Anyone flown with Captain Morgan lately?

I hate calling out specific pilots, but there are some that just stand out. You have your more “traditional” (aka professional) top notch airline industry ambassadors, like Captain Flanagan, Captain McFadden, etc., and then you have some less traditional ones. One of those would be United’s Captain Morgan. Yes, that’s his real name.

We all have the stereotype of what a “legacy” pilot is like. And then there’s Captain Morgan, who on so many levels fits that stereotypes (tone of his voice, look, etc.), but on so many levels doesn’t. I haven’t flown with him for over two years, but I just remembered him as I was going through some old trip reports. Back then Captain Morgan was a 777 captain, and I flew with him from Los Angeles to Washington Dulles. Matthew was even on that flight, as I recall.

I should further preface this by saying that I’m not usually for airplane humor, and by that I mean the same stuff you hear on Southwest and other airlines gets old pretty quickly. But Captain Morgan is so outlandishly hilarious and unique, that his 20 minute post-takeoff announcement nearly had me in tears. I certainly can’t do him justice in this post, so it’ll have to be one of those “you have to experience it to appreciate it” things. What sets Captain Morgan apart?

Well, I remember as we were departing LAX I was listening to Channel 9. The “good” (more positive) pilots tend to turn on Channel 9, so I’m used to hearing “our” pilot have a bit of an upbeat voice. This particular pilot sounded like he was dying. If he sounded anymore bored, they’d replace Ambien with CD tracks that just have him talking on it.

So as we leveled off he began his 20 minute announcement. He started with a deep breath on the PA, and an “oh boy….”

What were some of his announcements:

  • And since my co-pilot Mike will be handling the controls today, you’ll be listening to the dulcet tones of my mellifluous voice… or the mellifluous tones of my duclet voice. How many of you know what mellifluous means? I thought so. How many of you can spell mellifluous? Thought so again…
  • I’ve flown with Mike before, and I can assure you he’ll hit every spot of turbulence in the Western hemisphere this morning. He likes to call it “unexpected turbulance,” but I know better. Mike’s also a little bit crazy. He hears voices in his head. If you’d like to hear the same voices Mike hears in his head, you can tune into Channel 9 on your audio/entertainment system.
  • From time to time we’ll turn on the “fasten seatbelts” sign and I’ll say “Sit! Stay!” Actually, our marketing department didn’t like that, so I’ll nicely ask you to take your seats.

On the descent, as he turned on the seatbelt sign, he said “I’d like to sincerely thank you for choosing to fly with United Airlines today. We hope you’ve enjoyed giving us your business as much as we’ve enjoyed taking you and your money for a ride.”

As the seatbelt sign was turned off on the ground, he quickly got on the PA and said “ALL RISE!”

Anyway, some of you might not find this funny without hearing it, but he got a pretty good reaction.

So I’m wondering, has anyone flown with him lately? Every time I get on a 777 I hope Captain Morgan will be at the controls, though I haven’t had the pleasure again.

Comments

  1. I flew with him several years ago and my girlfriend and I still joke and laugh about “sit and stay”. I wonder if we were on the same flight, infact, because Mike was indeed our copilot and I swear he used these same lines. I’m fairly certain — March ’08. “All Rise”.

  2. I am actually crew with UAL and flew with him last year. He’s actually on the Airbus fleet now and yes, he is still as hilarious as you remember him. The trip that I was on with him was one for the record books for sure as going down as one of my favorite trips ever. I keep hoping that I will get to fly with him again soon.

  3. Though lackluster crews are very uncommon at CO in my experience, I have never seen nor heard of employees like Captain Morgan/Flanagan/McFadden and other UA stars (Mr. Martinez CSR at SFO, one checkin agent at LAX, person in the Lounge at SYD) working for CO. I hope with the merger, this kind of culture will spread – especially if Smisek can fix the morale issues.

    United has some real stars and its sad that in recent years they are becoming few and far between. I remember them always smiling and being very friendly when flying on UA as a small child in the early 80’s.

  4. I flew on a Captain Morgan trip a few years ago – same great stuff like “all rise” and “voices in his head”. As I remember he also made a post-landing announcement that all members of the witness protection program meet for their ground transportation!
    We need more like him! Wish I could find him again.

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