If they all hate you…

Does that mean you win?

Remember what seems like forever ago, back to an era where the airlines used to host parties for no good reason other than a gentlemen’s bet over dinner one night? Sure, the economy was headed into the tank and airlines were cutting costs all over the place, but marketing still was a thing and had a reasonable budget and, well Continental Airlines made sure to use that budget. I speak, of course, of the infamous CODO events. The last iteration CO DO IV, was a spectacular event hosted by the airline in Houston with several hundred attendees. And, during that event, I became a lightning rod for the pilot union’s ire over recent furloughs.

I had heard stories about this hate, about the problems that a photo of me drinking on a plane must have caused. But the stories all centered around supposedly seeing me drinking on the flight deck during the charter flight. And there’s absolutely no way that would have happened, both because I’m smarter than that and because the others on board were double and triple checking as folks went up front to visit. So I always dismissed the stories of the incendiary photo as the stuff of legend or imagination. Nope. It is very real. And I finally saw a copy of the photo.


I now have a much better understanding of why that one pilot I met in Newark at the party for the unveiling of the Continental RetroJet was so angry when I introduced myself and he replied, “I know who you are.” Whoopsie.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. An era that seems like forever ago…you’re not kidding! Look at how attractive those flight attendants are are!

  2. Best airline party ever 🙂
    I will say the pilot group were certainly deeply divided and it was always best to avoid the crazed group.

  3. I’m so confused. How was the photo of the flight deck? You’d think pilots would know the difference between flight deck and galley?? And how is you chilling with flight attendants with a bottle of champagne responsible for pilot furloughs? Like I said, I’m very confused.

    1. Well, there was another photo from the event with me on the flight deck (and wearing a pilot’s hat IIRC). It would not surprise me to hear that he two were conflated as stories circled. And I can understand the frustration of 140ish guys being furloughed and then seeing marketing spend happening. The visual isn’t great. But marketing is also a separate budget and this event likely was profitable (or close to it) from the every beginning as hundreds of us paid for flights in to IAH on CO and the costs to the company were very low.

      Still, that photo is hysterical to me in many ways.

  4. Thanks for the memories of this event Seth. I too attended this (and all the CO DOs) but unfortunately was not on this particular part of the event.
    It brings me back to a much happier time in this (whatever we call it) communitiy–a community that seems to be taken over today by the loud voices of entitlement and complaining. It harkens back to a time when customers were (largely) valued by airlines and not scorned. This seems like a lot longer time ago than it actually was.

  5. I was in the travel industry in the “golden days” of the late 70s/early 80s — it seemed tour companies had to compete on the lavishness of the bash. Far too many brain cells were drowned by open bar parties.

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