I started my day in Nashville, Tennessee, a really neat town famous for its country music. I smiled when I saw that even the coded five-letter fixes that define airways over Nashville’s airspace have country music connotations, like "GUITR", "HEHAW", OR "GRRTH". I found the people very friendly too. I love laying over there.
We stayed at the Radisson Friday night. There were many young black men at the hotel, all wearing uniform sweat pants and jackets. I spoke to a couple of them in the elevator, and they said they were part of a college football team from Alabama. They would be playing Tennessee the next day. They were extremely polite and always said, "Yes, sir." I wished them luck and said I’d be rooting for them. It’s September, and football season is upon us. I’ve lived on the East Coast, the Midwest, and the West. I’m now enjoying the South and its hospitality.
Tuesday President Obama will address schools across the country through a televised event. Many are afraid he will try to "indoctrinate" our nation’s children during the current political storm. The school where my kids go to here in Utah has decided to not broadcast his speech. While I’m thankful that schools are still free to choose, I believe that a pep talk from the first African American president can only do some good.
September is about football and politics. It’s also my favorite month to fly. The weather is gorgeous, the thunderstorms have passed, and the people are back at work and school. Our flights are still full, though, which is great to see. When I worked for Independence Air, a start-up airline, I remember sometimes having 10 people on my Regional Jet, an airplane that could seat 50. I remember walking down the aisle before the flight and shaking everyone’s hand, thanking them for their business while secretly worrying about those dismal load factors.
After going through two failed start-ups, you never take full airplanes for granted. And when you make your way through Delta’s busy terminal, slaloming between hurried passengers, their children, and fellow crew members, you can’t help but smile. The airline pilot with a military background -- and who’s never missed a paycheck in his life -- probably can’t relate. Good for him.
Good for me, too.