Coming by this sad piece of news was especially disappointing given the fact that it’s worldwide women of aviation week. Last Sunday, March 2, on a Calgary-based airline Westjet flight from Calgary, Alberta to Victoria, BC, a male passenger only identifying himself as David, left a sexist note on a napkin for the female Captain.
The note was left on the seat for Boeing 737 Captain Carey Steacy, a seasoned pilot, who has been flying for 17 years. She was outraged at the note and posted the note on her facebook page, and has sparked a lot of support with hundreds of reposts and comments. In the note, he states that a cockpit of an airplane is “no place for a woman” and that we are “short mothers, not pilots.”
Flight attendants aboard the flight also indicated that the same passenger questioned them before takeoff if she had enough flight hours to fly the plane. It’s hard to believe there are people in this country that think like that, and especially sad for us that this happened so close to home, and to an airline we know so well.
Carey handled the incident with class and wit, and her employer, Westjet airlines condemned the remarks and called the note “disappointing.”
Because so few pilots are women, people just aren’t used to hearing a female on the PA system on their flight. That can spark resentment. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to be done, and the word needs to spread that aviation is a viable career for women and men equally. Less than 5% of airline pilots are women, after all. At Westjet, there are 58 female pilots and 1111 male pilots, which is right in that range.
The captains response
Here is Carey’s response to the note, as posted on her facebook page:
“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.”
You go, Carey. You are awesome.