Understanding Pilot Personalities

What an honor it is to guest write a post for the Flight Attendant Joe blog. For the record, I’m a pilot at a major airline. I can’t tell you which one, so don’t ask. 

Anyone in the airline industry who’s been flying long enough knows the answer to the question, “What separates the sluts from the assholes?”


It’s the cockpit door, of course. Although I’ve seen my fair share of naughty from my coworkers in the cabin — including a flight attendant who jammed her tongue down my throat one New Year’s Eve after drinking a pitcher of Kamikazes while contending, “I just want to kiss you, BUT THAT’S IT!” — I am here to talk about those that occupy the seat with the window directly in front of them.

What’s that? You’re wondering whatever happened to drunken Kamikaze girl? Well, it turns out that she wanted to do much, much more and we ended up married. If nothing else, that’s a win for those flight attendants swooning over snagging a pilot someday, but I’ve digressed from my original intended story.

Today, the majority of airlines apply a scheduling methodology that avoids long-term interaction between the cockpit and the cabin. It wasn’t always that way. During the 1960’s, it was not uncommon for new flight attendants to permanently “retire” after nine months on the job (pilots are trained to pull up, not pull out). Reduced face to face time means pilots and flight attendants have limited time to get to know each other. Often, the preflight briefing is the only opportunity.

Let’s be honest, during this brief interval the flight attendants are psychoanalyzing the pilots and the pilots are doing the same to the flight attendants. This happens all while both parties silently mutter “slut.” or “asshole,” under their breath, secretly wondering how much alcohol it would take to do the other one. To help flight attendants avoid the stereotyping associated with rash judgment, I offer you the following personality guide to pilots.

It turns out; all pilots are comparable to Sesame Street characters.


Oscar the Grouch 

Usually over 50 years old, hates the company, hates his job, and hates his three ex-wives (and yet is happy to tell you about them ad nauseam). Makes over $200,000 a year but because of poor life decisions has $12 in his checking account. The briefing is, “Any questions?” Only drinks bourbon or scotch because it numbs the pain faster. Buys coffee or waits for the crew before heading to the hotel van? Not a fucking chance.


The Count

 aka “numerical vampire”

Can be any age, but is always by the book no matter the circumstances. Uses a worn and dog-eared checklist (pulled from his wallet where the condom would go if there was any chance of this guy getting laid at work) to ensure every aspect of the briefing is covered. Maintenance items you don’t need to know about? Too bad, you’re gonna hear about them all. Maybe twice. Takes his coffee ¾ full, one cream, one sugar, with a stir stick and lid. Not 180 degrees? That shit is going back. Drinks only IPA’s at the bar because he finds specific gravity and bitterness units fascinating. After telling you he’s former military he turns into a 12-year-old boy that can’t get his erection to go flaccid until you ask, “Which aircraft did you fly in the military?”



What can you say about two well-dressed and nicely groomed males living together for decades in a basement apartment in NYC? Gay! I’ve never met a pilot that actually told me he was gay, but I suspect that if I tapped on a few adjoining doors after cosmos, some of those Mogwais wouldn’t mind me getting them wet after midnight (Google it, millennials).


Big Bird

Freakishly weird motherfucker. Slam clicks because he claims he doesn’t drink, but will likely get liquored up on Fireball before surfing Backpage for a “massage.” Eats alone. Drinks alone.



Laid back, no procedures or standards. Anything is A-okay. Like Elmo, he speaks of himself in the third person. Chad is going windsurfing when we get to Bermuda. Chad would like a coffee. Chad would love to tap that (keg or ass, it doesn’t matter). Chad would probably hit the bong weekly if it weren’t for drug testing.



Normal. Well-adjusted. Cares for those other than himself. Like the unicorn, he infrequently appears. The 10% of the population you enjoy flying with.


That’s all for now. Hope this helps on your next trip. With any luck, Flight Attendant Joe will invite me back to offer more of my colorful observations about life in the aviation world.


About the Author


Jeff Dale is a pilot for a major US airline. This is his first guest post on the Flight Attendant Joe blog and hopes to be invited back to write future posts. Jeff enjoys writing comedy, flying airplanes, drinking beer in the shower, and — as seen by all the locks on the door in his profile picture here — fears that someone will break into his house and kidnap him.