Reflecting on past Thanksgiving news conferences

It is a couple of days before Thanksgiving, a time when so many millions of people are getting ready to use the aviation system to visit friends and family. 

Before the economic meltdown, it seemed as if these holidays would just overwhelm the system. Today there is less worry about that, though there is worry that with so much capacity removed from the system that any travelers whose flights are cancelled or delayed for any reason might have trouble making alternative plans. 

Several times in recent years, I joined with the then-head of TSA Kip Hawley and Jim May, president of the Air Transport Association (ATA), for a pre-holiday news conference to talk about how the industry was ready for the influx of travelers and to answer questions on what we thought we’d face. 

In 2006, that news conference occurred in the context of new regulations on carriage of liquids and gels. A question about the status of cranberry sauce led to a fun exchange, and to TSA announcing that granny’s apple pie could be taken through the check point and was not a violation of the liquid and gels rules. I still sometimes think this was the most useful thing I’ve done in this job — enabling millions to enjoy their Thanksgiving pie! 

I am always thankful at this time of year for the aviation system and the role it plays it helping our country enjoy this important holiday. Since I am recovering from surgery, Jim May and I did not do our press meeting this year. But I should say that doing those events with him has been a real highlight of my time at ACI-NA. Jim is a great representative of his industry. He’s a worthy adversary when we disagree and a great partner on the more frequent occasions we can agree and work together. I’ve always been thankful to have someone like him at the helm at ATA. The fact that his wife is a big NY Giants football fan is an added bonus! 

I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving!

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