Perspectives on Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral Issues: Host – Lowell Qualls

Posts tagged ‘American Airlines’

People Watching – Maui Style

I’m a people watcher.  Are you?

waiting-in-maui-airport.jpgI had a wonderful occasion to watch people … all strangers … over the last 24 hours.  About 175 people arrived at Maui’s airport to fly back to the mainland.  Dallas was our destination – about a seven hour flight, give or take, depending on the jet stream.  From Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, we would fan out from there – one guy to Brazil, one lovely lady to New York’s Hudson’s valley, another guy to St. Louis, a couple to Florida.  Me?  Back to Richmond, Virginia.

American Airlines is a great airline.  I love their reach.  British Air, Quantas, and Cathay Airlines are a few of their partners.  American fits most of my world travels.

Last night our AA 767 had mechanical problems, so we had to deplane and wait for repairs.  It turned out that our plane needed a part, and that the repairs couldn’t be done until today.  American put us up in a really nice hotel, The Grand Wailea, and gave us a food voucher.  The other passengers and myself didn’t get to enjoy all the fantastic amenities of this “Five Diamond” hotel, but we did get a decent rest.

Up at 3:15 AM, on the bus by 4, and back to the airport at 4:40.  Whew!

It’s now 11:15 AM, and we’re still not on the plane.  The repair part the mechanics needed and ordered for American Flight 6 came in, sort of.  Turns out whoever does the part-sending-out sent the wrong one.  Hmm.

But I gotta tell you, if you’re going to be delayed … and delays happen … you will want to have a similar experience to mine.  American employees (from the pilots and flight attendants to the mechanics) at Maui’s airport are the best, and they have gate and ticket agents you’ve only imagined in your dreams.  Every one is full of ALOHA!  Each person waiting on us has been so sweet.  And nice.  (You can’t teach the kind of “nice and sweet” we experienced, and you certainly can’t put it in a policy manual.)

I’m not sure when we’ll get off the ground, but being safe is better than being on time, right?

And if you’re going to be delayed at an airport, wouldn’t it be great if everyone you had to work with was sweet and nice?

Another mind-blowing observation I made today is … surprise … how nice MOST of the passengers have been.  Oh, there’s a few boneheads who have complained about anything/everything, maybe because of brain damage or a shallow gene pool.  Whatever.  Why make it tough on the people around you, or the children with you?

Anyway, back to “the MOST.”  Former strangers have chatted, shared stories, and been downright friendly.  Smiles were the rule, not the exception.  I watched one family do homework together, the dad quizzing his kids on math and English while the mom sat close by, smiling and encouraging.

Human beings, when tested, can show such cool and admirable qualities.  True character comes to the surface when put to the fire.

How’s your day?

Think about it.

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport – Tornados Cancel Flights

img_0539.jpg

ANABELLE GARAY, an Associated Press Writer, made this report (© 2008 The Associated Press):

DALLAS — A series of storms packing strong winds and heavy rains hit North Texas on Tuesday, grounding hundreds of flights, forcing an airport control tower to evacuate briefly and sending floodwaters spilling into Dallas-area streets.  Winds of more than 100 mph briefly were reported at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where lightning struck a ramp earlier Tuesday.  Airport officials said the strongest winds occurred in microbursts and caused no damage.  More than half of the 950 flights for all airlines scheduled to depart DFW on Tuesday were canceled, airport officials said.  More than 100 incoming flights were diverted.

“This is one of the most vicious thunderstorms DFW has seen in quite some time, especially its ongoing intensity,” said airport spokesman Ken Capps.  “We know it can be frustrating for passengers, but everyone’s top priority is their safety.”

It’s unclear how many travelers were affected by the cancellations, but airport officials estimate about 160,000 passengers pass through DFW each day.

Federal Aviation Administration officials evacuated DFW’s west tower for about 15 minutes after seeing a funnel cloud over a highway.  A funnel cloud was also spotted over Lake Lewisville, just north of the airport.

South Dallas had around 4 1/2 to 5 inches of rain by late afternoon, said Ted Ryan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

—————————————-

I was on one of those “100 incoming flights” that was diverted away from the dangerous storms that struck the Dallas/Fort Worth area today.  American Airlines flight 343 out of Richmond, Virginia, ended up going to Houston instead of Dallas, and we – the passengers and me – stayed in Houston for six hours before finally arriving at our intended destination.  I missed my connecting flight.img_0537.jpg

Big deal!

Being safe was a lot more important than being on time today.  For me, I think I had my priorities straight in my own mind.  And while sleeping on a cot in DFW International is not as comfortable as my own bed, I’

d much rather be on a cot than in a body bag.  Perspective.

There were a few boneheads complaining about the weather, and cancelled flights … but very, very few.  Most of the people (99.99%) that ended up at DFW this evening didn’t make life miserable for themselves and others.  And I’

m choosing not to focus on that .01% that make you scratch your head and wonder where they were when common sense img_0532.jpgwas being handed out.

As I lay my head down tonight in Terminal D – DFW, I’m reminded of this Psalm:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 

He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  (Psalm 91, NIV, selected verses)

Thank You, God, for protecting me today.