Just one pilot's attempt at taking an interesting picture every trip, often with a story to go with it. Come along for the ride.

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Monday, September 3, 2007

Punta Cana. It's not Brussels.

I've mentioned that September is a month where I'm back on reserve, covering trips that someone either calls in sick for, or were left unfilled in the original bid run. Just as I was getting ready to go out and spread some mulch in the front yard, I got a call from crew scheduling asking if I could make it to the airport in 2 1/2 hours. No problem, I said. "Great. But you're really not going to like this trip," Camille said. I was to deadhead from Boston to Washington National, and then hop in a van and go to Baltimore. Then the next day I would fly from Baltimore to Miami, then on to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and back to Miami where we would lay over. The third day had us flying from Miami to Dallas and then I would deadhead (ride in the back of the plane) home to Boston.

"Ugh, I said. I'm not sure if I could have made up an uglier trip." Camille jokes around a lot. So I was sure she was joking when she said, "You should have taken that Brussels trip."

"Wha, what? What are you talking about?" I stammered.

"You passed on the Brussels trip we offered last night."

"No! I live for trips like that!" I cried (literally, I cried)

After further investigation on Camille's part, it turns out that I had entered a computer code a while back that told crew schedule if there were someone junior to me that I could pass a 4 day trip to, then don't even call me, just pass the trip down to them. I had put that code in back when we were flying some pretty long Caribbean 4 day trip. I now realize just how dumb that was. I mean, what if they needed me to fly a Chicago to Anchorage trip that took 4 days? I would have missed out on a trip I've ALWAYS wanted to fly. Brussels is nearly in that category.

Oh, well. Never again. I pulled that reserve preference out immediately.

Things don't always go smoothly when deadheading on Eagle. Couple that with a surface deadhead (a van) to Baltimore, well, I was expecting the worst. But it went amazingly smooth. I spent the night there updating my Dallas charts, since I fly to Dallas probably once ever two or three years. To help distract me from the mundane task of updating these Jeppesen charts, I watched some college football that I recorded at home, through my laptop using a device called a
SlingBox, which allows for you to watch anything on your Tivo or whatever you have at home. It really comes in handy when you're trying to catch a live NFL game while you're in Europe.

The next morning I managed to find the BWI operations where I would meet up with my captain, Tom. Tom is a young looking but very senior Captain who is about to build his 3rd house using some really efficient techniques, possibly including solar. I love picking the brains of people who are well versed in so many areas.

Even though we had Hurricane Felix a few hundred miles south of the Dominican Republic, our weather was just fine all the way. I had never been to Punta Cana before, so that was something to look forward to, even though we'd be there for just an hour. I managed to take some pictures of the unique airport terminal.

The flight back to Miami was uneventful and while we were waiting for the van to go to the hotel, Tom and I ran into a mutual acquaintance who was also staying at the same crew hotel we were. So we got together near the pool and socialized for a while before dinner. Tom and I were absolutely beat, so we called it an early night.

Under one of those umbrellas down there, we enjoyed the $1 beer and some conversation in Miami:

The flight to DFW was painless, even though I fly there rather infrequently and I wouldn't mind keeping it that way. I couldn't help but check the weather in Brussels throughout the trip. (Partly cloudy and 65 degrees)

Finally, deadheading home I caught up on a few episodes of
"Mile High" the 2003 to 2005 raunchy British TV show about an airline called Fresh Air. I'm embarrassed to say that it hooked me in. This show makes Desperate Housewives look like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.  I put them on the iPhone and now I'm about half way through the 39 episodes.

I have no idea when or where I'll fly next, but you'll be the first to know when I get back from whatever trip it is.  Here's hoping for a Brussels someday.  Thanks for checking in!


Neil said...

Great report Kent! The terminal at Punta Cana sure looks different- thatched roof!

Jamie D said...

Nice Terminal! Thanks for another great trip report!


Chris said...

Hi Kent,
I'm new to this blog but I can already tell that I'm hooked :) I found your site from a youtube video you made of a trip from Boston to Paris. I loved it! I'm very loyal to American Airlines and I'll probably be back many times haha. Anyways there is a video you posted about four entries ago where you videoed a remote control helicopter in Coppell, TX well I live in Coppell, TX so I thought that was pretty funny. Anyways just thought I would say that I love your blog and I can't wait for the next entry!

Kent Wien said...

Welcome Chris! Glad you found the site.

That scene was at a soccer field that's now populated with light poles, so we didn't fly there for long. One of my jobs during my furlough was to manage Airborne Hobbies in Coppell. Maybe you stopped in 12 years ago?

Well, maybe I'll run into you on one of my flights, although I rarely get to Dallas as you can tell...


Ville said...

hi kent,

Thx for great report and nice pics.

This report save my day.


Kent Wien said...

Thanks Ville and welcome!

Dave said...

Great post Kent! Love the terminal at Punta Cana - Brussels is nicer though!


Joseph said...

Nice report Kent. I'm new to your blog. Sorry about Brussels, the weather didn't sound that great. I admire your photography techniques, the pictures always look stunning.

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Grew up in Alaska, went to high school and college in Washington State. Commercial pilot since 1990.

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