Kent Bernhardt: I love to land, and it shows

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 26, 2016

I’ve been flying a lot these days.

It seems the more I vow to leave the ground as little as possible, the more fate seems to step in and I find myself doing the airport tango all over again.

Recent journeys have taken me to Nevada, Michigan, Minnesota, and Colorado. And no two flights offer the same experience.

My latest expedition was with Delta Airlines. I remember their slogan, “Delta is ready when you are”. I would like to think they’re ready before I am, but I think I understand what they’re trying to say.

I flew on a total of four Delta planes this trip, some newer than others. One even featured video screens on the back of the seats in front of you, and you could play free games on them to pass the time.

I chose to play a trivia game. I consider myself the king of trivia, but this time I stunk. Nevertheless, at the end of the game, the screen revealed I had set a new high score record. I’m assuming everyone else on the plane who played the game stunk more.

My most uncomfortable trip took me from Detroit to Denver. I was sandwiched between an older married couple. He apparently wanted a window seat and she wanted an aisle seat. That left Kent in the middle.

They were friendly and we chatted a bit, but they kept passing food back and forth to each other. She had prepared a virtual feast, and they were kind enough to offer me a sandwich which I politely refused. I was stuffed from the packet of pretzels the airline had given me, each one the size of a nickel. I thoroughly enjoyed all seven of them.

While on the last leg of my trip home, it occurred to me that there was almost no conversation on the plane; not even exchanges of simple pleasantries like “Excuse me for jamming my knee into your thigh.”

In fact, I barely heard a peep out of anyone. I suppose that’s preferable to having to endure unwanted idle chatter, but it still surprised me.

It also inspired me to jot down a few things you never want to hear on a plane:

“Hi, my name is Fred and since this is a long flight, I’ve taken the liberty of composing a list of subjects we can discuss for the next four hours. Let’s start with fifteenth century European history.”

(Mother, to son sitting beside you) “I told you not to eat that leftover burrito before you got on the plane. Now you can just hold it, mister.”

“Wow! That was close!”

(From the Captain) I’d like to take this time to announce the airline will be retiring this plane right after today’s flight. Ol’ Betsy’s just been giving us too much trouble lately.”

(Also from the Captain) “I’m Dave and I’m your pilot. Today’s co-pilot is Ustov Gunnarson, winner of our airline’s ‘Co-Pilot For a Day’ contest. I’m sure he’ll do a fine job in spite of the fact he speaks virtually no English.”

(Again from the Captain) “I’m Captain Dave, but my friends just call me ‘Lucky’, and I consider you all my friends.”

So, I suppose there are worse things than silence on a plane.


Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury


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