80-days at Vancouver Int’l Airport

Jaeger Mah has just 10 more days to spend inside Vancouver International Airport. He’s spent 70 days there so far and he’s looking forward to being able to do his laundry when he wants to and being able to buy fresh fruit at non-inflated prices.

This past summer, Mah won a contest to be an in-residence citizen reporter at YVR. And, armed with a video camera and a few dozen bold Hawaiian shirts, he moved into the airport in mid-August.

His assignment: to spend 80 days – and nights – on-site, chronicling life at the airport via regular video reports, blog entries and on Facebook and Twitter.
Mah got a room at the on-site Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel and $50 a day in “YVR bucks” for snacks and meals. He’ll also be paid about $15,000 when he moves out.

I spoke with Mah before he started his adventure and checked back with him yesterday to see how it’s all turned out.

He told me about spending a day with a veteran pilot as he prepared for a flight to Tokyo. About attending liquor tasting at the duty free store and getting to ride along with the airport emergency crew. During his time at the airport he’s visited the on-site dentist (“Turns out I have five cavities,”), learned how to de-ice airplanes and spent an evening with his dad at the airport’s Flying Beaver Pub, where they play a “Name that tune” game every Saturday night.

As his live-in assignment winds down, Mah says he’s going to miss all the friends he’s made at the airport. But he knows he’ll be back soon: Mah and his girlfriend have tickets to fly to Maui at the end of November. “I can’t wait to fly,” said Mah, “Because now I know everything that goes into flying. I know what the flight crews are doing, how the airplanes are prepped, how they push planes back from the gate and what the pilots have done to get ready to fly.”

Day 68 – De-icing Crew from Live@YVR on Vimeo.


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