After some thought and planning, I decided that life is too short and that I should go! Not to mention, he has be mainline since 2006 and I had yet have him fly me on his current equipment. Plus, it was probably 2005 since I last joined him on an overnight...so, it was surely time!
The first night of Steve's 4-day took him to New York. The second day took him to Las Vegas, which is when I joined him.
I had a rather busy day at work on Monday, and was able to manage leaving on time. On my drive to the airport the sun was shining and I had the sunroof open and the music pretty loud. The start of a fun adventure was ahead of me, and I was really looking forward to it.
I got to the airport with time for a beer to calm my nerves. In typical Joanna fashion I chatted it up with my bar-mates and the time passed nicely.
I checked my mobile app and discovered that my name shifted from STBY, to 11C. I excused myself from the bar, made a quick potty trip, stopped by the counter to exchange tickets, and sat down and waited to board. I was on time. Steve was on time. He was coming from another city. Things were going great!
My row-buddies were a couple in their mid-60s, I would say. I liked them. Again, in typical Joanna fashion, we chatted it up pretty much the entire flight. We talked about this and that, up and down and all around. The flight went by pretty quickly. As we were shooting our approach and gearing up to arrive, the gentleman told me that it was nice to talk to me, and that he wished me and my family the best. He then said to me "you know, I feel like I have known you my whole life." I do believe this may be one of the best compliments that I have ever received. I don't know why that struck me so much, but it really did.
My flight arrived about an hour before Steve's. I hopped into a cab, got ripped off, ended up at the hotel and headed to the airline crew desk. Joseph was super nice, and due to Steve's phone call earlier, I just showed my ID, gave a credit card #, and I got a key to the room.
I settled in, unpacked, ironed some shirts, and then Steve got to the room. After a kiss, he was quick to tell me that I was "invading his space." As I surely was. My suitcase was in a bad spot, and after a quick move, Steve was much happier. As he changed out of his uniform, I was right there to hang it up in the closet. Gosh, what a nice wife I am.
We freshened up and headed down to the bar to meet his CA. Nice guy. In fact, he is one of Steve's top 4 CAs. We had a couple beers, went to dinner, and then headed out for some shenanigans. After a good while we headed back to the hotel, had one last drink at the bar before calling it a night. I am purposely keeping details of that night short - what goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas...plus, the night sort of got fuzzy for me after a bit...
The next morning we got up, showered, got some lunch and hung out by the pool and enjoyed the warm fresh air.
We went to lunch, and then headed back to the hotel so Steve could rest to prepare for the red-eye home. Around 8p, I woke up from my nap, got ready, packed up and headed to the airport...making sure the cab didn't rip me off this time.
If you didn't know, flight crews take private transportation to the airport and totally bypass security, which is why I had to take taxis both ways.
A bit later, Steve arrived at his plane, did his work, and then came up to the gate area. He walked right past me, and we both totally missed one another. Soon enough he called my cell and asked me where I was. I got up and saw him standing near a Starbucks. He was dressed in his winter uniform, which means hat and blazer. Yum! I immediately smiled when I saw him. It isn't often that I see him dressed in his full uniform. He looked so handsome and I just beaned with pride. My man was flying me home. Cheesy, I know, but true.
We chatted for a bit, and all the sudden Steve noticed on the monitor that the flight was booked full and I was still STBY. Shit! My concern during the day was whether or not I was going to sit up front since the loads looked that good...and all the sudden, the flight is FULL?! SHIT! I sort of had a backup plan, but nothing too concrete.
Steve walked up to the nice gate agent, who was typing away quietly to herself. She looked up, and smiled. Steve mentioned that I was on the flight and asked if there is any concern of me getting on. She was very sweet and was able to print my boarding pass right then. Not sure why the monitor was showing full, since it obviously wasn't since I got on....that surely is the non-rev game for you: waiting patiently one second, and then having a panic attack the next. We thanked her, and she mentioned that he could escort me to the plane.
Now if there are any pilots out there trying to woo a lady, escort her to your plane with your hand on her back. Talk about a total act of chivalry! We walked past the boarding line and right up to the door. That surely makes a lady feel really special. And to all the people thinking we were cutting the line, kiss it. My husband was flying your ass...so make way! We walked down the jet-bridge, he introduced me to the FAs, one of whom later told Steve I was pretty - love her!, I yelled 'HI' to the CA in the cockpit, Steve kissed me goodbye, and I took my seat in 8A.
Steve was purposeful in flying the leg, and I can tell you it was one of the most comfortable flights I have had. There was just a calmness to me that I normally don't have on flights. I knew I was in good hands. I slept for about 70% of the flight, so the time went by quickly. I woke up as we were flying over Chicago...SOOOOO cool! That city is just amazing at night from 30,000+ feet in the air.
We arrived at 5:30a, and eventually made our way home. When we got home Ben was already awake, and had made his way into grandpa's bed. I went in there to say hello, and he stood up and motioned for a hug. I picked him up, and we walked to my bedroom. He was nuzzled into my neck, all the while making this little giggle...my heart melted.
I am beyond happy that I made the effort to go with Steve. Yes, it was a long flight, one of which was a red-eye. Yes, I had to take off work. Yes, we had to ask for the grandparents assistance with watching the kids...but, it was all worth it!
Going back to the man on the plane on our way our to Vegas, back in the day he would travel for work, so he knows a thing or two about being away from home. When I gave him the scoop on why I was headed to Vegas he simply said "believe me, your husband is going to be one happy man that you are doing this." And I think he was right. I was able to break up the monotony of a 4-day. I was able to sprinkle his trip with a little happiness. Plus, it was a little get-away for us and having good one-on-one time with your partner is such a good thing!
Not to mention, I was able to get a sense of what his job really is like. I think having this perspective, as a pilot wife, is a really good thing and something that all pilot wives should do at least once. I have mentioned before that as a woman our mind has a tendency to wonder and make the worst of a situation. When you go on a trip, you have truth to what a trip looks like and proof that there really isn't anything to worry about.
Let's hope it isn't another 6 years that I join Steve on another layover.