Have you ever had one of those needy friends who only contacts you when things are going wrong? They’ll be silent for months and then all of a sudden you’ll get a flurry of texts about this issue or that problem. I have a friend kind-of like that. It’s called the airport. The texts are actually part of an employee notification system designed to keep us up-to-date on matters that could impact us. A friend who only texts when there are problems is somewhat annoying. The airport’s texts, however, are both informative and interesting.
The first time the airport ever texted me it was to send me a tornado warning. This would have been useful had I not already taken refuge in one of the airport hotels. (I sat a bit too long in the parking lot watching airplanes dodge the storm clouds and nearly got blown off the road when I tried to leave.)
More recently I got this:
Fortunately for passengers it came in the wee hours of the morning when there weren’t any flights scheduled anyway. Unfortunately for me, I was awake to receive this text because I was due in for deice pad training in just a couple of hours. Ultimately the training ended up being canceled.
While I’m Away
Have you ever noticed that things tend to happen whenever you’re out of town? That happens to me a lot. The airport is no exception. While I was in Oshkosh last summer I got this text during one of the afternoon airshows:
Well a blown tire is certainly inconvenient, especially considering the airport only had one runway at that time. However, since I was at Osh I had more important things to attend to. I hoped that would be the end of the texts, but in the middle of the night I got yet another message:
A fire alarm in the ATC tower? That’s definitely a bummer, but its 01:40 and I’m nowhere near the tower. I’m going back to sleep!
K9 on Patrol
Its no secret that I’m a big fan of the airport K9s. As a result, this text definitely caught my attention.
I received several other texts after this one with updates on the situation. It took more than two hours to finally get the all-clear. Fortunately the cargo facility isn’t attached to the terminal so the passengers were unaffected and no flights were disrupted.
One day I was busily working away at my desk when the fire alarm went off. There had been no announcement ahead of time to tell us this was a drill so we took it seriously and evacuated the building. We stood out on the ramp and watched as ARFF came zipping up in fire trucks and entered Concourse A in full gear. We all wondered what on earth was going on. Finally we got the all-clear to go back inside. Later the airport texted this explanation:
DOH! I have to imagine the poor chef at Chili’s was just a wee bit embarrassed!
Good To Know
As luck would have it I had not one but two pilot friends at the airport the day this text came through:
Since both fly out of the concourse that is serviced by the South Matrix I was able to give them a heads up about the potential for delays with baggage. Fortunately the problem was quickly resolved and neither were affected.
OK, I admit it – I like getting texts from the airport. It gives me an interesting glimpse into some of the things going on behind the scenes. Plus it’s a good reminder about all the people (and K9s) who are working hard around the clock to monitor operations and make sure everything is going smoothly. But just once it would be nice to get a text message that’s a little more upbeat. Something like: “Hey Jenn, how are you? Just wanted you to know we’re using runways 10L and 10R this morning. Have a nice day!” Is that really so much to ask?
Note: I finished the rough draft of this post on a Sunday with the intent to publish the next day. I suppose it should come as no surprise that I woke in the wee hours of Monday morning to discover I had a text. You’ll never guess who it was from!