The Value of Good Humour

Twenty-odd years ago, a school friend and I were on one of the last flights to leave a Caribbean island for the USA before a major hurricane was due.  The pilot of that American Airlines flight had a very relaxed and reassuring manner over the intercom and even dipped a wingtip to improve the view during one those “we are just passing…” parts of the speech.  He brought some much appreciated levity to a rather tense crowd.

That pilot came to mind this evening while waiting to depart on the SK506 to Copenhagen.  It was a full flight and with schedules at Heathrow being notoriously tight, I imagine the captain was keen to get boarding completed in good time.

After making the customary welcome announcement in Danish first, his switch to English opened with: “Ladies and gentlemen.  There may be fifty ways to leave your lover but there are only eight to leave this aircraft.”  After which he exhorted us to pay full attention to the safety demonstration that was soon to follow.

The English version of the pre-landing speech started with: “Ladies and gentlemen.  What happened in London stays in London and here comes Copenhagen.”  We landed ten minutes ahead of schedule.

Our captain for the evening was Mikael Kirkensgaard.  As I had just read in the inflight magazine about a different SAS captain who had been a decorated competitive skater, I asked Captain Kirkensgaard what he did when not flying.  He is not a stand-up in his spare time but a football coach.  He is also rather handy at the controls of an Airbus A320.  I hope we might fly together again.

SAS Captain Mikael Kirkensgaard

Unfortunately the smile waned somewhat shortly after landing.  The flight to Billund has been cancelled and a three hour bus journey awaits.  I wonder what the driver’s sense of humour will be like.

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