Conni arrived Tuesday night at Burbank Airport. She’d been traveling and flying for 26 hours. Poor thing was exhausted. Conni is our new foreign exchange daughter. She succeeds Sofie, our F.E. daughter from Belgium who was here for a year in 2007/08. Conni is from Austria, near Vienna, and at 16, will start at the high school on Monday.
She arrived just after 8 p.m. and we were told she was on U.S. Airways. I had been busy preparing final exams and doing a few interviews for three different publications–my mind was occupied. But somewhere deep in the recesses of my little brain, a flicker of light triggered. I paid little to no attention to it. But it was there–something about U.S. Airways from San Francisco to Burbank.
Burbank Airport is a great place and I’ve written about its charms before. It’s hard to believe that such an accessible airport exists in Los Angeles, yet there it is. Anyway–since I was a kid, I’ve been an aviation buff–an aviation nerd. My dad traveled for work a great deal and would get a little booklet that had the monthly schedule of every airline, every jet, every time-table in the United States. These were the pre-Internet days and I loved those books. TWA had a 707 that left LAX at 9 a.m. and flew to Chicago. It also had a Lockheed L-1o11 that left around the same time and flew to JFK in New York. My favorites to look up were the Braniff Airlines flights. Their jets were all painted different colors, orange, blue, green, even purple. I collected the old books as dad finished with them. I memorized TWA’s flight schedule out of Los Angeles as well as PSA’s (an airline that no longer exists) schedule out of Burbank. Those seemed to be the ones dad flew most often.
My airplane and airline geekdom, combined with what my wife lovingly refers to as my obsessive compulsive disorder, paid off on Tuesday evening. We stood outside at the baggage claim area waiting for Conni, but her arrival time came and went and we were pretty much the only three out there. I asked Sue and Shannon to wait there and I went inside because the little flicker of light in the back of my head began to grow into a stronger flame-then it kicked in. I channeled my inner Rain Man and got started…
U.S. Airways, I thought to myself, parks their jets, A-320’s and CRJ-700’s on this side of the airport along with Southwest Airlines. Those jets fly exclusively to Phoenix. That’s how US Airways works. They fly commuters to their hub–in this case Phoenix–and from there to other places. It’s apparent that no U.S. Airways planes have arrived. Could they have meant United Airlines? Because they park on the west side of the airport. No, my data sheet print out assured me, it was U.S. Airways flight 7053 from SFO to Burbank. What to do?
Wait…didn’t U.S. Airways and United Airlines have a mileage agreement? Why yes. Yes they do. And if they do, doesn’t that mean that United’s contractor airline would be able to fly U.S. Airways routes–or rather, fly U.S. Airways passengers on United routes, one of which is SFO to Burbank? Why yes. Yes it does.
So, I said to myself, if the U.S. Airways flight is a Skywest flight, doesn’t that mean that she would have come in at the Skywest terminal, down near United Airlines? Yes. Yes it does. And off I went–and on the way, there was Conni–standing with a look of forlorn askance on her face and a tired exhaustion that drained her. Poor thing.
She’s here now, though and is fitting right in. Simon even tried to lie on her lap on the couch, which I don’t know if he did because he’s a loving and affectionate dog, or if he wanted to exert a little dominance. Either way, Conni didn’t want the affection–who could blame her. Having a 57 pound German Shorhaired Pointer lie on you while you watch television is an acquired taste.
So-you see? Sometimes obnoxious levels of OCD and geekdom really do pay off.