Yes, That’s me grinning from ear to ear after returning from a round trip ride in the Lear jet behind me. I am fascinated by aircraft and to have an opportunity to ride in a private jet was a once in a life time experience.
On Monday morning we had a customer that had to have 16 springs to complete an assembly that was due to ship that afternoon at 4 pm. The customer’s assembly was for a government contract that had to go. We searched traditional carriers to find the earliest delivery to be at 7 pm, too late. We looked at commercial airlines only to find one flight that was leaving as I arrived at the airport. We were left with only one option. Charting a jet. Extreme yes. Costly absolutely. We had to deliver so a charter it was.
We raced around that morning learning costs and options. We choose Omni Air International in Tulsa. I rushed to the Omni Air office to deliver the package. Now, as I said I am an aviation fan and just hanging out at their office on the tarmac of Tulsa International Airport was a thrill. As I sat discussing the details it occurred to me. We chartered the entire plane. It was ours for the flight. I quickly inquired if their were an additional costs for someone to ride along with the package and if the plane would return directly back to Tulsa after the delivery. Yes it was returning directly and an $8 federal fee for any passengers. An additional $8 and I can ride on a Lear Jet! As I said, a once in a lifetime opportunity for an airplane nut such as myself. This is really going to happen.
I want to talk about my experience with Omni. I realize it is expensive charting a jet, but the treatment I received from Omni was beyond my expectations. From the beginning, the treatment I received from the Omni staff was first class. There was a thunderstorm at the time we booked the flight and we had to wait for weather to clear before we could fuel and take off. Everyone at the Omni office was very attentive and accommodating while we waited. Ground crew, office personal. the safety officer and the pilot were continually inquiring if there was anything they could do for me. Everyone that passed was concerned for my comfort during our short wait. They hung out with me and talked airplanes, making me feel like an insider. The safety manager brought my car inside the hangar and had it detailed while I was gone on my flight. My car detailed! I was very impressed.
When I met the pilot I explained my love for aircraft. I told him if he felt inclined to fly the way he would if there were no passengers. I was not disappointed. From takeoff to landing I was able to experience flying like never before. Acceleration, climbing and turns like the plane was designed to deliver. WOW! A thrill ride at its best. In the small Lear I was able to talk with the flight crew directly and they made sure I was completely comfortable during the flight. We flew over building thunderstorms looking down on their beauty from above. We arrived at our destination in just over an hour and I delivered the package to a very appreciative customer. Mission accomplished. That reminds me of the one chilling experience I did have. While waiting to leave Tulsa, I sat in the lobby with the package on the chair next to me. I looked at the package and had a brief moment of terror. Being so excited about the flight, what if we left and forgot the package? A chill swept through my body. I grabbed the small box, clutched it closely and never let go until we were on the plane. If we had left and I forgot the box, I would have made it a one way trip for myself. Looking back I feel confident the Omni staff would have caught it before we left.
The return trip offered more excitement as thunderstorms had built around Tulsa and forced us to fly almost to Kansas City to go around the storms As it was we descending through the storms which for me was another opportunity for excitement. I had total confidence in the flight crew and aircraft.
On our arrival back to Tulsa, the Omni staff again found an opportunity to impress. We taxied to the hanger where I found my Vette, fully detailed, ruining with the lights on in the center of the hanger surrounded by jets. They had us taxi and stop nose to nose with the my car like a scene from a James Bond movie. Omni found another opportunity to wow me. Omni made it more than a flight. They made it an experience. When I stepped off the plane the pilot was nice enough to snap the photo I posted at the first of this Blog.
We paid Omni air to deliver a crucial package to a customer when we had no other options. What Omni delivered was a once in a lifetime experience to the guy that tagged along. Thanks Omni. Your service is first class and you allowed me to feel the same for an afternoon.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to the airport with my grandson to watch planes.