Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The End of an Era

Well, it finally happened, just as I suspected it would. ATA filed for bankruptcy, and Air Tran will be taking over their gates at Midway Airport. I'm not sure yet what effect that will have on my commute, but I've been feeling melancholy all day. It's not just the fact that our transportation home is in jeopardy. It's also a sense of loss, as we've been flying ATA ever since they switched from charter to a full-fledged "vacation airline." In my head, I can still hear the strains of their jingle: "...on ATA, you're on vacation."

For many years, that's exactly what it meant for us: Vacation. They were always reliable and reasonably priced. I can't even begin to estimate how many times ATA took us to visit the Mouse over the course of the past decade or so. Once we started our Dsisney Cruise obsession, we sometimes flew American, but usually it was still ATA.

I've even come to recognize most of the gate crew at Orlando International Airport. At Midway, the personnel shuffles and changes because there are so many flights and gates. At MCO, it's Gate 1, 3, or 5, and the faces are usually the same.

I wonder what will happen to all of those people who we've come to know, even though it's on a superficial basis. I still can't help but feel sorry for them. The airline industry in general is in a financial turmoil. Now, goodness knows how many people will be losing their jobs. For me, the loss of ATA is an inconvenience. For them, it's the loss of an entire livelihood.

Hopefully I'll make it home this weekend. I am anxious to see the legendary Halloween crowdsin Celebration, although we have to leave around dusk so I'll miss most of the hoopla. I hear that not many people make it all the way back to East Village anyway. Too bad...I love Halloween and trick or treaters. I hope that we'll be home to hand out candy next year.

We've really enjoyed biking through town and looking at the Halloween decorations. My favorite is the house in North Village with an "Area 52" theme. Since we're so transient, my decorations are modest: A couple of Halloween flags and yard decorations, but no lights. Once we are in Celebration permanently, my house will be one of the gaudy ones. I love going all out for the holidays!

I'm said that it's the end of an era of traveling on ATA, but I suppose that time marches on. All the more reaason to make the permanent leap to Celebration...now I just need to win the lottery!

You can email me at celebration@mailblocks.com

My Celebration, FL website can be found at www.celebrationinfo.com

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