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The Wonders of Air Travel

Not applicable
I've written in past blogs about my love for travel. I still find it almost magical that I can wake in New England and then enjoy dinner on the West Coast. A family friend and neighbor is an account executive for a company that manufactures machines that test and repair railroad tracks...get this, his "territory" is all the world except for Asia.  Check that geographical area out on a globe sometime!! His wife gives him shopping lists for items in London, Paris, South Africa, and South America! Wow! My son went skiing in Colorado last week. He left his townhouse in Central Texas in the morning and was at the base of Vail Mountain that afternoon. On his return home, he woke up to 14 degree temps in Breckenridge, Colorado, and six inches of fresh snow, had a crepe at a local eatery, and just a few hours later, via Denver (DEN), was riding his Vespa back in Texas in 62 degree weather...that to me is amazing. I am writing this post by the hotel pool in Ontario, California (ONT). In less than eight hours [including stops in Oakland (OAK) and Las Vegas (LAS)], I will be enjoying the music in a jazz club in the Philadelphia (PHL) theater district. Enough about what I find incredible about the speed of air travel. I'd like to hear some of your magical travel moments. The World's Greatest CEO, our very own Gary Kelly in our inflight magazine Spirit, has urged our Customers to use Southwest's 3,200+ daily flights "to go out and make some memories." Fellow blogger Brian Lusk asked you to tell us about your favorite airports; I'd like to hear about your journeys. Did you wake up single in New Orleans (MSY), and then watch the sunset that evening in Maui (OGG) married to your best friend? Tell us about it! And, as you sit at your keyboard composing your story, I hope the memory brings a smile to your face and a warmth to you heart.
Adventurer C
A few years ago, when I was a Customer Service Agent in ABQ, I asked my wife where she would like to go for lunch to celebrate her birthday. She of course said P.F. Chang's, since one had just recently opened in ABQ, and because it was already one of our favorites (lettuce wraps and The Great Wall of Chocolate...yum!). Well, I decided to throw in a surprise and found out where Chang's was in San Diego, reserved a car, and got a flight set up. The big day came, and shortly after an early breakfast the kids and I told her it was almost time to take her out to lunch. She looked at us a little strangely, but didn't question us too much - it was her birthday after all. So we hopped in the car and headed out. As we got closer to the airport, she realized something was up, and discovered this would be no ordinary birthday lunch. We arrived in SAN right ontime, picked up the car, and made it to Chang's right as they opened. We enjoyed a fabulous lunch and then spent a glorious afternoon exploring SD's beaches. From the larger than life seaweed my son found on Mission Beach, to the...ahem..."piggy-backing"...seagulls my little girl spotted in La Jolla cove, to the gorgeous sunset we witnessed as we lifted off from SAN, the Freedom to Fly provided to us by Southwest truly made my wife's birthday special. And wouldn't you know, her birthday is coming up again in just a few weeks...I think it's time to plan another magical getaway...
Adventurer C
Great post, DEJr! It really is amazing to think of air travel and how quickly one can change surroundings! My favorite recent example is when my hubby and I went to Mexico with my friend Julie and her boyfriend. It was February and literally freezing in Dallas. By noon we were sitting in the sun on the beach drinking electric lemonades. That's what I call Heaven!
Adventurer C
Really great post!! I have a group of friends that I met on a website years ago..For the last 8 or 9 years we have tried to get together at least once a year..These friends are from all over.....Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Minneapolis, New England, Florida, even St. Croix...Just about everywhere... We plan out our adventure and the night before we all post to each other that we will see each other tomorrow.. We try to arrange our flights as closely together as possible and more times than not we have a big group that manages to meet at the airport of our destination.. Generally we have a member that is the host in their hometown and that gives us the opportunity to experience different places each year.. Within a few hours of leaving our home towns we are together, sitting and drinking margaritas, laughing so hard that we hurt and making memories.. Air travel makes all this possible and brings us all together, our friendships have grown and year after year we seem to add some new faces to our group... Like you, I love to travel and it always amazes me that within a very short time I can be a world away from my everyday life, experiencing new places and having the time of my life!
Explorer C
Even though one can fly cross the country in 5 hours or so, I think you can not really appreciate how large and wonderful and different this land is until you have crossed it the hard way. In a '62 VW bus. 10 days. No hotels. When ever I'm looking down from 30,000 feet, I still think of waking up camped in an oil field in Texas or in a turn off on California Rt 1 hearing the seals bark from the shore below. You know Texas is big when it takes 2 days to cross it. SWA makes it almost too easy to travel.
Frequent Flyer B
David, What a great blog piece! I'm pleased to see that even people who fly for a living in the front office of the plane don't get jaded by the marvel of air travel. It was always my desire to never take flying for granted, and from my first flight in a plane, which was as an unaccompanied seven-year-old returning to Dallas from Chicago, to my last flight a few weeks ago, I've never lost the thrill of the whole experience. You're quite right about the ability to experience so many different environments in one day, and in fact, there have been books written about the incredible social impact that commercial flight has had on our culture in the USA. Obviously, with many choices of on-time, short haul flights, Southwest has had a huge impact on life in Texas, much to the dismay of the hotel industry. Years ago, even business trips to cities within the Lone Star State often required overnight stays, but SWA has made it possible to conduct a full day's work elsewhere and still be home at a reasonable time that night. Although I don't have any especially romantic or glamorous trips to describe for this piece, I will relate two examples of how Southwest made it possible for me to travel many miles very easily. For a number of years, I had two business situations that required me to visit a customer's facility once each month. One of those was in Amarillo and one was in Austin. In addition to my other travel, I always blocked out two days of the month for those trips. However, the amount of time that I needed to spend at both places was barely an hour. So, I would go to my office in the morning, work until 10:30 am, drive to Love Field and hop on a plane (no luggage and pre-9/11 security lines) and be in either city, sitting in a favorite restaurant having lunch during the noon hour. A short drive to my customer's place, conduct a bit of business, dawdle on my way back to the airport, catch an afternoon flight and be back at my house before the 5:00 rush hour started and in time to play with my kids for a couple of hours before dinnertime. And all of that was possible thanks to my friends at Southwest! Kim 🙂
Adventurer B
"Did you wake up single in New Orleans (MSY), and then watch the sunset that evening in Maui (OGG) married to your best friend? " Nope. Can't say that I have. Although, that would be a nifty story! It's almost like.... "Hey mom and dad, we got married in Vegas! Little Richard was our pastor, Elvis was my best man, and an alien from Roswell was her bridesmaid!" I will say, I'm not very well traveled. I was raised in the east coast, flew a few times as a child to the Dominican Republic (on EASTERN AIRLINES!), and other than a few flights to PHL, BWI, and one flight to DAL for F.L.Y. class, that's about it. I'm terrified to non rev somewhere and get stranded. I would LOVE to go to OAK, SEA, PDX, and MSY though! I'm planning to go see some relatives in York, PA via BWI though if I can get a few days off in a row. My next few days off I may go see my sister in SAN, or just do a buffet in LAS! I gotta do it sometime!! And a trip back to OGG wwith my wife would be QUITE welcome! You are now free to use your pass privelages.
Explorer C
I know exactly how you feel about the "magic" of travel. I was running in minus 5 degree weather in Berlin, NH one morning, and running on the beach in Honolulu the following afternoon. I often wonder what my Irish ancestors would have made of that. Or my grandfather for that matter. Even better, I like the idea of a blog about airports.. I often compare the experience of landing in America to my experiences landing in foreign countries, and BOY do we have a lot to learn. I pity the poor person who first arrives in America in Miami airport. It is the worst organized, most un-friendly wretched aiport in America, followed closely by LAX. I'd rather land in Islamabad, at least they have a special line for women! I've also done my own personal comparison of the friendliness and efficiency of Airport Security folks. The worst is when you arrive early for a flight and TSA hasn't quite woken up yet. I watched them in Logan. 20 of them, with 100 grumpy coffee-less people waiting. They wandered around, drank coffeee, chatted amongst each other and after about 20 minutes, very very slowly began processing the travelers. That's the un-magic part of flying.
Explorer C
Interesting story, just wondering how true it actually is. Just wondering how 'your' son was able to carry all his ski gear on his Vespa? Is Southwest astroturfing?????
Aviator C
Hey "not posted" before you get so critical, try reading correctly. Captain Evans didn't say his son was riding the Vespa in Colorado. Go back and read what he wrote. He said his son was riding his Vespa in Central Texas a few hours after flying home from Colorado. Methinks the astroturf is in front of your glasses. Blog Boy
Explorer C
Hello Captain-I too feel the magic and am truly sorry for those who never even look out the window. In 1973 two friends and myself were doing day and a half presentations around the country. On this segment going to Denver we were on Eastern out of Atlanta and the same plane became Braniff in Memphis. Who can remember those days? Anyway, with a weekend to kill between Denver and San Francisco we decided to do Fri. and Sat. nites in Vegas. On Sun. afternoon the temperature posted on the Sands sign (do they still have that?) was 108. We were on a Hughes Air West (is that what those yellow planes were called?) DC9-10 and it was full. We had the longest takeoff rool I've ever experienced-I was really beginning to wonder if it would ever rotate. When we got to Frisco in about 1 1/2 hrs. it was 52 (this was in July) and we felt hypothermic. I believe that's the only time I've ever experienced that much of a temp. difference, much less than the difference in basic local culture, in such a short amount of time. It also makes me appreciate the more efficient and powerful engines we have now.
Frequent Flyer B
I don't know what made me think of this again now, but anyway, here it is. Last October, I'd arrived back at home from my first of two CSA interviews in CMH. After I'd picked up my check-in bag, I went down to the SWA ticket counter to see my two friends who work there. Later, a man (I'd say he was in his 20s) came to check in with his grandma; they were going to DAL. One of my friends checked them in, & the other had to go up to baggage services. The young man came up, introduced himself, & we visited briefly. I introduced myself, too. He then walked up to the counter for a few minutes, came back, and said, "Here. I want you to have this." He'd written his name, number, & address on a luggage tag! I said, "Okay, thanks" in a surprised voice. I didn't give him mine. Then, he & his grandma headed upstairs to the gate. My friend checking them in saw it, & I later told my other friend about it. I felt like there was something not quite right about the man & am glad I didn't give out my number, etc. My friend who checked them in noticed something different about him, too. I heard a story involving him, & our feelings were right! It was quite interesting! P.S. I have my pictures taken with some of the whole crew from several of my flights, & some of the pilots are cute! 🙂 One of them even looks like one of our former associate ministers! 🙂 SWA LUV!
Explorer C
You're sooooo right, Captain Dave. I'll fight you for a window seat, because watching the beauty of the world slip past beneath you is the greatest in-flight entertainment there is. In Las Vegas, it costs $500 bucks for a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, but you guys include that for free! You also flew me over Meteor Crater once and saved me hours of driving. On a recent trip to Seattle, I told my son that he was a waste of a window seat, because he slept the whole way, while I saw the route that Lewis and Clark took, the Cascades Range AND the Space Needle. His reply? "Your trip was 4 hours; mine was 10 minutes". College kids...
Explorer C
If the plane holds 137 passengers, then why are there usually only 50 seats in the gate area? Wouldnt it be nice if the gate area was a mock up of the 137 seats on the plane, then you would have plenty of time to pre-plan your seating options.
Explorer C
i am interesting in a tiket to panpma city panama
Explorer C
As I think about this insane, spontaneous thought, I astonish myself. Maybe Southwest can help find him; maybe a SW blogger can help. On Saturday, July 7, 2007 I was traveling on Southwest Airlines from Seattle to Tucson, AZ. While waiting at Sea-Tac terminal I notice a man in a yellow shirt, jeans and nice shoes; with a young boy waiting for the same flight out of Seattle. He surprises me when he tells me (as I find a seat). Ã