11
$\begingroup$

If I am just deplaning a commercial flight and I see the captain (4 bars on the epaulet) and want to thank him/her for a safe and enjoyable flight, I would say "Excuse me, Captain, thanks for the nice flight".

However, if I were to encounter the first officer (3 bars), how should I address him or her? "Excuse me, First Officer...?"

Presumably not "Hey co-pilot!" :)

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Yo, gopher!" – but only if you want salt in your coffee instead of sugar :) $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Aug 12 '14 at 18:23
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Ha, ha, why would you even bother to speak to a first officer? Nobody ever bothered to speak to me when I was a first officer. Just kidding, and I'm sure times have changed for the better in that respect. Personally, I would avoid the rather awkward "First Officer" and just say "Sir" or not use a direct address title. $\endgroup$ – Terry Aug 12 '14 at 18:24
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ The only time you should address the copilot is when the landing was particularly bad. In this case you just stick your head in the cockpit and speak toward the FO telling him to work on his landings. The purpose of this is to maintain the captains ego in case it was his landing. $\endgroup$ – casey Aug 12 '14 at 20:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I considered including the rest of my example comment for the FO (…how long do you think the plane will be in maintenance after that landing?) but I am flying this week... $\endgroup$ – thetoolman Aug 13 '14 at 3:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I only compliment the auto pilot on a nice flight. It's the one that deserves the credit! $\endgroup$ – Keegan Aug 14 '14 at 18:19
17
$\begingroup$

Call the FO 'Captain' anyway.

  1. Both crewmembers are equally rated in the aircraft.
  2. The FO might have more time in the aircraft than the captain or even have been a captain at a previous airline, but is sitting in the right seat because of low seniority at this carrier.
  3. Nobody minds being referred to by a higher title.
  4. You're a passenger, no one expects you to be able to read the bars on their uniform anyway.
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is it now required that both the Captain and the First Officer be type rated in the aircraft? I retired 15 years ago, and back then in the U.S. only the Captain had to be type rated and have a First Class medical. Typically the First Officer was not type rated unless they had flown the aircraft at a previous airline, and F.O.s could fly with only a Second Class medical. $\endgroup$ – Terry Aug 13 '14 at 2:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Terry it hasn't effectively changed. FO now at a minimum now have an SIC type which is exactly what FO training used to be except someone signs an 8710 at the end. No checkride from an APD, just the normal company check before being sent to IOE line training. $\endgroup$ – casey Aug 13 '14 at 4:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I believe it would be disrespectful to the captain to refer to his subordinate as the same rank. (Reason for down vote) $\endgroup$ – Keegan Aug 14 '14 at 18:13
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ @KeeganMcCarthy it isn't disrespectful. Follow an aircrew around the airport sometime. Everyone who works in the airport (shoe shiners, electric cart drivers, TSA agents, food vendors, shopping vendors, skycaps, taxi drivers, etc) will call the FO "captain". We get used to it and no one is going to feel disrespected. We don't expect the public to have a clue when it comes to what the stripes mean. $\endgroup$ – casey Aug 14 '14 at 18:32
4
$\begingroup$

I address them both as sir/ ma'am. That way it is just as respectable and won't make things awkward.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

I think the appropriate term would simply be "crew". Since you may or may not have known who was the Pilot Flying (PF) on that good or terrible landing you can just say good job crew!

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ True, if I was hoping to address a specific part of the flight experience, like landing, which is attributable to the PF regardless of seat position. I don't know if "crew" would be appropriately respectful to the position of First Officer as a greeting, primarily since "crew" refers to more than one person. $\endgroup$ – thetoolman Mar 11 '15 at 13:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.