It truly takes a village

We are just a little less than four weeks away to the start of the event.    The excitement surrounding the event is growing, and for the planning team, so is the anxiety.   The weekly planning conference call this week produced a list of logistics and planning items that is very LONG and daunting.  We are in full now in full implementation mode!

With all of the work and activity going on, I actually spent a few moments reflecting on how lucky we are all to be a part of this event.  This year’s event is larger and the venues even broader, and for me, the hallmark of this event is already taking place – the ability to create a much stronger sense of community.   You can read it in the posts and exchanges on FlyerTalk.  You can see it in the willingness of so many that step up and not only volunteer and help, but to step in and answer other’s questions.  You can see it when individuals spend countless hours pulling their areas of contribution together, making it the best it can be.   You will see it in person at the event from the incredible Delta Employees who are working along side of us to make this a great event and you will certainly see the team of 20+ FlyerTalk volunteers who are now working harder than ever behind the scenes to pull this together.

Many of you will get the chance to reunite with old friends, and many of you will meet and make new friends for the first time.  We will all be a part of an event that will bring fellow FlyerTalk members and literally over a hundred Delta Employees together for four days of fun, learning and excitement with a true sense of community.  I know I speak on behalf of so many when I say, I am proud and honored to be a part of this community!

Before it gets crazy and hectic again, let me pause and say THANK YOU to everyone that is working so hard to help pull this event together.   Your contributions are greatly appreciated by so many!  What a great team of people.

What’s next… stay tuned for the next update and a sneak preview of the day in the life of an Atlanta Worldport Airport Customer Service employee.   Welcome Aboard!

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A few words on volunteering

When Canarsie asked for volunteers, I was ready.  Big C was offering hard work with no pay but he, along with altdlff and WesNSpace, had already put in hundreds of hours coordinating this DO.  My time investment would be negligible.

Turns out I was responsible for the FT shirts.  Fine, I figured it was as simple as write an email or something and that would be it.  Well, nothing is that simple with this DO because our organizers want everything to be just perfect for everyone.

Not complaining at all here, simply highlighting how the Big Three are so totally committed to giving attendees nothing less than the very best.  Take out their part and what we have is a 1-day DO with dinner somewhere.  Everything beyond that is because they have worked tirelessly to make this the Best.Field.Trip.Ever.

Seeing them working so hard, it was easy to say yes to volunteering.  Thanks for letting me give back a little and help all the other volunteers who has given us an event memory that will last a lifetime.

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The people behind the persona’s…

There is A LOT to look forward to at the big ATL DO…. Personally I’m looking forward to meeting people.  As I’m not staying at the hotel I’m making a mental list of fellow flyertalkers who I want to make sure to meet in person.  For instance, is Dovester really a dirty old man, or just the kindly old Yiddish grand pa that every New Yorker seems to know?

Fortunately the registration website (thanks WesNSpace!) has a list of the usernames of attendees.

In addition I’m looking forward to meeting the DL people!  First on my list is WoXof_2p2 who has been answering questions on his own thread.

Then there are the various safetly video people:

ExitRowGirl (if Dovester doesn’t scare her away!)

SeatBelt guy (Frank)

And of course Kat (Deltalina)

In closing I’ll leave y’all with a challenge….anyone look familiar in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56nGk04Roq8

And can we get them to repeat their performance?

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From here to eternity

My definition of “eternity” is 13 hours in an aluminum tube.  That is what I am facing in 28 days, when I get on the 777 in TLV and head to ATL.

I will be in Biz Elite, which does nothing to shorten the flight but at least makes it somewhat more bearable.  I have asked Myself why I am willing to go through this torture and received this reply:

“Because, dummy, you want to go to the Delta Do and learn how to be a gate agent, practice getting out of crashed planes, and have fun in the simulator,” Myself replied.

Of course, that was a pack of lies.  Myself has never been one to tell me the truth.

In reality, I am going because I am a Dirty Old Man and there will be a number of beautiful women there.  Hopefully, these will include several who are either extremely near-sighted or have very bad taste in men.

Then I remembered that I have a UIG (Used Italian Girlfriend) to whom I am always faithful — except, of course, when I am with the Beautiful Brunette who will be waiting for me in Las Vegas after the Do.

I made a solemn oath to Myself that I would not cheat on these two lovely ladies.  Fortunately, what I tell Myself is no more reliable than what Myself tells me.

Of course,  none of my fondest wishes will come true.  There is not even a  hint that Exit Aisle Seat Girl will be at the Do, much less Michelle Pfeiffer, Sarah Palin, Sister Mary Bambi Takamoto, scoow’s Sexy Sister-in-Law, or Traveller’s Incredibly Gorgeous Blonde Sister.

Still, hope does not beat eternal only in the human breast but in mine as well, so I will show up at TLV three hours before my flight (as is requested in Israel), go to the Duty Free to look at all the low-cost booze which I am not allowed to take on a flight to the US, spend some time in the Dan Lounge enjoying the free Diet Coke and non-diet chocolate cake, and then board the never-ending flight.

That, of course, assumes that I can afford the train fare to TLV.  My daughter is paying me a visit on Wednesday and she mentioned something about a shopping mall and my Amex…

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Our Largest DO Yet…..

I’m honored to be attending this DO and to blog about it.

Mrs. Cholula and I are looking forward to seeing old FT friends and making dozens of new friends.

This will be the largest DO we’ve yet attended. Most DO’s in my experience are in the 10-25 person range with some approaching 50 or so. There are those that exceed 100 although we have yet to attend one of that size. This one looks to be in excess of 130 FT’ers.

The challenge will be to meet everybody. That fact that most are staying at the ATL Airport Hilton will help. And the three group dinners will also help us all get to know each other a bit better.

31 days and counting……..

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How do you explain the DO to non-FF?

Flying there in not half  the fun, it’s all the fun…

but how do explain it to others? I have a fellow who hates flying. Yes, you’ve heard it. He would drive from NY to SC and not take an hour flight. Rejected a free conference trip (BE) to the West Coast… well, you know the kind of guy. Just not the flying guy. That’s fine, I am not the cruise guy.

But we are both into numbers. So, the first time I told him how I flew in in less than 2cpm, and cashed them into two business class tickets (more or less 4.6 times the investment), his reaction was “wow!” (but, still, he was more excited about the EU tax refund for shopping… another post, another time). He got the idea of mileage earnings. He understand that sub-context of the medallion world, though he never had to handle the broken award calender… (again, different post, different story).

But, flying for two days (annual vacation time)+weekend+paying, staying near the airport, at the airport, with the planes, and be excited about it? that was above and beyond. So, how do you explain the opprotunities?

So, I tried. I talked with him about the tricks, about the food, about the insights, about having the opprotunity to ask the hard questions, and if you don’t get the answers, have one of the other 100+ people there standing up and say “excuse me, why didn’t you answer dlroads’ question?” (the old fashion school boards trick someone showed me once…), getting to know the people who in-charge of the roads, so you can make it home in case of trouble.  I continued with the SIM (ok, I am thrilled about it, but he hates flying, did I mention that?), and all the readings I did about that, three free dinners (did not buy into it), and drinks (well, I’m not a big drinker either), walk a mile (“ok, you’re paying to work? for free? on weekend? at 5:45am? better have a supermodel as your fellow gate agent!”)

Well, I told him: it’s about people to people. We are spending so much time on the road a year, crossing each other’s routes more than occasionally, but we rarely have a chance to actually stop and talk to each other. And, nothing better than having a picture inside an engine of one of the big birds… (maybe).

And, it’s much warmer in Atlanta in October than it is in New York! that got him… let’s see, maybe he would join now…If not, I’d try convincing him that we can have an auction for a dinner with Deltania, all money raised goes to charity (Now, I just need to get him on a plane to see the safety presentation)

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One month to go!

My flights are finalized, my room is reserved at the host Hilton, I’ve updated my personal info  for the Walk a Mile event, I’ve checked off  the agenda for every possible event, and I am ready! A couple of dinners, some tours, Road Warrior Training, and of course the Simulator!

About all I can do now is monitor the thread on FT every day, and try to explain to friends and relatives what the heck it is I am so excited about…

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