Slowly, but surely, every corporate job turns its unwitting laborers into drones, even zombies. Try as I might, I have not escaped the ranks of the seemingly undead. However, today I had a uniquely corporate experience that has breathed some new life into me. In the line of my duties, I was invited to attend a client meeting at a location not served by commercial airlines. In order to get to and from the meeting, I had the chance to take a “company plane.” It wasn’t a long flight, only about an hour, but it ranks as one of the most unusual and memorable air travel experience I have ever had.
The outbound flight didn’t allow for much enjoyment of the travel experience; everyone on the flight was keenly focused on the meeting ahead and making final preparations. The flight was most remarkable primarily because it checked all the boxes that justify expensive corporate fleet budgets: maximizing use of time, providing access to remote destinations, and privacy. (Yes, I have revealed hints about the location and participants of this meeting in this blog post, but not enough to compromise the goals of the meeting.) The return flight was much more memorable.
Although the plane left early, we departed the airport about 10 minutes after arrival. No check-in, no boarding pass, no TSA, and all passengers had priority seating. From the moment the plane left the ground, the commute was smooth, fast, and uninterrupted. Today, absent from my commute were the usual lurching of stop-and-go drivers, my front row-seat to Houston’s gridlock, and the not irregular punishment of sitting next to a 400-pound bus rider. Instead, I rode in ease and comfort on a Falcon 2000. As I read through the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, I was easily able to focus on the stories about improvements to the labor market statistics, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s annoucement about drilling approvals in Eastern Utah, and a recipe for wood-smoked cauliflower. Breakfast fare was modest, a sausage and cheese kolache, but tasty nonetheless. The only distraction from my news and breakfast was the explosion of light as we breached the dense cloud layer and, later in the flight, the always remarkable view of Houston’s vast industrial chemical and petroleum complex. Yes, I felt like a fat cat in fancy pants. If this is what drinking the corporate Kool-Aid is all about, pour me another glass.
After the flight, I tried to bend the ear of the pilot and ask him a few questions about the plane and life as the pilot of a private aircraft. He seemed to have pressing duties, so I didn’t learn much before thanking him for his time and letting him go. All the same, the experience made me that much more eager to undergo flight training. Constraints on my time have not allowed me to devote as much effort to the Wings2Wings project as I would like. However, I think it’s time to raise it up the priority list. Anyone want to trade for a couple of Admirals Club Passes?
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