How Many Bloggers Does it Take to Pull an Airplane?
I t was time to test the mettle of “bloggers” by pulling the “metal” of Delta Air Lines — specifically a Boeing 757-232 aircraft — instead of using our fingers to pound the daylights out of our poor defenseless keyboards as a form of daily exercise…
…and were we excited about that! The date was Friday, May 1, 2015 — the day of the Delta Jet Drag — and that day had finally arrived…
…but how many bloggers does it take to pull an airplane?
I arrived at the Hilton Atlanta Airport — a hotel property with which I am quite familiar, as it was the lodging base for the Delta Air Lines FlyerTalk Events in 2009 and 2010; and they could not have been more accommodating in more ways than one — and Ed Pizzarello of Pizza in Motion, Ben Schlappig of One Mile at a Time, and several other bloggers in the hallway near the lobby of the hotel awaiting the shuttle to transport us to our eagerly-awaited experience.
The discussion at the moment was about the name of the weblog for which Ed writes. “I could not think of a better name,” admitted Ed.
“What about A Slice of Travel Life or The Upper Crust of Travel?” Take a guess as to who asked that question.
Ben must not have been listening to the entire discussion because he did not initially understand what was meant by that. “I guess he had to process what was said, one joke at a time.”
Yep. 8:00 in the morning; and we were already starting up. This was going to be a ver-r-r-r-r-ry interesting day.
A surreal moment came when Paul Skrbec — of the corporate communications department of Delta Air Lines — handed out forms aboard the shuttle bus which we were required to sign.
Um…we were required to sign the forms — not the shuttle bus. Ah, the wonders of the English language.
Anyway, I thought it was one of those indemnity forms — you know, in case the airplane runs us over should we pull way too much, for example — where you sign your life away and Delta Air Lines is not responsible for anything even remotely having to do with that.
No…they were model release forms so that images and video containing our likenesses can be used by Delta Air Lines with our permission. As an actor on the side — and yes, believe it or not, I have occasionally modeled as well — I am quite familiar with signing these forms; but the other “bloggers” laughed at the self-depricating humor by Ed about the extremely remote chances of him ever becoming a model.
Here is a little trivia: I auditioned for the first of the series of humorous safety videos currently used by Delta Air Lines. I never was cast for any of them, unfortunately; but I do have one of the early storyboards which contains a number of ideas — some of which were never used. For example, Fred Armisen was supposedly considered to be hiding in various parts of the safety video — like an “Easter egg” of sorts. I thought that was somewhat bizarre — but I digress, as usual.
The shuttle bus arrived at the Technical Operations Center of Delta Air Lines. After signing in and a cursory safety check, we were in; and there it was — our adversary…
…a Boeing 757-232 airplane, proudly displaying its Delta Air Lines livery, gleaming in the bright sunshine on what became a perfect day in terms of weather: low humidity, light breeze, the nip of the morning air giving way to the warmth of the strong rays of sunshine beaming down through the cloudless azure sky.
We were undaunted. Unfazed. Unsure of whether we could even nudge the airplane. Yup. That’s how quickly our thoughts changed. Tommy Danielsen — who was a member of our team — provided moral support by suggesting that there was no way we could ever even hope to win against some of the competition. “Look at us!” he said as he was chowing down a spicy hot sausage on a bun for breakfast. That really boosted our confidence.
Facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge, there was only one thing the bloggers could do: start working out, right there, on the spot:
Yes, there they were: René de Lambert of Delta Points, Angelina Aucello of Just Another Points Traveler, Marshall Jackson of MJ on Travel and others — all whipping out their portable electronic devices and flexing the muscles in their fingers, hoping to grab that rope with gusto…
…and grab one of the trophies above as a result of our efforts.
“This time, it’s for real.” The late Don LaFontaine would probably have been more than happy to growl that phrase proudly upon looking at the fierce determination of the bloggers. Cue in that theme from Rocky, please.
Still, other teams posed formidable competition as they stood out, one by one in the sun, awaiting their turns.
Not a problem. Ed flexed his muscles (?) to reveal the unofficial symbol of the name of our team: the Global Hashtags…
…to the chagrin of Paul Skrbec and Anthony Black — both of corporate communications at Delta Air Lines — as you can see by the looks on their faces in the photograph shown above. All right, Ed — you can stop now.
The time has come to assess this situation…
Sandeep Dube — who is the vice president of customer engagement and loyalty of Delta Air Lines — listens to what Scott Mayerowitz of the Associated Press has to say…
…and by the look of the expression on his face, Scott Mayerowitz is confident and serious about our team’s chances. You can tell that Anthony Black is not going to mess with that determination and spirit.
Seth Miller of Wandering Aramean came to the rescue and pulled Sandeep Dube away, assuring him that Scott Mayerowitz is harmless and can get carried away sometimes.
Meanwhile, Jeanne Marie Hoffman of Le Chic Geek looks like she is “trash talking” the other teams…
…as Stefan Krasowski of Rapid Travel Chai appears to look on in disbelief. “I do not know her”, he seems to be saying. “She is such a geek.” Yes, Stefan — but she is a lovable geek.
…but someone should let Paul Skrbec in the background on the right know that sending texts to the better halves of Kathy, Michael and Angelina informing them of apparent alleged infidelity is not part of the purview of corporate communications. It was simply an innocent pose for a photograph of three of the all-stars of “blogging” — and I stand by that statement.
I will even sit; lie down; hop; jump by that statement — but once again, I digress.
All right, everyone — it is time to pull an airplane…
…hello? Is anyone listening?!?
We need to beat the time of 12.530 seconds accomplished by the team known as Plane Crazy, which was co-led by Karen Zachary — who is the managing director, SkyMiles global program management of Delta Air Lines. Can we do it?
…but in the meantime, it is not too late to consider donating to the Relay For Life of the American Cancer Society. Please click here for more information and details, as the official Internet web site for team Global Hashtags will still be available for at least the remainder of May…
All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.