JL proposes under N300SW, the first Boeing 737-300, now at Frontiers of Flight Museum – Photo: Allan Klueckman (My brother)
In most standard relationships, AvGeeks are hard to love. Consider the effects of our passion: we are either always gone, pining to be gone, or perhaps spending hours on end stalking planes at the nearest airport. My friends and I often joke about how “mixed” relationships (that is, relationships with just one AvGeek partnered with a “muggle” – an outsider) are difficult in that there is a lot of compromise and time apart. It can add additional friction and baggage to the already complex reality of finding the perfect partner.
Consider for a moment that happiness is attainable to all. For most of my adult life, I didn’t believe that. The fact of the matter is, AvGeeks are hard to love. Of course, the solution is easy – find someone with similar passions and interests, things that you can bond over. Except upon a survey of the AvGeek landscape, it becomes apparent that women are an extreme minority. Much has been written about the severe lack of women in aviation, a concerning trend that unfortunately extends across most STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) industries.
Being a rational person I recognized that my passion would statistically put me at a disadvantage against my non-plane obsessed peers. Imagine how excited I am to come to you today (on Valentine’s day no less!) to tell you my AvGeek passion didn’t get in my way. Instead, it was the catalyst and enabler for my relationship with my now fiance and best friend…
“You’re crazy!” That’s the most common reaction I get from non-AvGeeks after describing in detail one of my typical “plane crazy” trips. Unlike a normal person, my travel tends to focus not on the destination, but the journey. That is, the airlines, airplanes, airports, and last but most certainly not least: hap-hazard routing in an effort to add the most diversity to my route map. I just completed one such trip, which I affectionately referred to as my #AirlineSampler.
Planning for this 6k (5,966) mile trek began when I learned United would briefly return a 787 to domestic service. What began as a trip to fly on my first 787 quickly escalated into a cobweb of lines I’d lay across the Great American West (for Missourians, everything west of the arch is west). The trip ended in just under four days, having flown with five airlines and visiting eight airports along the way. Better yet, these would be my very first trips with three of the airlines.
A United Airlines’ Boeing 787-8 – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter
The experiences I had over this long weekend were both incredible and eye-opening. I want to have enough “runway” as it were to discuss my thoughts on each of the airlines, so we’ll spread these out across a number of posts. At this point, it’s important to note these reviews will be from the perspective of a frequent flier who purposefully chooses Southwest over the other guys most times. I’ve written extensively about my love for Southwest so, for the most part, I’ll leave them out of this series which was focused solely on getting out and exploring the what airline diversity remains in the US. For continuity, I’ll note where I used Southwest for re-positioning and leave it at that.