Yesterday I had to “hop a flight” to Pendleton, Oregon for a client meeting that would just last for the day. I may be 43 years old, but honestly I still thrill at the concept of business travel, probably because I just don’t do it all that often. (Or certainly I don’t come close to traveling the way my husband does; his attitude towards business travel is decidedly LESS positive.)
However, yesterday I learned for the first time how it felt to REALLY just “hop a flight.” SeaPort Airlines is a service located just before you reach the PDX terminal. It’s a business / private-style airline that anyone can use, and in our market they have flights daily to Seattle and Pendleton.
Lemme tell you, this is the way to fly. I pulled up to the parking area that sits immediately outside their lobby doors at 6:30, which was considered more than 30 minutes EARLY for a 7:25 am flight. I parked my car, walked in, they asked me, “are you Kelly?” Yeah, that would be me. They asked for my driver’s license; asked if I wanted my $18 parking fee put on my credit card (yes) and did I want my receipt emailed to me (yes again). My phone buzzed with an email confirmation as I handed them my keys (their request), and I sat in one of the small, cushy lounge chairs to wait for boarding.
A few minutes later, the PILOT came into the lounge and asked, “does anyone want to go to Pendleton today?” Four of us stood up and followed him a few steps outside the back door, and “hopped” aboard their prop plane. After climbing some very narrow steps, I bent over and shuffled into a First-Class-comfy chair, also clad in leather. A co-pilot gave us an edited version of the standard schpiel you normally hear prior to a flight, and we took off.
After a smooth, 45-minute flight, we pulled up to the back door of the Pendleton airport, stepped off the plane, and I was at my client’s office five minutes later.
On the return flight, I arrived to the airport TEN minutes before my scheduled departure time (based on my clients’ recommendation). TEN MINUTES! And I STILL had time to sit and relax. Finally when we landed in Portland, I stepped off the plane, walked into the lobby and was handed my keys, only to discover my car had been moved to a spot three steps outside the lobby door.
Yeah, THIS is how “hopping a flight” should feel. No security lines. No angry passengers. No major red tape. Just lots of friendly, happy people being shuttled by a crew that LOVES to fly.
Now I just have to find out if they have a frequent flyer’s program.