3.21.2006

come fly with me...


I read this article in the Times with interest. I grew up in an aviation household. My grandfather was a vice president with Piedmont Airlines
and my father was a pilot with Piedmont and later with U.S. Airways. I have even logged a few minutes in the cockpit myself. Anyway, I flew on
free passes until I was 21, and then after that, before my father retired, we flew on something called "buddy passes". Airline employees were given
5 or so of these a year that they could give to friends, family, whomever. They cost 10% of the full walk-up fare of a specific ticket. $900 fare = $90 in the
buddy system. Sounds pretty good, huh? The problem is that the seats are not positive. So heading to the airport was never a relaxing experience (was it ever?) because
you had to constantly call a number asking about load numbers before departure, and then once you got to the airport, it was never a guarantee that you would make it on. So you had
to hover around the ticket counter (the agents love that!) to make sure that you were not skipped over for seats. Anybody ever fly standby? You get the picture. When we flew
to Detroit to help my sister move back in 2003 and we had to run through the airport carrying our shoes to try to make a 6:15am flight to Charlotte, we said never again. The buddy system
was soon after discontinued. Good riddance. Check out this book for better aviation stories.
[photo credit: NY TIMES, March 21, 2006]

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