Sweet Video Captures Delta Pilot Introducing First Officer, His Son, to Passengers Before Take Off — Watch Here
Meet Rich and Cole Kaynor.
Delta Air Lines captain and managing director Rich Kaynor's version of Bring Your Kid to Work Day looks a bit different than everyone else's as his son, Cole, was his first officer on a recent flight.
The father-son duo flew together for the first time from Los Angeles to Lihue, Hawaii, and then on to Seattle in flights that not only marked Cole’s one year anniversary with Delta, but also his 30th birthday, Delta shared with Travel + Leisure. And as a bonus: Cole’s mother (and Rich’s wife) was onboard as a passenger to help mark the occasion.
Proud dad Rich took to the flight's intercom to brag about his son in a heartwarming scene that was captured on TikTok, garnering more than 111,000 likes.
“It’s incredibly special. From the instant I had that ‘lightbulb moment’ when I decided to pursue aviation as a career, the thought, ‘What if one day I could fly at Delta with my dad?’ popped into my head,” Cole said in a statement provided to T+L, adding, “Getting to watch my dad on the flight deck reminded me that I still have a lot to learn. His 40-plus years as a professional pilot is apparent in every action he takes; he is a true master of his craft. I look forward to continuing to learn from him, and will work hard to apply all that he has taught me throughout my life and career.”
Rich, who is planning to retire in December, said sharing the airline career with his son has been “extra special” and said he “often” looks at Cole’s schedule to see when he can hop on one of his flights.
“Cole is inquisitive and wants to truly understand how the airline and the industry works and I’m always happy to share my perspective but I think Cole is a lot further along than I was at his point in his career,” he said. “Although I can still share insight or historical perspective on things, Cole’s maturity and wisdom is self-made. I’m happy to turn over the airline [reins] to him knowing we’re in good hands.”
For his part, Cole said their shared career has brought them closer together and he looks forward to flying together as often as possible before his dad hangs up his wings.
“I know even after he is retired it won’t change the bond we have or the experiences we will have shared in the meantime,” he said.
The father-son pilots are not the only related pilots who have flown together. Last year, Southwest welcomed its first-ever mother-daughter pilot duo to the cockpit. And earlier this year, Delta shared the story of a married pilot couple who tied the knot 10 years ago after falling in love as interns at the airline.
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