13+ Things Your Pilot Won’t Tell You

We asked pilots from across the country to give us straight answers about maddening safety rules, inexplicable delays, the air and attitudes up there—and what really happens behind the cockpit door. What they told us will change the way you fly.

By Michelle Crouch
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    I’ve been struck by lightning twice.

    Most pilots have. Airplanes are built to take it. You hear a big boom and see a big flash and that’s it. You’re not going to fall out of the sky.” —Pilot for a regional carrier, Charlotte, North Carolina

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    You may not be getting the airline you paid for.

    You may go to an airline website and buy a ticket, pull up to its desk at the curb, and get onto an airplane that has a similar name painted on it, but half the time, you’re really on a regional airline. The regionals aren’t held to the same safety standards as the majors: Their pilots aren’t required to have as much training and experience, and the public doesn’t know that. —Captain at a major airline

    If you’re a nervous flier, book a morning flight.

    The heating of the ground later causes bumpier air, and it’s much more likely to thunderstorm in the afternoon. —Jerry Johnson, pilot, Los Angeles

    The smoothest place to sit is often over or near the wing.

    The bumpiest place to sit is in the back. A plane is like a seesaw. If you’re in the middle, you don’t move as much. —Patrick Smith, pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential

    The general flow of air in any airplane is from front to back. So if you’re really concerned about breathing the freshest possible air or not getting too hot, sit as close to the front as you can. Planes are generally warmest in the back. —Tech pilot at a regional airline, Texas

    There is no safest place to sit. In one accident, the people in the back are dead; in the next, it’s the people up front.John Nance, aviation safety analyst and retired airline captain, Seattle

    People don’t understand why they can’t use their cell phones.

    Well, what can happen is 12 people will decide to call someone just before landing, and I can get a false reading on my instruments saying that we are higher than we really are. —J
    Jim Tilmon, retired American Airlines pilot, Phoenix

    We don’t make you stow your laptop because we’re worried about electronic interference. It’s about having a projectile on your lap. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get hit in the head by a MacBook going 200 miles per hour. And we’re not trying to ruin your fun by making you take off your headphones. We just want you to be able to hear us if there’s an emergency. —Patrick Smith

    Some FAA rules don’t make sense to us either.

    Like the fact that when we’re at 39,000 feet going 400 miles an hour, in a plane that could hit turbulence at any minute, (flight attendants) can walk around and serve hot coffee and Chateaubriand. But when we’re on the ground on a flat piece of asphalt going five to ten miles an hour, they’ve got to be buckled in like they’re at NASCAR.—Jack Stephan, US Airways captain based in Annapolis, Maryland, who has been flying since 1984

    Alexander Hassentein/Getty Images

    It's updrafts, not turbulence, we really worry about.

    A plane flies into a massive updraft, which you can’t see on the radar at night, and it’s like hitting a giant speed bump at 500 miles an hour. It throws everything up in the air and then down very violently. That’s not the same as turbulence, which bounces everyone around for a while. —John Nance, aviation safety analyst and retired airline captain, Seattle

    Pilots find it perplexing that so many people are afraid of turbulence. It’s all but impossible for turbulence to cause a crash. We avoid turbulence not because we’re afraid the wing is going to fall off but because it’s
annoying. —Patrick Smith


    Being on time is more important than getting everyone there.

    The Department of Transportation has put such an emphasis on on-time performance that we pretty much aren’t allowed to delay a flight anymore, even if there are 20 people on a connecting flight that’s coming in just a little late. —Commercial pilot, Charlotte, North Carolina

    No, it’s not your imagination: Airlines really have adjusted their flight arrival times so they can have a better record of on-time arrivals. So they might say a flight takes two hours when it really takes an hour and 45 minutes.—AirTran Airways captain, Atlanta

    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    I’m constantly under pressure to carry less fuel than I’m comfortable with.

    Airlines are always looking at the bottom line, and you burn fuel carrying fuel. Sometimes if you carry just enough fuel and you hit thunderstorms or delays, then suddenly you’re running out of gas and you have to go to an alternate airport. —Captain at a major airline

    You'll never hear, "One of our engines just failed.”

    What they’ll say instead: “One of our engines is indicating improperly.” (Or more likely, they’ll say nothing, and you’ll never know the difference. Most planes fly fine with one engine down.)You'll also never hear, "Well, folks, the visibility out there is zero.” Instead they'll say: “There’s some fog in the Washington area.”

    There’s no such thing as a water landing.

     It’s called crashing into the ocean. —Pilot, South Carolina

    The truth is, we’re exhausted.

    Our work rules allow us to be on duty 16 hours without a break. That’s many more hours than a truck driver. And unlike a truck driver, who can pull over at the next rest stop, we can’t pull over at the next cloud.—Captain at a major airline

    Do pilots sleep in (the cockpit)? Definitely. Sometimes it’s just a ten-minute catnap, but it happens. —John Greaves, airline accident lawyer and former airline captain, Los Angeles

    When you get on that airplane at 7 a.m., you want your pilot to be rested and ready. But the hotels they put us in now are so bad that there are many nights when I toss and turn. They’re in bad neighborhoods, they’re loud, they’ve got bedbugs, and there have been stabbings in the parking lot. —Jack Stephan

    Sometimes the airline won’t give us lunch breaks or even time to eat. We have to delay flights just so we can get food. —First officer on a regional carrier

    Most people get sick after traveling not because of what they breathe but because of what they touch.

    Always assume that the tray table and the button to push the seat back have not been wiped down, though we do wipe down the lavatory. —Patrick Smith

    It’s one thing if the pilot puts the seat belt sign on for the passengers...

    But if he tells the flight attendants to sit down, you’d better listen. That means there’s some serious turbulence ahead. —John Greaves

    Driving is WAY scarier than flying a plane.

    People always ask, "What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?" I tell them it was a van ride from the Los Angeles airport to the hotel, and I’m not kidding. —Jack Stephan

    David McNew/Getty Images

    Most of the time, how you land is a good indicator of a pilot’s skill.

    So if you want to say something nice to a pilot as you’re getting off the plane, say ‘Nice landing.’ We do appreciate that. Joe D’Eon, a pilot at a major airline who produces a podcast at flywithjoe.com

    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    The two worst airports for us: Reagan National in Washington, D.C., and John Wayne in Orange County, California.

    You’re flying by the seat of your pants trying to get in and out of those airports. John Wayne is especially bad because the rich folks who live near the airport don’t like jet noise, so they have this noise abatement procedure where you basically have to turn the plane into a ballistic missile as soon as you’re airborne.
 —Pilot, South Carolina

    At some airports with really short runways, you’re not going to have a smooth landing no matter how good we are: John Wayne Airport; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Chicago Midway; and Reagan National. —Joe D’Eon

    Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

    Remember: Bad weather exists BETWEEN cities, too

    This happens all the time: We’ll be in Pittsburgh going to Philly, and there will be a weather delay. The weather in Pittsburgh is beautiful. Then I’ll hear passengers saying, ‘You know, I just called my friend in Philly, and it’s beautiful there too,’ like there’s some kind of conspiracy or something. But in the airspace between Pittsburgh and Philly there’s a huge thunderstorm. —Jack Stephan


    Is traveling with a baby in your lap safe? No.

    It’s extremely dangerous. If there’s any impact or deceleration, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose hold of your kid, and he becomes a projectile. But the government’s logic is that if we made you buy an expensive seat for your baby, you’d just drive, and you’re more likely to be injured driving than flying. —Patrick Smith


    Passengers: PLEASE be more mindful of yourself and others.

    Most of you wouldn’t consider going down the highway at 60 miles an hour without your seat belt fastened. But when we’re hurtling through the air at 500 miles an hour and we turn off the seat belt sign, half of you take your seat belts off. But if we hit a little air pocket, your head will be on the ceiling. —Captain at a major airline

    If you’re going to recline your seat, for God’s sake, please check behind you first. You have no idea how many laptops are broken every year by boorish passengers who slam their seat back with total disregard to what’s going on behind them. —John Nance

    Tim Boyle/Getty Images

    Whatever you pay to fly, we pay more.

    Please don’t complain to me about your lost bags or the rotten service or that the airline did this or that. My retirement was taken to help subsidize your $39 airfare. —Pilot, South Carolina

    I know pilots who spend a quarter million on their education and training, then that first year as a pilot, they qualify for food stamps. —Furloughed first officer, Texas

    We miss the peanuts too. —US Airways pilot, South Carolina

    We don’t wear our hats in the cockpit, by the way

    On TV and in the comics, you always see these pilots with their hats on, and they have their headsets on over the hat, and that always makes us laugh. —Joe D’Eon


    There's a good reason for everything we ask you to do.

    We ask you to put up the window shade so the flight attendants can see outside in an emergency, to assess if one side is better for an evacuation. It also lets light into the cabin if it goes dark and helps passengers get oriented if the plane flips or rolls over. —Patrick Smith


    We hear some dumb things.

    Here’s a news flash: We’re not sitting in the cockpit listening to the ball game. Sometimes we can ask the controllers to go to their break room to check the score. But when I fly to Pittsburgh on a Sunday afternoon, the passengers send the flight attendants up at least ten times to ask us the Steelers score.
 —Commercial pilot, Charlotte, North Carolina

    I am so tired of hearing ‘Oh my God, you’re a girl pilot.’ When you see a black pilot, do you say ‘Oh my God, you’re a black pilot’? —Pilot for a regional carrier

    People tend to think the airplane is just flying itself. Trust me, that’s not true. It can fly by itself sometimes. But you’ve always got your hands on the controls waiting for it to mess up. And it does mess up. —Pilot, South Carolina

    Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

    Those buddy passes they give us?

    I give them only to my enemies now. Sure, you can get a $1,000 airfare to Seattle for $100. But since you have to fly standby, it will take you three months to get back because you can’t get a seat. —Pilot, South Carolina


    Some insider advice:

    I always tell my kids to travel in sturdy shoes. If you have to evacuate and your flip-flops fall off, there you are standing on the hot tarmac or in the weeds in your bare feet. —Joe D’Eon

    Cold on the airplane? Tell your flight attendant. We’re in a constant battle with them over the temperature. They’re moving all the time, up and down the aisles, so they are always calling and saying, ‘Turn up the air.’ But most passengers I know are freezing. —Captain at a major carrier

    Tim Boyle/Getty Images

    Here’s the truth about airline jobs:

    You don’t have as much time off as your neighbors think you have, you don’t make as much money as your relatives think you make, and you don’t have as many girlfriends as your wife thinks you have. Still, I can’t believe they pay me to do this. —Commercial pilot, Charlotte, North Carolina

    Finally, some airline lingo:

    Blue juice: The water in the lavatory toilet. “There’s no blue juice in the lav.”
    Crotch watch: The required check to make sure all passengers have their seat belts fastened. Also: “groin scan.”
    Crumb crunchers: Kids. “We’ve got a lot of crumb crunchers on this flight.”
    Deadheading: When an airline employee flies as a passenger for company business.
    Gate lice: The people who gather around the gate right before boarding so they can be first on the plane. “Oh, the gate lice are thick today.”
    George: Autopilot. “I’ll let George take over.”
    Landing lips: Female passengers put on their “landing lips” when they use their lipstick just before landing.
    Pax: Passengers.
    Spinners: Passengers who get on late and don’t have a seat assignment, so they spin around looking for a seat.
    Two-for-once special: The plane touches down on landing, bounces up, then touches down again.
    Working the village: Working in coach.


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    Your Comments

    • Bluesuit82

      actually its only 2 more hours than a truck driver…..and while a plane cant pull over on the next cloud, theres no such thing as auto pilot in a truck.

    • Bluesuit82

      actually its only 2 more hours than a truck driver…..and while a plane cant pull over on the next cloud, theres no such thing as auto pilot in a truck.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/VPJCGLMMA5RN4PJXJJTU2R3TPY CommonSense

      Point #15.  We now hire flight attendants the size of middle linebackers so that all isle seat flyers get hip checked at least 38 times during the course of a one hour flight.  Don’t like it tough!

      • eal

        hilarious and sadly true. The reason fiight attendants are supposed to be of normal body weight is for your safety…… they have to be able to get out of the exit windows over the wing and go on the wing and help pax off the trailing edge not stuff up the window and make it an useable exit.

    • drr/ATP

      #9 is a false statement.  Cell phones have nothing to do with the altimeter!!!!  They MIGHT cause radio interference (so why allow cell phones on the ground, we are still on the radio to ground control).

      • wikipedia

        Ever heard of a Radio Altimeter?… thought not.

        • Bob

          You mean radar altimeter? Has nothing to do with cell phone signal, sorry.

          • Nyaki

            and what about ILS?

          • cgretired

            How do you know? Ever test it?

      • vbscript2

        Three letters: ILS

        When the glideslope says you’re higher than you are on short final, that’s a big problem, especially if flying in IFR conditions.

      • cgretired

        Yeah, but you are on the ground.

    • Guest

      #9 is pure BS, 12 calls CANNOT cause a false reading.

    • Tamcgehrin

      um #1 is not wrong but HOS on duty time for truckers is 14 hours.

    • Theblade72

      Number 11 is not completely true. Cell phones would never cause a problem with an analog altimeter which reads altitude based on the aircraft’s static systems. It might cause an error in GPS altitude readings but pilots should be going more by the static system altimeter anyway to gauge their altitude properly, which is set by the local altimeter ( barometric pressure ) setting below 18,000 feet. And in the landing phase the plane will be well below 18,000. Going only by GPS readings is silly and not recommended. I am an experienced pilot so I should know.

    • Theblade72

      Number 11 is not completely true. Cell phones would never cause a problem with an analog altimeter which reads altitude based on the aircraft’s static systems. It might cause an error in GPS altitude readings but pilots should be going more by the static system altimeter anyway to gauge their altitude properly, which is set by the local altimeter ( barometric pressure ) setting below 18,000 feet. And in the landing phase the plane will be well below 18,000. Going only by GPS readings is silly and not recommended. I am an experienced pilot so I should know.

    • Theblade72

      Number 11 is not completely true. Cell phones would never cause a problem with an analog altimeter which reads altitude based on the aircraft’s static systems. It might cause an error in GPS altitude readings but pilots should be going more by the static system altimeter anyway to gauge their altitude properly, which is set by the local altimeter ( barometric pressure ) setting below 18,000 feet. And in the landing phase the plane will be well below 18,000. Going only by GPS readings is silly and not recommended. I am an experienced pilot so I should know.

      • Piloto

        How about real airliners, that primarily use digital displays, with data generated by static pressure, driven through multiple air data computers. These things are all vulnerable to EM interference, and multiple phones put out a strong signal. Then there is the radar altimeter, used on some of the most precise, low visibility landings. Not to mention the autopilot servos, and the fact the the communication and navigation antennas are spread along the fuselage, literally less than 3 feet from your phone. You know the buzz your car stereo makes as you receive a text message? The same noise comes over the aircraft comm radios too. It would ruin everyone’s day if that buzz blocked ATC giving your aircraft breakout instructions on a PRM (close, parallel) approach, wouldn’t it?

        • Bob

          Are you high? In what universe is static pressure or an electrically driven servo affected by people making a call?

          • vbscript2

            In the universe where those readings are processed by computers…

          • http://www.showintegrity.blogspot.com/ RightViewMirror

            Piloto is correct.

            • cgretired

              100% correct!

    • BB

      Give me a break on the truck driver comment.  You don’t have to work NEAR as many hours as a truck driver.  We may have the option to pull over at the next rest area, but we are constrained by as much demand as your airlines are demanding on to get the product to it’s destination within a specific timeline.  Further, the trucking industry has FAR more regulations attached to commercial drivers than any airline pilot will EVER experience.  Thousands and thousands of regulations, all of which we are supposed to know.  You also don’t have to fuel your own aircraft; live in the back of your tractor’s sleeper; deal with the REST of the motoring public out there who are more interested in their text messaging or cellphone call or even their laptop computers.  If you had to deal with that, you would be dodging airplanes all over the place, the skies would be the most dangerous place to be on, or should I say, above the planet.  You don’t have Highway Patrol pulling you over in the air to do inspections at random on your truck.  You don’t have to pull through weigh stations and show all your papers and you better have your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed.  The list is endless.  Pilots have it WAY easier than truck drivers!

      • http://twitter.com/natecapush Nate

        Oh my god, a truck driver has a much easier job, no liability (you aren’t carrying 200 people with you), and you stay on the freaking ground.

      • http://twitter.com/natecapush Nate

        Oh my god, a truck driver has a much easier job, no liability (you aren’t carrying 200 people with you), and you stay on the freaking ground.

        • BB

          Please give me a break, you haven’t got any clue, whatsoever, what you are talking about.  If you did, you wouldn’t speak with such a condescending attitude.  No liability?  No, I’m not carrying 200 people, instead, I’m on wheels carrying 40 tons with traffic and people full of cars all around me, cutting me off all day long and yes, it’s a MUCH more difficult job in heavy traffic than any airline pilot will ever encounter.  Do pilots have to drive in traffic? No, they fly in controlled airspace that is completely controlled by the ground and almost never have to worry about whether a driver around them that is texting is going to steer over into their airspace and collide with them.  You wouldn’t be so smugly laughing if all truck drivers just stopped driving trucks, either.  Your gasoline station wouldn’t have fuel; your grocery store wouldn’t have groceries; your Home Depot would have nothing, on and on and on.  And as I said before, the trucking industry is the MOST highly regulated industry in the United States, bar none, airline pilots don’t have to come anywhere near the knowledge of regulations that truck drivers are forced to know.  You are  a real piece of work, sitting on your throne of all-knowingness, but in reality, you know nothing at all!

          • Seekerdrone

            Every single pilot has to know how to fuel the plane, what fuel it’s takes, everything about each of the instruments, how every part of the plane works, has to know how to read more than 1 map and multiple charts at a time, has to have a very detailed knowledge of weather and how it acts, thousands of FAA rules both for the air and ground, etc etc. I could go on forever about what an airline pilot has to go through but I won’t or I’d be writing multiple books. And yes us pilots deal with traffic too. Not all traffic is talking with ATC so we have no clue what their intentions are.

            • 1Max_Wedge1

              No airline pilot is out there fueling up his/her own plane. Get a clue.

          • toto

            That is why they said, ” it is safer to fly than to drive” because of the many reasons BB has mentioned 8-)

          • Done both

            I’ve done both and there is a reason flight school can take years vs. truck driver training. It is much more complex; however, truck driving is not easy & is much more complex than the average Joe Bloggs thinks: knowing how to secure a load, how to correctly position your load, braking techniques, driving through multiple states with different laws, watching out for crazy drivers, etc.. All while running on caffeine and not much sleep. It’s not easy, but neither is flying. Having done both, I have respect for both trades!.

          • Nematocyte

            I’m pretty sure there’s a reason why becoming an airline pilot is 20x more difficult than becoming a truck driver. Much of what you’re saying is true, I get that, but don’t pretend like what you’re doing is more important than transporting tens of thousands of people at 33,000 feet across the world. Honestly, the most condescending attitude I’ve seen here is your own.

            • John Ryan

              flying is fun most of the time about once a year you earn your pay

            • Douglas W. Rodrigues

              Flying for a living isn’t all that it’s cranked up to be. Once the newness wears off it’s just another job, and often times boring. Think that airline pilots are overpaid? If you add up all of the dead time away from home between flights, the crazy schedules, and the physical toll it takes out on the people working those schedules, the crew earns every dime they make, Have you ever noticed that airline pilots usually look older than their years? There is a reason for that . It’s unhealthy to not have a regular sleep and eating schedule. And yes, truck drivers, Cops, and medical people have the same stresses. It’s human nature to think that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. The only time that flying is fun is when you jump into your own little airplane on your own time.

            • APEppink

              I don’t think I’d care much for flying commercially in crowded airspace in North America, Europe etc. but flying out over the ocean, seeing the world. That’s fun. I used to be a C-130 Engr in the USCG way back in the day. Get vectored offshore, get your altitude, put the plane on George and altitude hold, input headings as reqd then kick back and let the plane run, out over the Pacific for hrs on end. When things are running well, the usual situation, oceanic flying is a watchstanding job, till you have to get up for the approach and landing at the other end. A lot of these pilot complainers are babies, tho, as earlier indicated, crowded airspace is no fun.

          • tx


          • Granny

            Sorry – I used to work in the logistics field. I had to get out as I could no longer stand working with truck drivers. They are all complete morons. How many phone calls did I get every single morning “Hi this is Bob! I dropped my load!” Thanks Bob. I have 160,000 loads in my computer (not including the LTL) and I know which one was driven by Bob. According tot he DOT for CA – Truck Drivers must stop after eight hours on the road. If they have as much restriction as you say – they are working for a bad logistics carrier. We made allowances for rest stops, meal breaks etc.
            By the way – for pilots (I’m one of those, too) there is always a small plane that is off course and the pilot is not listening to the radio. It does happen. There is also miscommunication by towers that leads to crashes. Not as much as cars, but it does happen all the time. I had a tower tell me to land on a runway someone was taking off on once.

          • TIRED

            None of the general public actually realizes that in that 40 or 53 foot trailer behind the horse may contain biological’s, explosives, radiologic’s or corrosives. Just wonderful driving through major cities on a 1000 mile journey with morons in cars all around you texting or on cell phones without using their gray matter. Just wonderful. God, How I hated it over the years..

          • Scott

            Oh please. You are not the ‘most regulated industry’. Folks in the nuclear power industry would laugh out loud at that statement.

        • Mike Conrad

          Not to mention, truck drivers kill nearly 20,000 people annually on the nation’s highways. If anyone else did that, it would be a national scandal.

          • jez

            That kind of makes his point for him.

          • dethray1000 .

            fatal crashes(kill– includes the truck driver) involve about 4000 people with commercial vehicles per year of all sizes including vans,pickups,etc.about 73 percent are the fault of the non commercial driver–the total amount of people killed each year in all crashesin the U.S is about 32000-

        • The Superlobo

          Im a private pilot that used to be a truck driver and driving a truck is way harder. Trust me. The only thing harder is non civilian pilots. And for the record, 80,000 lbs going down a 10% means alot more than 200 people are depending on you to stay in control. Then your brakes get hot. Now what do you do? Call the tower for help? Thought so.

          • Tom Blech

            I guess thats why tens of people every year gather at empty parking lots
            to see the truck driving team the “underdogs” truckings answer to the
            Air Force Thunderbirds—yeah moron private pilot–trucking is way harder—idiot

        • luannerene

          i think the fact they stay on the ground speaks for the difficulties the truck drivers face . . . i bet they d breathe somewhat of a sigh of relief if only other licensed truck drivers were allowed on the road as pilots only have other licensed pilots in the skies to contend with. both jobs have tremendous liability and face countless obstacles . i think its truly amazing truck drivers manage to not hit the countless drivers who cut em off .. .. . constantly. dont you?

          • granny

            You have to have a special license to drive a semi, and all kinds of insurance specifically for hauling.

            • shesaid

              I used to drive truck, its not as hard as they make it sound. Sure there are plenty of challenges, but you are trained for them. One thing that never changes is the 4 wheeler blaming the truck driver and the constant whining of the truck driver “wannabes”

          • vbscript2

            Only licensed drivers are allowed on the roads, too, you know. Your analogy would only hold if only other airline transport pilots type rated on jets were allowed to fly. Granted, becoming a private pilot does require a much more stringent licensing process than a normal drivers license, but that’s because it’s a lot harder to learn to fly an airplane than to drive a car.
            One nice difference with aviation, though, is that small general aviation planes don’t share the same airspace as big jets, except near the airports. Of course, trucks *aren’t supposed to* share all of the same lanes as cars on the highways, but many of them don’t seem to understand the meaning of ‘truck lane restrictions’ and do it anyway… while driving at least 5-10 mph under the speed limit. Then there’s the lovely trucking companies that put governors on their trucks that don’t allow them to accelerate quickly enough up to highway speed, causing people to have to slam on their brakes or swerve around them when they merge into 70 mph oncoming traffic while they’re doing 15-20… then they proceed to take about a mile or two to accelerate up to 65.

      • CC

        >You don’t have Highway Patrol pulling you over in the air to do inspections at random on your truck.
        Hahaha That’s so funny!! I like that !

        • vbscript2

          You do, however, have the FAA stopping you on the ramp to do ramp checks at random on your aircraft.

      • BK

        I was a Pilot and I know my friend Truck driver works much harder.Travels long distances by bus to get to home base.

      • tx

        I’d love to see an airline pilot humping luggage out of the cargo bay, getting his log book checked at every airport, or navigating heavily congested highways with idiot SUV drivers in unstable cars cutting you off every 10 minutes in bumper to bumper traffic, while sitting in a cab where smoking has never been prohibited (YUK). The closest any airline weenie gets to driving a truck is walking around his big jet looking at stuff he can’t figure out, let alone fix or maintain. And in truck driving, rookies are all over the place – can’t avoid working with them. Seniority means you get to steer, but not much else.

      • Bj

        I’m a pilot. I have slept in the cabin of my aircraft in -40C using engine covers trying to keep warm. I have scrounged used leftover catering to try to save money and afford my rent. Every stop I could have ramp checks where I better have my I’s dotted and t’s crossed; flight planning, weight and balance, aircraft performance data, customs docs, to name a few. I have to do about 20 different complex calculations just to determine if I can safely get the airplane off the ground. I then have to do that about 6-8 times for each stop. I dodge light airplanes daily flown by inexperienced pilots who could kill me and in my case 30 others. I work 17 hour days regularly. I typically can be away from home 20 days out of the month. I need to be fluent in navigation, meterology, air law, dangerous good regulations, aerodynamics to name a few. I have to prove that I am proficient on the airplane every 6 months in a simulator otherwise I lose my job. I have to have an exhaustive medical examination every year where I risk losing my job if I have a medical condition.

        • IfITellUWhoIAmYouCanWireTapMe?

          Sigh.. you guys are awesome.

        • The Superlobo

          I agree you guys are awesome that fly heavy because I fly and the paycheck is not the best but I’m doing something that I love to do. That being said, everything that she just said it’s absolutely true not to mention if you fly light jets you have to deal with crosswinds all the time. if you want to talk about inspections in things that you have to know about your vehicle then it’s evenly matched because a long haul truck driver has to have all of his sh#@ in order and know exactly how heavy his truck is all the time. in the sheriff DPS agent or city commercial truck task force can pull over a commercial truck at anytime and request log books random inspection random air brake inspection drug test roadside wieght scale you name it. the cheapest ticket is for a lightbulb that’s $250 you get a ticket for each light bulb that is out. the ticket goes to the driver not the company. so I would say they are evenly matched in that department. my argument is that truck drivers have to deal with way more idiots on the road. decent argument for both sides though!

        • The Superlobo

          sorry didn’t mean to say she if your a he.

        • John Ryan

          it is three physical a year for first class ticket on the other hand the Bangkok flight was ten on twenty off but all nighters coming back long all nighters take off a sunset land at sunrise

      • DCapone

        Well I have to clock in at 7 a.m. and sit at my desk and listen to old people nag all day!! Just kidding, kudos to both truck drivers and pilots for doing what they do.

      • John Ryan

        we dont have the highway patrol but the faa is on our backs all the time