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Women in the Sky

By: Kelly Tansor, Copy Editor (ktanso2@uic.edu)

We can all agree that flying is not the most fun experience in a person’s life.  The ride might be bumpy, the snacks aren’t that great, the passengers in first class get champagne and you get pretzels and water, the seats aren’t that comfortable, the guy you’re sitting next to won’t shut up about his latest conspiracy, and their movies suck.  But the important thing is that you get to your destination safely.  Apparently, for one passenger, that wasn’t enough. He wasn’t fully satisfied with his flight – because his pilot was a woman.

A passenger by the name David left a handwritten note on a napkin after his WestJet flight from Calgary to Victoria, condemning WestJet for allowing a woman to fly their plane.  David claims that a woman does not belong in the cockpit of an airplane and that “A woman being a mother is the most honor, not as ‘captain.’”  He went on to say that WestJet should, “tell me a fair lady is at the helm, so I can book another flight!”  To top it off, he cites Proverbs 31, which basically instructs women how to be virtuous from a biblical standpoint.

But let’s not make this about religion; discussion about religion on the Internet doesn’t always go so well.

Who was David’s pilot, you ask?  Carey Steacy, who has worked as a pilot for 17 years and is one of the 4% of female commercial airline pilots.  She obviously was not happy about receiving this letter.  She took to Facebook – like we all do when we’re angry – and had this to say:

“To @David in 12E on my flight #463 from Calgary to Victoria today. It was my pleasure flying you safely to your destination. Thank you for the note you discreetly left me on your seat. You made sure to ask the flight attendants before we left if I had enough hours to be the Captain so safety is important to you, too. I have heard many comments from people throughout my 17 year career as a pilot. Most of them positive. Your note is, without a doubt, the funniest. It was a joke, right? RIGHT?? I thought, not. You were more than welcome to deplane when you heard I was a “fair lady.” You have that right. Funny, we all, us humans, have the same rights in this great free country of ours. Now, back to my most important role, being a mother.”

Now, I don’t travel much – mainly because I’m a broke college kid who’s terrified of flying – but whenever I’m flying on an airplane, all I care about is that I get to my destination safely.  I have never cared whether my pilot was a man or woman – I just needed to know that my pilot knew what he or she was doing.  It doesn’t seem fair at all to completely discredit a pilot’s expertise just because she happens to be a woman.  We live in a day and age where women can go after their dreams and throw themselves into any career they desire.  They can do this while also raising children if they choose to do so.  This is exactly what Carey is doing: Being a mother while also doing something she is good at, which is flying.

Women are no longer limited to what they can and cannot do.  Gone are the days when women were only good for cooking food and making babies.  We have more women in the professional world now than ever before.  Not all women have to be mothers – some can be captains, too!

So if any of you are traveling for Spring Break, be sure to thank your pilot, whether it is a man or woman.  Just be happy when you make it to the ground safely!

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1 Comment

  1. david tansor says:

    Excellent article Kelly, you are right the only thing that matters is getting there in one piece not who gets you there.

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