Wednesday, October 10, 2012


As a species, Air Line Pilots do not like change.  If you are a real pilot, you do not like words like "spontaneity" or "novelty".  Rather, if you are a real pilot, you embrace words like "homeostasis" and "status quo".  You would think that, given they fly with a different crew each trip and overnight in a different city each day, they would be more flexible.  But no.  Perhaps it is in reaction to the constant change required by their careers, that they are so resistant to change.

Here are just a few examples to prove my point...

Bob doesn't like change.  Not too long ago, I was working on PilotHusband's displacement bids (you didn't expect him to do it himself, did you?).  I reviewed every aircraft in every base for the lowest seniority number holding each position.  That's when I discovered "Captain Bob".  Bob is number 54 out of 12,243 pilots.  Bob could be a very senior line-holding Captain on the whale- the 747.  Bob could hold a very senior Captain's line on ANY aircraft, in ANY base.  But Bob doesn't like change.  Bob probably upgraded to Captain on the DC-9 in 1978... in Memphis.... and he never left.  Eventually, Bob's Air Line closed the Memphis crew base... and Bob kept showing up, in uniform, with his rollerboard, long after the planes were gone.  As I write this, Bob is sitting in the basement of the Memphis airport, smoking cigarettes, and wondering why his release isn't ready yet.  REAL PILOTS DON'T LIKE CHANGE.

Dave doesn't like change.  "Captain Dave" retired in 2010.  As he taxied to the gate for the last time, his got the shower of water from the airport firetrucks.  He got the crappy sheet cake in the crew room.  He got the crappy Retirement Package.  Dave was home for about three weeks when he awoke one morning, put on his uniform, packed his suitcase, kissed his wife, and left for four days.  While she knew he was retired, "Captain Dave's" wife did not question him as she was getting weary of having him at home every day.  Since that first post-retirement "trip", Dave dons his uniform, packs his bag, kisses his wife, and leaves for four days, each and every week.  His wife does not know where "Captain Dave" goes; his wife does not care where "Captain Dave" goes.  Eventually, Dave will run out of HiltonHonors points and have to face reality,but until then, everyone is happily enjoying the status quo.  REAL PILOTS DON'T LIKE CHANGE.

Steve doesn't like change.   "Captain Steve" flew for TWA for 30 years before his airline was bought by American Airlines.  Alas, TWA was fully absorbed by AA and was TWA no more.  But you couldn't convince "Captain Steve" of that.  When his new American Airlines uniform arrived, Steve put in in the back of the closet.  No, he still wore his TWA uniform.  He got away with it for about 6 months before he was summoned to the Chief Pilot's Office.  When Steve made PA announcements to the passengers to welcome them on board he would say "Welcome aboard TWA flight 123 to Dallas.  We've got great flying weather, so sit back, relax, and let our TWA Flight Attendants take care of you.  Once again, thanks for flying TWA".  Of course confusion and panic erupted in the cabin.  Confused infrequent fliers thought they had boarded the wrong flight.  Steve was once again was summoned to the Chief Pilot's Office.  After his (highly encouraged) retirement, there was that unfortunate incident when "Captain Steve" went to a local travel agent to purchase tickets for a family vacation.  He was charged with assault when the agent could not secure him first class tickets on TWA.  The charges were later dropped because everybody knows... REAL PILOTS DON'T LIKE CHANGE.

So before you decide to repaint the living room a new color, redecorate the bedroom, or change your hair color while your PilotHusband is on a trip; beware.  You may upset his delicate sense of balance in the Universe because REAL PILOTS DON'T LIKE CHANGE.

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