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    Welcome to the Ambassablog! We're the front-line employee bloggers of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and participants in the Airport Authority's Goodwill Ambassador Program.

    Here you'll find our continually updated posts about life at historic San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field).

    Take a look around, and Email us if there's something you'd like to see added to the Ambassablog or covered in future posts.
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    For questions or information about this blog and other social media tools used by San Diego International Airport, contact:
    Steven Shultz, M.S.
    Deputy Director, Public & Community Relations /
    San Diego County Regional Airport Authority: sshultz@san.org

Kindergarten Coat Pilot

Ben tries on an Airport Traffic Officer's uniform for size.

Ben tries on an Airport Traffic Officer's uniform.

As promised in my Back again post a few days ago, here is the story of my grandson’s visit to San Diego International Airport (SDIA)! He was only here for a week, so it seemed like a whirlwind visit — as you can see by the pictures.

The best part of Ben’s visit to the airport is that what he learned here he took back and shared with his kindergarten class in Oklahoma. They follow the Ambassablog and are keeping an eye out for this post. Nicknamed “Porter’s Pooches”, they’re going to be junior Goodwill Ambassadors for SDIA by the time I’m done with them!

I want to thank the ExpressJet ground crew and customer service agents who were working here last April when the flight came in. They allowed me to have a front-row seat to watch the effort it takes to get the plane parked and ready so passengers can deplane! Wow, talk about teamwork.

ExpressJet ground crew bring in the plane carrying my grandson from Tulsa to San Diego.

ExpressJet ground crew bring in the plane carrying my grandson on a sunny San Diego morning.

They knew exactly when the plane would land. It was very cool. The ground crew were at their designated spots so everything would go smoothly. My biggest fear was that I would get in the way and disrupt their process, but they were very gracious. They explained where I should stand so that I didn’t get slammed by the jet blast. It was an amazing experience for me — and the first time I’ve been so close to a plane that has just landed.

A sSan Diego welcome for Ben and his mother.

A San Diego welcome for Ben and his mother.

Of course, Ben and Jamie saw me before I saw them. They called my cell phone to let me know they were about to get off of the plane … while I was still on the other side taking pictures.

naty-n-ben-26

Ben pays a visit to Naty in Planning & Operations.

Ben’s first order of business — after getting hugs and kisses from his “gamma” (that’s me) — was to go upstairs and say hi to our good friend and my fellow Airport Authority employee, Naty, in Planning & Operations. She gave him a mini-tour of what goes on in her area, and then we were off, knowing Ben would be back the next day for a fuller tour and the chance find out what it takes to make an airport run.

As we were putting luggage into the car, we looked up and saw none other than Thella Bowens, President/CEO of the Airport Authority. She took the time to talk with Ben and also have a picture taken with him. How many kids can say they get that kind of welcome when passing through an airport?

Ben gets a VIP welcome from Airport Authority President/CEO Thella Bowens.

Ben gets a VIP welcome from Airport Authority President/CEO Thella Bowens.

We were back at the airport the next day, so Ben could see not only what I do for work, but also what some of my coworkers do. Our first stop of the morning was the Airport Authority’s Public & Community Relations Department to introduce Ben to Steve the Ambassablogmaster and to Peggy, who manages the Airport Authorty’s Goodwill Ambassador Program. He was very excited to learn about how was going to be part of this blog.

judy-mc-n-ben2-2

Ben gets some goodies from Judy in the Marketing Department.

The next stop was to see Judy in the Marketing Department. She presented Ben with a special children’s book produced by the Airport Authority about legendary aviator Besse Coleman … as well as a set of Airport Explorer flash cards for each of his kindergarten friends back in Tulsa. You can get your own copy of the book and other cool kids’ things at the Airport Authority’s Just For Kids Web site.

Then Ben had the opportunity to talk with Hampton in our Route Service Development Department. Ben learned how Hampton’s job is to build bridges between destinations — they just happen to be bridges that are in the sky. They talked about one the newer airlines at that time, ZOOM, that provided service from San Diego to London (England) — that’s a pretty big bridge! As reported by Ambassablogger Mary in an earlier Ambassablog posting, ZOOM left SDIA a few months later.

Ben learns about bridges int he sky from Hampton in Route Service Development.

Ben learns about bridges int he sky from Hampton in Route Service Development.

Ben with Victor of the IT Department.

Ben with Victor of the IT Department.

You can see from the pictures how many different jobs at the airport Ben was able to observe. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to talk with my grandson that day. He learned a lot about what it takes to get the airplanes in and out of the air. It is a day that he still talks about. The best part is when I ask him what he wants to be when he grows up. dennise

His answer? He wants to work at San Diego International Airport as a “Coat Pilot”! I had to laugh and ask “What does a Coat Pilot do?” … “Oh Grandma, you know! They help fly the plane!”

That's me (Ambassablogger Dennise) introducing grandson Ben to my specialty at SDIA -- telecommunications.
That’s me (Ambassablogger Dennise) introducing grandson Ben to my specialty at SDIA — telecommunications.

Note: Want to go on your own tour of San Diego International Airport? Free behind-the-scenes tours are available to the public. Click here to reserve your spot.

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5 Responses

  1. I bet everyone in Ben’s kindergarten class was jealous of him. He not only had a wonderful time out here but and a very educational one too. Aside from that, they are jealous because Ben has a very cool Grandma!

    Ben, I’ll be looking forward to your next visit to SAN.

    Your friend,
    Naty

  2. Wow, he sure has grown from the last time I saw him. What a special treat!!! I hope other employees tell family and friends, and even teachers, of our outreach to the community through airport tours. Has anyone ever thought of posting “tour-goers” experiences on the website under a “Public Viewpoint” or “???”. This would be a good first story. Thanks for sharing Dennise

  3. What an amazing adventure for Ben! He’s gotten so big!

  4. Laurel what a good idea! I’ll have to go on the tour and take the video camera…who knows who might show up on our blog!

    And Julie Z…we miss you guys…I miss seeing Gary here at the airport! I’m excited to see that you check out our blog from TX!

  5. Thanks for sharing this! I had no idea about Ben’s big adventure. Sooo cool! Came across it on Jamie’s blog sight. He is so excited for his upcoming trip to see you! Take care, best wishes from OK!

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