The second day of the MEGADO was all things AA. Starting with a presentation about AA, some inside peeps in to their 777-300 interiors, new safety video and new kiosk interface.
We started the day with presentations from several senior executives at AA, covering everything from AAdvantage through to their technology rollout and new offerings in the cabins. Gleff has covered this in the MegaDo blog.
After a great lunch, under the wings of a DC-3 in the AA museum at DFW we met the crew for our flight to Seattle:
The afternoon was the bit that really interested me – a chance to understand some the training and safety procedures onboard. Some brave soles volunteered to do a water rescue – raft and all, and we all got a chance to go down a two person slide.
One of the senior training pilots took us to the building where AA has its wide range of training simulators. We learned about pilot training, and re qualification We couldn’t go inside one, as this is prohibited for non-US nationals since 9/11.
We were then taken to the AA Ops room which I have to say was huge. We were lucky to be able to watch as the staff handled all of AA’s flight dispatching and were able to visit the room AA uses in case of an unusual incident – not just crashes, but urgent call up of planes for the US Government, or severe weather disruption:
The next part of the visit began to get very exciting. We got to witness how aircrew would evacuate a S-80, including an explanation of the detachable tail cone. It was pretty hectic as crew went about their job of shouting instructions and showing people where to get out of the plane. Even experience flyers were impressed with the clarity, firmness and directness of the staff. They took the drill absolutely seriously, but were really happy to talk about their procedures:
We then moved on to the 757 trainer. This trainer was able to move, simulate the sound of the slide deploying, and lock exits to simulate them being blocked. The even injected smoke in to the cabin to authenticity!
We all got a little caught out, as we had not actually evacuated the S-80, but the 757 crew soon barked the appropriate orders and we got out of the door double quick I have to say. Again, the staff were generous with their time and information, but too soon we had to move on to witness other members of the DO getting wet. (Not being even a poor swimmer, I was not getting in to 7 feet of water!).
Once in the water the gallant DO’ers formed a circle around the flight attendant (who knew they had Orange life vests before today?)
Certain of the more famous members of Milepoint took part too:
The next trick was entering the life raft, which most participants said was pretty hard as it’s a long way up, and the raft is not really that large:
Other members of our group (the dry ones) went down the two person evac slide mock-up:
Impressive pile-up occurred at the bottom – which is why the safety announcement asks people to stay at the bottom to help people off.
Other slide participants:
After the fun was over we boarding the buses again and were taken back to DFW. Staff were ready to meet us, show us to the TSA line (yes even MegaDOers are not exempt from their clutches), and on to the gate. The departure boards showed the flight to Seattle:
Overview – I like many was totally impressed with how American opened up their doors and facility to the MegaDo’ers. They were generous with their information, helpful and friendly in a way that you don’t see too often in the hard pressed airline industry today. The staff we met were consummate professionals, who gave freely of their time and knowledge. Everyone of them was genuinely warm, more than happy to answer the same question, even if they had to answer it for the 4th time that day. It was a day even more interesting and fun than I had hoped.