Last week I wrote-up a guest post recapping my experience at Harrisburg International Airport's second annual tweet-up for AvGeeks, that is, aviation geeks. Overall it was a great experience and I'm pleased to have been invited. The post is below, or you can read it on the airport's blog here.
Bonus content! Check out this image I captured upon departure. It's Three Mile Island!
Guest post follows...
My friends tell me I’m a nut. You see, at least twice a year I take a three to four-day weekend for the sole purpose of planespotting, trying out a new airline, adding lines to my flightmemory, flying just to fly, or in most cases, some amazing combination of these. It turns out there are lots of folks out there like me, avgeeks, propheads, milerunners, aerophiles, really, it’s all the same. We are folks who love everything about aviation. Planes, airports, runways, airlines—We love ‘em all.
My most recent aviation-themed weekend involved a multi-legged trip to and from Harrisburg International Airport for a small tweet-up, that is, a meet up of tweeters/twitter-ers hosted by the airport. The second annual MDT tweet-up, affectionately dubbed #MDT324 as a throw-back to the first event’s date, involved a tour of the airport’s secured and non-secured facilities to include the administrative offices, baggage handling operations, common areas, and my personal favorite, the tarmac apron where commercial, private and military traffic could be seen just yards away.
The tour ended with awards of swag-bags, containing an assortment of goodies and an incredibly complex (designed for ages 6-12) LEGO aviation set. We spent a good 45 minutes or so racing to build our airplanes, but we all basically ended up with duds. I’m sad to report that my blatant disregard for the instructions coupled with my terrible design skills “won” me the least defined, least likely to fly hodge-podge of plane parts. All I really needed to complete my hybrid plane to nowhere was some speed tape, the aviation industry’s answer to duct tape.
My visit to MDT was delightful and exceeded expectations. It's clear that the airport leadership wants to build a facility with passenger experience and comfort in mind. As a matter of fact, I can honestly say that all but one of the people I met who were employed directly or indirectly by the airport, its vendors or airlines were genuinely happy, an odd and terribly uncommon phenomenon. The exception? A single TSA agent, there's always one, isn't there? I don't see this as a negative, though. Because of all the TSA staff I encountered, all but this one were, like the others, genuinely happy.
As a Business Analyst by trade, I'm always considering how organizations can build upon what works and address what doesn't. Comparing the strategy and operations of one company to its industry-peers, and finding pros and cons is what I do for a living. And, while I'm not in any way involved in the aviation business, I cannot seem take off my continuous improvement hat while traveling or on holiday. Strolling through the airport terminal prior to our meet-up I was able to check everything off of my list of need-to-haves and nice-to-haves for the perfect airport, this was a first for me. I won't share my list, because the contents aren't important. What I will share is that I generally add one or two things to my list when I visit a new airport, with this visit not only did I check everything off, I added three.
We concluded the evening with dinner at a restaurant just off of the Lancaster Airport’s tarmac. I could write an entire blog just on that experience, but suffice it to say, it was an excellent way to end a busy and exciting day. Planespotting at sunset over great food and excellent conversation, it doesn’t get much better than that.