Life is like a box of chocolates…

Over the past two weeks things have begun to pick up again. Last week we traveled up to Tulsa, Oklahoma to get a tour of one of our biggest maintenance facilities. After flying up to Tulsa we waited in the baggage area for several minutes for our contact. After no sign and a failed attempt to reach him by phone we call our intern coordinator back in Dallas. Apparently 20 minutes before we landed, our guide got called into mechanic contact negotiations. (That’s another thing I didn’t realize until this summer, that every work group in this industry is almost constantly negotiating for a better contract.) But stuck in Tulsa we were, and not wanting to sit and wait for our afternoon flight home we began to scheme. From Tulsa there is a limited number of American destinations to fly to, the two biggest being Dallas and Chicago. Knowing that we didn’t want to go back to Dallas (and the daily work) we decided that Chicago style deep dish would be an excellent dinner option.

With a quick call back to Dallas to receive permission to proceed with our “base visit” in Chicago because we didn’t want to “waste the day” we were on an aircraft bound for Chicago within the hour. We actually did make good on our word by meeting up with our intern who is working out of Chicago this summer. He took us up to the American ramp tower, down to the American Airlines crew quarters underneath the terminal, and out on the ramp, which was awesome. As we were about to go on the ramp our Chicago intern said, “now when I open this door there should be a big plane here,” as the door swung open there in massive form was an Iberian A340, which I say is a pretty large plane. The pilots actually have their names written on the side of it! Getting the chance to walk on any ramp is a cool experience, but getting to walk around the ramp at Chicago O’Hare – now that’s just plain sweet.

After our ramp tour we headed into Chicago for dinner and by 10pm I was back in my crash pad in Dallas. There is something almost magical about being able to do this kind of travel. I mean really, Chicago for dinner when you are living in Texas??? Who does that?

After a couple more days in the office it was time for the weekend and more traveling. One place I hadn’t visited yet this summer was the northeast, and so, there we were Friday headed to Newark to spend the weekend in New York. Never having gone to New York, I was apprehensive as to what the Big Apple was going to be like. Overall I would say that I enjoyed the big city and I’m sure if you are a person who loves big cities you would enjoy it even more. I couldn’t believe how hot it was though…and no breeze! The public transportation makes it fairly easy to get around but sometimes it takes a while to get from place to place. We hit all of the major tourist spots and had fun bargaining for knockoff colognes and purses. We went down to ground zero and without getting into that, which I would say is a personal and unique experience for everyone, one quote I did see at the site that I will include went something to the effect of “don’t forget the past, but live in the future.”

The following week of work was interesting. With a base chief meeting here in Dallas, all of the chiefs from around the country were here. Another intern who works with the chief in Miami was also in town for a simulator session and had been invited to go out to eat with the chiefs. Waiting to tag along for dinner also, I randomly bumped into my bosses’ boss, who introduced me to one of the guys who works strategy for American. Here, in a moment of immense fate, I had my next break on my project. After explaining what I was doing, the strategy guy invited me to present my research a week later (this Wednesday) to a group he was supposed to be speaking to. Now this was great but since I hadn’t put a lot of time into the project since the beginning of July you can figure out what I have been up to the past week here.

But it is just crazy how the industry works. You never know who you will bump into and when and what kind of break you might get. But I am excited about presenting to more people and the fact that my research will not go to waste is a relief.

This past weekend we were back in the northeast. On Friday at 3:00pm we still had no idea where we were going to go. By the time I left work I was on the standby list for a flight to Hartford, Connecticut with no real plans. We ended up doing a road trip out of Hartford on Saturday, driving from there to Providence, Rhode Island and then up the coast through Plymouth, and through Boston, Mass. From there we continued north through the tip of New Hampshire and into Maine. We hung out by the water for a while and then got a lobster at a restaurant on the water. The temperature was incredible, nice and cool, a great break from Dallas. Flying back to Dallas on Sunday morning from Boston ended yet another amazing weekend of travel and added more memories to an already unforgettable summer.