View Full Version : Memorable Passengers.

8th Feb 2006, 19:33
In my some odd 40 years of flying there have been some passengers that have always remained in the back of my mind. Now I am NOT asking about famous people, you know, movie stars, media types, sports figures etc. No, I mean ordinary people that because of something that happened to them or something that they achieved that caused them to be remembered.

Obviously in my career there have been many passengers that I remember, however the following two come to mind foremost. The first was a passenger on one of my flights and the second a person I sat across the aisle from on an airline flight.

Many years ago I picked up a family in Lubbock, Texas to take them to a wedding in Dallas, Texas. I was flying a Jet Commander (1121) back in those days, which will tell you just how long ago this was. One of the passengers was a 102 year old lady, she was the Great-grandmother of the bride. The flight took about an hour and after we landed I asked her if she enjoyed the flight. She replied that the flight was very interesting and that this was the first time she had ever been in an airplane.

Then her next remark astonished me. She told me that the last time she had traveled between Dallas and Lubbock she had been with her parents as a young girl in a covered wagon and it had taken them FOUR MONTHS! She concluded that the little jet was much better.

Sadly two years later her Great-granddaughter called me to inform me that this grand lady had passed away at the age of 104. However, she said that all her Great-grandmother talked about in her last two years was that trip in that "pretty little white and red jet".

The second person I met on an airline flight from Dallas, Texas to Washington D.C. Now this was back when smoking was allowed on the airlines. I was seated on the back row of the first class section (the smoking section) and across the aisle from me was an elderly gentleman, who I discovered later was 98 years old.

After takeoff the 'No Smoking' sign was turned off and this gentleman pulls out this huge cigar and lites it with a match. 'Oh boy' I think, 'this will be interesting to see how this turns out when the stewardess (they were still called that back then) smells the cigar smoke.' Sure enough a few seconds after he lites up I see the head of the stewardess pop around the corner by the forward galley.

(I can't recall the entire conversation verbatim, however I will paraphrase to be as close to accurate as possible.)

Her, "Sir I'm sorry but cigar and pipe smoking is forbidden, cigarettes only!"

Him, Puff, puff. "I am in the smoking section am I not?" Puff, puff.

Her, "Sir I must insist, put that cigar out at once!"

Him, Puff, puff. "This airplane is going to Washington D & C, correct?" Puff, puff.

Her, slightly taken aback, "Well yes, but what does that have to do with not obeying me and putting out that cigar?"

Him, Puff, puff. "Well the President of these here United States invited me to come to the White House as his guest to award me another medal because I am the last living recipient of the Medal of Honor from World War One." Puff, puff. Then he show her a letter.

Her, "Well, I will inform the Captain that you are refusing a lawful order and he'll take care of you!" She hand him back the latter and storms into the cockpit.

I glance over at him with an amused smile on my face and he tells me that he will probably have put the cigar out, but he'll enjoy it while he can. Puff, puff. After we level off the captain comes out and more or less this is how things went.

Captain, "Sir I understand that you claim to be the last living recipient of the Medal of Honor from World War One?"

Him, Puff, puff. "Well that's what this letter from the President says, course we called it the Great War back then." Puff, puff. He hands the letter to the captain.

After reading the letter at least twice the Captain asks him if he as any ID on him. Our cigar smoker hands him a ID card that appeared to be military.

Captain, "Major, I am proud to have you on my airplane, if want to smoke that cigar you do so and if anyone has a problem with that you have them come and talk to me." The Captain went back to forward galley, talked to the Stewardess and then back into the cockpit.

The cigar smoker and I talked for the rest of the flight. He served in World War One and Two. During the remainder of the flight the First officer and the FE both came back and shook his hand. I sure he has gone west by now, or he'd be 120 or so. What a person he was, I'll never forget him.

Anyway, how about the rest of you, anybody you would like to mention?

8th Feb 2006, 20:48
A good story Con-pilot. Nowerdays you would get arrested for that, no questions asked! Good reading though:)

8th Feb 2006, 20:51
Too true stue, life was a lot more laid back back in those days.

8th Feb 2006, 21:34
Great story cp. :ok:

Here's another cigar story for ya. C. R. Smith - yeah that C. R. Smith - used to own an Atlantic salmon fishing club at a place called Wachachou River, about 150 miles east of here. Back then the only way in was via float plane, and I flew him several times. CR liked a good cigar also, but the Cuban variety were unavailable in the US, so he'd buy a box or two in Montreal on his way through. On one occasion, CR's guest was Robert Six. Mr. Six asked him how he planned to get his cigars back through US customs. CR informed him they'd be cremated long before the USCS had a chance to confiscate them. :D

8th Feb 2006, 21:54
I've had the great honour of flying with a former Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot as a passenger in our L-4 Cub, which he flew beautifully, and more recently, I flew a Tuskegee Airman in a C210, which he also flew beautifully. Both were real gentlemen and had fascinating stories to tell.

Onan the Clumsy
8th Feb 2006, 23:12
I sure he has gone west by now, or he'd be 120 or so
Are you sure it wasn't BEagle? :p

9th Feb 2006, 00:13
The day I got my PPL dad went for a short ride with me. A few years later my boy, then 2, went up with me. Of course he was fast asleep by the time we landed half an hour later. Both memorable flights.

9th Feb 2006, 02:21
I never did get to meet the guy that often sat on my wing and waved :ok: .

9th Feb 2006, 08:10
Keep them stories coming con, I enjoy reading them :ok:

Howard Hughes
9th Feb 2006, 09:04
Remind's me of a flight I had at my first scenic job, the job was to take a woman, her daughter and grand daughter on a 1 hour senic flight for her 80th birthday. At the conclusion of the flight the 80 year old lady say's that was the best flight she had ever been on, she then proceed's to tell me the only other flight she had ever been on was on her 18th BIRTHDAY!! Still makes me smile even now....:}

9th Feb 2006, 09:26
There have been a few memorable because they have been a pain in the you-know-where!

However, the thought of a little Chinese boy born in the helicopter after we night casevac-ed his mother from a small island always makes me smile.

Also the very badly injured Greek sailor we recovered from 220 miles offshore after he fell headfirst off a ladder into the empty hold of his bulk carrier ship. He was in very bad shape but he survived the journey. :cool:

Also, I once took a demure young WRAF flying in a Bulldog. She asked to do some aeros, so I pulled up into a loop. As we went over the top and the world turned upside down, she grabbed my left arm and yelled "F***ing Hell, F***ing Hell!" so loudly I nearly s**t myself. She spent the rest of the flight apologising!

Farmer 1
9th Feb 2006, 15:33
I took a young lad - 5ish - for a trip round the circuit. When I landed, he ran up to his dad, shouting, "Dad, Dad, I saw a TRACTOR!!!"

I was visiting a certain heliport which operated a scheduled service. I flew in at the end of the day, and walking towards ops, I saw one of the pilots looking more than extremely disgruntled. I asked him what was up.

"Got to take a bunch of school kids for a trip - fifteen minutes."


"Fifteen minutes with a bunch of snotty-nosed kids? Can you think of anything worse?"

"You've never flown kids before, have you?"

Pause. "Well, come to think of it, no, I haven't. So what?"

"In fifteen minutes' time you will have changed your mind completely. Bet you a pint." I refused to say any more, but he accepted the bet. I watched as 30ish children and their teachers boarded, and as the aircraft took off and did its bit. It returned, landed, and shut down.

The door opened, and about three million kids swarmed off the aircraft, laughing and whooping and shouting. They had had a good time.

The pilots emerged, beaming, laughing, punching each other on the shoulder.

"You know what," said my mate, "we taxied out, and as we lifted into the hover, the whole aircraft vibrated with the cheers from the back. We looked at each other, and smiled, and we knew we were going to have a fantastic flight."

"You'll find there's more," I said, again refusing to elaborate. On my next visit, a few weeks later, the walls in Ops were covered with Thank you letters, pictures and all, from a great bunch of kids.

Without exception, I have found child passengers to be well-mannered and appreciative. They do what they are told, nothing more, nothing less. And, they ask far more intelligent questions than most adults. Perhaps I have been very lucky, but I don't think so. And - most important of all - and - they don't weigh very much.

And - even yet more important - he still owes me a pint.

Romeo Delta
9th Feb 2006, 16:08
Two of my more memorable passenger experiences:

When I was but a young'un, I flew as an unaccompanied minor to Chicago while sitting next to a nice young lady who was a PE teacher with MS. She knew she'd be in a wheelchair soon, but was going to live life to the fullest while she still had the ability. I don't know whatever happened to her, but every time a flyer comes round to donate to MS causes, I have and will continue to donate.

The other was quite recent, on a flight to LAS via ATL, I sat next to a former professional Ballroom Dancer. She was a coach now, and designed uniforms for the competitions, but it was quite a conversation and an eye-opener about how hard these people work. It's as much a sport (or more) than some of these other sports they show on ESPN.

9th Feb 2006, 16:26
Not very many years ago, I was a senior executive with a multinational company. I flew all over the world on business and became quite blase about the whole business.

One day I boarded a small passenger jet at London City Airport, bound for Glasgow. You know the kind of aircraft, maybe 20 passenger seats with a narrow aisle, a single row of seats on one side and a double row on the other.

As I sat in my single seat in my executive suit and shiny shoes, a lady and her young teenage son came on board and occupied the double seats opposite.

When the doors closed prior to engine start-up, the boy said to his mother, ' Mum, it's really hot, isn't it', to which she replied, 'Yes, but once we get started I'll open the window to help you cool down'. It was only then that I remembered that not everyone in the world has experienced the joy of flying and what an amazing and novel experience flying is the first time you do it.

All through the flight, which was on a beautifully clear day and at an altitude in the low teens, the boy and his mother could be heard 'wowing' about the sights they could see, the cars on the motoways, the hills and the coasts.

I had totally forgotten how quite fantastic it is to fly and it was a real dose of reality. Never forgotten.

9th Feb 2006, 16:37
Once went to a local school at their invite to give a talk about the theory of flight, which was their project.

I took my flying helmet and allowed them to pass it round and try it on. After the talk, I went outside and the teacher said I might regret it later as half of them had got "nits"! :ugh:

9th Feb 2006, 20:15
Around 1992 I was giving sailplane rides in a Janus A at Karlsruhe. One passenger told me that he came from former East Germany. And the rest... He flew Bf 109s in WWII and flew ag planes in the GDR in the fifies, until word came out that he had relatives in the West. So the commie b:mad:rds shredded all his licenses. And thus he hadn't flown for over 40 years. Not even on airliners.

I handed him the stick after rope release -- and he flew me beautifully around the patch all the way to the flare, when I took over again. Really amazing!

(And the day after he came back tio the airfield, with a big cake and a crate of beer.)

Footless Halls
9th Feb 2006, 20:44
You probably all know that Lindberg, taking an early Pan Am 707 from New York to London, was greeted by the Stewardess with the immortal words: "Welcome to Pan American, General Lindberg, is this your first time across the Atlantic?"

9th Feb 2006, 21:52
In the early '90s, Antwerp to Brussels, Fokker 28 ferry, on most weekday mornings 60 kids on a day out from school.
Max power on the brakes, off like a shot, squeels and laughter, ooos and ahhs as we were vectored for 25R and a loverly round of applause even for a poor landing.
Then later in the day the reverse ferry, empty, 20 NM, 2000ft, reach 300 indicated if you could, slither around on to final 29, speedbrake was for pussies.

Old WW2 pilots visiting the cockpit on domestic Aussie flights, both sides as lots of tourists CNS ASP YLA.

Telling a new Dad "both OK" on a RFDS flight below us.

Airline Cadet, went a bit pale on climb, ??? never been in cloud before, bloddy training system in place.

Daughter about 6 yrs in row 12, me in right front seat, weather "ordinary", pax asks her, "arn't you worried?" NO , DAD'S DRIVING , worth a medal that one.

40 yrs plus of good fun


:ok: :ok:

9th Feb 2006, 23:01
Flying a Young Eagle (www.youngeagles.org), who was an 8 year old princess. She seemed to be enjoying the flight but as we entered downwind to land, she said "Are we going to land soon, I have a party to go to this afternoon"...oops, mustn't interfere with the princess's schedule ;)

Another flight with a friend's 11 year old son, when he took the controls for most of the flight. I think it was his first flight in a small plane. He wrote an essay for school which appeared at home at the end of the school year. I treasure this piece of writing, and will keep it with me forever. He is now the grand old age of 15 and wants to be an air force pilot, but he will definitely have the option of a career in writing too...

My Special Place
Big puffy clouds appear brilliant as paintings of magical lands, swiftly gliding over the canopy. As I grab the yoke a big smile stretches itself over my face feeling like I am in control of the world, as if god himself handed it all to me. The instrument panels are continuously wiggling every which way with each little movement of the hands.
I can hear the muffling of the engines through the thin plexy glass windows, like a thousand rhinoceroses running through the heat of the night. I can never help but laugh at the fact that the vibrations tingle there way through my entire body. The noises to me are like a song playing over and over each time putting me further and further into a trance.
The scenery in the sky is incredibly breath taking, each tree and farm field so distinctive from one another. Spending most of my life dreaming of experimenting the same things that others have had, this was the opportunity of a lifetime, it was my little dream summed up in a few hours. The sky was the limit on this little adventure through the world of flight this is my special place.
Sometimes I feel like I have made friends with the sky, and Sometimes I fell like it has made friends with me.

I have written it verbatim, with no spelling or grammatical corrections. Reading it again, I am hugely impressed that an 11 year old could see things so clearly and express everything so wonderfully. I still can't do that now......

9th Feb 2006, 23:28
My most memorable passenger was my dad. I took him up in a Cherokee along with my mom at what was then Halfpenny Green Airport. My dad was a pretty serious guy most of the time but to see his face break out in a huge smile once be broke ground made quite an impression on me, back then a newly minted pilot. 20 years later I wished I could have carried him on my plane on my very first flight as a newly minted captain on the 757, but I am sure he was there in spirit.

Out Of Trim
10th Feb 2006, 00:02
Hey Con-pilot

I liked that story about the WW1 and 2 pilot..

Captain, "Major, I am proud to have you on my airplane, if want to smoke that cigar you do so and if anyone has a problem with that you have them come and talk to me." The Captain went back to forward galley, talked to the Stewardess and then back into the cockpit.

The cigar smoker and I talked for the rest of the flight. He served in World War One and Two. During the remainder of the flight the First officer and the FE both came back and shook his hand. I sure he has gone west by now, or he'd be 120 or so. What a person he was, I'll never forget him.

I respect that kind of thing!

he deserved that and more.. sounds like a great guy!

10th Feb 2006, 01:47
Another story about flying with children. Our company used to have a family day every year in August. As part of the activities we offered a series of 15 minute airplane rides with the company F-27. One year on the first ride of the morning, we must have had about 20 kids on board, most around six or seven years old. I got on the pa and did the usual welcome aboard speech, but added that as we were fully loaded the passengers could help us get airborne if they lifted their feet off the floor when they heard me say the word 'rotate.'
Sure enough, on the roll after the V1 call, I hit the pa button and called rotate. After take-off the cabin attendant came up front laughing his head off. He said some of the kids had their knees up around their ears. :D

jon s gull
10th Feb 2006, 03:04
Pa flew f27's fo East West and loved to have the children visit the cockpit where he would let them 'drive the plane'.One day he brought home a thankyou letter adressed to the blonde captain, the years had turned his hair white.

10th Feb 2006, 07:52
I had an air taxi flight from Miami out to Bimini, I think it was, with the man who had invented the board game 'Monopoly.' Well, that is what I had been told about him.

We were using an old, beat-up Piper Aztec D and it was the usual beautiful weather so that we went at 1,500 feet, VFR. The old fellow told me that he used to be a pilot and I asked him if he wanted to take the controls. What the heck, we could call it a flying lesson, since he was the only passenger.

I think he was the happiest man on the planet after just 15 minutes or so of poling that old Aztec along. I wonder why, with all that money, he didn't just buy one and hire someone to give him 'lessons.' Perhaps his wealth had bullied him into being sensible.

Anyway, it was touching to see how much enjoyment he got from a very basic sort of flying. It made me appreciate it more, myself.

10th Feb 2006, 10:04
Not a memorable passenger as such, but my first experience of flying.

We (my 7 year old sister and I, 11 at the time) were woken up early by my mum and she said that we were going on holiday to Blackpool and the taxi would be here soon so get dressed and be waiting.

The taxi arrived and we all piled in, my sister, Mum, Dad and I and set off for the station, as we drove along I noticed we had missed the turning for the station and were on the motorway. I asked where we were going and my Dad said, we are flying to the Isle of Man! I was amazed, I had always wanted to go on an aeroplane and this was my opportunity! How fantastic!

We arrived at the airport and headed to check in, the agent asked us where our final destination was, when my Dad said San Francisco I nearly fell over!

We finally boarded the 767 to JFK and as we took off and plied through the clouds, eventually popping out into the clear blue, I remember my sister turning to me and saying "it's like heaven up here."

Thanks Mum and Dad, even when I am having a bad day or not enjoying a long flight I think back to that first flight and it cheers me up no end.:ok:

10th Feb 2006, 12:17
I was once sat next to some tiny little old lady on an international flight. I hadn't eaten much at all that day, and I'd never been on such a long trip before, so by the time I woke up after a night's sleep on the plane, I soon realised I was hungry thanks to some nasty stomach cramps. No sign of breakfast or drinks for a good long while.

Then the old biddy sitting next to me got out these thin, shiny green wafers, and offered one to me which she instisted I eat. Lovely gesture, but not nice at the best of times, let alone when you're ravenous. I'd never seen or eaten one of these before and later learned it was a pressed seaweed wafer. So I tucked into this revolting thing, smiling at the sweet little lady sitting next to me, pretending her offering was delicious, whilst she looked back at me with a beaming smile on her dial!

It was incredibly greasy, and probably the worst thing to have sitting on an empty stomach, so after finishing it (still ravenous and stomach still cramping) I also had to disguise the fact that I was now also trying desperately not to throw up all over her! After what seemed like an eternity, breakfast finally appeared and it sure came as a welcome relief!

After brekkie, and after establishing the fact that we couldn't speak a word of each other's language, we got 'chatting'.

I'd got out a pad and a pen, and using pictures, sounds, gestures and the in-flight magazine, I got to learn she was Taiwanese, in her 70's, where she lived, how many children and grandchildren she had, all their ages, where some lived in the world, where she'd been for her holidays etc., etc.., and she learned a fair bit about me too. Sound dull? Nope, it was cracking good fun!

Our little 'chat' lasted for over an hour until we landed in Bangkok, where she got off and left me to continue on the last leg of flight. Before disembarking, we exchanged addresses (?!) and my new, smashing old lady friend gave me a great big farewell hug.

Int old people brilyunt?! :ok:

Onan the Clumsy
10th Feb 2006, 12:23
lexxity being a sand-grown-un myself I have to express my condolences that instead of the wonders of Blackpool, such as Stanley Park, the tip, the eerie bird cages, Lawson Road playing fields where I almost got abducted, the little garages, the big garages, the Fit Woman and several chip shops of inestimable quality, you were forced to suffer sights such as Coit Tower, Sutro Baths, North Beach, Golden Gate Park, a bridge, the cable car museum etc etc.

I only hope the airplane ride made up for it. :ok:

10th Feb 2006, 16:22
Fisrt solo. C152. 7am start with the instructor, did a few Cs & Bs and he was (or at least made me think he was) ticked about a few bits of my procedures.

Coming in over the fence on one, he just said 'full stop & pull off'. I thought that was it. Just off the strip on the t/w he says (still looking like he's fuming) 'stop here' and so I thought I was going to cop a right bollocking.

Instead, he just opens the door, hops out, looks at me with a big grin and says 'away you go, Cs & Bs until the end of the hour'.

I couldn't believe it!! Anyway, turned her round and had to stop my yee-haring to call the tower!

That first climb-out was, to that date, the best moment of my life.

I understand my instructor failed to walk away from a crash some years later.

tall and tasty
10th Feb 2006, 18:08
My most memorable passenger I had to sit next to him from Boston down to Orlando on a 5 hour flight. I had the window seat and when I boarded though great no one is next to me can stretch out. the flight filled and filled and still the two seats next to me were empty. PA went out saying sorry for the delay folks waiting for an assistance passenger, so though ok they take time, been there when I was a nanny at the airport and know how long it can tase. the passenger entered the a/c and walked slowly down the aisle and I mean slowly. It suddenly became apparent the target of this passenger was the seat or should I say seats next to me! I am not one who chastises large people but this guy was so big he was too much. He lifted up the arm rest and then sat down. Steve Martin movies come to mind, as I almost got stuck to the fusalage and though "don't drink too much or to ask him to move would be too much for a trip to powder my nose". I did not move and he fell asleep!!

I have seen gross in my life but that was just so so so gross it was not pleasant. He did not talk to me or say anything but snore!!


Quod Boy
10th Feb 2006, 19:04
About 5 yrs ago,I was dead heading to Zurich: from LHR with the FO,on BA 767 we ended up front in business in a half full cabin and in row 1 assessing every pax around him was a very smartly dressed older man smart suit,silk tie soft leather briefcase etc etc.Champagne was being handed around,all very nice except he looked very gruff infact almost put out that he was not alone.He was known to the cabin crew as a"regular"

Once at cruise,a little chop caused the very glamourous senior business class attendant to spill some soft drinks and it landed by total chance in this chaps lap as he sat in row 1,the crew member apologised profusely and politely but by the time she came back with a cloth he had stood up faced rearwards to the assembled mass behind him and began to undress.First the tie,thrown across the cabin,then the jacket,then he began unbuttoning his shirt.

The senior crew members all asked him to please sit down,but he insisted on having his trousers and shirt cleaned,which at 35000' was a little tricky,but he continued and with 2 ladies and 1 steward trying to hold him down he took his gear off by now very noisily denouncing the crew and the particular girl.By now,the rest of us were rivetted and then the blankets came out as he got down to his boxer shorts.

We were asked to write a report decribing events,which was no problem and the champagne kept coming he sat in his boxers for landing and then dressed as we taxied in I saw him at the baggage carousel scowling at everyone shouting into his mobile phone.

Mad as a hatter,I kid you not.
Quod Boy:ok: :ok:

10th Feb 2006, 20:47
I was flying a trial lesson, call it what you will, in a glider. Winch launch. Forty-something female, averagely nervous about the launch, suitably wound up by her entourage, suitably calmed down by me.
The glider rotates and from the front seat.....
'ffffffffffffff*******+++++++k!' which lasts the full thirty seconds of the launch.
As we released, it is announced, without fear, doubt, irony or contradiction, 'This is far better than sex'.

10th Feb 2006, 22:20
t and t ......... at least he had 2 seats to himself, next to you.

It's when someone that size only has 1 seat that the problems arise as they naturally encroach upon your space. :uhoh:

jon s gull
10th Feb 2006, 22:29
I was flying a trial lesson, call it what you will, in a glider. Winch launch. Forty-something female, averagely nervous about the launch, suitably wound up by her entourage, suitably calmed down by me.
The glider rotates and from the front seat.....
'ffffffffffffff*******+++++++k!' which lasts the full thirty seconds of the launch.
As we released, it is announced, without fear, doubt, irony or contradiction, 'This is far better than sex'.

And lasts longer as well !!

10th Feb 2006, 23:17
Cardiff - Orlando, two occasions. The first was when the newly-wed groom let his bride reach the front of the queue for Jersey, before revealing where they were really going! Was she excited by the time she reached the flight deck!The second was when a South-Wales coal miner spent a large chunk of his redundancy money taking his family to Disneyworld. He kept looking out of the right window and saying "Is that really the United States of America down there, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - I can't believe it! I only went to the travel agent and asked where we could go for XXX pounds and - look you - it's the BLOODY UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!! We've never been out of Wales before, hardly!"

Las Vegas - Gatwick, the time of the comet Hale-Bopp, somewhere over Northern Canada. The young boy - seven perhaps - hands pressed against the huge No.3 window on the DC10, gazing up at the comet, with the Aurora Borealis playing up well too. He'll be old enough to remember it, I hope.

Yes, amongst the daily frustrations, there were good moments.

11th Feb 2006, 09:37
A good story Con-pilot. Nowerdays you would get arrested for that, no questions asked! Good reading though:)

Yes leaving the flight deck to mix with passengers unless you are going to handcuff them is a sackable offence!


11th Feb 2006, 10:13
Good old days of Flight deck visits. Invited two young ladies up to the front for an inspection. Watched them walk out to the aircraft and turned to the FO and said what do you think! Loaded the works - kn0rks, Tall, leggie and short short skirts, long flowing blond hair and big cheeky smiles.

They appeared a little bemused up front but when they opened their mouths :{ :{

I never go on the wrapping now!

11th Feb 2006, 11:09
It's always my aim to be a totally unmemorable pax. Quiet, polite and smiling - that's me. Or at least that's what I try to be - only others can tell if I manage it.

The most memorable pax I've seen was the large, nay fat, Nigerian lady who came to sit next to me on a flight from Milan to Lagos. Once the seat belt sign went off, she stood up and started to remove her clothes, layer upon layer upon layer of them. After removing six pairs of jeans (I kid thee not) and I don't know how many tops, she was actually a rather petite young lady with a very inventive way of getting huge quantities of carry on luggage onto the aircraft.

Whiskey Kilo Wanderer
11th Feb 2006, 11:58
Flying kids and other first time passengers is almost always great fun. As mentioned by others in this thread, events like Young Eagles and Starlight Days are as much fun for those providing the flights as it is for the young passengers.

My first passenger on a recent Starlight Day was a boy of early teen-age years. A cancer patient I’d have guessed from the complexion and lack of hair. He was playing it pretty cool about the whole thing, so we proceeded in a normally sedate fashion and got airborne. On these events the usual plan is to fly what amounts to an extended circuit, departing from one runway and arriving back on the other one. This keeps the flow going, as there are often ten or fifteen aircraft of varying speeds in the ‘circuit’ at the same time. We’d levelled off at fifteen hundred feet and I’d let the lad have a go on the controls. He did quite well, but was obviously a bit tense and handed it back after a few minutes. A little while later he asked, “What happens if you push the stick full forward?” I explained what would happen in terms of aeroplane movement and aerodynamics. “Do you want to see it?” I asked. “Er. Yeah” he replied. So I did a quick check that we weren’t about to bounce some unfortunate soul who was passing below, then eased off on the throttle and bunted the aeroplane forward. Once we were established in a suitable nose down attitude I started to correct the dive and pull back up in to the climb back to altitude, while keeping the commentary going all the time. After a few moments of straight and level the request came “Can we do that again?” We spent the rest of the circuit proposing, I suspect to the consternation of following aircraft who must have suspected that some sort of hijack was in progress.

Most passengers, particularly the younger ones, have a reasonably predictable response to flying. I guess the young have less fear and haven’t acquired the caution that comes with the passing years. Their response can still catch you out, everyone is different. I was at a Young Eagles event a few years ago. One of my passengers was a young girl, probably pre-teen. She was bright and talkative and interested in everything. Following the usual briefing, we taxied out and after holding briefly started the take off roll. I always ask any passenger if they are ok prior to starting the take off roll, as the noise in the cockpit prevents much communication until the first power reduction. The take off was normal and by the time we’d settled in the climb out attitude and raised the flaps I looked over to my passenger and asked if she was enjoying it. “I’m going to wet myself!” was the reply. I don’t have much contact with children, so wasn’t sure if this was an indication of excitement or blind terror. We completed the rest of the flight successfully and she claimed to have enjoyed it. I did quickly check on the seat before the next passenger and it seemed to be dry!

11th Feb 2006, 13:57
My first trip as a passenger in a light aircraft was going well. We'd followed (as well as we could) the race-cars around Brands Hatch Circuit, and then headed back towards base. I was enjoying it, then the pilot (my mate as a teenager who'd won a flying scholarship) shut the power off and we floated, nay sank, and I was 'alarmed'. I'd been fine when the machine was under power (although the flat and level bits were a bit boring), I'd really enjoyed the 'aerobatics' but was uncertain (to say the least) with letting the aircraft take control . . .

12th Feb 2006, 03:48
After landing with the A321, the passengers were getting down the plane when a 45-50 year old man suddenly appeared at the cockpit door and said to the captain :

" It was a very nice and smooth landing, thank you ! By the way, is this the gear ? (showing the thrust levers) " :yuk:

I will never forget that passenger.