Friendly pilots can be hit or miss.
Occasionally you’ll get a good one with an empathetic voice who makes the delays sound unavoidable and undramatic while you wait on the tarmac behind 15 other planes. Maybe he makes a cute joke about his crew or takes a moment to wish an elderly passenger a happy birthday.
But generally speaking, we want the guys in the cockpit to be serious, laconic and utterly focused on steering the plane, even if that only requires wearing a uniform, pressing a few buttons and staying awake for the duration of the flight. As with surgeons, we tend to imbue everything a pilot says with a sense of life-or-death gravity, so any pilot making light remarks is taking a certain risk.
That was the case Friday, when a friendly pilot on a Southwest flight from Baltimore to Long Island sought to wish a happy birthday to “mom on board” mid-flight, and was immediately reminded that “mom” rhymes with the number one panic attack trigger-word for nervous airline passengers.
The pilot immediately clarified that he meant “mom” not “bomb,” and the crew spent the next minutes rushing around, calming panicked passengers.
Few things are worse than trying to be friendly and instead coming off terrifying, a la Edward Scissorhands. I guess one of those things is thinking you’re on a plane with a bomb, but still, the uproar speaks more to the passengers’ panic than the pilot’s misjudgment—especially if that line was followed by “happy birthday.”
[via Daily Mail]