Stacy's Place on Earth
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006:
To be or not to be United?
This post was not supposed to be about me, but it sure ended up that way. I used to work for an airline (yep, United) and have been fascinated by the business ever since I was on my first flight at the age of 16, which wasn't on United, but it planted a seed in my mind that my high school guidance counselor tried to dig out by the roots, insisting that my intention to work in the travel industry was unrealistic. But when I graduated high school, I did not go on to college to pursue a degree in whatever. Instead, when I was 19, I was hired by UAL after attending a travel school in Minneapolis. It was my first "real" job, and I traveled 560+ miles from home to begin a career in what I still consider to be an exciting if unstable industry. Ironically enough, every position I had with United was actually totally unrelated to the airline. But it didn't dampen my fascination a bit. I love the sound of a jet taking off from the runway. Now, I hear that rumble several times a day, and when I pay attention to it, my mind wanders and I imagine just what type of exotic or mundane location the plane is headed towards. Right this very minute, at 9:17pm, a jet has taken off and flown over my house. Just where could it be headed, I wonder?

Even though I am no longer working for UAL, it still holds a place in my heart, and that's because of the amazing people that hold it together - the employees. United was always a very family-oriented company, and in a time where other businesses, even other airlines, shied away from or just plain prohibited family members from working at the same company, United was the exact opposite, and made no secret of that fact. It wasn't unusual for spouses, children, or siblings to work together in the same department or division. I think that is why so many employees stuck with the company throughout the worst of times, despite paycuts, furloughs, outsourcing, and all the other evils that take place in a troubled organization. In spite it all, I believe the employees were proud of the family-based company they worked for and helped create. It was an amazing place to work.

Times are different now, and there is still the faint beating of the old United's heart, but it's not the company it once was, and probably never will be again. Still, it's in my blood, and I continue to stay in contact with many of the employees even today. Others may think what they will of United, and they are certainly entitled, and I may even agree with some, or a lot, of what people believe, but it will never take away my affection for this company, or maybe I should say my affection for the heart of the company - the employees.

Of course an airline cannot run without several very specialized groups of employees, one of them being the pilots. I was originally going to call this post "A day in the life of a pilot: a unique perspective from a romance writer", but then I realized it had more of myself in it that I originally intended. Yet the inspiration behind this post came from another blog - that of romance writer Susan Grant. Susan has a blog that describes the events in her career as a United Airlines pilot, and knowing what I know, I am even more intrigued by the day-to-day operations. Here is a recent post she wrote about a mandatory part of her job. I hope you find her observations as interesting as I do. I think I might even know who she's talking about, but her secret is safe with me. And remember: fly United. Or at least buy Susan's books.

3 Comments

  1. Hey Stacy! I started reading Susan's blog when you mentioned it at the Vamps and Scamps group a while back and I love it:) I've always been fascinated with flying as well which is a bit odd as I'm afraid of heights. Maybe I'm okay with it since I've been on planes somewhat regularly since I was just over 1 year old. I've pondered getting a pilot's license, but have yet to do it. Someday, maybe...

    Michelle


  2. Hey Stacy-

    Isn't Susan great? She has a great blog and I always find myself smiling when reading it.

    Speaking of her books have you read them all...I love them too. Are there any you are missing? If so let me know which ones and I might have a spare copy lying around.


  3. Hey Michelle, I agree with you. Good luck on if you decide to get your license. Working for an airline and talking to lots of people who fly themselves, I know it takes time and money...well, what doesn't? Anyway, good luck. And I'm afraid of heights too!

    Hi Barbara, I have a few of Susan's books, not all. Thank you for the offer but I think I'll pass, if only to save my poor tbr pile. I plan on catching up with them over time. I really appreciate the offer :)


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