Sky Talk

Judge provides humor during Love Field hearing

Judge Ed Kinkeade, a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, in Dallas, TX.
Judge Ed Kinkeade, a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, in Dallas, TX. Courtesy of

Legal proceedings can be dry, dull and bogged down in minutiae.

But not in U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade’s courtroom.

Kinkeade often interjected a joke or a humorous anecdote during the temporary injunction hearing on Monday to determine whether or not Delta Air Lines should be permitted to continue flying 5 daily flights out of Dallas Love Field.

And since reporters are not allowed to have cell phones or laptops in the court room, that means I couldn’t share all of Kinkeade’s fun comments as they happened. So here’s a few of Kinkeade’s light-hearted moments from Monday.

-As Delta’s lead attorney began his opening argument, Kinkeade told him that he had 40 minutes because as his Baptist preacher used to say, “after 20 minutes, I’m thinking about the Cowboys game.”

-Kinkeade said several times that he thought this was one of the most interesting cases he’s ever heard while on the bench. “I’m going to make the decision but it’s not because I’m the most celebrated airport manager in the world,” he said, noting that he had oil and gas law classes in law school but never one on airport law. At the end of the day, Kinkeade said when he’s an “old geezer” telling his grandkids about the greatest moments in his life, “right behind the Lord coming again and Baylor winning the national championship...will be this case. I’m enjoying every minute.”

-When he learned that Southwest paid United $120 million for two gates at Love Field, Kinkeade wondered why the city couldn’t charge that much for its gates and then use the funds to improve the airport. “We could have a Lexus airport out there,” Kinkeade said. He also reminisced about going to Love Field’s ice skating rink as a teenager to skate.

-Kinkeade spent five minutes asking Delta’s senior vice president of corporate real estate Holden Shannon about the $6 billion LaGuardia Airport modernization plan that was announced a few weeks ago. Kinkeade also recommended that Delta look at Dallas-based Austin Industries, who constructed DFW Airport’s Terminal D, as a possible contractor for the LaGuardia project.

-In trying to understand how a new airline could gain access to gates and landing slots at an airport, Kinkeade asked Shannon about a hypothetical airline. “I’m going to name it Baylor Airlines after my great university. I suddenly became extremely wealthy in the last 30 seconds. Can you accommodate me [at LaGuardia]?” Kinkeade asked. Later on, Kinkeade mused he should hire Shannon for Baylor Airlines. And when Kinkeade realized that a used Boeing 737 could be bought for about $15 to $20 million, he said, “you could buy 8 to 10 planes for the cost of one of these gates?....Baylor Airlines is about to get back in business. I don’t think I can buy a gate but I can buy a bunch of planes.”

-As the court room viewed a document being entered into evidence, Kinkeade commented on the font and bold type used by a Southwest lawyer. “I noticed they put it in all CAPS,” Kinkeade said, adding he has advised lawyers and law students, “Please pull your dagger and stab it in the heart of your opponent in the first sentence.”

-When Shannon mentioned that Delta is asking for gate access at Love Field to offer 13 daily flights, up from its current offering of 5 flights, Kinkeade said, “This is a temporary injunction hearing, not an expansion hearing....what’s that song, ‘wishing and hoping’...”

-“Someone needs to do one of those reality TV shows about this,” Kinkeade said. “I couldn’t write a script as a good as this.”