Saturday, March 13, 2010

What I really meant was (Part II)

My job isn't rocket science, I don't save lives, I don't contribute toward world peace or solve world hunger. I do delight some customers and travel agents, though, and I do add to the bottom line of my airline. Mostly I keep my management team happy, too.

And United, on the whole, when I get past the trite and annoying stuff that is part of almost any job, has been good to me. Very good to me. It has changed my life.

Because of United, I was in the Denver airport that day in May 1991 when I ran into Cameron Larson after 12 years. Because of United, I was able to fly often to LAX to start and keep the relationship going. We dated long distance Fresno to LA, San Diego to LA, San Diego to Detroit, Detroit to Chicago. UA helped keep us going.

Because of United I reunited with Cam and we married and life is good.

Because of United I have flown First Class to London on BA, to Tokyo on JAL, Business Class to Copenhagen on SAS, Business Class to Brussels on City Bird. I've flown First or Business Class on United to Paris, Buenos Aires, Osaka, Sydney, London, Frankfurt, Milan, Melbourne, Montevideo, Hong Kong, Geneva, Dusseldorf, Bangkok, Jamaica and many domestic destinations.

I could go into what I was able to do at those destinations: scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef, sail the Whitsundays, drink wine in Argentina, whitewater rafting in Costa Rica, see family in Denmark, but that would be several more posts...

Because of United I have seen much of the world and will continue to see more and life is good.

Because of United I have flown in the cockpit of a DC-10 freighter out of Anchorage, over glaciers, past Denali and into Chicago. I have sat in the cockpit of the Concorde at the BA hanger in Heathrow.

Because of United I have been the only caucasian female in a room full of Chinese men in Beijing, negotiating a contract on maintenance services for Air China at UA staffed airports. I have toured aircraft maintenance facilities in Mallorca, Taiwan, Uruguay, San Francisco. I have been the United representative to international conferences on Line Maintenance in Bangkok and Vancouver.

I have coached senior leadership in divisions that were new to me and had them value my opinion. They have made changes based on my input. I have presented to the CEO, Chairman of the Board, President, numerous officers and management on how to make the airline better. I have had a hand in saving UA $20 million following the dark times of 9/11.

I worked with two families of passengers who were lost on UA93 on September 11, 2001 in a field in Western Pennsylvania. I shared their grief and for 10 days I was their connection. I don't talk about that much, but it has profoundly impacted me and I am probably better becasue of that experience.

Because of United I have lived in LA, Fresno, San Diego and the Chicago suburbs, and I have been able to see my family every year at Christmas.

Because of United I spent a week on Maui, a long weekend in New York, 5 days in Sydney, and ridden the Eastern Orient Express through Southeast Asia, all expenses paid.

I have survived the elimination of my job twice and landed each time in a great gig. I have made life long friends who enrich my life daily. I have someone on an airplane right now coming to visit, because of United.

I have spent 21 years 3 months and 15 days as a proud UA employee.

What I really meant to say was thank you United for supporting me and giving me incredible opportunities. Life is good.

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