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Security Concern? Pilot Caught Snoozing in First Class

Security Concern? Pilot Caught Snoozing in First Class
Jackie Reddy

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 RecordThe 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.”

[Photo: iStock]

View Comments (4)


  1. Ditka

    September 10, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Or if “journalists” really wanted to do their due diligence, they could research the FAA’s FAR 117 crew rest requirements.

  2. fotographer

    September 11, 2018 at 5:14 am

    who are these passengers that have never seen a pilot take a nap during a flight
    long haul flights. pilots and crew take rest breaks

  3. HkCaGu

    September 11, 2018 at 9:47 am

    This guy must have never flown a 757 transatlantic in J/F. Transatlantic flights require 3 pilots because the westbound is more than 8 hours. And 757s don’t have crew rest bunks and they must block J/F seats for that purpose.

  4. eng3

    September 11, 2018 at 9:52 am

    I guess the person who took the photo AND the author of this article have never flown on a long intl flight before. Crew rest occurs on every lengthy intl flight every day. Yes it may be unusual that they change, but that is an airline policy and has nothing to do with safety. As for being near other passengers, where do you expect them to sleep? These trans Atlantic flights are usually in small aircraft.

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