This week I sent Kidzilla to CA for 5 weeks. My father (UAL Retiree) came out to get him and non-rev'd him back out. Here are some excerpts from an email he sent me about their trip. They were up at 4:45am Eastern time and finally made it home at 10:45pm Pacific time- what a long day! I am not envious of that or of the struggle to finally head west out of ORD.
The day started out ok. M got to go into the flight deck and make a welcome announcement on the plane. The captain gave him a A320 trading card. We sat in first class and had breakfast. That was the best part of the day. Waiting in ORD was the worst. We missed several flights; the Denver flight had over 75 standbys. Mom finally got us to try the flight to PHX. We were in the last row on the plane along with a United Express pilot. But getting on the plane M got to go into the flight deck and talk to the flight crew. He got another A320 card. M says it was his first flight on TED. It was a TED flight from PHX/SFO with the same cabin crew but different captain and F/O. The captain put M in his seat and let him try on his hat; the FO gave M a set of wings. We were finally home at 10:45.
I do have to say THANK YOU to all of the crew who made the trip so exciting for Kidzilla. A was a little jealous that HE had never gotten to sit in the CA seat of an A320 or wear a CA hat. It really does make a wonderful impact and make a crappy travel day into a great experience.
I am always proud to see crews who take the time to chat with kids and invite them up to the cockpit. Not only does it show the public that pilots are people too, not just seemingly well paid adulterers who never leave the cockpit, but I think also that when a kid sees all those buttons, dials and levers it enhances that whole pilot coolness factor. I think it's great PR for pilots and someday in the future people will remember that time when they got to sit in the CA seat for just a moment and remember that that CA is a person too and yeah, he does deserve to be paid according to the responsibility that he shoulders.
So pilots- invite a kid into a cockpit for a moment- make a kid's day and probably an impression for a lifetime.