Friday, 17 February 2012

Frequently asked questions - some answers

Whenever I meet new people, conversation always gets round to what my husband does for a living. It's such a huge part of our daily lives, it's not surprising, really. The questions I get asked are pretty similar. People are very curious about what our lives are really like. So, I thought I'd answer a few of the questions here for people who come across this by googling "what's it like being married to a pilot" and who'd like some answers!

1) Do you get free flights?

Nope. We get ID90s, which means we pay 10% of the fare, plus tax. These tickets are always standby, which means we don't get on if the plane is full. It can be a pretty hairy experience trying to get anywhere.

2) But you always fly up the front, don't you?

Sadly, not any more.My husband's current airline doesn't allow staff kids into Business or First, so even the most senior Captains have to travel in economy with their young families! Gets my goat, this one. I flew Biz all the time before I had my son.

3) Your husband flies long haul - that must mean he's away a lot, but then home a lot, too?

Not really true at the moment, although it used to be. His current airline has a pilot shortage (huge expansion with not enough recruitment to keep up) so he and his fellow pilots are working far too hard. It surprises many of my friends that my husband often only has 24 hours off between long haul trips, often switching over from East to West or vice versa. He's knackered. How long his airline can carry on like this, I don't know. The pilots are so tired and hardly see their families. Some months recently he's just had the minimum days off at home that are legally required - 8.

4) Do all pilots cheat?

Nope. My husband is far too tired most of the time to even go out! And he's also more of a culture vulture than a party guy, and his cabin crew are rarely seen outside of their rooms downroute. Having said that, his first airline was more of a "party airline" and there was a great deal of socialising there. I never worried he'd cheat (we have complete trust, thankfully) but I did get annoyed about the girls flirting with him, as they often did. My husband used to come home and tell me all about it :) It has to be said, though, that I'm one of the lucky ones. I've lost count of the number of times my husband has told me that one of his colleagues is cheating on his wife. It's sad, but a fact of life. The aviation lifestyle can be toxic to family life. You have to work very hard at your marriage.

5) But you must be rich?

This is one thing the Middle East airlines do well. Their salaries are fantastic, we don't pay any tax (at all!) and our accommodation is paid for, too.

6) Aren't planes flown by computers nowadays anyway?

Nope. Well, in the cruise they are, but you only have to look at the number of accidents related to pilot error to see how much influence over the aircraft the pilots have.

7) So, your husband is a First Officer. When does he actually get to fly the plane?

Arrrrgggghhhhhh! There are TWO pilots on the plane. Both the First Officer and the Captain are fully trained pilots, who share the flying. But the Captain is in charge overall, and has more experience. (Generally - but there are some very experienced FOs out there.)

That's all for now. If you have any more questions, post them in a comment and I'll answer them!


  1. My husband flies in the Middle East also. He is an American but the job market here for pilots (well for everyone, but especially pilots) is non existent right now. He does 6 week rotations and works for a private company

  2. AHHHH !!! I randomly came across this blog, it's so surprising!
    I'm aspiring to become a pilot myself, I've been to 2 universities in sweden taking their tests... I failed one of them but I passed the other one however I still couldn't start there because they thought I was too young and needed more experience first -.-
    That was very disappointing but I'm still inlove with the pilot occupation.
    I hope someday I'll be able to become a pilot. I'd love to hear and talk more to you, maybe you/your husband could help me with my studies or so.
    My email is:
    I hope you'd send me a mail

    Kind regards

  3. FYI, a pilot doesn't have to be the partying type to can start slowly online, say maybe talking and chatting on facebook. Then you go to emails and chatting on google. Then they decide to meet the other woman during a trip and one thing leads to another. It's perfect. The girlfriend is far enough away from home that he has no obligation to her (pilots like to keep their mistresses at a far distance), and while he is with the girlfriend, the wife is far enough away that she will never see them together. Every pilot is capable. It isn't just the partying type....believe me. It's the guy that every one thinks is such a great guy and would NEVER cheat on his wife and family. It's a double life and happens no matter how tired they are. I know this first hand.




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