March 19, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Cindy Meister Diaz has one heck of a commute. As the general manager of American Airlines in Omaha who lives part-time in Dallas, she frequently commutes from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Omaha’s Eppley Airfield.

Diaz, originally from Scottsbluff, Neb., has been with American Airlines for 24 years. She worked her way through the ranks until she ended up at DFW as the general manager, doing everything from reception to managing the union guys on the ramps.

“I was working in Dallas for about a year and a half or so when the general manager in Omaha got a job in Orange County,” Diaz says. “It was right as we were getting ready to merge with US Airways, so they were looking for an interim to come up here as a commuter.”

It was Omaha itself and a push from her now-husband that led Diaz to apply for the promotion, which was originally supposed to be a six-week stint. After naming a few people she thought would be good for the opportunity, Diaz threw her own name into the discussion and now commutes about every other week back to Dallas.

“My favorite commute is on Friday afternoon when the last flight is going out to Dallas, and I hop on it to spend the weekend with my family. Then I come back Sunday night,” Diaz says.

The flight that is “one hour and 23 minutes at an altitude of 33,000 feet” hasn’t quite become routine for Diaz yet.

“I still love it. I still love the way it feels when you take off, I love a little bit of a bumpy landing,” she says. “And I’m an obsessive crocheter when I fly. I bring my own in-flight entertainment!”

But she’s not alone. American Airlines has more than 25 employees that have crazy commutes. She says her favorite thing is asking a fellow employee where she’s headed and hearing, “Oh, I’m working Rome tonight, I’ll see you Thursday.”

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