{February 23, 2013}   Pilots…can’t live with them, can’t spit in their coffee.

There are a lot of clichés or stereotypes when it comes to pilots. One that comes to mind, is that they are terrible dressers. When you see them at the layover hotel, you can always recognize them from their ‘other’ uniform, which usually  consists of a golf shirt and khakis.  But, something is  always ‘off’ with their outfit. Perhaps, the colour combination of the clothes do not work. Or maybe the shoes are ALL wrong. Regardless,  they dress like pilots! The theory goes that since they have ALWAYS worn pilot uniforms to work everyday since they started their careers, they never learnt to coordinate their attire properly.  The only flaw with this argument is that flight attendants also wear uniforms to work everyday.  But, most flight attendants are very sharp dressers. Especially the young girls and of course the gay guys, which goes without saying! 

The second character trait of pilots is that they are CHEAP. They don’t like to spend their money. They will come on to the airplane after a three hour wait between flights and proclaim that they are STARVING and do we have anything for them to eat. Nuts, passenger meals…anything.  Meanwhile,  us flight attendants who make a FRACTION of what they make, have bought ourselves a proper meal at the airport. They also rarely buy themselves a coffee. Why should they spend $1.50 on non-Starbuck’s coffee if they can get it on the airplane for free. I hate when they say: I need a coffee. I can barely keep my eyes open. Uhm…Hello? I kind of like a well rested pilot! The cheap personality trait could be due to all the years they were flying in the early days to get their flying hours up. They are not paid very well until they make it to the big leagues i.e. a major airline. Even when they join said airline, it’s usually a pay cut from their last job and they make less than the flight attendants for their first three years.

The joke is that pilots have to work until retirement because most of them are on their second wives. Half their paycheck goes towards alimony and child support.  Of course,  this is not true in all cases, as you hear of stories of happily married pilots to first wives for many many years.  But, our lifestyle aren’t always conducive to a happy family life. We are on the road, so you speak, many days in a row. Thankfully,  I have enough seniority to stay close to home and not be away more than one night at a time. But, the pilots seem to have many more 4 and 5 day pairings away from home. That’s a long time to be away from your loved ones every week. We were chatting with our captain the other day and he was saying that when he used to fly the overseas routes, most of his co-pilots seemed to be bitter divorced men trying to screw their ex-wives out of every last cent. He said it was very disheartening to have to listen to that every day over the Atlantic Ocean.  I asked if he was still happily married.  He said: Yes..to his second wife. We all had a good laugh,  except for one flight attendant.  After he went back into the flight deck, she said that she doesn’t think that was funny AT ALL. She said that she used to be married to a pilot and when her son was two, she found out that he had a whole other family 5 miles away from her home. She continued  saying that he ruined her son’s life. Son is now ten. There was an awkward silence and then we went back to work.

Pilots are real aviation geeks. They eat,sleep, and breathe flying. You might be on a layover with them and they are trying to flirt with you. But as soon as another pilot joins us, they drop you like a hot potato and talk airplane talk with said pilot for the rest of the night. 

Pilots like beer…a lot. They are always jonesing for a beer as soon as they land. We have to stay ‘dry’ 12 hours prior to flying. 12 hours from bottle to throttle. So, if we only have a 13 hour layover, they are rushing to the hotel to get their beers in. And they ALWAYS go to the same bars/pubs. Usually the ones that have dollar beers. But, then again, flight attendants are very loyal too and we always talk to the others about the best places to eat/drink/shop. We spread the info amongst us like wildfire.  So, if you have a service industry business, give a special crew rate for your establishment. The word will spread and your place will always be packed.

Pilots have a pretty easy job…but they will NEVER admit it to passengers or the general public.  As you can imagine,  take offs and landings are pretty busy for them, but the rest of the time they are pretty bored. They fill in the flight deck time with reading the newspaper,  doing sudoku and crosswords, as well as chatting about women, telling dirty jokes and farting. It’s true! If it’s a 10 hour flight, they are only really working for like 2 hours and have to fill in the other 8 somehow. 

Despite all this, I like pilots. They are nice and I am nice back to them. Even if they do think they’re God.


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