Friday, November 21, 2008

A Thanksgiving Note From Monika

In the process of getting started in business, I've done a lot of traveling. It has really opened my eyes to the ins and outs of the aviation industry.

On a red eye flight to Shreveport, I learned that due to heat, my bag had been chosen to be pitched off of the regional flight in Dallas...I had to do my professional presentation in the jeans and t-shirt I'd worn for the trip.

Another time I showed up for a Baltimore-Providence flight, the day before the big Red Sox World Series victory party and, feverish with the flu, had to vie for a slot in the security line with every rabid sports fan who was able to get a seat to the big party in Boston. And I, for some unknown godforsaken reason, had packed a SCREWDRIVER in my bag and had to be escorted out of the line for a personal search and to start over again.

These escapades, well, maybe minus the screwdriver, are just every day business for flight crews.

Cranky travel mates.

Weather delays.

Getting to a destination later than restaurants and room service are open.

Coming home wanting nothing more than to eat real food and wash off that "tarmac face" in the comfort of familiar surroundings. Spending one day off catching up on sleep, another running errands, and the other packing for the next trip.

This is just life for pilots and flight attendants. We tend to romanticize jobs in aviation but the truth is, those jobs are, more often than not, grueling, stressful, and requiring a whole lot of sacrifice.

One of my very good friends, midwinter, moved from Phoenix to Barrow, Alaska, when a job came open that would give her the hours she needed for to finally qualify for an airline job.

Another dear friend has made me keenly aware of the challenges of making and keeping close friends when your job has you working most weekends and holidays, and every single merger and cutback threatens to directly impact your day to day life.

Another friend, married to a pilot, happily moves every few years to accommodate the career changes her husband must accept in order to advance.

Still another inspires me with her cheerful attitude and support of her husband, despite the fact that they have to spend so much time apart from each other.

Knowing all of these people has helped me to realize how important life's simple pleasures can be. Routine. Workouts. Homemade coffee. Adequate sleep. Friends and family who are there 24/7.

The people who live like this, the ones who make sure that when I'm in Baltimore, I make it to Providence, and who cheerfully get me home from Shreveport when I'm sleep deprived and cranky, are people I truly appreciate. No matter what time of day, what the weather, what they personally feel like when they show up for work, I get to my destination safely. And for that I am grateful.

I hope that as Diane and I progress with Air Vitals, that we give back to people who are often treated poorly and whose service is not always adequately appreciated. I hope we give you thoughts and ideas and resources that serve and support you in ways you deserve.

I hope that wherever you are when you read this, that you know you are noticed and very much valued for the hard work that you do.

Happy Thanksgiving, flight crews! :)

Monika M. Woolsey, MS, RD
Co-owner, Air Vitals

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