Married Delta pilots say it’s great to finally fly together

Brent and Kelly Knoblauch met when Kelly accepted an internship at Delta Air Lines in 2010. She said Brent was the first person she met at the company and they’ve been pretty much inseparable ever since.

“We used to travel every weekend,” she said. “It was crazy, it was a really fun, exciting time.”

Brent said the two have grown their careers together since their marriage 10 years ago and recently flew together for the first time professionally.

“Our careers really grew together,” he said. “Last month we were able to sit together on the same flight deck for the first time.”

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A modern love story

The Knoblauchs said many parts had to fit together in order for them to fly together last month.

“It felt like it was going to take a long time. The stars had to align. We both sat in the right seat for the longest time,” Kelly said, referring to the position on the flight deck normally occupied by pilots with the rank of first officer. “Then Brent went to the left seat,” meaning he attained the rank of captain, “and I went to the training department.”

While Kelly has flown Boeing 737s since joining Delta, Brent has rotated between fleets and was only recently assigned to the 737.

“Kelly was able to teach me anything I needed to learn,” he said.

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Their first trip together in January took them from their home base in Atlanta to Panama City, Panama, back to Atlanta and then on to Bradley Airport outside of Hartford, Connecticut and back to Atlanta. Brent said the last flight to Charleston had to be diverted “not because of marital problems, just because of more gas”.

“Kelly is a great pilot. … She flew the plane, she took us to Charleston,” he added. “It was an exercise in crew resource management.”

The Knoblauchs said they took turns on who was the pilot-in-command on the legs of their trip, a common practice with two-person crews on multi-route trips on most airlines.

The Knoblauchs’ advice for other working couples

Brent and Kelly said it can be difficult to balance a personal life and career that they both take away so often, but they’ve found a way to make it work.

Communication, both at home and at work, is key, Kelly said, as is “being able to put yourself in your shoes.”

“Be who you are when someone else is. … It was like flying with every other captain,” she said of their first flight together.

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Brent said it’s also good to recognize differences in your partner and be willing to let them lead.

“We agreed that we’ve thought about this Valentine’s Day theme, it’s always a balance,” he said. “Embrace that balance, and when the time comes, be spontaneous.”

Kelly also took a moment to address a question she said she was surprised to still board almost every flight in 2023:

“A girl can be a pilot and you can be a mother too. You can do both,” she said. “It works and it’s a lot of fun.”

Travel advice from the pilots

The Knoblauchs say they try to pack as little as possible for each trip – almost always just a carry-on – and that one of their must-have items is a small backpack that folds into their other luggage.

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Some of her other top tips are:

  • Be spontaneous.
  • Always pack snacks.
  • Remember: what you pack, you must wear.
  • Get off the beaten path.
  • One disposable camera per ride can help you slow down and enjoy those Kodak moments.


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