Today's entry in the blog series is an interview with a lady #avgeek, Karina. Karina is known on twitter by her great sense of humor. Her twitter bio says it all: "Attn in the boarding area..the gate agents have left due to the HUGE amount of stupid questions." Already acquainted with Karina? Than maybe you will learn something new about her. Or, if you don't know her, please allow me to introduce her:
When did you first discover your passion for the aviation community?
I discovered my love for aviation at a young age. Call it crazy but I would love to take family and friends to the airport and I would always wait for the planes to take off. I was amazed by how quickly we could get to our destination by such a machine. I just was fascinated by the workings of how the aircraft were different in size and watching the pre-flight and just loved sitting there at the airport and hear planes take off.
Do you or have you had an aviation hero? Who?
I wouldn't say I have an aviation hero…no one specific, I mean Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart come to mind. But to me any heroes are those who are reaching the boundaries of air travel. Pushing towards new aircraft and new ways of travel.
In your opinion what makes you or someone an aviation geek (avgeek) or propeller head (prophead)?
I think anyone that can be called an avgeek, are those who could sit like me at an airport with their scanner and not be bored. Or go to their local airport and just get to meet pilots, hang around the hangar. I think also that those who stop and stare at an aircraft going overhead. It just comes into your blood, you just can’t get enough of seeing, hearing, and smelling the jet fuel of the airport and aircraft.
Why do you recommend that your friends and family become avgeeks or propheads?
I would say I've already kind of sucked them in…they are starting to use phrases like jet-way, atc delays, and my favorite, I’m training them the airport codes. They are also getting better at traveling and not so worked up about when flights are delayed amongst other things that happen.
What are the biggest challenges facing the aviation industry today, in your opinion?
In the airline business it has become too much of the fact that the passengers are always right and never wrong. I also believe that at times the media doesn’t get their facts straight and reports wrong things making our jobs even harder. Weather is something that the airlines will always being dealing with, what amazes me is passengers who live in for example; SFO, KNOW that ATC delays happen. It’s an everyday thing, but yet they yell and get angry at the gate agents. Too much of the public has made their schedules so tight that if they have a bump in their schedule they get all riled up. I think all airlines it doesn’t matter who you work for get blasted…but yet we don’t take the time to realize how MANY of these airlines are up in the sky and yet only when an accident happens is it spread across the entire web. I think that until several passengers or some of the media step into our shoes, they will never know how complex the airlines are. It’s not like we could make an aircraft appear out of no where to replace the broken one. Passengers need to have much more patience and the media needs to report the better things about the airlines. It was wonderful to see the coverage of 1549 that landed in the Hudson, it was just showing the public that we all train for emergencies and when they happen, it’s wonderful to know that we have trained professionals and staff that will step up to show that the airline hasn’t completely lost touch with passengers. But at times we do still need to have that human touch and make sure that the passengers will realize that we do care, and at times some of the decisions are completely out of our hand and are done by upper management that are NOT in touch with the front lines. I wish at times they were more in touch.
Take flight, share something about yourself that you don't think was covered in these questions...
I’m happiest when I am allowed the time to park over on Sunset and I have my scanner and listen to the aircraft land and take off. I also love flying to new places and old ones to see family and friends. I think it’s just incredible watching a 747 take off, and now the A380 taking off. I am completely amazed at how far we've come. I have the airlines in my blood and I can’t get it out. From watching the Red Bull Air Races (Kirby Chambliss is my man) to just being at the airport and experiencing families seeing an Armed Forces veteran coming home after being away from a year, to just helping passengers get to their destination. I’m blessed to be able to travel for free and just being around some absolutely crazy (we have to be a little insane to be in this business) friends. I wouldn't trade it for the world!