What the Hell is Going On in the Cockpit?

While it isn’t all that common to have an opportunity to fly in the cockpit, with the pilots, even for very frequent flyers, it isn’t unheard of either. In fact, several flyers posting in this thread have enjoyed just such an experience.

But even if you haven’t personally been invited to the cockpit, if you fly frequently there is a decent chance you might have seen someone else invited up.

And there is an equally decent chance you might also have overheard some of your fellow, presumably less frequent flyers, make some grumblings about it, as Nominal experienced when his friend was called up:

…one of my friends was called up to the flight deck after take-off because it turned out that her cousin was the first officer, the woman on the row next to me didn’t seem too eager of that idea tho, when I overheard her talking to her husband.

This got me to wondering, what would I do if I found myself in Nominal’s situation?

My instinct would be to try to explain to my fellow passenger that my friend and I are just normal passengers and there is nothing about which to be concerned. But I suspect this probably wouldn’t alleviate the concern the other passenger is feeling, and in fact might make me seem even more suspicious.

In all likelihood, I would probably just remain quiet and let them think what they may – internally debating whether I should say something right up to the point where my friend comes back out and retakes the seat next to me.

How would you react – or at least like to think you would react in a similar situation? And just for fun, let’s add a bit more drama. To set up the scenario, read what UGATraveler witnessed on a recent flight:

On the other side of the aisle in row 3 was a famous Dutch / FC Kiev Footballer and his wife / Girlfriend. The Pilots came out and talked to him for a bit before the flight took off, then as we were taxiing, his companion went up to the front galley behind the curtain and after a few minutes the curtain was pulled back and she was nowhere to be seen. As we took off, I could hear some alarms from the cockpit going off so not sure what was going on… About 3/4 of the way into the flight, the curtain came up and she emerged and got back in her seat.

Assuming you aren’t famous and found yourself in a similar situation, where your flying companion has been invited up and then alarms start going off, would you feel obliged to make explanations to your fellow cabin passengers?

Me? I think I’d opt for feigning sleep 🙂

Read the thread in its entirety: Have you ever had passengers entering the cockpit during one of your flights?

Image: “Real Pilot?” by Ron Reiring. CC BY 2.0.


  1. This photo is me, taken at the Boeing Museum of Flight in Everett, WA. They have the cockpit (only) of a scrapped 727 that you can sit in. I had someone take my picture while I was in the captain’s seat, then using PhotoShop, replaced the white wall out the window with a shot of a runway. Like I could land a 727, and one handed even!

    BTW, my cousin’s son is a first officer for Jet Blue. NOT possible to let even his father on the flight deck during flight.

    Ron Reiring

  2. @Ron – How cool is that. I found the photo on flickr and loved it – had no idea you were a BoardingArea/ThreadTripping reader. Appreciate your making it available for reuse – and GREAT Photoshop work.

  3. Actually, I wasn’t a member. I friend of mine is and posted to my Facebook page, “Guess what I found?”

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