Monday, 19 September 2011

People watching

I'm sitting in the loung of a large, New York area, FBO (Fixed Base Operator). I've been here for an hour or so, quietly looking at the people passing through while I wait for my lift to arrive.

Just outside the door there's a gaggle of limo drivers - smoking, laughing and no doubt putting the world to rights.

Then there are the white coats - a medical team presumably waiting for something or someone to arrive. I say 'something' because there's a van outside with ORGAN TRANSPORT written on the side.

There are a couple of policeman trying to track down some people who were here earlier. The people in question have popped out to lunch - something the receptionist has told the policeman a few times without them seeming to understand.

There are some golfers - a small group which passes quickly through.

By far the most interesting is a group of suited men with earpieces and curly wires disappearing into their suits. From time to time they are joined by other, more smartly dressed men of middle eastern appearance. They break off into various sub groups, talk in hushed tones and occasionally pop intio the rest rooms to 'sort out comms'. One of the group doesn't have an earpiece but does have an ID tag and a clipboard - he's looking fairly harassed.

A couple walks through on the way to a GV, they're followed by a porter pushing a huge trolley stuffed with shopping bags.

Someone behind the desk is looking at the curly wired gang and saying "On the ground in ten minutes, ten minutes." Clipboard man has gone over for a chat, meanwhile one of the curly wire gang is talking into his wrist and more curly wires have gone into a huddle.

I look on Flight Aware and see that my lift is in the air and on the way.

The medical team walked through the door leading to the apron, the transport van has gone. I imagine that  a family is fervently touching wood and crossing fingers.

The activity in the lounge increases significantly before a well-dressed, slim, middle-aged man arrives through the airside door. He's accompanied by a some more curly wires. A couple of similarly sharp suited gents jump up and lots of greetings follow. Three of them sit down and chat for no more than ten minutes - each time one of them looks up someone moves swiftly towards them with a briefcase or piece of paper. 

A Cessna Caravan parks up and a young family pass through on their way to the waiting car, their three- or four-year-old is fascinated by all of the suits. 

As quickly as the important group came in they get up to leave, returning airside. I counted over a dozen black limousines and 4x4s driving around the outside of the apron in a convoy lead by two police cars. It's emptied the lounge somewhat, but there are still four Brit-accented curly wires hanging around.

According to Flight Aware my lift is now only 22 minutes away.

Crew members sit drinking coffee while waiting for their passengers, FBO employees load food, organise fuel and take calls. Another line of black limos is waiting patiently outside for the next VVIP to arrive…