Michael Phelps flies Northwest

Another boring flight to the East Coast suddenly perked up when I looked up from my iPhone on Monday’s Northwest flight to Baltimore and saw Michael Phelps standing in front of me. Apparently, after everyone had boarded the plane the Olympic swimmer was snuck on to prevent any swooners from interfering.

Sporting a Baltimore Ravens jersey and Tigers baseball cap, Phelps quickly darted over to seat 2D, the seat right in front of me and hunkered into the corner — only myself, my intern and the guys sitting behind me seemed to notice.

Naturally, being the kind, respectful passenger that I am, I kept to myself and didn’t raise a fuss. I only spent, oh, about 70% of the flight peering through the seat crack to see if Phelps was smashing atoms with his bare hands or solving the world’s economic woes with an abacus.

On pushback, Phelps immediately put away his Blackberry and switched gears to this month’s Esquire for about 60 seconds before falling fast asleep. Throughout the flight he only moved a few times to close the window shades before landing in Maryland. Once phones were allowed again he immediately jumped on the line to discuss the six flat panel TVs that were being installed in his place then bolted out the front door on arrival — before I could get a proper photo.

I suppose as a celebrity you try to keep a low profile when on the road, or else nutjobs like Gadling Bloggers make a big ruckus and try to take your picture. Really I was most surprised to just see him on any old Northwest flight after watching him on television last month — or as our friend and contributor Matthew Firestone put it:

“I find it hard to believe that Michael Phelps flies in an airplane – I heard he just dives into the open sea and follows oceanic currents around the globe.”

Farewell, Michael Phelps. Sorry for taking your picture on the plane, but Gadlingers wouldn’t have believed it was you if I didn’t have evidence.