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JAL reprimanded after pilot takes selfie with flight attendant in cockpit

37 Comments

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism has reprimanded Japan Airlines (JAL) after a pilot took a selfie photo of himself with a female flight attendant sitting in the co-pilot's seat during a flight.

According to JAL officials, the incident occurred at around 7:50 a.m. on June 7 while the plane was en route from New Chitose Airport to Osaka-Itami Airport.

Ten minutes after takeoff, the 32-year-old co-pilot went to the toilet. The flight attendant, 28, entered the cockpit under the new rule that says there must be two people in the cockpit at all times.

The Boeing 737 was at 3,000 meters and still climbing to cruising altitude and had been set to autopilot, JAL said.

The 47-year-old pilot of the aircraft told the flight attendant to sit in the co-pilot's seat and pose with him for a selfie, which he took with his smartphone, Fuji TV reported Saturday. The flight attendant reported the incident to company officials.

JAL said Friday it has suspended the pilot -- who has been a captain for just over nine years -- from flying for breaking regulations by not paying attention to the controls.

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37 Comments
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Pilots get really poor wages and work very long hours hence the shortage of responsible pilots, better pay and conditions would help. I know i dont want some idiot flying a plane that im on but its catch 22 with all the low cost airlines, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Boeing 737 was at 3,000 meters and still climbing to cruising altitude and had been set to autopilot, JAL said.

The plane was on autopilot. So why should he sit there eyes glued to the controls?

I'm more worried about the knee jerk reaction of the non-flying JAL execs who decided to suspend him from flying for this.

-10 ( +11 / -21 )

Bernie,

3,000 feet is still low. When aircraft are climbing it is an especially vulnerable time for the plane. Even if the plane is on autopilot, pilots need to ensure the safety of the plane. The airspace around Japan is very crowded, even at 8:00 am so someone looking out visually is important or mandatory. What happened is really quite unprofessional.

There is other issue it appears there is some harassment towards the flight attendant. The article says the flight attendant complained so I assume then she did not volunteer to have her picture taken.

I agree with you the reaction of the JAL execs is too harsh. They should provide a reprimand and not suspend the pilot. The pilot could help train others and be a good example.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

What is the problem with taking a selfie?

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

I hate selfies

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Osaka_Doug,

I get what you are saying.

But this begs another question. If it was such a critical time, why did the co-pilot leave the cockpit to go to the toilet?

They'd only been in the air ten minutes. Surely he would have had time to relieve himself before take off. And if he had waited another 5? 10? minutes, wouldn't they have been at cruising altitude?

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Guess he was trying to impress the girl.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"The plane was on autopilot. So why should he sit there eyes glued to the controls?"

Because that's his job and every passenger is putting their lives into his hands when they board his plane. No matter how small the chance was she could have accidentally hit something, she still could of.

"What is the problem with taking a selfie?"

You wanna take a selfie? Fine, do it on the ground when lives aren't on the line. People have some arrogant view of autopilot, it doesn't mean when it's on a pilot can take a nap, pose for pics, or relax from his very serious job.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

BertieWooster: "The plane was on autopilot. So why should he sit there eyes glued to the controls?"

It's simply a matter of being unprofessional. He needn't necessarily keep his eyes literally "glued" to the controls, especially on autopilot, but taking a selfie with a cute girl isn't exactly paying attention in the LEAST to what's going on besides a certain attraction. Seriously... would a pilot be taking a selfie in a plane that is climbing (on the ground, maybe... on one's first flight or something) normally? NO. He was obviously doing it because the woman was there, which means he was either trying to impress her, or hit on her... or both. In any case, his mind wasn't on the job, in the cockpit, so to speak. I still remember there being a rumor that when the Korean Air flight crashed at the end of the runway in Hiroshima a few weeks back that the pilot was taking a selfie when it happened. Probably just gossip, the timing, if true, is obviously different, but still.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Mr or Mrs moderator is an ass!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"But this begs another question. If it was such a critical time, why did the co-pilot leave the cockpit to go to the toilet?"

Seriously, Bertie? As anyone and everyone knows, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. I'm sure no where in his mind was he thinking, my senior officer might get fresh with the fight attendant so I best cross my legs and hold it till we land.

Flying the plane is literally the most important and critical part of a pilot's job. It's like a paramedic taking a selfie while doing CPR.

Don't risk lives to get your kicks!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

BertieWooster: But this begs another question. If it was such a critical time, why did the co-pilot leave the cockpit to go to the toilet?

Yes, I agree the timing is a bit off and I'd like to interview the co-pilot as well. Was it because of the need to really use the toilet or was it just to get the women into the cockpit.

I wonder what the official rules for JAL and other airlines say about what pilots are supposed to be doing when climbing. I'm sure it is saying focused..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Flying the plane is literally the most important and critical part of a pilot's job. It's like a paramedic taking a selfie while doing CPR.

I think it's more like a paramedic taking a selfie in the back of the ambulance while rushing to the hospital (or to the accident).

3 ( +5 / -2 )

There has to be more to this story. Yes, the pilot should have been monitoring the instruments and not flirting but, If it troubled her so much, the flight attendant could have refused to sit in the seat. Her complaint seems spiteful.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Osaka Doug 3000 meters not feet.....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Really should have waited until they reached cruising altitude with thing on full auto.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Her complaint seems spiteful.

I agree. Why did the FA complain? Revenge?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I guess the pilot and co pilot arranged this break among themselves and specifically arranged for miss FA to enter the cockpit since the P was interetsed in her. No more. He learned his lesson...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thank you several people for pointing out that a pilot has to be attentive when the plane is climbing on autopilot. I get that now. I just didn't know.

On the sudden need for potty 10 minutes after take off, I just cannot think with this. If the guy had "abe-tummy" or some sort of upset, surely he shouldn't be co-piloting. If he couldn't hold it for the few minutes it would take to get to cruising altitude, he'd probably better wear rubber underpants.

We passengers are not allowed to go to a toilet until the plane has reached cruising altitude and if we can't, I cannot see how its OK for a copilot.

I'm sure there is more to this story.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Bertie: "I'm sure there is more to this story."

There is, but nothing about the co-pilot needing to use the washroom. What other sources DO state is different wording than this updated article. It says the co-pilot literally FORCED the woman to sit in the chair and "took private photos" with him in it. 'Forced' sounds about right given that it was she who reported the incident. So not only was he fooling around and being unprofessional while operating a vehicle with I'm assuming a good number of passengers, he physically forced a woman to do what she did not want to do. I'm guessing they are protecting him on that one and only giving him a reprimand for 'not paying attention to the controls' as a way of still punishing, but just not for the right reasons or the right crimes.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

smithinjapan,

Now, what you write makes sense.

Not so much of the, "Come on in Lulu, sit down, take a load off!"

More like the "seko-hara" that Oyaji's do best!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

At least he was reprimanded for something. Sexual harassment is probably difficult to prove in Japan, and would probably be an internal matter within JAL. This makes the incident much more public. Smart flight attendant.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

harvey pekarJun. 13, 2015 - 06:53PM JST

Flying the plane is literally the most important and critical part of a pilot's job. It's like a paramedic taking a selfie while doing CPR.

A paramedic's job is mostly limited to emergency situations. I'd say it's more like a bus driver taking a selfie while waiting for a red light.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There has to be more to this story. Yes, the pilot should have been monitoring the instruments and not flirting but, If it troubled her so much, the flight attendant could have refused to sit in the seat. Her complaint seems spiteful.

Japanese culture - he is her superior. He tells her to sit, she must sit. Clearly though this was unwelcome attention. Spiteful to complain about your (probably married) boss almost double your age hitting on you and not doing his job - and not just any job at that, its not as if he took his eyes off his spreadsheet for a moment - no, she's not being spiteful. She's standing up for herself. Which more women here need to do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Must have been hard to get that selfie stick out the window.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I see no problem with flight crew members taken selfie in the Cockpit. I only concern with taken selfie in the cockpit by passengers and non crew members of flight. However, Pilot or Co Pilot should be stay in the cockpit when Plane was still climbing or low altitude regardless of Auto Pilot was in an engaged or not. Airline needs to issue clear guideline for Pilots and Crewmembers about taken selfie during the flight.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Generally speaking, making "selfie" here and there is a sort of mental disorder. That "captain" must be kicked out of JAL.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would be quite happy for the pulpit to take a selfie. Most crashes are attributable to pilot error anyway. I suppose we still need human pilots to help the passengers feel safe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I really would like to see that selfie.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If the pilot took the photo of flight attendant, how is that a "selfie"? Isn't a selfie a photo people take of themselves?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If the pilot took the photo of flight attendant, how is that a "selfie"?

Right. How is that a selfie? Maybe he fetishizes FA?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Aren't those iPhones, iPads, what have you, be turned off before the plane took off? Why is it that the pilot break their own airline rules too huh?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

anacoenosis,

The camera works in "Airplane Mode." I don't think that is the problem.

As has been pointed out, even though the plane is flying on autopilot, the pilot should have his attention on the view and his instrumentation. Making a list of things that would go against this would be ridiculously long and someone would alway find something not on the list.

When the plane is climbing to cruising altitude. The pilot and co-pilot may not:

Play janken.

Watch TV.

Take selfies.

Tease the passengers with fake announcements.

The list would be endless.

As I mentioned before, I cannot understand why, when passengers are not allowed to use the lavatories, the co-pilot did, when if he had waited a few minutes more, the plane would have been at cruising altitude and it would have been OK. If he was so desperate to go, he could have made a dash for the loo just before the pilot turned off the "Fasten Seat Belt" sign and gotten there before any line had formed.

There has to be more to this story.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"When aircraft are climbing...."

Then punish the co-pilot! He left the cockpit and scarpered off to the bog while the plane, according to you, was climbing. Having the flight crew leave their posts while the plane is in ascent would seem a much, much bigger threat than snapping a selfie.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JeffLee,

Then punish the co-pilot!

True, but the overall responsible person is going to be the pilot, isn't it? And it's not unlikely that what the pilot said was something like this:

Man, that FA is hot! Get her in here. Make some excuse like you're bursting for a p**s!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well wasn't that a smart move!? Suspend and cause more stress to the pilot for just taking a little time-out and making a crew member feel valued.

Thank you...that's all I need on my mind as I fly home for my summer break is another stressed out pilot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder if the copilot had diarrhea...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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