I have had the exquisite honor of getting to know Melissa Chaty, Miss California 2007. We are both current participants in LEAD San Diego’s Class of 2009. She is a spectacular individual, dedicated to a lifestyle of non-profit work and enhancing both America’s Finest City and the Golden State. During her reign, Melissa traveled from San Diego international Airport (SDIA) all the time to make appearances, as well as to visit friends and family. I caught up with Melissa at the airport recently:
Ryan: During your reign as Miss California, how many times did you fly out of SDIA?
- Melissa: I don’t know the exact number of times, but it was a lot! Let me put it this way, I earned quite a few free tickets on Southwest Airlines — that is always a good thing!
Ryan: Can you tell us some of the places where you have flown?
- Melissa: All over California, to make appearances and to visit family. Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco and Fresno. Plus , beyond California to places like Chicago, Miami and Grand Rapids.
Ryan: Did you have any fun or memorable experiences here at San Diego International Airport?
- Melissa: You mean aside from falling in love with the TSA Security Tips video?! (laughing). I am kidding! … The coolest thing that happened was when I got to fly on Southwest Airlines’ Shamu aircraft twice!
Ryan: Wow, that is cool. Any travel tips you’d like to give to Miss California hopefuls?
- Melissa: Always take your crown with you as carry-on; it can’t be replaced. Also, learn the TSA 3-1-1 rule. You never want your lip gloss confiscated.
Ryan: Good ones! I’ll have to remember those. Overall, what role does San Diego International Airport play in your life?
- Melissa: The airport is integral to how I live. Without it how could I possibly go visit my parents, or have a friend in every one of the 50
You work for the San Diego/Imperial Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Can you tell me a little about that?
- Melissa: I started getting involved with pageants when I was a senior in high school, to make the community more aware of the disease that had plagued my grandfather. Now I’m working for the organization here locally, letting people know all about how to reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s and how to cope with the disease. It’s extremely rewarding.
Last year, SDIA served 18.1 million annual passengers. That’s 18.1 million reasons to fly. Now you know why Miss California 2007 uses our airport. Why do you? You can let me know by clicking the blue comment link below.
No matter how you look at it, this airport really is fit for a queen.
(I had a huge amount of help with this post: Brian, Royal and Gerilyn at JetBlue; plus Rich and Jon in the Airport Authority’s Marketing Division)