Reply To: BA seat 60B – upstairs 747-400

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As a gold card holder and having 60J as my favored seat I can confirm that I have never seen any flight deck crew, never mind a Captain using 60B. What I have seen on numerous occasions are “WAGS of the flight deck” occupying 60B. This is despite BA requesting that family of the operating crew do not fly on the same aircraft for security reason.

Craig Watson states that the Captains seat 60B is part of a contractual requirement as well as concern over the number of times pilots have both woken up at the same time.

Disgusted agrees that it is best to have the Captains seat close to the office.

1. The number of cabin crew on the 747, has been reduced, due to cost cutting measures. There appears to be some cost cutting that could be made from within the flight deck, without any compromise on safety. It is preposterous that a Captains contract can allow for a highly paid pilot to be given a rest seat, which the pilot is able to allocate to whom they please and never use, when this seat could generate revenue for the airline.

2. I acknowledge pilots are highly skilled, highly trained and work in an environment of 40 minutes of sheer pressure at the start of a long haul flight followed by 10 hours+ of cruise and ending with another 40 minutes of pressure for decent, approach and landing. For this a BA captain gets paid ca.145,000 sterling + benefits. The pilot stays at 5 star hotels, enjoys long periods of rest and not only benefits from a comfy pilots seat on the flight deck, but also a bunk bed to sleep PLUS a prime business class seat in case the bunk bed isn’t comfy enough.

3. I can see no reason for an operating pilot (even during a rest period), to leave the confines of the flight deck save for the use of the rest room, where one is not fitted within the flight deck area. I certainly do not accept the need for any crew member to have revenue seats blocked for their use whilst on duty. Sufficient crew rest areas have been designed into long-haul aircraft.

4. Most operators include in their operations manual a protocol and check to monitor whether pilots are asleep or not. Perhaps it is understandable why pilots do fall asleep, when they know the Captain in snoring away outside the cabin and another pilot is snoring away in the crew bunks.

5. Positioning BA pilots (this means pilots who are being flown at the company’s expense to start a flight away from their normal base) are permitted to refuse a seat if it is not in business or first class. They still have a rest period between the time of the positioning and the time they start work. Another area of revenue that needs to be looked at. Why should positioning pilots not fly economy.

I have never worked for the airlines, but I have a vast amount of experience in long haul jet travel, both in the cabin and on the flight deck. Once the flight deck door is closed it feels the same whether you have 12 or 350 passengers behind you. The crew rest area on the ultra long range Bombardiers and Gulfstreams are way smaller than the 747 bunks, but is sufficient to allow the non-operating pilot(s) to rest so flights in excess of 11 hours can be achieved. There is definitely no need to encroach into the private space of passengers so a pilot can be even more comfortable during rest periods.

So going back to the start of the post, it seems from the answers given that 60B is not being used for the purpose originally intended. Personally, I would prefer a couple of extra cabin crew on the 747 and 60B released for revenue purposes as opposed to 60B being given to a Captain and then being used as a Captains giveaway.

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