Thursday, April 12, 2012


You can tell a lot about a person by how they dress... unfortunately, with Air Line Pilots, everybody is sporting similar uniforms.  Even on overnights, they all look alike; jeans or khaki shorts, golf shirt, white sneakers.  So, if you want to get a real feel for a Pilot's personality, you have to follow him to the employee parking lot and see what he drives.  You can tell a lot about a man by the vehicle he chooses.  Here's a brief list of vehicles, and what it means if your Pilot is driving one of them.

The Truck.  If a Pilot drives a truck, he's a man's man.  Chances are, he likes to fish, hunt, ski, set stuff on fire, and go boating.  He can haul firewood, lumber, mulch, and help you move.  He may even be that rare breed of Pilot that is actually handy.  He strips off his uniform in the parking lot, and is not afraid to relieve himself, partially hidden from view by his open door in the parking lot.  Chances are he's got The Allman Brothers or Toby Keith in the CD player.  He drinks imported beer, Jim Beam, and Johnnie Walker.  Flight Attendants are drawn to the truck driving Pilot.  He gets along with just about everyone and is a pleasure to fly with.

The Classic Muscle Car.  If a Pilot drives a fully restored American classic (Shelby Mustang, Camaro, GTO, etc) be advised... he cares more about his car than ANYTHING else on the planet.  He has a picture of his car in his wallet.  He parks in the center of four spaces in the Employee Lot.  While heterosexual, his greatest love affair is with his car.  He walks with a swagger, hits on Flight Attendants, and is a player.  He listens to classic rock like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC.  He drinks Budweiser and is no stranger to tequila shots.  Flight Attendants call him "Rico Suave" behind his back.  While slightly obnoxious, this particular breed of Pilot is tolerable and affable.

The SUV.  Oh, where to begin?  If a Pilot drives an SUV, he wants to appear rugged and manly, but can't quite pull it off.  Yes, his vehicle may have 4 wheel drive and a towing hitch, but the SUV driving Pilot doesn't actually tow anything, or go off road.  No, the SUV driver is more interested in his sunroof, heated leather seats and XM satellite radio. He thinks listening to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and the Smashing Pumpkins means he's still cool.  He drinks domestic beer and strong vodka drinks.  Flight Attendants feel perfectly comfortable letting SUV Pilot check their rooms and accompany them to dinner.  He is pleasant and friendly to all, and can pretend to be macho and useful for brief periods of time, but he'll never help you fix anything, haul anything, or move.

The Luxury Car.  Even without the epaulets, blazer, and hat, if you see a Pilot getting into a 4 door luxury car, you know he's a Captain... and a senior one.  That Mercedes, Lexus, or BMW sedan in the parking lot does NOT belong to a Mad Dog First Officer.  The luxury car driving Pilot is cool and aloof.  He is happily married to his second wife who gets gifts of plastic surgery for all major holidays.  He only listens to talk radio and he only drinks single malt Scotch.  The Flight Attendants are respectful, but intimidated by him.  He can behave however he likes because he is so senior, everybody kisses his a$$.

The Sports Car.  If you see a Pilot getting into a Corvette, Porche Boxster, or (God Forbid) a Miata, you are looking at a first class tool.  Chances are, the sports car driving Pilot just made Captain. He's a little prissy and way too dapper for a straight guy.  He listens to dance music or techno.  He has an extensive knowledge of wine and can usually be found with a glass of Chardonnay in his hand.  Flight Attendants love him (because they think he's gay).  While pleasant enough, there's just something about him that's gonna' piss you off.

The Airport Car.  You've seen them before.  The Pilot that climbs into a Ford Pinto, VW Golf, or 1980s Toyota.  He may be a Commuter who needed an economical vehicle to get back and forth from his crash pad, or he lives a significant distance from base and needed a low mileage, low overhead vehicle for his commute.  Be nice to him, as the world has not.  He wants you to think that this is the car he uses just for driving to the airport.  It is not.  It is his actual everyday vehicle.  He's paying for 2 kids in college, lost his Captain's seat, been through one furlough and 2 bankruptcies and he can't take much more.  He listens to Boston because it reminds him of High School and drinks Bud Lite.  Flight Attendants are nice to him because they are afraid he will burst into tears at any moment.  He'll never buy a round, and usually slam/clicks.  He's a nice enough guy when he's not bumming you out with his constant bitching and moaning. 

Hey!  Don't shoot the messenger!  I don't make the rules... I just live by them.


  1. "Be nice to him, as the world has not."
    This was great!

  2. What does a newish sedan mean, or a Prius?

  3. Funny post, although my BMW driving FO doesn't *quiet* fit your summary :)

  4. Oh brother! I'm married to a truck driving pilot... who doesn't hunt or fish and prefers classic rock on the radio. But the rest is pretty straight on!

  5. I'm almost afraid to see what it means if the pilot gets "Princess Parking"? I've been driving my pilot to and from the airport for the 10 years we've been together. He may have had to drive himself once in that period. He's dropped off curbside with a brown bag lunch, and picked up with a piping hot cup of his favorite English tea, or an ice cold beverage if we're in triple digit heat. So go ahead, tell me what Princess Parking says about my pilot.

    1. Really? I can instantly name 457 other things I'd rather be doing. But good for you. You are clearly a kind and caring PilotWife. You rock.