After about eleven days in Kansas City, it was time to begin the return trip, a lengthy journey that would take me more than 56 hours from door to door. The first leg was from Kansas City to Los Angeles, cashing in some credit card points I had for a one way ticket on American Airlines.
It has been nearly a decade since I’ve flown American. Now that they are in bankruptcy, the last of the major carriers (other than Southwest) to have gone through that process, I was curious to see if there was a perceptible air of distress among the employees.
I have to say, while none of the employees were spectacularly friendly, they didn’t seem to be any worse for wear than the employees of any other major US airline. They did their jobs, tried to smile from time to time and be pleasant, and got me safely from point A to point B. Knowing many people in the airline industry, and being a former employee myself, my sympathy extends to them during this uncertain time. The only thing that is certain is that they’ll not make it through bankruptcy without some amount of pain. Most likely, this will include losing a large portion of their pensions.
There was some holiday spirit in the air, though, despite the bankruptcy. This gate at Kansas City was decorated for the season, ready for a charity flight they do for disadvantaged children. I’m not sure if it is an actual flight – that’s become quite expensive to do anymore – but they board the children on the plane, let them visit the cockpit, have them sit down and enjoy snacks and a drink, etc. All in all, a nice treat for children who may otherwise never get such an experience.
Flying into the greater Los Angeles area, we were treated to clear skies and great visibility. Here’s a shot of the city of Riverside and, smack in the center (to the right of the freeway), the University of California, Riverside campus. I actually attended UCR for six months in the first half of 1990, before moving back up to Santa Clara University to finish my studies.
Video of our landing in Los Angeles.
A shot of my plane after arrival in Los Angeles. The construction for the expansion of the Tom Bradley International Terminal is in the background, the new saw-tooth roof clearly visible. Also, two Boeing 747s, the one on the left from Fiji Air and the the one on the right from China Airlines.
My cousin Jackie, Alex’s younger sister, picked me up and helped me kill several hours. We ran errands to Trader Joe’s and a few other stores. We stopped for In-n-Out burgers, where we saw a family of three who had dragged their suitcases all the way from the airport to get a burger. That’s about a two-mile walk, depending on which terminal they came from.
In the evening, we met Gary and William for dinner at Lukshon. I’ll share pictures from that fantastic dinner tomorrow.