Airline pilot shares why they fly ‘human remains’ – ‘passengers would be shocked’

Flight attendant recalls leaving ‘passenger on the plane’

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Commercial pilot Andreas Stober has been flying the skies for over 10 years, encountering some of the most bizarre and surreal situations.

The captain started by revealing that pilots do “take naps in the cockpit”, even during short flights.

He explained: “Flying is a 24/7 business so we fly at every possible time of the day and night which means we spend much of our time fighting our natural body clocks.

“There are strict laws which regulate our maximum duty and rest times which are designed to avoid the threat of fatigued pilots at the controls.

“The reality is that our bodies don’t always agree with these laws and the truth is that every pilot has experienced fatigue.

“To avoid this, many airlines allow one pilot at a time to take inflight naps during the cruise when our workload is low.

“I have done it on many occasions, especially on night flights which can make a big difference to our ability to concentrate,” he admitted.

Andreas explained that pilots do take naps on short flights, as long as they are not shorter than one hour, as “the rule for naps is that they can only be taken during ‘non-critical’ phases of flight which essentially means during the cruise”.

“On short flights, we are often far too busy preparing for the landing just minutes after takeoff to make this possible and the cruise phase might only be a few minutes,” he said.

Andreas continued: “I’ve had snoring pilots next to me but never had the heart to wake them up because of it.

“Sleeping in a near upright position is a skill in itself.

“The seasoned veterans will have worked out their own little tricks like using their pilot caps as a sleep mask.

“I’m sure there’s someone out there who’s discovered another use for face masks.”

The airline pilot said travellers may not be aware they “sometimes we fly human remains in the cargo hold”.

He said: “The baggage compartments of commercial airlines are filled with all kinds of cargo besides luggage.

“Everything from online shopping orders, fresh fish, weapons, human organs, Covid vaccines or sometimes even cars are all flown in the holds.

“And yes occasionally that includes human remains being sent home to their families for burial.

“It might seem weird at first but it’s important to be respectful of the circumstances.

“I’m sure many passengers would be shocked to find out the things that are carried in the holds of commercial airlines.

“But that’s how the world functions.

“Our everyday lives are more dependent on air cargo than many people might think,” he said.

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