I’m going to post two trip reports I’ve been meaning to write for awhile but haven’t gotten around to it. Trip 1: United Job Interview Trip 2: Christmas in Plains Trip 1: United Job Interview Sometime in July when I was tired of living in South Carolina heat and wanting to get out. But still do something in transportation I applied to be a flight attendant with United, American, and a few regional airlines. Well in November I was working at my second job at a local theater where I build sets, and crew shows when an email came in requesting that I interview in person in Houston, TX. United provides round trip flights for applicants inside the United States to their hub in IAH. And after confirming and picking my day I received my routing. Flight 1: UA 3792 CRJ200 CAE-IAD Flight 2: UA 484 A320 IAD-IAH Flight 3: UA 2153 B737-800 IAH-ORD Flight 4: UA 3927 CRJ200 ORD-CAE The only thing I had control over was making my hotel reservations for Houston. So I promptly made my reservation and prepped for the interview. I talked to several of my PV bosses, and friends to do mock interviews to prepare myself for the face to face interview. This was not my first time interviewing face to face with United because I had completed an interview in 2017 in EWR. Day 1: I left my house around seven AM to make the drive across town to the Columbia airport on a rainy dreary day. I made great time despite the weather and I remember I took a slightly different route to get to the airport than I do when I go to work at the theater. I had to circle the airport twice in order to find a parking spot but I did manage to find one with plenty of time to spare. I walked from the garage into the airport, checked my bags and made my way to security with no issues. I then spent time behind security finishing a fan fiction I was reading on my phone before it was time to board the aircraft. United put me in Premium Economy for the flight and low and behold my seat mate in the window was my congressman for my district. A few years ago him and I had met in DC to talk about the PV situation with Amtrak, and the system downgrades. And he actually remembered me which I was happy to learn. The two of us had a great chat on the way to Washington. Even though we differ politically we had a pleasant conversation which gives me hope. Hope that one day in the future that everyone can just get along again. He also told me that I would be a good flight attendant. When we arrived in IAD my friend Malcolm met me at the gate which was really the tarmac to get lunch. He was on his way to a work conference in San Francisco on the same day. So we were able to meet up and discuss travels, trains, and just catch up. I really enjoyed our hour and a half layover in the United Club thanks to his AGR status. I had some finger foods in the club but then went out to a burger joint near my gate before boarding my A320 to IAH. I brought along one of my iPads for United’s stream at your seat service and settled into watch Yesterday. Yesterday is such a cute and uplifting movie. Even though I would hate to live in a world without the Beatles. The flight was fairly smooth and arrived on time. Then I started the hike from my gate to baggage claim. I followed the signs to baggage claim which I believed there might be a shorter route. But I always enjoy walking around airports and seeing where all the planes are going at the gates. Eventually I made it to baggage claim and picked up my two checked items and get my hotel shuttle. I learned that my hotel the Doubletree IAH had a shuttle to where the interview was which made things easy. I had arranged to visit and have dinner with EHBowen to catch up. But while I waited for him to get off work I enjoyed relaxing in the outdoor hot tub. I had wanted to swim laps however that water was incredibly cold and I couldn’t get in. I did enjoy seeing all of the aircrafts passing overhead. I showed EHBowen my Official Guide of Railways 1952 nap on my lap top which he was impressed by. Then we went to a restaurant in Spring Texas which was really enjoyable. I always enjoy seeing my friends from all over the country when I travel. That’s one of the reasons I like to travel. After dinner I talked to my best friend Julia on the phone and felt something I can’t describe into words. She had just broken up with her long term live in boyfriend, moved out, then went back to get her stuff and she got very sick. And I just wanted to drop what I was doing and go and bring her food and nurse her back to health. I didn’t do that though. Day 2: Interview Day My interview started at eight in the morning near the airport and the doors open at 7:30 and they don’t want you before that or after. I arrived a few minutes before but I made a point to stay outside the building till 7:30 so that I was still obeying the rules. I was feeling a bit jittery and nervous so I called my coworker and best friend Ryan to put me in my place. He had no trouble doing that either and I’m very grateful for that. I am not sure what I am allowed to disclose for this report as far as the interview process so I will refrain from posting any detailed information. However I will say I tried my best to entertain and calm my fellow candidates as they called everyone back one at a time. And I was more than happy to share stories from the rails that I found funny to calm peoples nerves. What can I say I love talking about PVs and stories, and I was happy to help calm their nerves. I was called last for the interview; which is where I will end the details. I then took the United Shuttle back to the airport and checked my bags, which I shouldn’t have done. After checking my bags I went thru security and by this time I was starving so I stopped at a 1950s style diner near the security gates. It was really good and then I went to the gate for the next flight to Chicago and attempted to standby on it so I could get a layover in Chicago that I could go and railfan on. I know I should have tried to get home sooner, but no I wanted to see trains. Well because I checked my bags I wasn’t able to move to an earlier flight. At some point I found two other candidates from the interview and we spent time walking around the airport. Both of them were headed to Chicago as well but on a later flight than me. Eventually we met up with another candidate and the four of us sat down at an airport bar. I tried to comfort one of the young women who was a bit upset because she claimed to have had a poor interview. And I am a very caring person so I tried my best to cheer her up before eventually I had to run for my flight. I then boarded my B737-800 for Chicago and settled in for Rocket Man. I didn’t manage to finish the film and I don’t think I ever will because I thought it wasn’t that great. As we were landing and the flight attendants had made their sweeps to check the cabin I noticed the passenger in the window seat on my row was still working away on his computer. And in my mind I was wondering if this was a test and would be reported to the HR department that I didn’t enforce the rules. So I sat and debated if I would say something for what seamed like forever. After nothing happened and I glanced out the window and saw we were at about 1,000 ft I told the man “sir please put your computer up we are landing.” In my best calm flight attendant voice. And he complied I felt really good about myself. I deplaned and then went to the nearest restaurant to have dinner because I saw my plane to Columbia was delayed. So I went to the Chili’s I ate at before the flight to Europe I took from ORD. The service wasn’t overly that great and I didn’t really enjoy it. Then I went to my gate and talked to a friend on the phone while they kept pushing the plane later and later into the night. Again I was telling PV stories what can I say it’s my favorite topic. Eventually they cancelled my flight due to mechanical problems with the aircraft remember that fact it’ll come in handy in a minute. As a non revenue passenger I am to be accommodated last because paying passengers come first. I didn’t have to be told this, I just knew to do it. So every time someone would come up to the gate agent I would move further back in line.