Well, Week 1 of the NFL season went about as normally as I would expect.

It was run, run to planes so we could sit, sit, wait, wait on planes. Connections were stretched, nerves were frayed, beads of sweat were formed.

Like I said, about as normal as ever.

Saturday was a bright and clear day, so weather was not going to be an issue for travel.

It was a dent instead.

We loaded on time and it looked like we were heading for Detroit and my connection to Philadelphia.

Until the captain came on the intercom. Captains on intercoms just before takeoff when they should be checking instruments is always a bad thing.

He said the ground crew noticed a small dent in the plane.

I figured planes hit enough birds in their years of service that a tiny ding isn’t that big of a deal. They make those things strong enough to smack down on a runway at landing at a high rate of speed and there is always a chance of a little ice in the clouds.

So instead of leaving on time, we had a committee outside, taking pictures of the dent and forwarding them to the company that built it in the first place.

The captain said it wouldn’t take long, and I guess an hour to check on a dent in an airplane isn’t really all that long, but as my travel karma always runs, that 60 minutes we sat waiting was exactly the amount of time I had to make my connection in Detroit.

That made me remember the last time I had to connect through Detroit, and Delta was so pokey on that one, I missed my flight to London! That got me to New York and another flight across the pond.

But we were in the air an hour late, and off to Detroit.

My opening weekend luck continued as we landed at Gate 3 in Detroit, and the monitor I looked at as I walked off the plane said I was leaving from Gate 76 — the exact opposite end of the terminal. 

It also was nice enough to tell me that flight was already boarding...

Thankfully there is a tram in that terminal, so after walking to Gate 20, I caught the train to Gate 60. As I got off I got to hear my name on the public address system — Passenger Jeff Nelson, please proceed to Gate 76 for an on-time departure of the flight to Philadelphia.

Yes, I am going as fast as I can...

There was no line, and I turned out to be the last passenger on the plane, but I was there. No calls to Emergency Travel.

I caught my breath and got buckled in as the captain came on the intercom (what — again?) and said they couldn’t get the drink carts locked down in the back of the plane, so we were going to be delayed a “couple minutes.”

I don’t know if they needed to find locks, or new keys, or what but those few minutes turned into another hour delay. I know I sure could have lived without a cup of water or a half-ounce back of pretzels if they would have just rolled the carts off the plane.

But we got going, and it was warm and toasty in Philly. I found a cabbie that was warm and in a hurry, so we ran a couple of red lights and he got me to the football stadium.

Our game went well on Sunday and we had a police escort to the airport (ran all the red lights) which was nice since traffic was so snarled up that none of us would have made our flights. We were only a few minutes late leaving Philly, and I had a longer wait in Atlanta for the last flight to Indy.

I was back in C’ville just after midnight, and Week 1 is in the books.

This weekend has me east again. This time to Washington, DC. No connecting flights — just straight through, so I’m guessing there will be weather concerns...

On to other notes — big news from South Dakota — my mom has her first great-grandchild!

You want to talk about a happy lady. Melanie Rose arrived on time and with no difficulties, and Great-Grandma has already had some holding time. I know Great-Grandpa is smiling from Heaven too.

Locally, we have a smaller state tournament this weekend down at Elston. It is a co-ed state finals. Come on down and watch a game or two.

Safe travels

Jeff Nelson works in national television. His column appears each Thursday in the Journal Review.

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