Nice flight back from DC; the Captain can make a difference

ua_captainIMG_6987UA 647, IAD-SFO 3/26 (evening flight). The Captain came out and introduced himself, briefed first class on the flight plan and how things would go, asked for questions, and thanked them for their business. (I wasn’t in first but saw this from the first row in coach).

A few minutes later he did the same on the intercom, and made it a point to mention the excellent flight crew that was working with him. You really got the feeling everyone was part of a tightly-knit crew that was friendly and helpful.

And that’s how the flight went. Despite a 40 minute delay on the ground, which we were appropriately updated on, as well as explanations for what we might have heard on Channel 9 (did I mention that he was a big fan of Channel 9, United’s audio channel carrying air traffic control communications, and made a sales pitch about flying United because it was the only airline offering the service?), people felt pretty good. He even mentioned that, during the delay, he had to keep the seat belt sign on and we could be moving at any moment so he’d prefer it if we could wait to use the lav, but if we couldn’t, he understood, and the plane would sit tight until everyone was seated. Never head that before.

It was a great flight, everyone seemed pretty darned content at least, maybe even happy, even towards the back. The captain had set a tone that carried through. So I asked the flight attendant sitting across from me in the jump seat how many time she’d flown with him, what his name was… she had never flown with him before, first name Bruce, from Walnut Creek, not sure of last name. I seriously thought this was a crew where everyone knew everyone. It really felt that way.

This Captain probably did more to get people to answer “Yes, I’m likely to recommend flying United to a friend” than multi-million-dollar cabin upgrades and commercials. If anyone recognizes the captain from the photo, I’d love to send United a note on him. Already did for the FA. –Mike–

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Yes, did ride before flying to DC

Yet another seemingly-obligatory photo of West Old LaHonda on yet another seemingly-obligatory beautiful day in Northern California

Had to fly to DC today, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to ride in the morning! In fact, I carefully constructed an itinerary that allowed me to get in the regular Tuesday-morning ride and get to the airport in time… yes, including a shower.

This morning it was JR, Eric, Kevin, Kevin and, on Kings anyway, another guy riding up with his on one of our bikes whose name I forget. Hate that! All that matters is that he’s faster thanĀ I am.

Old-guy Kevin started up fairly fast, with me glued to his wheel, while the others rode up a bit more casually. Well maybe not JR; he just takes a bit to get warmed up. But when I got to that part where you look over the peninsula through the open spot on the left, I looked back and…. no sign of younger Kevin. Odd. Maybe he’s just feeling really slow after Sunday’s ride, or maybe a seizure.

A couple minutes later and there he is. I turn around and ride up with him and Eric, but not for long as I get ditched off the back. Why do I wait? How many times will I ask myself that question? What’s the definition of stupid? I did find out later that yes, he had a seizure, but doesn’t matter, he still gets up the hill in under 30 minutes. Despite losing 2 minutes, 2 seconds to me on the lower part of the hill.

Yes, another beautiful day up on Skyline, as the morning fog burned off before we got there (one advantage to not climbing TOO fast!). And having gotten in a good ride before spending 6 hours on planes is always a good thing.

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