Corporate Traveller

A day in the life of an airline pilot

Usually you'll seen them in teams of two or three strolling down the airport thoroughfare.

You can tell they've got some measure of responsibility by the various insignia on their uniforms, as well as the cool hats.

But aside from the occasional pass by, and the friendly in-flight updates, pilots are more or less invisible to passengers.

Despite the integral role pilots play in the air travel industry, the average passenger would be mostly unaware of the amount of work pilots undertake before you take to the sky on a business trip.

For pilots, the flight begins long before the engines start.

First off, there's a detailed pre-flight discussion between the flight captain, the first officer and where applicable, the second officer.

This discussion covers the flight plan for the journey, the weather report for the route and a backup arrival airport in case of adverse conditions.

This is followed by a pre-flight briefing with the cabin crew before ascending to the flight deck to prepare the aircraft.

Once on the flight deck, pilots go through exhaustive check lists to ensure the aircraft's systems are operating properly.

Next, they perform safety checks on the plane's interior to ensure the cabin is safe and all emergency equipment is in its correct place.

One of the pilots, usually the first or second officer, will then perform an exterior inspection of the aircraft to check for problems such as fluid leaks or issues with exterior mechanics.

Only after all these checks have been completed, passengers have been boarded and the cabin doors sealed, do the pilots actually take the controls and get down to the business off flying the plane.

For a video diary on a day in the life of an airline pilot, take a look at this great video from Cathay Pacific.

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