A recent online survey was completed of commercial airline pilots, and the results were a little unsettling. According to the results, a decent percentage of the men and women at the stick suffer from some form of depression. This is not good news for us, the flying public, although not really a cause for alarm when you consider the numbers. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are roughly 104,000 commercial airline pilots in the United States. And the survey results were from roughly 3,500 respondents. Never the less, I am always quick to defend flight attendants as they are tasked with the awesome responsibility of taking care of John Q Public at 35,000 feet. But hang on for one second to consider the brave men and women who perform a task for the love of flight. Every pilot (commercial or otherwise) with whom I've ever spoken has always been quick to tout their love of flight. Essentially, they are most comfortable in the sky. Pretty cool if you stop to think about it. And like any other career, they are faced with the same personal challenges we all experience. While we are on the subject, I decided to take a flying lesson to get a better understanding of what it's like to fly and let me just say...I was scared to death and loved every minute of it. We made a video so feel free to take a look.
So this survey reminds us that airline pilots are people too. They perform a job for an honest wage. So, the next time you see one, or the next time you step onto a plane, take a second to say "hello" not just to the flight attendants but those on the flight deck. Give 'um a "thank you" or "have a great flight" on your way to your seat. A word of appreciation may just be exactly what that aviator needs.
You can read the full survey here.
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. This blog is a reflection of my mission. I travel (on average) 30 weeks per year hosting and producing a television series for PBS. In addition, I host a weekly radio show and produce original travel videos for online distribution. I am very fortunate for these opportunities and it is my hope you will join me on my travels!