2013 has “flown” by – pun intended.
In a little more than a year – 53 weeks, to be exact – we’ve managed to fly 25 different weekends. Of those weekends, 18 involved either a one way or round trip standby flight.
Most of the time, it worked pretty flawlessly. But nothing was guaranteed, and there were occasions where we had to get home to Phoenix from Minnesota by way of Charlotte and Orlando, from Chicago by way of Philadelphia or, in one extreme case, to Paris by way of the last two seats on a flight to London. That one was lucky, considering our only other option had been cancelled.
I calculated these statistics not to show how insane we are – though the five straight weekends in June and July were a little nutty – but to comment on what a ride it has been since we moved to Arizona and Bobby began working for US Airways. Remember this randomly crooked photo?
Working for an airline allowed Bobby – and me, through Bobby – to experience firsthand that flight benefits can be pretty awesome (or pretty chaotic, depending on the trip). The catch is that they also require you to become more spontaneous.
Something that, up until 53 weeks ago, I certainly was not.
I’m a planner. Call me Type A, but the thought of not knowing whether you would be guaranteed a spot on a plane until 30 minutes before takeoff was at first immensely terrifying to me. Sure, there were those rare occasions where there were 50 seats available on the morning of the flight and you knew without a doubt that the trip was happening. But more often than not, those 50 seats quickly managed to drop to 25…then 15…then 10…and a couple of times, to zero.
Yep. Terrifying – and potentially frustrating. But when taking advantage of a benefit that had been offered, the last thing we ever did was complain. And as the weeks went by, we began getting the hang of the process and learning tricks of the trade: the best time of day to fly, best weekends to fly, cities to avoid standby on completely, alternate routes in case of emergency and so much more.
Dare I say it? I became good at being spontaneous. (Still afraid of flying, but that’s another story.)
Though sometimes this spontaneity meant having to leave at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning rather than the more desirable late afternoon flight, we began viewing the negative – having a few less hours to spend with family and friends – as a positive – well hey, at least we’re getting to see these family and friends more often than we ever would have otherwise. We also became experts at cramming as much activity into a 48-hour window as possible.
But the best part about the entire journey? Bobby has loved his job. Standby flights on the weekends have been nice, but having great people to work with and great projects to work on during the week has been even better. Which is why it was very bittersweet when a few weeks ago, he decided to accept a new opportunity that unexpectedly came his way.
With the impending merger with American Airlines, we knew from the beginning there was a good possibility that US Airways would ultimately move its headquarters to Dallas. We weren’t sure when exactly, but it was always looming on the horizon. Eventually, we would have to make a choice.
Stay or go? Go or stay? As you may have guessed by reading this blog, we’ve fallen in love with Phoenix and are very happy to be close to family. So when this particular opportunity came up, one that intrigued Bobby, was close to home and matched well with his skill set, he decided to take it.
Today, he began a new journey, one that he is equally excited about. And I’m so proud of him. I even managed to take a picture to commemorate the occasion that was right side up this time.
Though we may not have the benefit of being able to fly somewhere last minute on the weekends anymore, we’re excited to trade spontaneity for a bit more stability. Now we have the chance to explore all that the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. It’s going to be a nice change of pace.
Maybe, just maybe, not traveling on weekends will also translate into new recipe adventures, too.
One journey at a time. Congratulations, Bobby!