Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
It didn’t impress a retired policeman.
There he was, perched in his First Class seat on a United Airlines flight from Newark to Glasgow in Scotland when one of the pilots thought he’d avail himself of an empty First Class seat.
The retired policeman told the Daily Record:
The captain went to the loo and changed into a T-shirt before going for a sleep in First Class.
Well, those flat beds are rather nice, aren’t they?
Oh, but the policeman was incensed. So incensed that he took a picture of this brazen exhibitionist of a pilot.
Who did he think he was, purloining a First Class seat like that — one that could have been paid for by, oh, I don’t know, another retired policeman?
The retired policeman wasn’t done. He was further alarmed by the potential security issues:
I don’t think the captain of a flight packed with hundreds of people should be in such a vulnerable position.
Experts with whom the Daily Record spoke to insisted that this was, indeed, highly unusual.
I confess, too, that I’ve never seen this happen and I’ve certainly never seen a pilot strip and put on a T-shirt. Except, perhaps, in a movie I might have accidentally espied once.
I was forced, therefore, to ask United what was going on with the stripping pilot. An airline spokeswoman told me:
The safety of our customers and employees is of prime importance at United Airlines. On transatlantic flights, pilots are required to take a rest break. This aircraft is operated by a cockpit crew of three and this pilot was on his rest period.
Well, yes. But don’t pilots have their own quarters? I once crawled inside the crew sleeping area on a Boeing 787 — because British Airways invited me to — and it wasn’t palatial.
The Federal Aviation Administration has specific regulations about pilots’ rest periods and where they should sleep.
When a plane enjoys an augmented crew — three pilots, in this case — one can take a rest.
There are three separate classes of rest.
Class 1 for ultra long-haul necessitates:
A bunk or other surface that allows for a flat sleeping position and is located separate from both the flight deck and passenger cabin in an area that is temperature-controlled, allows the flightcrew member to control light, and provides isolation from noise and disturbance.
For Class 2, the more standard international segments, it’s not so plush (but still plush):
A seat in an aircraft cabin that allows for a flat or near flat sleeping position; is separated from passengers by a minimum of a curtain to provide darkness and some sound mitigation; and is reasonably free from disturbance by passengers or flightcrew members.
This was a Class 2 segment.
I worry, though, about the “free from disturbance” part.
I’ve been in one or two quite raucous First Class sections in my time. They can be full of some of the world’s most awful human beings drinking themselves to an awfully loud stupor.
Still, just in case the retired policeman may have worried that this pilot stole the seat from an upstanding rich person, I understand that United reserved the seat for the specific purpose of giving the pilots respite.
Wait, does the airline’s remarkably money-conscious president Scott Kirby know?
This may have cost the airline money.
More Info: www.inc.com