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Home > Night Flights > A rude pilot who claims he doesn't speak English!
A rude pilot who claims he doesn't speak English!
Flying - General
Thursday, 26 February 2015 17:29
Tips to get ICAO Level 4, 5 and 6 English

Hi Captain Lim,

I would like to ask you about pilot manners.

I met a pilot just now in an airport hotel, he's a captain. When I asked him if I could take a photo with him, he answered, “I don’t speak English!” and he just walked away.

Is that how a pilot would react to people?

Ke Li

Hi Ke Li,

In every profession there are usually some black sheep. You may have encountered that one at the airport hotel!

On the whole, pilots are generally courteous, well-mannered and trained to possess a good attitude or else he would not be promoted to be a captain.

It is not true when he said he doesn’t speak English! All International airlines pilots must be able to speak English or else he would not be issued with a flying license irrespective of which country he comes from.

For example, a pilot is graded by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) on his proficiency of the English Language on a scale of 1 to 6. Those who score Level 4 must be re-tested every three years. Those who fail may not be licensed to operate on international routes.

As regard to his rudeness, there may be many reasons such as,

• Misunderstanding your request or tone of the voice being used
• He was moody because of something else going through in his life
• He did not know what he said was offensive
• He wants you to feel bad because he feels bad himself 
• He may appear stronger if he is rude and want to intimidate and scare you
. Etc, etc...

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that one day you will meet a great captain who would be too happy to have a picture taken with you!

George Carlin - On airlines and flying


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Pilots are polite all the time
Well, all the pilots I've been talking to so far were very polite and willing to engage in a conversation, especially regarding flying . I became a fearless flyer due to the exceeding kindness of a Lufthansa Captain who received me in the flight deck and took the time to explain everything to me. I have two Captains as my personal friends who are exceedingly kind and polite all the time, and one of them is my friend Lim Khoy Hing, the master of this website!
Carlos Roberto Abreu Moreira , 23 Mar, 2015
Perhaps we might consider that in some cultures, walking up to a stranger and asking to be photographed with them is itself considered rude ...
Craig , 07 Nov, 2015

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