food from home on my trips.  It's not easy to do, but I've been making the effort.  It's paid off, both in better nutrition and better tasting food.
 
Another practice that I've incorporated into my life is to have a glass or two of wine daily.  I love wine, so this is not a big sacrifice for me.  It's amazing how the simple act of adding wine to a meal changes the experience from eating to dining.  That, I believe, is the whole point.
 
Now, I just need to work on adding chocolate into my daily routine.
 
 
 
 
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What to do During the Safety Demonstration

I stood at the front of the cabin yesterday to perform the federally mandated safety demonstration.  It's required before every take off.
 
My feeling on this is that if I have to do it, you should be courteous enough to watch and listen.  I know you travel ALL the time.  So do I, and I'd wager that you are not as well versed on each and every one of the aircraft that you fly on as you may think you are.  So is your attention for a couple short minutes really to much to ask? 
 
Here's what's not courteous:
 
Trying to talk louder than the safety announcement, and raising your voice each time the announcer voice tries to talk loud enough to be heard over you.  It's only a few minutes of your time, just shut up.
 
Ringing your call button to request a pillow or blanket.  If you don't have one by now, they are probably all gone or they aren't onboard at all.  During the safety demonstration safety comes first.  Only ring your call button if it's an emergency.  When we're finished with the demo we'll deal with all the other passenger convenience issues.
 
Sneaking out your cell phone to make a quick last call.  We can see you.  We can hear you. We've already told you to turn it off, and now we'll interrupt everything and stand here until you do.  You are holding up the departure process and everyone else is going to be irritated with you.  I know you don't care.  But you should.
 
Unbuckling your seat belt to stand up and get into the overhead bins.  We're doing the safety demo because we're leaving.  This means sit down.  If it's important, please ask us for assistance when we finish the safety demo.  Otherwise, just sit there until we get up to altitude.
 
Acting out the safety demonstration from your seat.  We've seen it before.  It's not new or funny, and it hasn't been since the first hundred times we saw it during our first month on the job.
 
So what should you do during the safety demonstration?
 
Do what I do when I travel as a passenger:  I stop talking, set aside my reading material and pay attention to what's been said and demonstrated.  I hope you never have to find out, but it may be the best spent three minutes of your life.
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Work to Live or Live to Work

No matter what you do for a living, there is always a struggle for balance between your work life and your family/personal life.   We all want to support ourselves and our families at some minimal level, at least.  I'd hazard a guess that most of want some of the extras of life as well.  The little luxuries (however we individual define that term) that bring joy to our lives.
 
We want the money that supports and comfortable and enoyable life style.  But we don't want to become slaves to our jobs.  Work drones are no fun.
 
Pilots and flight attendants struggle with this issue with farther reaching ramifications that many in the 9-5 life.  When we're at work, we're not only away from our families -- we're away from home.  We don't have the ability to quickly take a break from work to attend an event.  There's no guarantee that we'll be home on time to make it to a conference.  Even on our days of we have to avoid answering the phone in case it's crew scheduling assigning us an extra trip -- an extra trip on our day off that we are not permitted to refuse.
 
Jeff, a pilot, does a nice job of explaining how he makes his decision in "Living the Dream." and gives us all something to think about.
 
I'm thinking about what my important "extras" are:  travel, shoes (hey, I'm a girl), a nice home, financially supporting causes that I believe in, Starbuck's coffee, and spending time with friends.  I'm willing to work to support those extras, but when my relationships with family and friends starts suffering, I know that it's time to pull back and reassess.  It's a constant process of realigning my priorities.  Balancing is not easy.
 
 
 
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Independence Air Files Bankruptcy

Dulles based (Washington D.C.) Independence Air has filed for bankruptcy.  Charging fares far below operating costs finally caught up with them, and cash reserves to cover operating costs are dwindling.  Creditors and employees are no longer willing to subsidize consumer travel by taking cuts or re-negotiating contracts for a failing business with no business plan to turn things around.
 
The Washington Post is encouraging travelers to use up or cash in their frequent flyer miles:  The Dulles-based airline said yesterday it hopes to auction some of its assets or find an equity investor by Jan. 5. Without the additional cash, most observers say it's unlikely Independence will be able to emerge.
 
And The Charlotte Observer adds:  Analysts said they believe raising money to continue operating is a longshot because the company has consistently lost money since becoming an independent airline last year.
 
I guess $29 and $49 fares isn't such a good business model after all.
 
 
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Monday, November 07, 2005

Parenting: A Full Time Job

I've been absent for a few days, and it wasn't exactly planned.  Well, part of it was planned:  I agreed to provide childcare for my 2 1/2 year old nephew for a few days.  The part that wasn't planned:  That it would consume virtually every waking hour of the day, then to be followed by an exhausting sleep, leaving me no brain power for creativing nor energy for anything else.
 
The fact that I didn't realize that child care for a smart, busy two year old should be so time consuming is a tip off that I'm childless.  I know this lovely little boy as the one who always snuggles with me, smothering me with hugs and kisses.  His cute little face gazes lovingly at me while we color or play games.  He peacefully falls asleep while I rock him, or read him a bedtime story.  In other words, the perfect child.
 
Reality check!  Toddlers are not always like this!  Not even my loving, beautiful little nephew.
 
I'm back to work today, and my nephew is back with his mom and dad.  I never realized how many more free hours in a day working a full time job would give me.  Hats off to all the parents out there!
 
 

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Live Like You Were Dying

I had to go to a funeral today.  Well, actually it was a memorial service, but in my book it's the same thing, just no casket.
 
These services are never easy, but this one today was especially tough.  It was for a young pilot with whom I work.  Or I should say used to work with -- before he was diagnosed with cancer -- and most of the people that I knew at the service were there dressed in uniform.  We honored him by wearing the uniform of a job that he was so very proud to have.
 
Captain John was diagnosed with cancer just after he upgraded to the left seat.  For much of his career after that he was off on sick leave, returning to flight duty only once during a one-year remission.  A remission that was all too short.
 
Captain John knew he was dying, and it was both a blessing and a curse to him.  Sure, he was in pain, and suffered the indignities of treatments that didn't work.  However, he still lived life to its fullest.  Every single day.  Something that I know more of us wish we could say. 
 
He had time to prepare for death, and went about saying his good byes to family, friends and co-workers.  He was a meticulous pilot, and his attention to detail came through at his services today.  He planned every bit of today's event, from the choice of scriptures to be read, the people who spoke, the music, and the playing of a goodbye video shot at a time when his health was stronger. 
 
Rather than being sad or maudlin, it brought laughter to everyone:  it was Captain John, doing the pre-flight and running down the checklist for his final flight.  Rest in peace, my friend.