Second star to the right and straight on till morning

The flying public had a bit of a scare last week when it was discovered that a flight from San Diego to Minneapolis overflew it’s destination by 150 miles and was out of radio contact for 90 minutes. The pilots were apparently engrossed in a new scheduling software on their laptops. Their lapse in judgment cost them their pilot licenses and will likely result in the loss of their jobs.


At about the same time the media was publicizing the revocation of licenses, I was boarding a United Airlines jet in Denver, bound for a meeting in Los Angeles. Shortly after the cabin doors closed, the pilot, Captain Berner, could be seen making his way though the plane. Any frequent flier knows that this is a bit unusual directly before departing the gate.

Captain Berner stopped to chat with passengers every few rows discussing the turbulence we would likely encounter in route and our estimated flight time. He joked that we would make it to L.A. in two hours where as if we had decided to go by horseback, it would take us six months. After traveling through all the rows, he headed back to the cockpit to get us up in the air.

A quick survey of the passengers in my vicinity confirmed that none of us had ever had a pilot welcome after boarding any plane. So what was this? Likely, it was an United Airlines email memo to pilots on restoring trust with the flying public that had just been circulated. Cynicism aside, it had us smiling and perhaps just a bit more confident that we would arrive at our appropriate destination.

What have you done to reassure your students today?

All it takes is faith and trust and a little bit of pixie dust. ~Peter Pan
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