Talking with pilots in the Terminal.

Adam4884

New Member
Hey Guys,
First of all.......HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I just got back a couple of days from a trip to Miami. I flew American on an MD80 in case you are curious

It was my first time flying in a commercial jet since making the decision to become an airline pilot. It was so cool for me and I looked at flying in a new way. After the flights it made me want to be an airline pilot even more!

I made it a point since I found out in November about the trip to Miami that while in the terminal I would talk with some airline pilots. Sure enough when my Mom and I got to CLT to check in for the flight to MIA we found out the flight would be delayed 1 hour. So we headed over to Chili's in the food court next to the entrance to Concourse B. I saw a bunch of US Airways pilots and I thought about going up and talking with some but I found myself holding back..........I wasn't sure if it would be disrespectful or if the pilots would feel annoyed if I went up and said "Hey.....how you are? I'm an aspiring airline pilot...would you mind talking with me for a few minutes about your career?".

So here's my question to all of you airline pilots on this board........in general while in the terminal do airline pilots encourage or discourage aspiring airline pilots such as myself to come up and just talk a little bit about the career. Like I said.....I just wasn't sure if it was disrespectful or not. I have a great deal of respect for all airline pilots.

I did talk with the Captain after my flight to MIA and the FO after my flight back to CLT.....nice guys!

And I had alot of fun in Miami......a very cool city!


Take it easy,

Adam
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
I would not disturb them while they're eating...unless of course you offer to pay for their lunch


Seriously, use discretion before you go up and start talking to an airline pilot. For the most part, they are very friendly, but keep in mind they are also busy people. The best time is probably after their last flight of the day when they're heading for the hotel. On the other hand, that's probably also when they're the most tired and cranky. Have specific questions before you go up and talk to them. Don't ask real general stuff like "is it fun being an airline pilot" or "do you get paid alot?". That comes off as annoying....

Observe the pilot for a few seconds before you approach them. You can often tell by their body language and facial expression weather or not they're in a mood to talk to you about your career.
 

Prospective_Pilot

New Member
Whenever I fly I always meet pilots and talk to them. Usually it's after the flight, but generally speaking I have found majority of them are very willing to talk to aspiring pilots. Sure, sometimes you get the negative joe bloe's you can't wait until he retires, but you can't let those pilots discourage you.

Usually, if I see some flight crews joking around, or with an excited look on their face as if to say they are in a good mood, I go up to them and just talk confidently, and ask questions.... No need to be nervous as I think most of them know exactly how an aspiring pilot feels.......
Sometimes it can take the guts to talk to them, other times it's very easy.... but after doing so I never regret it!!
 

Johnathan

Well-Known Member
I hope pilots don't mind when people talk to them in the terminal etc. I always say hello to pilots in the airport and have even ran into pilots on the hotel shuttle to the airport. So far very nice people, especially all the Delta pilots who layover in New York. Of course I don't pester them while eating or anything out of hand.
 

Kingairer

'Tiger Team' Member
If the pilot are walking with their crew bags along with other crew member, or standing at a gate looking as if any minute they could be walking down the jetway, i would refrain from asking questions that are indepth and might take a few minutes. Typically when Im flying im either walking to my next flight, hiding in the crew room, or stopping for quick bite to eat. If im not busy, im normally on the phone checkin in on things back at home to make sure everything is fine. Alot of the questions you may have can be answered right here, with pilot who are very willing to help others, thats why theyre here. If you do talk to some in the terminal, try small talk first to see if you can pick up on whether or not they really want to talk or not.
 

xdashdriver

Well-Known Member
I would have thought that the primary reason for talking to pilots in the terminal would be for networking purposes, not because there's some burning question which you need answered. I'm not an airline pilot, but I love the opportunity to show young people / interested people around the aircraft that I fly, answer their questions and generally support any interest they may have in an aviation career. So long as they extend some common courtesy, I'm more than happy to oblige.

Ray
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
A lot of times when I'm actually in the terminal, I'm usually hurrying to try and get some food or coffee between flights, use the lav, or going to/from a trip. It's not that I don't want to answer questions, it's just that I'm at work and normally pretty busy when I'm on the ground. A lot of times people will stop me to ask something, and I feel bad when I kinda quickly answer the question and take off. I just don't have a lot of time for chit chat. So if you do go up to a pilot and talk to them, don't be offended if you don't get much out of them.
 

davetheflyer

New Member
If I'm not busy or in a hurry, I'm usually happy to talk. It gives me the illusion that airline pilot is still a respected and glamorous career.
Seriously, I like to help prospective pilots and often I point them in the direction of this site.

Oh yeah, the thing about buying my lunch is a good idea too.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
It probably depends on the pilot, but I'm usually more than happy to talk to people in the terminal or during boarding.
 

flycanuck

New Member
Doug, just out of curiousity, how many times a day/week or month do you get stopped by someone at an airport regarding Jetcareers?
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
I think the best way to chat would be to walk around the terminal looking for a guy in uniform sitting at the gate reading the paper or something...he's probably just killing time and will talk your ear off. Several times over the years I've been able to give cockpit tours to kids who are interested in flying. One of them I helped start a website for pilot mentoring. Anyhow...since 9/11 it's a bit more difficult to make cockpit tours happen but once I'm trained on the 757, I hope to be able to do a few out of Spokane, WA
 

Mahesh

New Member
I have spoken to quite a few airline pilots. However, it has been at places like Subway near the airport (but not on airport grounds).

All my personal friends who are airline pilots love to talk so I am sure they happily talk to people during their trips!

Mahesh
 

Adam4884

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
I think the best way to chat would be to walk around the terminal looking for a guy in uniform sitting at the gate reading the paper or something...he's probably just killing time and will talk your ear off.

[/ QUOTE ]
Actually I did see an AA pilot in CLT sitting and reading the paper so I went up and talked with him for about 5 minutes.
 

Adam4884

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Alot of the questions you may have can be answered right here, with pilot who are very willing to help others, thats why theyre here. If you do talk to some in the terminal, try small talk first to see if you can pick up on whether or not they really want to talk or not.

[/ QUOTE ]

Oh yeah I have no doubt about that. I wasn't planning on sitting with any pilots and going indepth...just a little chat for about 5 minutes or so. It's not everyday that i'm in the terminal of Charlotte Douglas International Airport or Miami International and seeing pilots walking by every few minutes.
The main point of my question on here was if airline pilots find it disrespectful for guys like myself to go up and chat with you if you're not busy. Now I have a general idea of when and when not to go up to an airline pilot while in the terminal.

Oh and I noticed the Bojangles avatar........i'm guessing you live in either NC or SC, right?
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Doug, just out of curiousity, how many times a day/week or month do you get stopped by someone at an airport regarding Jetcareers?

[/ QUOTE ]

It usually happens in bursts. In November, probably 10 times, in December none.

Lots and lots of people that lurk on the forums but never drop into say hi!
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
A lot of times when I'm actually in the terminal, I'm usually hurrying to try and get some food or coffee between flights, use the lav, or going to/from a trip. It's not that I don't want to answer questions, it's just that I'm at work and normally pretty busy when I'm on the ground. A lot of times people will stop me to ask something, and I feel bad when I kinda quickly answer the question and take off. I just don't have a lot of time for chit chat. So if you do go up to a pilot and talk to them, don't be offended if you don't get much out of them.


[/ QUOTE ]

FlyChicaga doesn't have time to talk to "little people" anymore.


Sort of like this one guy I know that flies for Delta and runs some sort of website......
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
[ QUOTE ]
FlyChicaga doesn't have time to talk to "little people" anymore.


[/ QUOTE ]


Haha, NEVER!
I am actually disappointed in two things: One, that we aren't at the main terminal building, because it would give me the opportunity to interact more with people. Two, that the damn TSA won't let us take kids (or hot babes) down the jetway (should we be so equipped) before boarding to show them around the cockpit. I would definitely love to do that if I had the time. I remember many times stepping up front to look inside the cockpit to talk to the pilots, and I think it's one of the things that subconsciously motivated me to get where I am!
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Doug, just out of curiousity, how many times a day/week or month do you get stopped by someone at an airport regarding Jetcareers?

[/ QUOTE ]

It usually happens in bursts. In November, probably 10 times, in December none.

Lots and lots of people that lurk on the forums but never drop into say hi!

[/ QUOTE ]


Well when I was last flying from PHX-SLC-CVG and noticed the airplanes taking off on 16L/16R and doing that immediate right turn to 280. I saw a flight crew standing next to a gate an MD-90.

Boarding wasn't starting yet for another 30 mins. and they were sitting around gabbing with the gate agent.

So I was curious about the DP and went over and asked the F/O why they do that.

And the way that he answered my question left me more confused then before I had asked him. Which is what prompted me to pose the question to the fine people here at jetcareers.

Furthermore I'm almost done with my instrument rating so fluent in "airplane talk" so it's not like I was a newbie.

But incidently I did ask the F/O if he knew Doug Taylor. He rolled his eyes and said no why does everyone ask me that.

He was like I fly 737-800's not MD-88/90's. He chuckled why saying all this. And was like were just hitching a ride on this flight today.


Matthew
 

stultus

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
So here's my question to all of you airline pilots on this board........in general while in the terminal do airline pilots encourage or discourage aspiring airline pilots such as myself to come up and just talk a little bit about the career. Like I said.....I just wasn't sure if it was disrespectful or not.


[/ QUOTE ]

I'm not an airline pilot but I play one on the internet
Nevertheless, I have talked to lots of them and contrary to what we plebs think, they are not gods...just average guys like you and me--and for some reason they like to talk about airplanes. I have the chance to fly airliners quite a bit, and once in a while, if I have a question I'll stop by the cockpit on my way out the door. They've always been more than hospitable...though not quite sure why they always ask me about turkish prisons and gladitor movies. In short, I'm not sure how saying '"hi. got any hints for an aspiring pilot?...or...I've got a question for you..." could be construed in anyway as disrespectful.
 
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