A passenger’s pilot message left for a female WestJest pilot is still bumping around in top news today, says MSN Travel on Wednesday, and the chauvinistic note left by a male passenger, while clearly unfair and bigoted, is stirring debate on a broader topic – Are passengers equally comfortable with a woman pilot at the controls, as they would be for a man?
Yesterday, I brought you the details on this story: WestJet passenger leaves super-sexist napkin note for female pilot. The unabashed opinion voiced by the male passenger has touched off a hullabaloo – and it appears a little bit of reluctant truth if we’re being honest – regarding the gender of our friendly-sky pilots.
As the video showed, a recent study reported on last November by UK's Telegraph Travel concluded that just over half of all passengers admit they feel less assured with a woman piloting their plane. Fifty-one percent are not as confident with a woman behind the “wheel” so to speak; of those, 32 percent believe male pilots are simply more skilled than their female counterparts. Twenty-eight percent said that women are not as good at handling pressure as men are.
According to an article from Time last month, the opposite holds true however when it comes to our military pilots. "Ten out of every 100 Army helicopter pilots are women — but they account for only 3 out of every 100 accidents," says Time, concluding that it appears "female aviators may operate aircraft more safely."
WestJet pilot Carey Smith-Steacy, a Canadian airline pilot with 17 years of experience, found the note after taking flight 463 from Calgary to Victoria earlier this week.
The blunt and critical letter stated:
The cockpit of an airliner is no place for a woman. A woman being a mother is the most honor. Not as ‘captain.’ Were (sic) short on mothers, not pilots, WestJet. PS: I wish WestJet could tell me [when] a fair lady is at the helm so I can book another flight!
The ill-mannered author’s “fair lady” reference evidently means they want to be informed of the gender of the pilot so they can only fly when a male is at the “helm.”
The back of the napkin said: "In the end this is all mere vanity," a scriptural reference to King Salomon. It was signed: "Not impressed, respectfully in love, David."
Steacy gave a very judicial response to “David,” which you can read here. The veteran pilot spoke about the incident with CTV Canada.
“It made me feel sad. It was just surprising,” Steacy told CTV Vancouver. “I can’t believe that there’s people that still think that way… I just hope that mindset can change, like it has in a lot of professions,” Steacy said of the male-dominated industry.