More Southwest Memories

More Southwest Memories

I was living in Austin, think trailer park in old Austin, must’ve been before that, probably at that old apartment on East Riverside. It was a long time ago, in a student barrio.

I had a $25 ticket from El Paso to Austin. Cheap, really cheap, back in the day. Bubba was picking me up in Austin. I left sunny El Paso, as the trip, the plane, 737 SWA , the route was El Paso, Lubbock, Dallas, Austin. Sunny Monday and late fall desert balmy in El Paso, me probably in shorts, landing with 6 inches of blowing snow in Lubbock, then rain — same weather pattern — Dallas, and waved off on the final approach into Austin. Lined up over the old Flight Path Coffee House, how’s that for old Austin roots?

Last minute? On final approach? Flight diverted to San Antonio, heavy weather.

Walking down the angled corridor, heading to gates 10 and higher? I think about that first time I landed in San Antonio, then called, “Old San Antonio.” It’s a sharp, distinct recollection. Snow on the ground and blowing in Lubbock, might’ve been Amarillo, probably was Amarillo, not Lubbock, there was no plane change, just stop to unload and load passengers. Rain in Dallas, then flight diverted from Austin.

Stepping into the corridor of the San Antonio airport, just long enough to find a pay phone, and call Bubba on his cell, I had to use a phone card at a pay phone. San Antonio to Austin was “long distance.”

“They told us they lost the plane.”

Not lost, just stuck in San Antonio for a few minutes, and I was back in Austin. Bubba’s version, he got to the airport around six or seven in the evening, and he had a Prince Albert piercing as well as other parts, so his version of walking through a metal detector was always long-winded, with details about what was said about his various metal bits.

Cell phones, truly cellular, were less common, and more a toy for landed gentry, even a luxury. He told the story of fishing the phone out of his pocket, to answer my call, and I let him know I’d be in a few minutes.

His version was the look of shock when he pulled that phone out, as he didn’t look like an executive. Long, long-ass hair, and talking a mile a minute.

“They ground crew brought in a tub with ice and cold drinks, told us to help ourselves, beer and coke, as they couldn’t find the plane. We were going to be here a while.”

After he rang off with me, I’m pretty sure he didn’t stop talking for the extra 45 minutes or so it took us to all clamber back on the plane, and the short ride to the old Austin airport. There was also the assumption, the long hair and phone in his pocket? There as an assumption he was a drug dealer of some sort. Just a radio DJ.

“No ma’am, I play music on the radio, in the mornings.”

More Southwest Memories

Amarillo. I’m guessing that the stops were Amarillo, then Dallas, then Austin (via that impromptu San Antonio detour).

That recollection, courtesy of the downward slope on the San Antonio concourse, in airport, slipping downhill. Plastic boarding passes, that’s an age itself.

Baseball. Baseball brought up Southwest Memories.

Southwest is no longer the spunky underdog, more a major air carrier, and the rebel attitude is less prevalent.

The flight attendant boarding us in San Antonio? I joked and because Bubba said the ground crew in Austin called the pilot a chicken, and the attendant was angrily defending the flight crew’s choice as safety first. Think that’s about the only time I’ve ever seen an adamantly angry Southwest crew member.

The days of hopping on and hopping off planes are long gone, following that slippery slope down the San Antonio corridor.

Southwest Memories

Ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night?

Or the wet fuel cell lettering?

Southwest Memories

“piscantur dux ad astra emeritus”

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