British Airways Encourages You To Visit The Flight Deck

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A far a today’s traveling children go I’m firmly of the opinion that most of them have no idea how lucky they are so it’s unusual for me to feel sorry for them in any way whatsoever. But there is one experience in which I think that they’re missing out and it’s one that I look back upon with a great deal of fondness.

When I was a child (a long time ago) I did most of my flying out of a airport where the terminal was a hut up until the early 80’s and then progressed to a barren concrete cube after that. The aircraft that I flew in were mainly decrepit DC-9s or 727s and it wasn’t unusual to get to the airport not knowing whether your flight would actually take off that day (one flight a day was about the most the airport handled).

McDonnell_Douglas_DC-9-31,_Republic_Airlines_JP6652132A MD-DC-9…not an aircraft I recall with too much fondness -wiki commons media

Safety wasn’t exactly high on the priority list for the one airline that served this airport – security was minimal and I can clearly remember one flight taking almost double the time it should have done because, as we found out later, the captain didn’t want to fly over a mountain range (he flew around it) because he wasn’t too happy with the seal on one of the forward aircraft doors.

But, despite the challenges that travelers faced in those days, there were benefits too – like no post 9/11 paranoia, being allowed to keep your dignity as you go through airport security and frequent flight deck visits before, during and after a flight.

That’s what most kids (or big kids!) don’t get to experience nowadays….but British Airways is doing something about this.

I’ll let the airline explain:

British Airways pilots have developed a new photo app for customers to take away a souvenir cockpit picture from their flight – with Denise Van Outen the first to be ‘sn-apped’.

All British Airways’ 4,000 pilots will have the ‘View From The Flight Deck’ app loaded onto their iPads from the start of August to take photos of customers visiting the cockpit before take-off or after landing.


The app automatically sends this special photo, which includes a graphic showing facts from their flight, to customers so they have an instant, unique memento of their trip.

The information on the photo includes the Captain’s name, route travelled and distance flown, as well as the aircraft type and registration. There is also an image of the aircraft to help budding young future pilots to recognise individual plane types the next time they fly.

And the best news is that there aren’t any age restrictions….so you don’t have to drag your kids along as cover when you’re really the one who wants to have a look!

The airline’s pilots encourage customers of all ages to come forward to visit the flight deck whenever the opportunity permits before departure or after the plane has landed.

I love this idea!

I was invited into the cockpit of an American Airlines 777-300ER recently (after landing at LAX) and I was way more excited than a grown man should ever have been….so just think how the kids will feel about this.

american-airlines-777-300-flight-deckThe center console of an American Airlines 7777-300ER aircraft

Bottom Line

British Airways deserve a big round of applause for introducing this….I just wish I’d known about it on my A380 flight a few weeks back as I’d love to see the flight deck of one of those.

There’s so much about modern air travel that’s just a big boring chore and, while kids definitely have it better now than we did a few decades ago, the fact that flight deck visits seem to be so rare now is a big shame.

Well done BA and thank’s for not putting an age limit on this – I’ll be visiting the flight deck on my next flight 🙂