Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Flying As It Should Be--January 4, 2010


To think this day was almost doomed from the beginning.

Woke up at 8:00 A.M.  Did the typical routine...pee, shower, breakfast, out the door.

We were at the airport ready to go...when a line lady told us we couldn't leave our car where it was parked.  Ummm...we were told we could park it here.  "By whom?"  That guy!  And I pointed to a line guy!!!  But she insisted...we couldn't park it on the ramp.  We'd have to move it.  I was seriously getting into my airplane at the time...having pre-flighted already...but neither of the other two seemed too eager to deal with her.  <sigh>  I hopped in the car and moved it back to the FBO.

While there, I figured I would ask the Manager if we could park it on the ramp.  He's a shorter fella, and I walked in and introduced myself.  I told him that we were told we could park there, and he coldly told me it wasn't allowed.  Um, ok.  He had no expression of care.  While there, I figured I'd ask him about hangar rates, too.  The line girls had told me to wait until Monday (today) to ask this guy about what rate we'd be receiving.  As if I was stupid, he told me it was the normal rate that the FBO gives.  The girls at the desk know it.  Go ask them.  If we stayed more than 3 days, we'd get the monthly rate.  The girls know it.  At the desk.  Go to them.  Huh.  This guy was pretty annoying.  And I don't really get annoyed with people.  Then he proceeded to tell me that we absolutely had to sign our receipts before we left each day.  He could not understood why we had any notion of leaving before they were signed.  Sign them EVERY day, before you leave.  I was absolutely and totally in awe.  This was unbelievable.  I wiped EVERY expression off of my face.  I let him know I could care less about his words.  I proceeded to walk out.  I had no room for this guy.

We arrived January 31, 2009.

3 things we were told.

#1--You can park your car on the ramp.  Here, I'll even show you exactly where to park.  Right there, on the ramp, in front of the hangar.

#2--You need to talk with the Manager about hangar rates.  We don't know what to charge you.  You'll have to wait until after this holiday weekend to speak to the manager...he's the guy to talk to.

#3--Hey, don't worry about signing your receipts each day.  You can simply sign them before you leave the next day.  We had been doing this for a few days by this point...no problems, no worries.

Then I meet this guy.  And he tells me THREE OPPOSITE things.  I literally just turned him off.  And he knew it.  My face showed the least bit of concern.  Whatever.  Get me to my airplane.

I was obviously late for the window, but that wasn't goin' to be a problem.  We had overcast clouds at 3000 feet in Alexandria.  We headed for our Baton Rouge flight plans where the forecast was 5000 feet.  But as we came closer, we realized that even these were not going to be possible!  I had flown over there at 2000 feet...just barely below the clouds.  It was freezing outside, and the mist hanging down from some of the clouds left a thin layer of ice on my leading edges...and on some of my windshield.  Two things that don't mix:  Cessna 172's and ice.  I was watching my wings like a hawk.  I simply do not play with ice.  Around Baton Rouge, I could climb to 3500 feet, but that was it.  We weren't goin' to be able to do any work today.  So we landed at Baton Rouge.  After landing, my wings had a line of water drops all along the ground.  The ice had melted on the descent.  Jeff had the same thing...Matt, however, still had ice on the wings!!!  I really called it stupid, but he said it was all fine.  I just don't play with this stuff!

We grabbed a courtesy vehicle...which ended up being some $65,000 Mercedes Benz SUV.  Stupid crazy if you ask me.  But they gave it to me!  Went out to eat at Jack in the Box.  I found that picture comical...a cheap meal from a luxury vehicle.  Whatever.

Headed back to the airport, then headed back for Alexandria.  The clouds were very low, and the controller let us know of SEVERAL PIREP's of icing within 20 miles of Baton Rouge.  Um, yeah, we know.  !!!!  I climbed to 2000 feet.  That worked well for about 10 miles, but then I had to descend for clouds.  1500 feet.  That only lasted for awhile, too.  I literally had to drop down to 1000 feet!!!!  We had low clouds everywhere!!!!  There was simply no way of getting on top of them.  And we couldn't fly through them, or we would be coated in ice.  So there I was, flying the 80 miles back at 1000 feet!  I loved it!!!  And all I could think about was dive-bombing something!  The river, the cows below, I didn't care!  I am absolutely addicted to low-level flying.  I mean, it was still 1000 feet, but it's so much lower than I normally get!  I ate it up!

It was simply some of the most enjoyable flying I've had.  I just love flying point to point and looking at scenery.  I could read the names of towns on the water towers!!!  So much fun.

Well, we landed back at Alexandria, and then came back to the FBO to wait for our fuel tickets.  I kid you not, we had to wait 45 minutes.  This was ridiculous!!!  We have 45 minutes added on to our day just because this guy wants us to sign our receipts.  NO OTHER FBO has us do this.  Some even wait an entire week or an entire month before giving us our receipts!  They already had our credit cards on file, so c'mon!!!

Well, I figured it would be wise to let the manager know our situation.  Waiting for 45 minutes every day was simply not an option.  Plus I wanted to let him know that his business had no fluidity from top to bottom.  So I walked in there and told him just that.  I let him know that what he said was way different than what his employees had told us.  He barked back that his line gal (from this morning) had told us that we couldn't park out on the ramp just like he had.  He had talked to her this afternoon.  Unbelievable.  He seemed to think he had gained the upper hand on me.  So I let it all go.

#1--She told us that.  Which is why I came up here this morning.  The problem?  We have been here for 3 days already.  Your other guy told us something the exact opposite.

#2--I was asked to ask you on Monday (today) what the hangar rates are.  Here I am.  You said I needed to talk to the girls, not you.  Again, the opposite.

#3--You say I need to sign receipts every day.  Your desk girl told me I didn't have to.  Again, the opposite.

I let him know that if just one thing was different, we could let it slide.  But here we are, told 3 things by HIS very own employees, only to be told the EXACT opposite by him.  Simply unacceptable.

And so he went off into a long spiel about how he has employees that do this, do that.  How he lost a few, how he had some "heroes" that want to run the business, blah blah blah.  After he was over, I simply said, "Sir, frankly, with no disrespect, I could care less about your business problems.  That simply doesn't address the problem here.  I am a customer, and I was told such and such by your employees, and yet management tells me differently.  THAT is unacceptable."  I have no room in my life for being walked over.  I wasn't goin' to let him "talk" me over.

I asked about the receipts, told him we had waited for 45 minutes today already, and he told me he legally had to have us sign the receipts before we left.  I let him know he was the only FBO that has demanded such a request, but that was it.  Did we have to sign or no?  I put my hand on my bag to let him know I was ready to go.  I didn't need more "talk."  Did we or didn't we have to sign the receipts.  He insisted that we had to.  Crap.  I grabbed my bag and stood up.  Ok, then.  He apologized and said that they would make it right.  "Welcome to Alexandria, and we will make it right."

I felt it would be honorable to shake his hand, though I didn't want to.  But I did.  And with that, I was out the door.

I don't like this guy.  I am not a customer to him.

Oh, I should also mention that this morning the line guy that drove me over made the comment that if he owned the company, he would operate it differently.  He knew or felt my frustration with the manager.  And he said Million Air was ONLY there for the military.  That is their #1 goal.  "The military supercedes everything else."  I still had no emotion on my face.  And I responded, "I don't care if I'm in a Cessna 172, a Citation, or a military C-130, I am a customer, and I expect to be treated as such."  I opened up the door and headed for the plane.

It's just annoying.

Anyway, we headed back to Texas Roadhouse for supper.  We had a very attractive waitress, but she simply gave us NO time of day.  I called it from the moment she walked up.  I could tell she would have nothing to do with us.  It was nothing short of...amusing?  Although she did let us know that we needed to try boudin while we're in Louisiana.  Oh, and that she loved crawfish and couldn't believe we hadn't ever had any.  A hot chick that loves crawfish.  I can get used to that.

Went to the FBO to watch Rambo in their $50,000 private theater room.  Crazy.  Received a phone call from Dani, though, just a little bit into the movie.  I ended up talking with her for an hour and 42 minutes.  Sweet.

Went to bed at a too-late 1:15 A.M.  Looks like it's a nice day tomorrow...

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