Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy the Meeting

By Heather Baldwin

If you’re considering a flight-related theme for your next meeting, such as “XYZ Corp. ready for takeoff” or “the sky’s the limit,” consider holding it in a place that embodies the spirit of that theme: the American Airlines Training and Conference Center. There you can host a cocktail reception in a fuselage, have your luncheon speaker deliver his or her address from a ticket counter or tour a flight museum between sessions.

The facility originally was built to train flight attendants, but seven years ago its 200,000 square feet of space was opened to the public. Training for American Airlines employees still takes place at the center almost every day, but there’s no need to worry about being crammed into a room with flight attendants learning to demonstrate seat belt use. The facility offers more than 75 training and conference rooms in various sizes and configurations. There are eight tiered amphitheaters, 31 flat-surfaced conference rooms and three interactive computer labs. The Flagship Auditorium seats up to 300 and offers a projection booth to accommodate large-screen presentations.

Still, it’s the fuselage cross-sections that tend to turn heads. Imagine a one-quarter piece of fuselage cut in half lengthwise – or down the middle of the aisle on a single-aisle aircraft – and mounted in the front of a training room. The center has seven of them, for seven different types of aircraft including first class and economy cross-sections. Groups typically use these rooms for unique cocktail receptions, especially when their meeting themes are flight related, says Karen Gillingham, the center’s director of sales and marketing. To really drive home the theme follow a reception with dinner in the atrium. While there are several ticket counters set up for training in this room, the space around them allows for banquet seating for almost 150 diners. Another popular reception location is the flight museum across the street, where meeting attendees can learn about the history of flight while sipping cocktails.

The American Airlines Training and Conference Center is located just outside the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. There’s a complimentary shuttle from the airport to the facility. For more information, visit www.aaconferencecenter.dolce.com