Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

May 13, 2013

Flying the “Delta Connector”

By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — I had an unfortunate fall earlier this week and wrecked my back to the point where I cannot spend much time sitting up at my desk to write. Therefore, I am recycling a piece I wrote many years ago about our first trip from Corsicana back to Denver. It went like this:

At the end of April, we flew up to Denver to visit our dear friends and reinforce our decision to move down here to retire. Once we observed the population and traffic growth around our old stomping grounds, Corsicana began to look all the better to us. We even had four inches of snow on the ground on May 1 to remind us of the good old days. Anyway, our flight went something like this.

Our trip to the airport was uneventful and I even found a parking spot in the South Remote lot. We checked in at Concourse E and then the fun began. In order to get to our plane, we had to travel about five miles underground to get to the area labeled “Compact Plane Parking.” Then we had to go down some stairs and walk about 300 yards across the tarmac to get to our plane. It was a cute little aircraft that had about 60 seats packed into an area about the size of our dining room.

We actually left the gate area a few minutes early to allow us time to taxi back to where the regular-sized planes were parked. As we were taxiing, the first of many really funny announcements was made. At least I think they were funny, but then you already know I have a weird sense of humor. The flight attendant said, “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for flying the Delta Connector. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy giving us the business as much as we enjoy taking you for a ride. Remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Delta Airlines.”

The safety briefing went something like this: “To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt and, if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised. There may be 50 ways to leave your lover but there are only three ways out of this airplane so please check to see where your nearest exit is.

“In the event of sudden loss of cabin pressure, a bunch of little margarine tubs will drop down from the ceiling. As soon as the screaming dies down, grab a margarine tub and place it over your face. If you are traveling with a child, or someone just acting childish, put your margarine tub on first and then assist them. If you are traveling with more than one child, pick your favorite.”

After we got airborne, the Captain chimed in, “Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight. We will be reaching our cruising height of 30,000 feet and, at that time, we’ll be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.”

Later on, he made another announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain again. The weather ahead looks good so we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax and enjoy the flight. OH MY GOD, NO!...” After several minutes of silence, he came back on and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier but, while I was talking, a flight attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilled the hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!” The guy across the aisle from me said, “That’s nothing, he should see the back of mine!”

Later he announced, “The weather in Denver is 55 degrees with some broken clouds. We’ll try to have them fixed before we land.” Bigger than life, when we got to Denver International Airport, there was a lot of turbulence around the Rockies and the pilot had a real struggle to get us down.

After a really rough landing, here came that flight attendant again: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Denver. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what’s left of the airplane to the gate. Once Captain Crash has brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate, the tire smoke has cleared, and the warning bells are silenced, we’ll open the door and you can pick your way through the debris to the terminal.”

As the plane finally was coming to a stop at the gate, the Captain was again on the loudspeaker yelling, “Whoa, big fella. WHOA!” This was quickly followed by the attendant: “Please take care when opening the overhead compartment because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted. As you exit the plane, make sure you gather all your belongings, paying particular attention to children and spouses. Once again, we thank you for flying with us today and we hope you will choose Delta Airlines the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube.”

As we were exiting the plane, the Captain was shamefacedly wishing everyone well and thanking us for flying Delta. A little old lady in front of me stopped and asked, “Hey, Sonny, do you mind answering a question for me?” When he said, “Why no Ma’am, what is it?” She said, “Did we land or were we shot down?”

See ya...

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Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com