The type of hockey that most of us are familiar with has few non-negotiable requirements. Ice, for one, and skates. And knowing how to skate is usually pretty helpful. However, a group of Trans States mechanics has discovered that you don’t have to know how to skate, or even own a pair of ice skates, to play hockey. They play floor hockey as part of a local St. Louis floor hockey league.
While floor hockey players use sticks to get a puck into a net guarded by a goalie, that’s where the similarity to ice hockey ends. There’s no ice in sight in floor hockey – teams typically play in gymnasiums – and floor hockey players simply wear shoes and run around, rather than using ice skates.
Heavy Check Supervisor Mark Hicks got the idea to start the team after seeing a video for St. Louis Floor Hockey on the internet. Our maintenance hangar is in St. Louis, home of the Blues professional hockey team, and Mark knew that a lot of mechanics were interested in hockey, even if they’d never played before. Mark first pitched the idea of a team to Line Lead Mechanic Levi Mcquery, who initially thought that he was too old for floor hockey. However, once he watched the video, which explained that most of the teams were comprised of college students or co-workers, and that some of the players had never even played hockey before, he was sold. Before long, Mark had rounded up a team of 10 mechanics, all from the St. Louis hangar.
Half of the team had never even touched a hockey stick before, let alone played on a team. “One mechanic had never played hockey before in his life,” says Mark, “and he still tried it out, and loved it.” But even with so many hockey newbies, Line Inspector Bill Reese is confident that their team is making progress, remarking, “I think we get better every game!”
“I would never bet on us, though,” chimes in Levi, laughing, “and I’m always making stupid bets on professional ice hockey, like having to shave ‘Red Wings’ in the back of my head.”
The league’s no checking rules means that floor hockey isn’t nearly as physical as ice hockey, which Mark points out is great for people who have day jobs. “We can’t exactly get too physical at a night game when we all have work the next day.”
The team has already experienced some memorable plays. “I got us our first ever penalty,” laughs Bill, “and I still don’t agree with it.
Other mechanics from the hangar don’t play, but still come out to watch. And if they want to try it for themselves before committing to a team, league rules make it easy for them to give it a shot and see how they like it – anyone can play a single game as a substitute for only $10.
One of the best things about working in the airline industry is the travel benefits. Trans States employees are fortunate to have a wide range of affordable air fare options available to them, ranging from free domestic travel, to heavily discounted international travel. As a result, Trans States employees tend to travel a lot, and their children often develop a love for travel at a young age. When the children of Trans States employees grow into teenagers afflicted by wanderlust, they can spend up to two weeks in another country as part of a special program for airline families called the International Youth Exchange.
The International Youth Exchange pairs up teens from airline families in different countries and gives them each the opportunity to spend two weeks with the family they are matched with. After a participant spends two weeks with a host family, they return home, and the teen they were matched with stays with them for two weeks.
Participants are matched based on similarities in age, gender, and interests, as well as where they would like to visit. Available locations include the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia. After the teens are matched and dates are decided, the participants communicate with one another so that they can get to know each other, as well as decide what activities they would like to do during their summer exchange.
The International Youth Exchange is the brainchild of Camille Wheeler, a retired Northwest Airlines employee, and the mother of Aaron Wheeler, a regional airline Captain. Camille is the mother of four, and international travel for a family of six can be expensive, even with pass benefits. On the International Youth Exchange website, Camille explains that the program was born from her desire for her children to be able to affordably travel abroad, learn different languages, and experience new cultures. Aaron says that his mom first got the idea for the program when his family took a trip to France when he was younger. She was looking for different options to avoid hotel costs, and began making connections with other airline families abroad.
Camille soon realized that there were other airline families all over the world who were interested in affordable international travel opportunities for their children. The program slowly began to take shape. Teens could fly overseas using their parents’ pass privileges, and stay for free for two weeks with an airline host family. Then the teens would switch, and a teen from host family could visit the other teen’s home during a separate two week visit.
In 1994, Camille connected with a Swiss Air gate agent in Geneva, Switzerland, and young Aaron became the first participant in the International Youth Exchange program. He was matched with a Swiss teen, Greg Cunnet, who was around the same age, and shared his interests. “When Greg came to visit, we just hung out, played baseball and biked,” Aaron recalls. When Aaron and Greg first met, Greg was only beginning to learn English. “Since he grew up traveling in airplanes, he would always read the safety instructions. In fact, the first time that we met, all he could say in English was, ‘Fast-ten-seat-belt.’”
After Greg stayed with his family, Aaron visited Geneva and stayed with Greg’s family. Aaron recalls mostly doing things that were familiar to him from back home.
“We went swimming, biked around town, and even played Monopoly.Even a young age, I was struck by how we had more in common than not, even though we lived so far apart.”
Aaron and Greg continued to visit each other for 7 years through the program, and are still friends. “We still visit each other when we can,” Aaron said. “I even went to his wedding about a year and a half ago.”
The International Youth Exchange has come a long way from its one inaugural participant in 1994. It has since placed over 6,000 students in exchanges. “In 1994,” jokes Aaron, “we just had a single fax machine running twenty-four-seven. We would get applications from Europe in the middle of the night! But now, applicants can apply online.”
Aaron continues to help his mother with the program, who is now devoted to it full-time. “I actually matched a young boy from Minneapolis,” recalls Aaron, “and his mom happened to be my gate agent for a while. Every couple of months, we would bump into each other, and she would say how much her son enjoyed the experience.” He recounts another story from years ago, in which a young person was matched up with a family in Seattle. The father of the family flew for an airline in the area. The program participant loved Seattle so much, that years later, he got in touch with the father and ended up working for that same airline.
Aaron’s experiences with the International Youth Exchange have stayed with him through the years, and he encourages other airline families to take advantage of the opportunities for travel and friendship that the program offers.
“I truly believe that there is no better way to experience another country than with someone your own age,” he says.
The International Youth Exchange is currently accepting applications for summer 2017 exchanges. Put those travel benefits to work, and give your teenager a summer they’ll never forget. Download the program flyer here or visit the International Youth Exchange website to learn more and apply online.
If a group of people was asked, “What jobs are most important to airline operations?”, the top three responses would probably include pilots, mechanics and flight attendants. However, there’s a lot more to airline operations than what you see at the airport or on a flight. Most people don’t realize that our planes wouldn’t fly without the efforts of another important department – Accounting.
Accounting pays the bills, for everything ranging from building utilities and aircraft parts, to fuel expenses and uniforms. After 26 years on the job, retiring Accounts Payable Supervisor Terry Boswell knows the importance of ensuring that vendors are paid in a timely manner. For example, if fuel invoices go unpaid, fuelers could refuse to service our aircraft, which could lead to a delay or even a cancellation. Unpaid bills could delay shipments of important aircraft parts, which could lead to cancelled flights.
“Without making sure that bills are paid on time, the process of keeping the airline running on time, let alone at all, could be hindered,” Terry explains. “You can’t delay in making sure that you bring in needed aircraft parts or engine rents.”
Controller Bob Varwig agrees. “To run an efficient airline, you have to ensure the quick flow of parts and services. Terry understands that Accounts Payable has to maintain good relationships with our vendors to make that happen.”
Change is the only constant in the airline industry, and Terry has seen a lot of changes in her 25+ years with the company, including our transition from turbo prop aircraft to an all jet fleet in the 1990s, as well as a period of tremendous growth from 2014 t0 2016 that added 52 additional aircraft to our fleet. With change comes new challenges for our accountants – new aircraft types mean new vendors, and an expanded fleet means more bills to pay – but Terry says that change is easy with the right team.
“I’ve had lots of fun with my coworkers, and we’ve shared many good times, even when tackling new challenges. Adapting to something new can be stressful, but it’s much easier when you enjoy the company of those around you.”
Terry says that her 25 years at Trans States have flown by, remarking, “I have always enjoyed working here. Time really goes fast when you’re in a good environment surrounded by great people.”
With retirement on the horizon, Terry is looking forward to traveling around the country and visiting all the National Parks with her husband. We are grateful for her years of service, and wish her all the best!
Our Aviators internship program provides talented student pilots with a defined pathway to the Trans States flight deck upon completion of ATP minimums. Throughout the course of the program, participants are mentored by Trans States pilots, are provided with advance copies of training materials, and participate in the Trans States Airlines Command Leadership course, a program typically offered only to Trans States Airlines command pilots. Interns also visit corporate headquarters in St. Louis to get a behind-the-scenes look at the operation and to meet Trans States leadership.
During a recent group trip to St. Louis, three of our current Aviators shared their insights about the program, including how it will benefit their careers.
Dakota Knaff is a sophomore at Western Michigan University’s College of Aviation, where he is studying Aviation Flight Science and Aviation Operations Management. Dakota is looking forward to flying the Embraer 145 when he becomes a Trans States pilot. “I’ve always wanted to fly the Embrear 145,” he enthused. “I flew on one last year to Houston, and I prefer it over the Embraer 175. It’s smaller, but quick and sleek.”
Dakota is excited about the networking opportunities that Aviators provides student pilots. “I don’t know of any other airline that brings students to their corporate headquarters, especially if they’re private pilots,” he remarked. “Being able to meet the Director of Flight Operations is just one example of the endless connections that I know I will make through Aviators.”
A sophomore at Embry-Riddle in Daytona, Tayvon Gaddis is studying Aeronautical Science with a minor in Meteorology, and is finishing his instrument rating. “I saw a link for Aviators on Facebook that someone just happened to share. I immediately saw the benefits to getting a head start in the professional aviation world.” The headquarters visit solidified his impression of Trans States as a great place to launch his career. “Everyone is friendly and helpful,” he said. “I will absolutely work for Trans States after I complete the Aviators program, because the end result is having a job at a good airline.”
Daniel Shnick is an Aviation and Finance double-major at Quincy University, and is currently working on his CFI rating. Daniel discovered Aviators when he was looking for something that would benefit his career while he finished school. “I met some very enthusiastic Trans States recruiters at Quincy, and they told me about the program,” he explains. “What really stood out to me was the headquarters visit, training opportunities, and having a pilot mentor.” Daniel is especially looking forward to gaining interview preparation tips from his mentor.
We’re looking forwarding to welcoming these talented pilots to the Trans Sates flight deck in the future. In the meantime, we’ll be helping them lay the groundwork for a successful commercial aviation career. If you’d like to join them, click here for more information and to apply online.
We had a busy 2016! We introduced you to some one-of-a-kind people and highlighted some extraordinary happenings within our company. Let’s take a look back to some of our favorite posts from TRANSmissions this past year.
In what was far and away our most read and shared blog entry of the year, Trans States Airlines Flight Instruction Manager Paul Epperson shares his tips and advice for what to expect and how to prepare for the adjustment into 121 ground school.
Some of our Raleigh-based crew members had the opportunity to be a part of a very special event co-sponsored by American Airlines and the Autism Society of North Carolina. The event simulated the airport experience for children with autism so that they would know what to expect the first time they boarded a commercial flight. The children also had the opportunity to board a Trans States Embraer 145, and were shown exactly what would happen during the first 20 minutes of a real flight.
Trans States’ Sam Curless helped the St. Louis Shriners Air Patrol when they were in dire need of a new parade float. Through his connections, Sam was able to help organize a build of a new float, made out of an Embraer 145 fuselage. The float made its debut at the St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade to an excited crowd, and a group of Shriners kids who got to ride it for the first time!
Trans States Airlines Vice President of Safety Craig Tompkins recently accomplished a pretty lofty goal that he’d set for himself in 2014 – to fly 70 different aircraft before his 70th birthday. Craig reached his milestone right on time, flying aircraft type #70, a Cessna 170 on floats, just before his 70th birthday in October.
Before becoming a aircraft mechanic for Trans States Airlines, Brandi Rector spent six years in the United States Marine Corps as a helicopter aerial gunner and mechanic. Now she dedicates her time to ensuring that our aircraft operate safely and efficiently, all while attending full-time classes at Saint Louis University.
We’ll be back in 2017 with more posts dedicated to the extraordinary individuals who call Trans States home. Happy New Year!
Recently some of our Raleigh-based crew members had the opportunity to be a part of a very special event co-sponsored by American Airlines and the Autism Society of North Carolina. The event simulated the airport experience for children with autism so that they would know what to expect the first time they boarded a commercial flight. The children also had the opportunity to board a Trans States Embraer 145, and were shown exactly what would happen during the first 20 minutes of a real flight.
Captain Jonathan Jones, who was in the cockpit during the simulated flight experience, believes that the experience was a great way to acclimate autistic children to the airport environment before actually taking a flight. “Often times, environments like airports can be overwhelming for families touched by autism,” he remarked. “This means that families are putting their expenses at risk if they have to cancel travel plans due if their children become affected by the airport setting.”
The simulation exposed the children to just about every aspect of catching a flight, with the exception of taking off. The children and their families checked in with a gate agent at the ticket counter and checked their bags. After going through security, they headed to the gate area, where Captain Jones, as well as First Officer Will Browne, and Flight Attendants Amy Furlough and Misty Burmingham, spent the afternoon making them feel comfortable, even showing them pictures of what the inside of the aircraft would look like. The children then boarded the aircraft via a jetbridge. During the boarding process, the children were given gift bags to commemorate the experience, including their very own wings, just like our crew members wear.
After the children and their families were settled with their seatbelts fastened, the flight “took off” by pushing back from the gate and taxiing for about 20 minutes to a remote parking spot. Before the flight “descended” and returned to the terminal, there was even a beverage service.
Captain Jones said that organizers deemed the event a complete success, and the kids loved it, especially receiving the gift bags with the wings inside. “That really made their day,” he added. Captain Jones went on to remark on the importance of giving back to the communities we serve. “Our passengers are our neighbors. Events like this give us an opportunity to back to our them, and to actively contribute to our community.”
Thanksgiving is just around the corner! For many people, Thanksgiving means family, food, football, and of course, parades. The annual St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade will be extra special this year, as the St. Louis Moolah of Shriners International will be debuting a brand new float, made out of an Embraer 145 fuselage. Waving to the crowd from the windows of the plane will be children currently undergoing high quality orthopedic treatment at Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis. The Shriners are a fraternal organization dedicated to providing care for children free of charge. In addition to orthopedic care, this St. Louis hospital also treats burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palates, as well as provides other complex surgical needs.
Trans States’ own, Sam Curless has been involved in this inspiring project since its inception. Sam was in the process of joining his local chapter when he heard about the Shriners’ Air Patrol parade float – an old, dilapidated Charlie Brown float from the 1960s that was in sore need of replacement.
Some members had mentioned that an aviation-inspired float would be especially fitting, as it could shine a light on the important work done by the Shriners Moolah Air Patrol.
Children with severe orthopedic needs often have to travel far from home to receive care, which can be draining on a family’s finances. That’s where the Air Patrol steps in. As Air Patrol Director John Cordell explains, “We are a division of the Shriners that is transportation focused. When families need to get to St. Louis because a child requires orthopedic care, we find a way to fly them here at no cost.” Volunteer Shriner pilots fly children and their families to St. Louis on their own time, via their own planes or borrowed private aircraft. If the Air Patrol doesn’t have a plane or pilot to accommodate a family, they will fly the family in commercially, or coordinate with Wings of Hope, another charity that provides air travel to families in need. Once families arrive in St. Louis, the Air Patrol transports them to the Ronald McDonald House, Haven House, and other places where they can stay during the duration of their child’s treatment.
When Sam heard about the Shriners Air Patrol’s wish for an aviation-themed float, he knew that he could help. While finding a company to donate an aircraft fuselage for most would be a challenge, it wasn’t for Sam. As the Managing Director of Strategic Sourcing and Materials at Trans States, Sam works with aircraft manufacturers, lessors, and parts vendors all over the world. Sam put the Shriners in touch with AeroVision International, an aircraft lessor and Embraer 134/145 parts distributor, who donated a fuselage for the float. It was then gutted and fitted with custom chairs donated by aircraft manufacturer Embraer.
Everything about the float was created with Shriners kids in mind. “This is not a Mardi Gras party barge,” says Sam. “This is something special for children undergoing treatment, some of whom may never have been on plane before.” John agrees. “We really wanted to go for that, ‘wow factor,’ with this float,” he said. “On the outside, it looks like a brand new plane. But on the inside, it’s all about the kids.” The aisles are wide, to accommodate wheelchairs, and the interior includes lights and air conditioning. During the parade, children can sit in either the fuselage or the cockpit. “We even raised the seats in the cockpit eighteen inches, so that the kids can see out of the windows and look at the crowd,” John added.
All in all, the project required over six hundred hours of labor, and the joint efforts of many. “This project was not just isolated to St. Louis,” Sam stressed. “All around the country, people associated with the Shriners chipped in to help with this project.”
To see the final results of this amazing project, be sure to watch the parade on Thanksgiving Day, broadcast live on KMOV-TV Channel 4 in St. Louis.
The Shriners are always looking for volunteers, including pilots for the Air Patrol. Click here to learn to more about how you can get involved with this incredible organization.
Update (November 28, 2016):
Check out the photos below of the float in action at the 2016 St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Trans States Airlines Vice President of Safety Craig Tompkins recently accomplished a pretty lofty goal that he’d set for himself in 2014 – to fly 70 different aircraft before his 70th birthday. Craig reached his milestone right on time, flying aircraft type #70, a Cessna 170 on floats, just before his 70th birthday in October.
Craig’s love of aviation started over 50 years ago, when he was still in high school and already a fixture at his local airport. “I had my private pilot’s license,” he remarks, “but my parents wouldn’t let me get my driver’s license until I graduated high school. So I could fly planes, but I had to bum a ride from somebody else to get to the airport.” After graduating from high school, Craig enlisted in the Army and became an air traffic controller, and later spent 15 years flying charters and air taxis, as well as flight instructing.
Craig’s commercial airline career began in 1977, when he was hired by Command Airways, one of the very first regional airlines. Command Airways is historically significant because it was one of the first three American Connection carriers and was the first airline in the United States to fly the ATR 42. Before bringing the ATR to market, Command sent a group of pilots, including Craig, to Toulouse, France, to train at the actual ATR factory, making Craig one of the first pilots in the U.S. to fly the aircraft.
Craig spent 11 years at Command, eventually becoming the Director of Flight Training and running its entire ATR operation. In 1988, Resort Air (now Trans States Airlines) purchased the ATR portion of Command’s operation, and Craig has been with Trans States family of airlines ever since, holding positions including Director of Flight Ops, Director of Safety, and Vice President of Safety.
In 2013, Craig was a recipient of the prestigious Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, which recognizes pilots “who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years.” Prior to receiving the award, Craig had to figure out just how many different aircraft he had flown, and realized that he was 67 years old and had flown 67 different aircraft. It was then that his goal of flying 70 different aircraft in 70 years was born. “When I saw that, I just wanted to make the numbers match up – 70 in 70,” he explains.
Here are just a few of the planes that Craig has flown over the years:
To most people, flying 70 different aircraft types before your 70th birthday would be a pretty big deal, but Craig is nonchalant about it, remarking, “My stepbrother has probably flown over 100 aircraft types at this point.” Of all the planes he has flown, Craig’s favorites are the DC-3 and the Twin Otter. Craig says that he doesn’t have any immediate plans to top his recent feat of 70 in 70 but there are several seaplanes that he’d like to fly, so he’s not ruling it out. “My wife tells me that I should shoot for flying 80 planes by the time I’m 80, but maybe I’ll start with flying 75 aircraft by the time that I’m 75 years old.”
Anyone who knows Craig has no doubt that he’ll do both.
Fall doesn’t just bring cooler temperatures and changing leaves – at Trans States Airlines, fall also brings our annual Employee Appreciation Week celebration! This week-long event, packed with food, games, and prizes, is our way of saying thank you to our employees for all of their hard work This year’s festivities wrapped up last Friday, and everyone is still talking about all of the fun they had.
One of the best things about Employee Appreciation Week is the food! Base Managers at all of our crew bases spent the week making sure that our crews were well fed. Our Raleigh crew had a smorgasbord of sweets on Monday, followed by breakfast sandwiches, sandwich rolls, tacos and pizza.
Brenton Daniels, the Denver Base Manager, took advantage of the nice weather to barbecue for employees right on the ramp!
We also gave away a FitBit at each crew base! Congratulations to Captain Jorge Velasquez, who won the FitBit given away in St. Louis!
At the St. Louis headquarters on Tuesday, corporate leaders threw a “come as you are” breakfast (which was pajamas for many) for all employees, complete with a caricature booth and balloon artist. The leadership team manned griddles and hotplates, and served up an impressive spread that included sausage, eggs, pancakes, and even a smoothie bar.
Other events throughout the week included the very popular “Take Your Dog To Work Day,”
a gourmet cupcake truck,
and a friendly game of Family Feud that pitted Trans States employees against employees of our sister carrier, GoJet Airlines.
One of the biggest events of the week was the annual washers tournament. This year was the tournament’s biggest year yet, with 35 teams participating. Our Maintenance department has established a washers dynasty over the years, and many teams from other departments were eager to de-throne them. However, Maintenance remained dominant again this year, and we again had a Maintenance vs. Maintenance championship game!
Maintenance was again dominant on Friday, winning the annual tug-of-war competition between Maintenance Hangar and the corporate office.
On Friday, employees also enjoyed a barbecue
a mini-classic car show (we have some employees with really cool cars!).
and an afternoon of “knockerball.”
Employee Appreciation Week 2016 was definitely one to remember! We’re already looking forward to next year!
At any given moment, there are hundreds of Trans States Airlines employees working behind the scenes to ensure the safe operation of our airline. Unlike more visible front-line employees, like pilots or flight attendants, our passengers will never meet these employees or have the opportunity to thank them for their efforts. But every day, these un-sung heroes are working tirelessly to make sure that our passengers get to their destinations safely. One of these individuals is Maintenance Control Supervisor Chris Hoover.
Maintenance Controllers are licensed A & P mechanics who troubleshoot aircraft mechanical issues for pilots flying the line and mechanics at out stations. If a pilot encounters a mechanical issue with an aircraft, their first call is to Maintenance Control. Often, Maintenance Control can walk the pilot through the issue over the phone, which frees up out-station mechanics for more involved repairs. If it’s a more complicated problem, Maintenance Control will diagnose the likely source of the problem and recommended a course of action to local mechanics.
“Maintenance Controllers are critical to on-time performance, ” said Trans States Airlines Director of Maintenance, Matt Wright. “In addition to assisting and providing detailed information to our technicians in the field, the Maintenance Control group is responsible for all deferred maintenance activity, scheduling short-term preventative maintenance, monitoring and repair of repeat maintenance activity, troubleshooting and repair of outstation aircraft, and a host of other less visible maintenance activities. The decisions made by this group don’t just affect a single aircraft but the entire fleet.”
Unlike our hangar and line mechanics, who are outside fixing aircraft in the snow, the heat, and everything in between, our Maintenance Controllers are part of Systems Operations Control (SOC) in our St. Louis headquarters building. That’s because the other departments in the SOC, including Crew Scheduling and Dispatch, rely on information from Maintenance Control to make important decisions that affect the operation. For example, if a flight is delayed due to a maintenance issue, Maintenance Control communicates the estimated back in service time to Crew Scheduling and Dispatch so that the departure can be re-scheduled and re-crewed, if necessary.
Chris started working for Trans States as a licensed A & P mechanic right out of college, and spent his first three years with the company working in the St. Louis hangar facility. He then spent two years as a mechanic on the flight line before making the move to Maintenance Control. He says that a few different factors, including pay and the opportunity to work indoors, led him to made the move to Maintenance Control.
“I thought about staying on the line, but I was ready for a change, and there was a pay increase with the Maintenance Controller position,” Chris remarked. “Plus, I get to do the same work as a mechanic in the field, but I’m away from the elements, which is nice.” Chris takes a lot of pride in his position and says that the Trans States Maintenance Control group is, “top-notch and knowledgeable, and has a real understanding of the Embraer 145 aircraft.”
Vice President of Tech Ops, Rob Truax, agrees. “Our Maintenance Control team represents some of our very best maintenance talent. You really have to be at the top of your game, professionally, to work in Maintenance Control.”
If you’re a licensed and experienced A & P mechanic and are looking for a new challenge, there’s never been a better time to explore career opportunities in Maintenance Control. In fact, Trans States is currently offering a $12,000 retention bonus to all current and new hire Maintenance Controllers. To learn more or apply online, please click here.
Congratulations! You have been hired on as a Trans States Airlines pilot! This means that your airline career will begin with a six-week training program in St. Louis, Missouri. There, you will learn everything that you need to know to succeed in the Trans States flight deck. Obtaining this knowledge will come through hard work and diligent, constant studying. While this may seem like a daunting task, it is achievable with the right level of focus and preparation. Trans States Airlines Flight Instruction Manager Paul Epperson shares his tips and advice for what to expect and how to prepare for the adjustment into 121 ground school.
Look Ahead at the Training Footprint
Many new hires have only recently met the requirements for obtaining an ATP and are coming from a flight school or college training environment. Many others come from the ranks of the military or a corporate training environment. Most of these programs are built on a stage check, or stairstep approach to training. Since this is the only training many pilots know, they tend to apply the rules of their previous experiences to the airline world. Most of these programs use what I refer to as a “compartmentalized approach.” In essence, the pilot focuses on what’s directly in front of him to succeed. If you apply these same principals to the 121 world, you may find yourself behind the power curve by the time you near your scheduled simulator sessions. This is not where you want to be. To avoid this, you have to plan ahead by looking at your training footprint.
What to Talk About Before You Leave Home
Oftentimes, ground school is compared to “drinking from a fire hose” or taking a couple of college courses that were designed to last a semester in just six weeks. At last count, our company manuals comprise more than 1,600 pages. This is why it’s extremely important to sit down with your loved ones and explain that you will be completely immersed in the training environment for the next three months. Explain to them that this is likely to be the most intense three months you have ever had. Try to impress upon them that if they are demanding of your attention during this time, that you very likely may fail. In short, get your house in order before you leave for class.
“But what about weekends? You’re free weekends aren’t you?” You’re going to hear this phrase or something similar to it. I encourage students to go home a couple of times during training to reconnect with their lives. I also tell them that unless they have an IQ of 180, they will likely struggle if they go home every weekend. Weekends should be used to catch up on material that you’re behind on and to solidify the information that you have been attempting to digest. Make every attempt to gain the understanding of your loved ones before you leave home.
An Investment in Your Future
Your first 121 ground school, your first check ride and your first recurrent training event are going to dictate how you feel about returning to the training center for the rest of your career. Thirty-five to forty years is a long time to fear the training center—you don’t want to get a sick feeling in your gut every time you hear the words “oral”, “recurrent” or “check ride.” I explain to students that if they do what I ask of them (and I ask a lot), they will form a foundation on which to build the rest of their careers. And, if they go all in now,everything for the rest of their careers will be easier. By completely committing themselves, they will leave ground school with a comprehensive understanding of the airline environment, as well as the principles of complex aircraft systems. What this means is the next time they go to class—wherever it may be—it will simply be a variation of the same things that I taught them. And I want to be very clear about what I believe “all in” entails:
Get up at 6:30 AM to be in class by 8:00 AM. Stay focused for nine hours with a break for lunch. We finish at 5:00 PM.
Go back to the hotel and take a run (or whatever you need to do to clear your mind), get something to eat, call whomever you need to, and meet with your study group.
Spend 30 minutes to two hours with your study group each evening, depending on the material. Leave the group and study individually until you go to bed.
Repeat this every day for three months until you get to the line.
Approximately two months after completion of Initial Training, begin preparing for your first recurrent training.
Work Ethic and the Team
One important aspect that often is not reinforced properly is the need to work as a team. If you isolate yourself from your classmates, you will end up like the lone gazelle and soon will perish. I find hat the earlier a class bonds as a team, the more successful they are as a whole. You are going to have to trust and rely on one another to succeed. I tell students, “They don’t know what they don’t know,” hence the importance of getting together and quizzing one another. You will also need to find one individual who shares your work ethic to pair up with as a simulator partner. You are going to spend A LOT of time together, and you are going to be under considerable stress, so it’s important to choose wisely.
What to Expect Once You Arrive
The timeline for Trans States Airlines’ initial ground training is about seven weeks. This includes days off. (All subsequent references to time in this article refer to work days.)
I mentioned that most new hires don’t know what to expect. It’s difficult to prepare for something when you don’t know what is coming and I don’t want the class being reactive, so I take the time to lay out the entire training footprint on day one. I am going to do the same for you now.
Most 121 ground schools consist of several parts. Typically, the first part is administrative in nature and consists of a day or two of fingerprints, drug tests, photos for IDs, travel and insurance benefits, tax forms, etc.
The second part is Company Indoctrination (referred to as “Indoc”). The time frame in our case is six to seven days. There are two open book tests and a one hundred question final. Once Indoc starts, the training can begin in earnest. Indoc is the most boring thing in the airline business! It doesn’t matter what airline you’re with, Indoc is brutal. It consists of things like the rules and regulations of the airline, hazardous materials and security, etc. Boring as it is, you have to know the rules.
It’s important to note that during training you will be taking on over 1,600 pages of material. The fact is, most people aren’t going to be able to study 1,600 pages of material in the time frame of a normal ground school. I explain to students that they “need to know a little bit about a whole lot and a whole lot about a little bit.” The key is knowing where to focus your studies. The instructor can make a world of difference here. I’m not implying that airline pilots are ignorant of the majority of the material—what I am saying is that you must know enough about certain things to reference them. That’s why we carry manuals (usually electronic in today’s aircraft environment). For example, there’s a company policy on delays. I have pilots memorize key points of this program since, in our case, violating it can result in a half million dollar fine. I also explain that there is no need to memorize all the elements of the policy: You’re delayed. Since you’re delayed, you have plenty of time to look up the particulars of the policy.
Crew Resource Management
One full day is devoted to Crew Resource Management (CRM), with elements of it mixed throughout all of your training. Initially developed in the late 1970s, CRM is becoming a larger part of every airline’s training plan. Its objective is to identify and overcome obstacles to good crew communication and promote teamwork in all aspects of the operation.
General Operating Systems
Following CRM is General Operating Subjects (GOS), which lasts six days. GOS includes a more comprehensive look at some of the aspects of Indoc, but the primary focus is aircraft specific. This is where things get more interesting! You will be covering aspects of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the aircraft you were hired to fly, as well as winter operations, performance, weight and balance, and much more. GOS will also cover flows, call-outs and aircraft specific procedures. Flows are designed to place the switches in the proper place without using a checklist by following a series of patterns. The checklist is then read after each flow to confirm that everything ended up in its proper place. In effect, it allows you to double check your work while being backed up by another pilot. Gaining a solid foothold on the flows is critical to your success in the simulator.
The timeline for Systems is 12 days. Typically, this is the most enjoyable part of the training process, but it’s also the most intense. Your understanding of the aircraft you fly has the potential to make a significant difference in the outcome of abnormal and emergency situations. The pilot of an airliner owes his passengers the highest degree of care. They are paying for your services, and they deserve a pilot who knows his craft. This includes, among many things, knowing your airplane like the back of your hand. Modern airliners have many complex systems that integrate with one another. It is incumbent upon you to learn as much as you can about these systems so that you may operate the machine as safely and efficiently as possible.
Systems integration training (SIT)
SIT consists of two half-day ground school sessions and three days of graphic flight simulation (GFS). The purpose of this time is to teach you how the various systems interact and how to do things like start the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), start the aircraft engines, bring the air conditioning (AC PACKS) online and many other critical functions. The GFS sessions (essentially Microsoft Flight Simulator in full-scale with touch point screens) are an invaluable training tool.
The Oral Exam
The oral can be the longest two hours of your life if you’re not properly prepared. On the other hand, if you went “all in,” this is where you will reap the rewards of your efforts. When you show up for your oral exam, the examiner will ask you things about your aircraft, as well as company policy and procedures that will be very difficult(unless you’ve been through a 121 program before.) Their expectation of knowledge is very high—one day you may be flying their loved ones! Once on the line, you will be taking hundreds of lives into your hands each and every day. This is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.
SIT for the Simulator
This version of SIT consists of two half day sessions. Its purpose is to make sure you’re ready to transition to the simulator portion of your training.
It is essential that you know your flows, call outs and profiles before you go to the simulator. Do you remember the first time your instrument instructor asked you to fly an approach and talk to ATC? Now imagine it in an aircraft that is far more complex, moving three times as fast and that’s after you slow it down to approach speed. The simulator sessions (eight periods, followed by a check ride) are usually compressed, with four sessions, a day off, four more sessions, and finally a check ride (if you’re ready).One of the biggest issues with simulator training is that if you get behind, there is little to no time to catch up, so being prepared is crucial. A typical simulator session usually consists of a two-hour briefing and four hours “in the box.” To be successful in the simulator, you and your partner need to be meeting before each of your sessions for at least two hours (preferably in the trainers) to go over your flows, call outs and procedures.
To successfully complete a 121 training program, you must define what you believe it means to be a professional aviator (if you haven’t already) and hold yourself to that standard. This encompasses everything from how you wear your uniform to your knowledge of company policy and procedures. How you study and address your peers is also part of being a professional pilot. Hold yourself to the highest possible standards! Even if no one is watching.
One of the top priorities for our flight attendants is making sure our passengers know that we value their business. One of the ways that they do this is by personally recognizing frequent flyers and their mileage status. It’s just a small gesture, but it goes a lot way toward making our passengers feel appreciated. We received the below note from a passenger who was impressed when flight attendant Gina Kabat recognized his United 1K status.
I just got home from a very busy travel schedule in August and found some time to send you an message about one of your outstanding employees. Gina Kobat was sure to recognize my 1K status with United. That acknowledgment, while small, went a long way with me. She provided first rate service and made sure that even the smallest requests were taken care of. If only all airlines had people like Gina working for them. She is an outstanding representative of your airline, and my only wish to you as that she is recognized for her hard work and her warm personality that make the life of a frequent traveler more enjoyable.
Our flight attendants are true professionals, and their commitment to the passenger experience is second to none. Gina and the entire Trans States flight attendant team work hard to give our passengers a memorable experience on each and every flight.
Rick is a retired Navy pilot who had always hoped for a commercial flying career after leaving the military. However, when a Commanding Officer role took him out of the cockpit for the last few years of his career, he assumed that flying commercially was no longer feasible. However, several years after he retired, he had a conversation with an FAA examiner, who convinced him that the commercial aviation industry would be receptive to a former military pilot who had spent some time away from the flight deck.
“I wasn’t sure, but he was right,” Rick said. “Trans States was the first airline that I reached out to, and a pilot recruiter contacted me that same day.”
As Rick found out, airlines were very receptive to his background. He applied to a number of regional airlines, including Trans States, and every single one of them offered him an interview.
Keith Stamper, the Director of Flight Operations at Trans States, wasn’t surprised that airlines were so eager to interview Rick. “When you hire a former military pilot, it’s almost guaranteed that he or she is going to have an outstanding work ethic and exceptional leadership skills,” he said. “Plus, the high quality of their previous military training makes it relatively easy for them to transition back into flying.”
While Rick may have applied to a number of airlines, Trans States stood out to him from the very beginning. In the below video, he talks about his experience transitioning from military to commercial flying, and how factors including company culture, crew base location and a competitive contract convinced him that Trans States was the best place for him to launch his new career. Rick also speaks about the high value that the military places on mentorship, and how he saw that same commitment to helping others throughout the entire Trans States organization.
Even if you’ve been away from the cockpit for a few years, being a commercial pilot is still within reach. Our recruiters will walk you through the process, start to finish. Click here to get started.
When a flight is delayed, two things are key – communicating with your passengers, and keep them comfortable. During a recent delay, Captain Jason Newell, First Officer Cecilia Ernst and Flight Attendant Ayana Spann did just that, providing constant updates from the cockpit and textbook-perfect service in the cabin. Here’s what one of our passengers had to say about her experience:
I just wanted to give a shout out to Trans States Airlines Flight Attendant Ayana Spann. Captain Jason Newell and First Officer Cecilia Ernst. They were amazing!
When we got on the plane, Captain Newell announced that we were going to be delayed due to a paperwork issue, but both he and First Officer Cecilia Ernst did a wonderful job keeping everyone updated. Ayana had the biggest smile, a very positive attitude, and did whatever she needed to do to keep the passengers happy.
When Captain Newell came back over the PA, he announced that the pilots had received the paperwork, but we were 1,200 lbs over in fuel and that flight would be further delayed while the issue was resolved. Right away, here comes Ayana with water service and a smile, making sure that everyone was comfortable throughout the delay. She was a rock star! Ayana did a wonderful job and is truly an asset to Trans States Airlines. The pilots also deserve kudos for their part in keeping everyone updated, staying positive, keeping us safe, and getting us home.
The crew was excellent, and they all represented the airline in a very professional manner. Keep up the good work!
Our crews are true professionals who are committed to providing outstanding customer service – even when things aren’t going as smoothly as we would like!
If you’re an aspiring commercial pilot looking for a high-quality internship that will give you a jump start on your career, look no further than the Trans States Airlines Aviators program. This program identifies promising pilots still in the early stages of flight training, and mentors them through the process of becoming a Trans States pilot.
Program participants are paired with a current Trans States Airlines line pilot, who provides professional guidance and advice to their mentees not only while they’re in flight training, but up until the point that they become Trans States Airlines First Officers.
“It’s so important for young pilots who want to fly commercially to have mentors who are commercial pilots,” said Keith Stamper, Director of Flight Operations. “Our pilots have been in these students’ shoes before, and they know what it takes to make the jump from being a student pilot to being a commercial airline pilot.”
During their internship, students will also have a chance to visit corporate headquarters in St. Louis, where they will meet the Flight Ops management team, sit in on systems training classes, and get behind-the-scenes tours of Systems Operations Control and our Maintenance Hangar. Program participants also have the opportunity to participate in the Trans States Airlines Command Leadership course, which is typically only offered to Trans States Airlines Command Pilots.
Additional benefits of the Aviators program include $10,000 in tuition reimbursement, as well as limited pass travel on United Airlines and American Airlines. Aviators also act as field recruiters and can earn $1,500 for each pilot that they refer to Trans States who is hired and completes training (funds are banked until a student becomes a Trans States Airlines employee).
Once students earn the requisite hours and officially become Trans States Airlines First Officers, they’ll receive their tuition reimbursement payment, in addition to any referral bonuses banked during their time as an aviator.
“We’re excited to be able to provide such a dynamic, hands-on training program for future pilots,”said Trans States Airlines Chief Operating Officer, Fred Oxley. “This program provides immersive,real-world experience that will provide value to students while in school and when they become line pilots.”
Fall enrollment for the 2016 Aviators Program is taking place now! Click here to learn more and apply online.
Before becoming a aircraft mechanic for Trans States Airlines, Brandi Rector spent six years in the United States Marine Corps as a helicopter aerial gunner and mechanic. Now she dedicates her time to ensuring that our aircraft operate safely and efficiently, all while attending full-time classes at Saint Louis University.
Brandi didn’t originally plan on an airline job when leaving the military. After her last deployment, Brandi returned home to St. Louis with plans to become a police officer. However, she soon found herself back in aviation after being hired by helicopter manufacturing company Sikorsky. “It was a desk job,” explains Brandi, “and after coming home from my deployment, sitting at a desk all day was making me stir crazy. Then I learned about Saint Louis University’s helicopter pilot program.”
Saint Louis University, in partnership with Midwest Helicopter, offers a helicopter training program that can be paired with any undergraduate degree. Brandi began the program in the fall of 2015, and is set to graduate in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautics, with a focus in Aviation Management. When she graduates, she will also be an FAA-certified helicopter pilot, with private, commercial, instructor and instrument ratings.
While Brandi receives much of her academic funding through the G.I. Bill, it doesn’t cover everything. Luckily, Brandi had earned her Airframe & PowerPlant license while in the military, which enabled her to supplement her G.I. funding by becoming a Trans States Airlines aircraft mechanic. There’s no danger of Brandi going stir crazy from sitting behind a desk at this job – she’s up and moving throughout her entire shift. As a heavy check mechanic, Brandi performs scheduled inspections on aircraft once they reach a certain number of hours. “We perform top-to-bottom aircraft checks and inspections on everything from oxygen masks and engine components, to flight control cables and hydraulic systems,” she explains. “We check everything to make sure the aircraft continues to stay safe for flight.”
Brandi enjoys the variety that her job brings. “In the Marines, I worked strictly on engines and gear boxes,” she said. “But at Trans Sates, I get to work on everything.” She went on to remark, “I’ve got to say, I really enjoy my job. Everyone that I work with is incredibly nice, friendly, and helpful.”
Brandi is busy, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s tough,” she says, “but it doesn’t matter if I don’t have much free time, because I love what I do. I feel rewarded knowing that all the work that I do provides safety for so many people who travel, and I feel accomplished when I make straight-A’s after studying so much and so hard.” Brandi also emphasizes the importance of having a strong support system. “My dad provided a lot of encouragement that helped me when I needed it. So, no matter what you decide to do, make sure you have the support you need.”
When she’s not working or studying, Brandi has several animals that she enjoys taking care of. “I’m working on building a barn right now,” she explains, “which will be for my horse. I also have two huskies, and I recently rescued a kitten.” She also became a member of Women With Wings, the St. Louis chapter of Women in Aviation, in April. “It’s a great group for networking,” she says,” and they’re starting to do a lot more charity events. After I receive my instructor rating, I’ll hopefully be able to pilot some charity flights for them, as well as for the Whirly-Girls, an association of women helicopter pilots.”
We’re proud that Brandi has chosen to share her talents with us, and we couldn’t be more impressed by everything that she’s accomplished. If you’ve got an A & P license and a desk job isn’t for you, give us a call. We offer skilled maintenance professionals like Brandi top-tier pay, and we pay extra for experience. We’d love to talk to you about everything our company has to offer. Click here to learn more.
Trans States Airlines has a long and storied history, all thanks to our great family of airline professionals. Captain Tim Gerrels recently completed his final flight before reaching his retirement, after flying with Trans States for over three decades! During that time, Captain Gerrels has racked up quite a few flight hours, along with impressive knowledge. In fact, Tim was the #1 pilot on the seniority list at Trans States Airlines for seventeen years.
According to Tim, he didn’t originally consider flying as a career. Tim received a degree in forestry from the University of Minnesota, through their Agricultural Aviation program. “There weren’t really any jobs available right after I got out of school,” he explains, “But, after I finished school, I continued flying.”
After completing school, Tim began flying in Greely, CO and then Tulsa, OK, then became an instructor in Minnesota. Afterwards, Tim became a Fixed Based Operator in Vernal, UT, where he did charter work with oil companies and the Bureau of Land Management. Later on, he taught at Saint Louis University’s Parks College, before eventually landing a job flying Cessna 402 aircraft out of Jefferson City, MO for a company called TRANS-MO Airlines.
In March of 1984, Tim was offered a position flying for Trans States Airlines, where he spent more than three decades. “I originally intended to stay only three to five years,” Tim elaborates, “but I was having too much fun flying to leave.” Tim began flying ATR aircraft in 1990, and the Embraer 145 in 2000. His favorite plane to fly was the Metroliner.
Tim’s favorite part of his job has always been flying into small towns, “I was never a big city boy. I don’t like flying into big cities. When I first started flying with Trans States, St. Louis was the biggest town that we would fly into, and that was just fine by me.” Tim has also seen a change in his St. Louis domicile, “St. Louis used to be a lot busier, and that’s no longer the case. We don’t have those two to three-hour delays that we used to have when Lambert Airport was a hub for Trans World Airlines.”
With experience comes wisdom, and Tim has some advice for the next generation of pilots. Tim emphasized the importance of a pilot doing his or her research before they go on their first check ride. “Always make sure that you do everything that you have to do, and get that down early. This way, you can make sure that you avoid any problems in the future.”
Tim says that landing his final flight with Trans States Airlines on June 10, 2016 was the best day of his life. “I don’t consider my best moments to be ‘proud’ moments,” Tim admits, “because I’m just not that kind of a guy. But I felt so appreciated when I came into the terminal, and there were people waiting to thank and congratulate me. I felt that I always got along with management, because it was always important to me to simply do my job, and make sure that it got done right. So, it was great to see that that made an impact.”
Tim plans on spending his retirement continuing to work on his farm, and spending time with his family. He will also be doing some traveling, as well. “We’ll be going to Hawaii next February,” he added, “and, we will renting a guide service to do some lake trout fishing in Lake Superior.” Tim revealed that he’s looking forward to this fishing trip again, after enjoying it the first time.
But if you think that Tim will no longer be flying during his retirement, think again. Tim also said that he will continue flying in a small airplane, in order to help his friends monitor their crops. “Now, he best part is,” Tim continued, “I only have to fly on my terms. Which means, only when the weather is nice.” Tim admits that it has already been an adjustment not having to check the weather when he wakes up every morning. “Sometimes I catch myself doing it, but then I remember that if I don’t like the forecast, then I don’t have to fly.”
Trans States Airlines is so honored and thankful to have had Captain Tim Gerrels fly for us for the past thirty plus years! Thank you so much for all you’ve done, Captain Gerrels! Enjoy your retirement!
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that have the biggest impact. A simple gesture of kindness from a stranger can make a huge impression. We received the below note from a passenger, who was blown away by the thoughtful actions of Trans States flight attendant Dwyght Lewis on a recent flight.
Dwyght Lewis, the flight attendant on our trip, gave me a HUGE smile when I entered the plane. He immediately took my bag out of my hand and said that as soon as everyone sat down, he would bring the bag over and put it up for me, which he did. Before taking off, he then came by and told me that there were two open seats next to each other in the back of the plane, and that it might make my trip more comfortable to switch. I took his kind offer and thankfully, we were very comfortable. My son fell fast asleep as soon as we sat down.
Throughout the flight, despite having his regular duties, Dwyght came and checked in on me countless times to see if I was okay, comfortable and if I needed anything. There was even a very rough patch of turbulence and he came by to check on us as soon as it stopped. He reassure me that the flight was almost over and all was okay. Prior to the flight ending, he told me that when we landed, to wait for everyone to get off, and he would come to the back and help me retrieve my bag and bring it to the front of the plane. Not only did he keep his word, but he took my bag, waited for my stroller and suitcase to come up from under the plane, and literally took it up for me. He opened the stroller for me and told me that if I needed help even further, he’d be glad to help. I told him I’d try to manage and thanked him. My son was still asleep, and I was carefully trying to put him in the stroller, so it took a bit longer.
I then had to navigate down the terminal to catch an Uber. Right as I started walking away, he came up behind me and said, “I have a son and I know how hard it is, let me help you.” He proceeded to take my suitcase and bag along with his and brought me literally all the way outside to the curb where my Uber was waiting. He then asked if I needed any other assistance. Although he was heading out the same direction, he did not have to go out of his way to lend a hand. He went above and beyond in my opinion. He was friendly, courteous, thoughtful, and really phenomenal.
We agree – Dwyght most certainly went above and beyond! He’s been entered in our Above & Beyond contest, a quarterly contest that recognizes exemplary employees who go beyond the call of duty. Thanks, Dwyght, for reminding us that it’s the little things that matter the most.
Trying to decide which airline you want to work for? One of the most important factors to consider is crew base location. The location of your crew base can drastically affect your quality of life, so you want to be sure that you have affordable options. Cost of living is a key factor to consider, as is the availability of good public transportation and budget-friendly entertainment.
Luckily, with bases in Denver, Raleigh-Durham, Washington D.C., St. Louis, and Chicago, our employees have some great options. In fact, all five of our crew bases were recently included in the 2016 US News and World Report “Best 100 Places to Live” rankings, with three of them making it to the top 10. Here are a few of our favorite things about each of our domiciles:
Claiming the coveted top spot on the US News list is Denver, Colorado. The Mile High City is perfect for any outdoorsy-type, but offers something for everyone. Fitness and nature enthusiasts are within an hour of skiing and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, and for more relaxed outings, Denver boasts over 5,000 acres of parks, trails, golf courses, and playgrounds. The city is also home to a flourishing arts scene and boasts approximately 100 breweries.
One of the best ways to explore Denver is by bike. The bike-sharing company, B-Cycle, provides 700 bikes for the city’s more than 85 miles of paved pathways. The above-ground tramway, RTD light rail, is also a convenient and economical way to get around.
Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina also ranks high on the US News list, coming in at number four. Raleigh’s diverse population enjoys mild average seasonal temperatures, low property taxes, and a cost-of-living slightly lower than the national average.
North Carolina is paradise for sports fans, with professional football, basketball, and hockey teams, as well as a huge NASCAR presence. Additionally, North Carolina is home to the famed Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels collegiate programs.
With over two hundred parks, a children’s museum, and over one hundred and fifty miles of greenway, Raleigh provides plenty to do outside. And getting around is a breeze, especially in the downtown area, where most people prefer to walk. There are plenty of commuter options however, including the R-Line bus system and an expanding system of both commuter rail and bike-friendly infrastructure.
Making it to the number eight spot on the US News list is our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Young, fun and vibrant are just a few of the words used to describe this historically and politically significant city. From a plethora of cultural attractions to a vibrant nightlife, D.C. has it all.
Museums and theaters abound, and the city is home of a seeming endless number of restaurants, nightclubs and concert venues. Sports fans will feel right at home in D.C., as the region is home to professional football, basketball, baseball and hockey teams.
D.C. traffic is notorious, but public transportation is available for those who prefer not to drive, thanks to trains and buses provided by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. For those who want to combine exercise and sightseeing, the best way to see the city is by bike. Be sure to check out Capital Bike Share, which rents out bikes in the metro area for periods ranging from a day to a year.
Affordable entertainment options combined with a cost of living that’s well below the national average, make St. Louis a fun and economical domicile.
St. Louis is a sports town, and the region’s 2.8 million residents are rabid supporters of the city’s two professional sports teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis offers plenty to keep live music and theater fans busy, including the renowned Fox Theatre and Peabody Opera House. Plus, the city’s world-class zoo, science center and art museum all offer free admission.
Although St. Louis is primarily a driving town, there are other affordable commuter options, including bus and light rail systems offered by Metro Transit, as well as increasing options for bicyclists.
Chicago is home to an abundance of well-known attractions and events. Fans of sports and music will find plenty to do, especially during the warmer months. Aviation enthusiasts won’t want to miss the annual Air and Water Show held on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Chicago also offers a smorgasbord of restaurants and food options, including not to be missed Chicago-style pizza. Getting around is a breeze in Chicago, thanks to a multitude of public transportation options. The Chicago Transit Authority’s “L” trains and buses, the Metra rail system, taxis, Uber, and even bicycle rental company Divvy make sure that commuters don’t have to walk or sit in traffic if they don’t want to.
Did we neglect to include one of your favorite attractions? Let us know in the comments!
We often receive compliments from passengers regarding our professional and courteous crews. Lately, one flight attendant in particular has been impressing passengers left and right. Here are two recent notes we’ve received from passengers regarding flight attendant Sheryl Smith’s stellar service.
This past week, my husband and I traveled to Hawaii. Today, on the final leg from Chicago to Cedar Rapids, we met Sheryl. What a bright light she is! Sheryl welcomed us on board with the friendliest attitude. She appeared to enjoy interacting with the passengers, and she even addressed us by name! I am taking time to write this because this lady and her representation of your company stood out like a beacon to us. If only her genuine enthusiasm could be bottled and shared!
Sheryl is clearly making a positive impact on the people that she serves. Here’s what another passenger had to say:
Sheryl D. Smith was a great hostess! She was friendly, outgoing, and took great care of us. Thanks for the great experience, Sheryl!
At Trans States, we pledge to give our passengers the best possible experience on each and every flight. Sheryl is just one of the hundreds of Trans States employees who go the extra mile every day to provide safe and professional service to the people we serve.