By now, you may have heard of this viral note a passenger left on a WestJet flight from Calgary to Victoria, claiming that “the cockpit of an airliner is no place for a woman”.
My first thought was pretty much what the title says. I couldn’t believe that there are still people in the world who would avoid a female pilot.
Like it happened in 1991.
Back then, an Alaska Airlines flight from Phoenix to Seattle had just pushed back, when suddenly, a passenger asked to be let off the plane. He refused to be on an aircraft flown by a female pilot, Captain Christy Gomes. She recollects that the man claimed to have been in three previous air accidents, all with female pilots.
Even though it meant a 10-minute delay, Captain Gomes obliged, the man deplaned through the rear stairs directly on the tarmac and his luggage was offloaded. Passengers booed when the reason for the delay was announced. (In despite of the delay, flight AS603 landed on time in Seattle.)
Today, in 2014, it was just a note left on a plane by an anonymous passenger. I wonder if he had any idea his note would end up all over the media today. I wonder if he changed his mind. I wonder what he would do if it was an all-female crew (both in the flight deck and in the cabin)! And who knows what would have happened had he decided to do like that passenger in 1991. He may have ended up on YouTube.