Jacket v. Coat

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
I just got back from a foray into the US commercial air transporation system (a MGW-PIT-DCA-MHT-PIT-MGW trip). Anyhow, I noticed an interesting trend. There seems to be more and more pilots wearing leather jackets instead of the traditional suit coat. I first noticed this with Airtran last month but it seems to be catching on with several USAir and Delta (express/comair) guys wearing the leather. I know SWA has had this going since the begining (I think). But for other airliens is this a return to historical pilot gear or is it a continuation of un "elitifying" (my own word) the industry? For those of you that fly the line now, what would you choose if given the choice and do you feel that the leather either a) gives the pilots a better look or b) gives too much a hot headed "flyboy" look?

Ethan
 

Nick

Well-Known Member
I flew MHT to BWI two days ago and I noticed this as well. If I were an airline pilot I think I'd like to have the leather jacket.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Call me a weirdo or SkyFascist if you'd like but I absolutely loathe the leather jacket.
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
My own thought is that while it does look sort of cool (the whole WWII fighter pilot thing) the leather coats detract from the proffessional apearence of the pilot image. Pilots are highly trained professionals and you wouldn't see a lawyer, doctor or CEO going to work in a leather jacket. Not that I wouldn't nescisarily (sp=bad) wear one if given the chance some day.

Ethan
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Pilots are highly trained professionals and you wouldn't see a lawyer, doctor or CEO going to work in a leather jacket. Not that I wouldn't nescisarily (sp=bad) wear one if given the chance some day.

[/ QUOTE ]

Actually, you do! My sister is a doctor and she wears a leather jacket to work, and then throws the white doctor coat over top of whatever she's wearing.

I'm the kind of guy who likes to go casual when I can. However, if you've got to do a preflight when the wind is whipping around and it's cold out and there's a little snow blowing around, I think the overcoat probably is a good thing!
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
I love the leather jacket. Sometimes it is a little too warm for the Thinsulate, so I'll go with the blazer, but the leather jacket is really best in deep winter. It's easier to move around when doing a preflight, you can put it on while seated (key in the Saab), and it doesn't hang as long as the overcoat.

Plus, there have been times where I'll go out and toss bags if I'm not busy but the ramp is. Happened a few times. I couldn't imagine doing that with an overcoat. Just personal preference I guess. The blazer does look really sharp and professional though, but some cold days I'm glad we have the leather jacket option.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Cold winter preflight? Chicaga, you know you can "bank" preflights and use them when it's chilly out!
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Leather jackets are more comfortable and much more realistic. The cockpit is not a sales floor or a courtroom.

As long as we're at it, lets get rid of the tie. Ties were created by satan to make man uncomfortable.

I jumpseated with a 727 crew once that made me remove my tie in the cockpit because the captain deemed it a Safety Hazard. Apparently either he or his FO got the tie stuck in the trim wheels once, and those suckers spin FAST.

The most practical outfit for a pilot would be comfortable shoes, jeans, golf shirt and a leather jacket. Or maybe the military jumpsuit deal. I like the pockets on the lower leg for checklists, etc. The only reason for ties, hats, epaulets, jackets etc is pure image.

Hats are next to useless as well. I thought it was so funny that all the old Mountain West pilots were jealous of the USAir guys because we got hats. Just another thing to lose, and it takes a complete shower to get rid of "hat head."

Only good thing about the hat was keeping my schedule and girlfriend (later wife and daughter) pictures in it.
 

sixpack

New Member
Be careful what you wish for.

I once worked and a Design Engineer for Intel. We thought it made a lot of sense to dress casual, and over the years we got more and more casual. After a while, the public perception of an engineer was "some kid to took time off of surfing, to play with computers". As such, the integrity of the job and the wages started to suffer. Engineers became a very replacable commodity.

Dress for Success!!!
 

Kingairer

'Tiger Team' Member
I am anti leather jackets. I think they make everyone look rediculous. Everyone looks so much better with Overcoats, and Id put my overcoat up against any leather jacket when it comes to warmth. Im also pro-Hat. Im glad that my company as to this point not given in to leather jackets and the loss of hats.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
After a while, the public perception of an engineer was "some kid to took time off of surfing, to play with computers".

[/ QUOTE ]

I thought that was what Design Engineers were?
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Call me a weirdo or SkyFascist if you'd like but I absolutely loathe the leather jacket.

[/ QUOTE ]
Ditto! On the job that is. I do think it'd be cool to wear off duty, but it hardly says "Professional" IMHO.

Go with the blazer.

If pilots want to be taken seriously and would like folks to stop playing the "pilots make to much" card - then pilots need to present a professional appearance and not that of the "ultra cool flyboy Fonz" with the slick leather jacket.

Wear the blazer and tie when in the public eye - because THAT is when you are on the "sales floor" selling your airline to the customer.

When you're in the cockpit, by all means - hang the blazer up and take the tie off. Pretty simple really.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
then pilots need to present a professional appearance and not that of the "ultra cool flyboy Fonz" with the slick leather jacket.

[/ QUOTE ]

Absolutely agree.

Actually the 'authority figure' scheme comes in handy when it comes to passenger problems as well.
 

MQAAord

Scheherazade
Staff member
It's all about image. Maybe it's the flight attendant instructor in me coming out, but if you want respect, then you need to dress & appear respectable. The uniforms of the crew, pilots and flight attendants, need to strike the balance of comfort, durability, and professionalism.

About a year before I left AMR Eagle, we (FAs) got polo shirts as an optional uniform piece. They were really comfy to wear, but after many occasions of passengers failing to recognize me as the working flight attendant, I decided it wasn't the image I wanted. From then on I only wore the polo when I was doing IOE, (the new-hires didn't get the polos standard issued with their unforms, so they were always in 'regular' uniform). This made the passengers look right by me, and approach the student if they needed anything. Exactly what I wanted as and IOE instructor!

It's just my opinion, but if we as the crew want the passengers to respect us, believe what we're telling them, and sit down and put their seatbelts on when we tell them to sit down and put their seat belts on, then we need to project a 'commanding' image. We are taught in new hire school that if pax are being unruly, and we have to 'put some smack down', to go put on our jackets, and carry ourselves with authority. The pilots are also taught that if they are needed in a situation (like removing a drunk before departure), to put on the hat & jacket, because it looks authoritative, and tends to make people behave better.

The leather jackets (IMO) are great for freight pilots (they look cool, and are nice & warm), but not the image airline pilots should be projecting to their passengers.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Last time we had a passenger problem, the captain handled it like this. At first he walked back and asked the passenger what the situation was and the passenger pretty much continued with his diatribe at the flight attendant.

Then he walks back to the cockpit, throws his hat and his blazer on and walks back into the cabin. I hear some applause from the other passengers and he says, "Retrieve your belongings and exit the aircraft, and do this NOW." and stands there with laser like eye contact.

That was the first time I had seen something like that.
 

Kingairer

'Tiger Team' Member
Doug you should have stood behind the capt and and just keep saying "YEAH YEAH" "ANd DONT COME BACK"
 

sorrygottarunway

Well-Known Member
it would be very interesting if the GA folks caught on too...

like, to fly a 172 wear your blazer and epaulets! Even if its not a checkride!

oh wait... they do that at Delta Conn Academy anyway.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Actually I stood right in the doorway as they were leaving then followed them into the jetway because I really thought he was going to take a swing at the captain.

I'd love to keep a list of problem passengers and show up at their place of employment and recreate their actions when I retire!
Hey, let me put my feet on your desk and push around your secretary! Ya ain't drunk, are ya? Two martini lunch? yuk yuk yuk. Then throw my coat at him and say, "hang this up, will ya Sparky?" and then start blowing snot rockets on his seat, change a diaper on his desk and start clipping my toenails.
 
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