Last year pilots were making announcements “Let’s Go Brandon” and that made it into air traffic control chatter too. I thought this had died out, and was now being crowded out by the counter Dark Brandon meme but pilots are still bringing their politics on board with them.
Here’s a Southwest Airlines pilot with a “I used to be liberal / Then I left home and got a job” sticker on his bag.
.@SouthwestAir is this really the type of garbage you allow your pilots to have on their work bags? As a liberal woman (with a job, thanks very much) who flies your airline often with my kids (who are of reading age), this is downright offensive. pic.twitter.com/H8ODcXoSit
— Theresa (@theresalenz) August 25, 2022
Shortly after Donald Trump was first elected President, a United Airlines captain went viral for asking passengers not to get political on the airplane regardless of which side they were on. Everyone cheered.
Beyond Southwest, airline uniform standards generally speak to stickers on the outside of luggage, but conformance with such standards is more likely to be applied against cabin crew than pilots. Pilots have a lot more leverage than flight attendants.
Airlines themselves are highly political. They lobby to pick taxpayer pickets for bailouts. They lobby to keep competitors out of the U.S. and to keep domestic airlines from accessing space in the airlines they operate – limiting consumer choice and raising prices. They want government subsidies for alternative fuels. Already shielded from state regulations, they lobby to limit regulation at the federal level too. We’ll never keep politics out of airlines – but time inside of airports and inside of metal tubes at 35,000 would sure be nice as a politics-free zone. Let’s stick to puppies and kittens while on board.
Do you think pilots ought to be able to express themselves – politically – on the job, even if just through ‘flair’?