Flying can be stressful, so a little light-hearted humor can go a long way, especially when it’s unexpected. A Quora reader recently asked what the coolest thing anyone has heard a pilot say and the internet did not disappoint!
Here are some of the best answers. Enjoy!
1. A Salty Pilot With a Sense of Humor
Joseph Hornsey shared this humorous moment: On an evening Southwest Airlines flight, the cabinet lights dimmed once we were up in the air, as usual. The pilot came on the intercom and said, “We’ve dimmed the cabin lights in an effort to enhance the appearance of our flight crew. Sit back and enjoy the flight.”
2. Second Best
I don’t know if this qualifies as “cool”, says Geoff Read, but it gave passengers aboard our BA flight from Aberdeen to London Heathrow a laugh:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for choosing to fly with British Airways tonight, as you know, BA prides itself in having the finest aircrew in the world. Unfortunately, they can’t be we with you this evening, so you’re stuck with us”
3. Competitive Pilot
From Joseph Nevs, “Quiet evening flight (only 25% full) just backing out of gate in Dallas/FW. Southwest pilot comes on and asks those sitting on right to move to the left so we would look full going by the competition. Some actually took him seriously and started to move. Flt attends. just rolled their eyes, guess they’ve flown with him before.”
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4. Just a Little Problem
John Williams shared this moment: “I was on a fully loaded plane when the pilot announced that they were experiencing some problems so there would be a delay and everyone should exit the plane in order to wait more comfortabally in the lounge.
As I exited the plane and turning to my right to go the louge. There was a large window that you could look out of and see the plane.
A large part of the underbelly of the plane was on fire.”
5. Daughter Flies Plane
Carmel Pule’ shares this proud moment his daughter experienced with a pilot. “I was flying with my wife and daughter in a small rented plane where the pilot who was very experienced, as we flew over thick clouds, the pilot said to my young daughter sitting beside him, who was about 12 years old at the time,
“ I am a little lost above this thick white carpet of clouds, so if you see a hole in the clouds somewhere around, please take over the control and dive through it, as your eyesight is better than mine! “.
I had guided my daughter about the control of an aircraft and to my surprise, she told the pilot that she could see a hole in the distance, and he gave her the controls which she took, directing the aircraft to the “hole in the clouds”, where the pilot took over.”
6. Who’s the Pilot?
“When I was a boy — probably about 10 or 11 — a small municipal airport offered plane rides around the town I grew up in,” says Lucas Curtis. “You’d show up, pay for your ticket, and then get about 10 minutes in the air to see the sights.
A friend and I decided to take advantage of the offer. We were strapped into the small plane (a Cessna or something like that) and taxied out to the runway. As we lined up on the runway, the pilot asked both of us “Either of you been in an airplane before?” We both shook our heads.
The pilot pushed the throttle forward and said, ‘Me neither.'”
7. Second Time Around
“After a very turbulent ride in a thunderstorm,” shares Ira Spector, “we finally landed. The plane hit the runway hard and bounced a few times, then settled down and eventually rolled to a stop.
The pilot came on the intercom and said, ‘Sometimes you have to let the copilot land the plane.’
We burst out laughing and the tension was eased.”
8. Merry Christmas!
Quora reader Patricia Marie says, “While taking a late Christmas Eve flight to visit my in-laws the pilot came on the intercom announcing in a very serious voice “ladies & gentlemen, please don’t be alarmed and remain calm…“ I, being a fearful flyer, immediately thought he was going to instruct us to assume the crash position and we were all going to die. Instead he says “ please look out the right-side windows at the bright red light a little past the tip of the wing. I’m not sure what it is , we could be seeing a UFO.” By this time I’m in full blown “I’m gonna die” mode. After a dramatic couple of moments hiss voice gets a little bit less serious as he says ‘wait! Wait! It’s Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer pulling Santa’s slegh! Merry Christmas everyone!’
There was an audible sigh of relief from all of us passengers, then laughter and applause. He got us!! I’ll never forget this and giggle each time I think about it almost 40 yrs later.”
9. Hang On to Your Seats!
Charles Johnson recalls this memorable moment on a flight. “Delta pilot on a Red Eye out of Ft Lauderdale(circa 1985) ‘Good evening lady’s and gentleman, tonight we are aboard one of Delta’s brand new 757’s. This aircraft has good performance and wanted to inform you we will be climbing out at a fairly steep angle tonight.’
Takeoff was as directed, pilot hit the end of the runway and once airborne, put the nose up and powered out in the steepest climb I’ve ever experienced in a commercial liner. At about 10,000 feet he then banked hard in the steepest turn ever (for me anyways). On the climb out I was in the back of the plane, maybe 20 passengers total. Elderly lady across the isle with her head pasted to her headrest. Eyes as big as saucers. Yup, Captain had fun with his new toy. Best plane ride ever still for me in a Commercial liner.”
10. More Bang for Your Buck
Matt Roberts shares, “My favorite line was on a flight where we bounced a bit on landing. (Don’t remember where though.)
The captain got on the horn afterwards and said, ‘Welcome to (airport). And here at Southwest, we believe in value for your money, where you get two landings for the price of one.'”
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11. Even Scared the Pilot
“Flying out of Chicago, shares Quora reader Carol Hempfling Pratt, “we once were the last plane allowed to take off before a thunderstorm hit. The runway faced the storm, so the pilot had to bank hard to the left immediately after takeoff to avoid the storm. It was a little frightening to me (and other passengers) to bank so hard so close to the ground, but my husband has no fear of flying and thought it was cool. The pilot got on the intercom and explained the reason for the unusual takeoff, and soon we were leveled off and well clear of the thunderhead.
Later in the flight, the pilot was taking a break and walked down the aisle greeting the passengers, which was sort of cool. He got to our row and my husband said to the pilot “that was some takeoff! I loved it!” The pilot responded ‘I’m glad YOU enjoyed it. Scared the hell out of me!” (He was joking on the intercom the entire flight so I’m pretty sure—but not positive—he was joking then!)”
12. Funny Pilot
Mike Colucci shares, “This was a few years ago. Landed in Chicago and after taxiing forever (due to gate location plus construction), the pilot comes on and says “For those of you wondering about this ride, in order to keep our fares as low as possible, we land in Wisconsin and drive the rest of the way”.
“One from a few years earlier, going from Colorado Springs to Tampa, thru Denver. The flight to Denver was normally about 20 minutes but we were delayed on the taxiway by about 1/2 hour; got to DIA and ran to be just in time to board the flight to Tampa before it left. Morning flight and I really needed to hit the restroom before we left. I’m in the restroom and the pilot comes on the PA system and says “Welcome aboard our flight to Cancun”. I was like, oh God, we’re on the wrong flight! I’m in a panic when he comes back on and says “Sorry, my 1st officer tells me we’re going to Tampa”. He was a character for the whole flight. – about halfway from to Tampa comes on with : “About now, most of you are probably wondering where we are. Well, so are we… because it seems that someone didn’t put their phone in airplane mode!”
13. Over or Under?
“Many years ago,” shares Alan Reid, “I was working as a geologist in British Columbia, Canada. I had rented a small plane and pilot to do a survey in central BC, and we were returning to Vancouver when the weather began to close in on us. The pilot decided to follow the Fraser River back to Vancouver because the clouds had closed in on the peaks above us.
We were flying down the river when he said “Over or under?”
“What?” I responded.
“Over or under the bridge?” he said.
I looked up and saw a suspension bridge ahead of us with the clouds not too far above it. I didn’t respond, so he said, “Okay, over I guess”.
We cleared the roadway by about 40’ or so and then dropped back down closer to the river. Yeah, almost clean underwear time.”
14. Close Call
Quora reader Roger Walker shares, “Flying into Anchorage Alaska airport, mid 2010s, on final approach in those few seconds before the wheels touch and there area few seconds of near weightlessness. The aircraft suddenly goes to full power, veers hard right and violently ascends. After about 10 seconds the plane levels off and has a more typical flight path… All the flight attendants are wide eyed and the flight leader is on the phone with the flight deck.
Just then the pilot comes on the PA system, “Well ladies and gentlemen, I guess you noticed we didn’t land… yep, surprised me too… turns out someone needed that runway and we graciously offered ours”. Later that night, the local news ran the story about a cargo plane taking off on the wrong runway, causing a commercial airliner to abort landing, and then turns towards the airliner instead of away, and that the two aircraft passed less than a quarter of a mile of each other. Glad I didn’t know any sooner…”
15. It’s Kimberly’s House
Robert Haynes-Peterson says, “My wife was on a large commercial flight across the country and it happened, by random, that the pilot was the husband of a cousin of hers.
As they approached LaGuardia, the pilot came on and said, ‘Uhhh… Ladies and Gentlemen, we are approaching LaGuardia airport. And if you look on the left side of the plane, you’ll see Kimberly’s house down there.’
“Made her day!”
16. Grand Canyon Tour
Sharon Anderson says, “I was flying from California (can’t remember which city anymore) back home to Minneapolis. The pilot came on to tell us there was a backup in Minnesota and had to kill some time, so asked if we wanted to see the Grand Canyon? He flew and banked so one side of the plane could see, and then repeated for the other side. It was absolutely stunning. This was definitely before 9/11 when pilots maybe had more leeway to do such things. Have not had anything like that experience since.”
17. Ruthless Granny
Quora reader Jeffrey Moore shares, “The pilot had really banged the plane onto the runway and was dreading having to stand at the door and thank the passengers as they exited. He was certain someone would have a comment, but no one did. He started to relax when everyone had gotten off except a little, old lady with a walker. But when she finally made it up the aisle, she stopped and asked, “Did we land or were we shot down?”
18. Look To Your Left
Quora reader Petey remembers this humorous story:
Pilot – “If the passengers on the right will look to their left, they will have the perfect view of the passengers on the left.”
Took all of us a few seconds then everyone laughed.
19. Well That’s Uncomfortable
“Around 2018 on a flight from Washington Dulles to Johannesburg,” shares Christopher Southers, “our pilot came over the speakers to tell us we were approaching some turbulence. ‘But don’t worry, it’s just like visiting your in laws. It’ll be uncomfortable, but it won’t last for long.’ There was applause.”
20. First Flight
Tammie Spaulding remembers this: “My mom, a 62 year old woman, was frightened to death to board a plane and fly from New York to Tucson, Arizona. She had never flown in her life but was determined to go see her newborn grandson. It was her first time flying.
As she boarded the airplane, the pilot stood in the cockpit door and began greeting some of the passengers. My mom, with her voice quivering, shared with him that it was her first flight. With a grin he quickly replied, ‘Mine too!’.”
21. Good News, Bad News
Quora reader Wray Rives says, “My sister in law was flying on a small commercial prop plane, just before landing the pilot came on and said “folks, I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is we have completely lost the hydraulics and will not be able to apply the brakes once we land. As some folks were starting to panic, he added-The good news we are landing at Dallas/Ft Worth which has some of the longest runways in the world and there is plenty of room for this baby plane to coast to a stop.”
22. Bad Passengers
“We landed at JFK,” remembers Dave Norris. “It seems every passenger jumped out of their seat and opened the overhead. The flight attendant tried several times to get people back in their seats. Finally the captain announced ”Don’t make me pull this airplane over to the side of the runway.” I had heard that threat on car trips as a kid. Evidently the other passengers had not. The pilot stopped the plane until all the bags were stored, bins locked and passengers I buckled in their seats.”
23. All-Girl Flight
Stephan Carey says, “On a flight to Germany from UK in the 90s, as we were taxiing to the take-off area, the pilot came on the tannoy and announced ‘Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain, Tracy Smith, (consternation) speaking, and on behalf of my 1st officer Mandy (audibly sharp intakes of breath) and our cabin staff Sylvia, Maureen, Jane and Sarah (visible gripping of seat arms) we would like to welcome you on our all-girl flight to Lubeck. We hope etc etc…’
There was a stop half way which was a perfect touch down, and on the 2nd half the touchdown was also feather-light, and resulted in a round of applause from the assembled multitude.
Captain Tracy personally said goodbye as we all filed out…
I don’t think I’ve flown ‘all-girl’ since, but of course would have no hesitation in doing so.”
Marc Gunter says, “I was on a small turboprop flight from Allentown to Pittsburgh, PA. About 40 minutes prior to our scheduled landing, the plane was struck by lightning which took out all of the electronic flight controls. The pilot calmly announced the “today’s light show was courtesy of Mother Nature and we’ll have you on the ground in about 15 minutes”. Being a former Naval avionics tech, I knew exactly what happened even though the pilot never actually announced it. He manually flew the plane the last 60 or so miles and landed it as smoothly as you possibly can under those conditions.
I introduced myself as I got off the plane, after waiting for everyone else to deplane. I commended him on his calm demeanor and flight skills. He told me it was easier than landing on a carrier with one engine and wings with holes in them while he was leaking hydraulic fluid. I saluted him and he returned it sharply. I left with a handshake and rented a car to drive home.”
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Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.