This past Friday I had a new and interesting experience – I flew up to Washington, D.C. and back in one day for a job interview.
I’ve been talking via telephone and e-mail with a small company out of Arlington, Virginia for a new job. Our talks had evolved to the point where last week the company asked me to fly up for a personal interview. I wasn’t sure they could get me up there and back in a day, given the lack of airline support down here. But they set it up, even though it meant a very long day for me.
So, 3:15AM Friday morning my alarm went off. I dragged myself out of bed, took care of my morning routine and dressed for success in suit and tie. Flying in suit and tie would be another first for me.
I arrived at Gulfport International Airport, worked my way through the TSA cattle chute, and actually made it through without my blood pressure climbing too high. The Delta flight to Atlanta, for connections onto National (Ronald Regan) Airport, left right on time at 6:00AM. It was a short 55 minute flight, once on the ground in Atlanta we sat on the tarmac while the pilot looked for an available gate to pull into.
The next leg of this trip was the Atlanta Airport subway to cross over to the next gate.
The next flight actually left nearly on time – two flights in a row on close-enough time! This was a bit longer flight, but still not bad. We landed in National, and I needed to find my contact. No one was obviously looking for me, so I attempted to call his cell phone. No luck calling, so I went back to the exit point and then spotted my contact.
We left the airport, drove over to Arlington and had a quick lunch. This was my first taste of city life again, literally. We found a nice little Italian-style restaurant, not an apparent fast-food chain, on the ground floor of office building the company had their suite in.
Then we went up to the office. I met the people I’d been corresponding with via phone and e-mail, had some talks, and then met with the company owner. The owner and I had a tough and rather intense interview, actually caught me off guard. But I think I held my own and gave a good impression.
Then more talks with the other company officers. By this time it was getting close to time for my 5:00PM return trip home. I got a ride back to the airport at 3:30PM, and at the check in counter was offered an earlier flight with free upgrade to first class. A no-brainer, I took the upgrade and made it to the gate, found my seat on the plane, and immediately the stewardess offered a free drink.
At this point my smooth flight connections fell apart. We sat on the runway for about 45 minutes with the pilot mumbling things about runway maintenance down in Atlanta. As the stewardess kept my cup filled, I wasn’t too upset. I also had a three hour layover anyway, so plenty of time.
We finally took off, landed at Atlanta, and I had dinner while making my way over to my connecting flight. Here was where I had a reality check on the wonderful world of airline commuting. My 9:20PM flight was already delayed to 10:20, and over the next hour delayed again to 11:05. Then delayed to 11:30 when we finally started boarding.
I was back in the cattle car section again so no free drinks. Fortunately, the Atlanta to Gulfport flight was still only 55 minutes long. By this time, I was really feeling tired. We landed without any excitement; I walked out to the parking lot and drove off. I returned home a little past midnight and Winnie was waiting up for me.
Greeting her made the long day worthwhile.