Guadeloupe, flying in the cockpit

Oct-2006

Delta Air Lines, in late 2006, was extremely aggressive in acquiring new Caribbean routes. Guadeloupe, the Lesser Antilles, was on their radar and both Ken, my colleague from Atlanta, and I had to make the site visit.  Seeing Guadeloupe is predominately french speaking, I was the lucky one assigned to meet with their local telephone company for providing connectivity to our gates and counters and contract for a toll free service.  I meet Ken in Atlanta and head to St.Lucia for the night.  I always loved traveling for the company, and to such a beautiful destination, it made it all that much better.

The next morning, as we are ready to board the flight to Guadeloupe, I get notified that no more space is available and that Ken just took the last seat.  Well the options were easy. Either I stay in St.Lucia or fly in the cock-pit.  Thankfully having airport clearance permitted me to travel in the cockpit should a seat be available. Luckily that is exactly what happened.  I was ecstatic.

The plane was very small, climb my way into the pit, buckle the 5 star belt, quick debriefing of the rules and the propellers start spitting smoke as they rev the engine.  “Hang tight folks, we’re number one for take-off”, says one pilot. Actually I don’t think he said the first part, but it surely felt like it.

It was a great experience and normal conversation was flowing within the three of us. I thought it would have been extremely serious but pleasantly surprised on how they explained the landmarks we’d pass.  Seeing the Pitons from above were breathtaking.  The lush green mountain side in contrast with the turquoise water  made it so picturesque. The flight was fairly smooth for such a small plane and the landing marked my very first time I have ever flown in a commercial cockpit.

st-louis

We now check into our hotel in Guadeloupe and get ready for our meeting.  The rooms were very spacious and the back courtyard flows right into the ocean overlooking a smaller island with a lighthouse.  The urge of swimming to that island did cross my mind but work had to be done.

Both Ken and I approach the front desk of this telephone company and ask for a Madame P.(not to reveal her identity).  With a nice French Caribbean accent she directs us to a room and offers a cold drink while waiting.  As customary with these types of meetings, we usually invite the representative for supper to possibly finalize any transaction or solidify our current relationship.  We had it set that we’d do just that after the meeting.

10 minutes pass, and as both Ken and I look towards the opening door, our eyes focus at this gorgeous mysterious island looking woman.  Business pants fitting her body so tight that we wonder how she could have walked.  Heels just enough to give her calves an accentuated punch. A blouse as tight as her pant, revealing larger than normal chest size, so much so that one button was surely going to pop any moment.  In smirking towards Ken, we both knew exactly what we were thinking.  Finally her mulatto skin with island braids revealed high cheekbones and contoured lips.  A vision of beauty I may add and all the facts and figures that I had to speak about, had me in with temporary amnesia.

We’re always professional and the meeting went absolutely fine.  Upon our salutations I asked her out for dinner on behalf of Delta Air Lines to which she declined.  Her work load and not having a babysitter allowed a nice romantic dinner for just Ken and I.

The return proved quite challenging since several flights were canceled and had to make our way to Antigua and San Juan. All that flying around the Caribbean for a 2 hour meeting.  I love it!  We did sign the contract and Delta started service 2 months later in December of 2006.

Oct-2006

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