The International Air Transport Association confirmed today it will begin an optional service allowing the names of all passengers who are also pilots to display on a ticker during commercial flights.
We were at Terminal A in DFW airport today and spoke to Kyle, a 100 hr private pilot about his thoughts on this new method of getting low hour private pilots the attention they want when flying on the airlines.
“This makes it a lot easier because now I don’t have to pretend to give a crap about Foreflight on my 4-hour flight, hoping people will notice that I have practically the same skill set as the guys up front.”
Kyle. who was dressed in cargo shorts with the “Remove Before Flight” keychain hanging out of one of the pockets, set down his iPad, Lightspeeds and a fucking Stratus to come talk to us about how much better this is for him.
Aviation Daily: “So how does this new ticker benefit noob pilots that are wanting attention on the flight?”
Kyle: “Now I don’t have to worry about how I am going to work it into the conversation with the beer chick or strangers sitting next to me.”
Aviation Daily: “Has your pilot skill ever come into play on an airline?”
Kyle: “Not yet, but between my flight sim time and my training, which by the way was with a CFI with over twelve hundred thousand hours, I could land just about anything anywhere.”
Aviation Daily: “This should make the flying less stressful for you then, too right?”
Kyle: “Totally, I used to have to pull out Foreflight and pretend to angle it away from the window “Because of the glare” <– (Kyle used finger quotes here) .
Of course secretly, I’d hope someone would notice and ask me what I am up to. If they didn’t, I would pull out my Garmin 550 and my Stratus. Sometimes I would unfold an entire sectional. Once it was so bad and nobody noticed, so I flat out asked the guy next to me if he could pull up live ATC on his cellphone because my battery died and I needed to check the pilot’s radio skills.
If that hadn’t worked, I was just planning on standing up and yelling, “‘I am!!’ Oops. sorry, I thought I heard the flight attendant ask if there was a pilot on board. Sorry for the disruption. But, yeah, in case anyone was wondering… Pilot… Seat 17F… Kyle… Kyle the pilot…………….. me.”
Aviation Daily: “That’s pretty extreme.”
Kyle: “Meh, Sometimes if I have the day off and nothing to do, I will take a flight even if I have no particular place to go just so I can let people know I’m a guy with a flight bag. My parents didn’t pay for all this flight training so it would go unnoticed.”
Kyle: Another trick if you are at a bar and the bartender is cute, pay your tab but accidentally hand her your pilot’s certificate instead of your credit card “By Mistake” <– (Finger quotes again). While they swoon, you play it off like oh silly me and loudly exclaim “I can’t believe I tried to pay the bill with my pilot license… Because I have one… Because I am one… Meaning a pilot… me… Kyle… Here at the bar……… pilot………. Kyle the pilot.”
Aviation Daily: “So do you plan on going to work on the airlines at some point?”
Kyle: “Oh hell no… and be some glorified bus driver hauling the unwashed masses around? Not in a million years.”
Aviation Daily: “So what’s next?”
Kyle: “Well, I am starting a new YouTube channel. It is a whole different concept. Its me flying while reading poems I wrote about flying. It’s pretty meta. I’m gonna have an Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest – all that stuff. Thinking of calling it: Floetry… Flying plus poetry.”
After speaking to Kyle, we spoke to the airline marketing team about the new process.
Pilots can pay a $30 fee before boarding to get their name, certifications, number of hours, and number of CFI’s hours that trained them displayed on a screen during the flight.
They also told us, “For another $50 we will display their photo and seat number. We’re going to make a killing. There is no fucking way they wouldn’t pay for that sort of attention.”