Bouncing Right Along to Boise

Flying into Boise, Idaho is as close to a stress-free flight as you will find on this continent.

The passengers do not have to worry about last minute gate changes or missed connections: Boise is every-one's last stop.

Before the plane even levels off and reaches cruising altitude, people are trading stories: skiing stories in the winter, camping stories in the summer.

People chat about the long drives home they have, how good it is to be getting back, how stressful flying can be. Businessmen nod at each other before opening the paper.

Sometimes, even the flight crew gets into the spirit.


On a late night Delta flight from Chicago O'Hare in the summer of 1993, the junior pilot begins his normal interruptions about the names of the towns while passengers stare out of the window at the patches of light below, pretending they can see more than a tiny speck.

Dinner trays have been picked up, in-flight magazines have been read, and the plane is too small to have a movie screen. People are listless and more than a little bored.

Your Lucky Day

Over the intercom comes a different voice, sounding energized and excited. The old showman's phrase booms out over the loudspeaker, "Ladies and gentleman, today is your lucky day!"

The voice belongs to our captain for the evening, who informs us all that things up in the cockpit are a little dull (as if we couldn't have predicted that) and that he'd like to continue his "favorite tradition."

Passengers sit up a little straighter as the showman continues his routine. The captain explains that the cockpit crew has a "special, secret prize for the person who has a picture with the greatest number of people in it."

The doors to the overhead bins fly open as people root through their luggage and coat pockets. Grandfathers open their wallets to find Pictures of their grandchildren.

One teenager finds a postcard with hundreds of people at a beach. She waves it over her head and races toward the cockpit, ignoring the flight attendant who asks her to slow down. People chuckle and briefcases and wallets close all over the plane.

However, the contest isn't over so soon.

The captain comes back on the intercom to lay out a few clarifications and rules: it must be a real picture, not a postcard, and the winner must be over 21 years of age.