Airplane Geek or Airline Dork?

By | January 23, 2011
A TWA Douglas DC-3 airplane is prepared for ta...
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The following is an editorial.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. It was inspired by Dan Webb, a junior at Bryant University and a well-known airline dork and budding airplane geek. Or perhaps I should capitalize Airplane Geek, as Dan is a co-host of the popular podcast, Airplane Geeks, where he often refers to himself as an Airline Dork.

I have often said there is a difference between the two, and I have often been asked what that difference is.

The difference is one of focus. I will call myself a transportation enthusiast, and I started out with trains. The typical railfan tends to focus a lot on rolling stock(the actual equipment). I was interested in the trains, but never quite so interested in them as the routes. Where did they go, what sort of usage did they have, how did they impact the lives of the people? That is still how I feel today. I like the whole picture.

Recently, when I was listening to the Airplane Geeks Podcast, and heard Shashank Nigam of Simpliflying and the hosts talking about the initiatives airlines and airports are taking to interact with their customers, I was momentarily optimistic, as this appealed to that innocent love of this industry that started Flight Wisdom. That would put us squarely in the Airline Dork category.

Planes are wondrous things, and worthy of admiration. The discovery of flight stands as a significant one in the history of invention, one that fills the dreams of many, even to this day. The frontiers of aviation continue to be pushed, even as we dream about the next generation of exploration into space and beyond.

Commercial air travel is a different sort of fascination. It not only includes the wonder of objects so large as the Airbus A380, but the massive precision and coordination required to operate the thousands of flights each day that airlines operate, coupled with the human drama and the stories of those who fly. It is multifaceted. And it continues to evolve into a more and more complex story with airlines looking to innovate in new areas, be it with new value-added services, new technologies, new planes, and new fees, while dealing with the issues of air traffic control, security, fuel pricing, etc.

So, in the end, I am an airline dork. And to be an airline dork, I suppose, you must have a healthy dose of airplane geek. All that said, being food for thought, what are you? What thrills you about aviation? Is it the commercial side? The military side? Planes?  Everything? Leave a comment.