We Ask A Retired Commercial Pilot The One Thing They Should Never Do

As part of our discussion with Captain Levy, we asked him what passenger-related circumstances, if any, would warrant one of the flight’s pilots getting out of their seat, leaving the cockpit, and entering the main cabin to deal with the problem. In response to whether or not the pilot should ever leave the cockpit for a passenger issue, Captain Levy had only one word as an answer: “Never.”

The pilot’s first, foremost, and only priority is safely piloting the plane, and nothing should ever distract them from this duty. A commercial airplane has plenty of trained staff aboard to handle passenger issues, whether it’s something small like a headphone jack not working — all the way up to a potential medical emergency. In an emergency circumstance, the cabin crew could certainly communicate a need to, say, turn the plane around or make an emergency stop, but they would need to contact or come to the cockpit to relay that message. Barring quick bathroom breaks, the pilots should remain in their operating positions at all times.

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