A United Airlines pilot spotted napping during a recent transatlantic flight from New Jersey to Scotland sparked security concerns among passengers. While the practice appeared to catch some eyewitnesses off-guard, United Airlines issued a statement in defense of the captain’s right to take a break.
A pilot sparked safety concerns among passengers after he was caught snoozing on a recent United Airlines service from Newark to Glasgow, reports the Daily Record. The captain was spotting sleeping in first-class approximately an hour into the journey of United Airlines Flight 161 on August 22.
A photo of the captain at rest was captured by an anonymous passenger, who was quoted by the outlet as saying, “The captain went to the loo [toilet] and changed into a T-shirt before going for a sleep in first class. When he woke up, he changed back into his uniform and radioed for access back to the cockpit.”
“I don’t think the captain of a flight packed with hundreds of people should be in such a vulnerable position. He slept for an hour and a half, then the first officer went for a sleep. The flight was about seven hours. Surely if pilots are in need of a rest mid-flight, they should do it away from the passengers,” he added.
Offering their comments, an unnamed cabin crew member employed by a major carrier said, “This is not a procedure I recognize. It seems highly unusual for a captain to remove his uniform during a flight … It’s understandable that some passengers would be concerned.”
Aviation authority David Learmount also added his insight into the situation, saying, “It appears as if the crew member is having an organized rest. Sometimes airlines operate with an augmented crew – that’s three pilots when two are needed. But they don’t usually do that on a flight from the US east coast to the UK.”
However, he also described the pilot’s actions as “most unusual.”
Offering its comments on the incident, United was quoted by the outlet as saying, “On transatlantic flights, pilots are required to take a rest break. This aircraft is operated by a cockpit crew of three and this pilot was on his rest period.”