A question came up recently on Skeptics.se regarding the implementation of "Do Not Pair" lists in Airline operations. I am skeptical of the answer given (irony?) which ascribes the implementation of the Do Not Pair list to the accident on board Northwest Airlink Flight 5719 - an incident which was in part caused by bad CRM.

However, the NTSB report does not suggest any sort of changes to the pairing of Captain/FO's which is what makes me skeptical that anything such as this actually exists within the industry.

Is there any documented evidence that Captains or FO's can in any way affect who they get paired up with? A single example would suffice.

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    $\begingroup$ This story includes lots of references to such a system. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Jul 24, 2017 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ @fooot I'm fairly sure that was the original source of the question on skeptics. I just don't trust layman hack journalists to know what theyre talking about $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Jul 24, 2017 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ The LA Times article referenced by Skeptics was written by a flight attendant, and the article I linked also references a book written by a pilot. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Jul 24, 2017 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Jamiec yes, it was (or to be pedantic, the exact same article published in Traveller.com.au) $\endgroup$
    – Golden Cuy
    Jul 25, 2017 at 10:44
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    $\begingroup$ I have certainly heard many airline pilots refer to such a list as a reality at their company, but I cannot offer any hard sources. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Jul 26, 2017 at 4:15

1 Answer 1


I worked in the industry for 16 years with multiple airlines.

In two of these we had 'do not pair'. Most airlines use computer systems to do their crew planning. In the systems I have used, you can enter against each crew member, others they should not fly with.

The decision as to the use of this laid with Fleet management or Cabin Crew management and was only used in extremist.

In both airlines however, this was not a documented procedure. Hope this helps.


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