Pilots: Stereotype vs Reality


For quite some time already I have this image of pilots wandering around my inner eye: good-looking, overly self-confident, charming, flirtatious, exciting, non-committed… short: PLAYERS. This image has mostly been shaped by stories I heard… “a friend of a friend whose flying husband cheated on her with this striking hot flight attendant while she was seven-months pregnant”… blah blah blah. All just unconfirmed stories since I actually never met a pilot myself. Then, FINALLY beginning of last year I did at a conference (nights in the bar included)! And since all good things come in threes, I met 3 at the same time!!!

All three of them extremely nice and all three of them heavily flirting with me. Two of them married – Preconception # 1 confirmed!
The third one calling my room at 3 am (after the bar closed and we all wanted to catch some sleep) asking if he could come over because we didn’t really have a chance to chat. And his voice.. not stuttering at all – so this was definitely not the first time he called at a female colleague’s room in the middle of the night – Preconception # 2 confirmed!
Oh yes…he is extremely good-looking, charming with a smile of note (I will only speak about the not married one here) – Preconception #3 confirmed!

But this is just my personal view, which might be influenced by my history with men and consequential trust-issues in general.So, what’s the other stereotypical image of a pilot:

Reader’s Digest’, manager magazine, Unispiegel and other more or less trustworthy sources all confirm through conducted surveys that one of the most trusted professions is the one of a pilot. I suppose there is some truth behind it.. Think about it: When you hear that someone is a pilot there is automatically some kind of respect involved. It might be because we know that their training programme is quite tough, starting already with the selection process of those who want to become one: Their eyesight must be perfect, they must have a certain height (although I don’t know why.. don’t they sit most of the time???) and they must be able to multi task (here, all male pilots definitely earn my portion of respect). Once the few chosen ones have been selected and successfully finished their training over the Arizonan desert, they will take over the responsibility of carrying up to 526 passengers (at least in an A380) safely from one airport to their other. Yip that also gives them a few more extra points! On top, the general opinion is that they earn their fair share of the huge responsibility they take over (well, this is definitely the case at the company I am working for). And often, respect for a profession comes with the income scale they are in.

Recently I came across a newspaper article that confirmed MY image. Titillating photographs showing two crew members, widely reported to be a pilot and a flight attendant, in decidedly compromising positions appeared in the Hong Kong news media. Both were fired and Cathay’s planned ad campaign which bears the slogan “meet the team that goes the extra mile,” had to be postponed. 

I had sent this article to my pilot friend (yes, the one who called my room in the middle of the night) and he laughed his head of… mmhhhhh is this in agreement or in disagreement??????  I wonder….

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