Austin Mueller Airport Memories
Sitting in a Torchy’s Tacos, the one on 51st & the old Austin airport? Walking in, there are various, diverse, ‘black and white’ poster-size photos of the old airport.
Memories of old Austin. Austin Mueller Airport Memories.
There’s always a singular incident I recall, the one time I saw an SWA employee snap. It was when SWA was in its 20’s, 25th or 29th birthday, and tickets on select routes were either $25 or $29. When I had an appearance schedule I knew, a whole year in advance, and it was one of the few times I was able to buy a year’s worth of travel tickets, in advance, on sale.
A couple of hundred bucks got me to Lubbock, Amarillo, Midland–Odessa, and El Paso — for the whole year.
It was a September or October gig in West Texas, and the flight stopped in Lubbock, then Dallas (Love Field), then Austin — when the airport was at Mueller. Long time ago. Same plane and flight number, just wandering all over Texas, and that is the unparalleled joy of cheap seats.
Bubba, Gemini, was supposed to meet me at the airport, got there, probably a Sunday night, around 7 in the evening. Flight was delayed, so he got to spend several hours in the departure lounge, and that included a security screening. His version of the story was much more amusing, as he had pierced private parts, and that always made for metal–detector fun.
There was a storm front passing through, and it hit when the SWA 737 was on its final Austin approach. Pilot (probably a good idea) veered off to San Antonio to wait out the storm.
I was amused. I left, probably El Paso in the afternoon, and I think I was wearing shorts. There was a foot snow in Lubbock, and heavy weather in Dallas, then, it all caught up in Austin.
Think I’d checked in from either Dallas or Lubbock, and said it was good, just running late, but in San Antonio, as we boarded again to hop back to Austin, I explained that the ground crew in Austin had suggested that the pilot wasn’t manly, and that’s when the SWA attendant snapped at me.
The story I got from Bubba was that the ground personnel in Austin? After a couple of updates, the uniformed personnel at the flight desk?
“Well, crap. We’ve lost an airplane. No idea where it is. If you’re waiting on the flight? It will be here soon. We hope.”
Then, in true SWA style? They brought out a tub, a cooler filled with ice, cold beer, and coke.
“Yeah, maybe a dozen of us were waiting on your flight, so we just had a party. When you called from San Antone? I pulled my phone out of my shorts pocket and everyone looked at me. Like,‘Yeah, I got a cell,’ so what? I need for work.”
With his long-ass hair, he looked like a drug dealer. Think he was still working at the radio station. That’s back in the day when cell phones were expensive to own and operate.
Mentioning Austin Mueller Airport Memories also evokes a subsequent memory, as the new airport was being completed, almost on time, I had to fly out — West Texas Shuffle — from the old airport, and had the new opened on time? I would’ve arrived back at the new airport.
I didn’t plan it that way, and like all new construction, there were delays.
Old Austin Mueller Airport Memories run deep, for me. Why those pictures, in black and white, stark, yet hugely evocative —