Air France Pilots Suspended Over Cockpit Brawl

Air France Pilots Suspended Over Cockpit Brawl

39

It’s kind of amazing how often we hear stories like this (and you have to wonder how often things happen without being reported).

Air France pilots fight, flight attendants intervene

Two Air France pilots have allegedly been suspended following an incident that occurred on a June 2022 flight from Geneva (GVA) to Paris (CDG). La Tribune obtained the report of the incident, which suggests that a dispute between two pilots became physical while inflight.

As the plane climbed to its cruising altitude, it’s reported that the pilots got into a verbal altercation that turned physical, with the pilots grabbing one another by their collars, and one pilot possibly hitting or slapping the other pilot.

Apparently the argument got so loud that the flight attendants heard it in the cabin. At that point they called the cockpit and then entered it, and the decision was made for one flight attendant to remain in the cockpit for the rest of the flight.

An Air France spokesperson has confirmed the “totally inappropriate behavior,” and that both pilots have been suspended pending the results of a full investigation.

This happens more often than you’d hope

We tend to think (hope?) that airline pilots are responsible, calm, and rational people who always have the best interests of passengers in mind. However, there are hundreds of thousands of airline pilots out there, and as is the case in any industry, there are going to be some bad apples.

Admittedly a screw-up in the cockpit has graver consequences than messing up in most other industries. If you work in retail and make a mistake, odds are that no one will die, and that you can still find a job elsewhere in the event that you’re fired. Meanwhile if you’re a pilot and make a mistake, you’ll potentially be terminated, lose the seniority you’ve worked decades for, and might even have your license taken away.

Nonetheless being a pilot can be stressful, and in some situations I can understand how there could be a disagreement. Still, to get to the point where argument is so loud that it can be heard in the cabin, and to see a physical altercation? Wow, that’s truly shocking.

Still, it’s not the first time we’ve seen a story like this. For example, just last month we saw a story of an Alaska Airlines flight that returned to the gate because two pilots couldn’t get along.

Bottom line

Two Air France pilots have been suspended following a cockpit brawl that occurred after takeoff. The pilots reportedly got into both a verbal and physical disagreement, which had to be broken up by flight attendants. One flight attendant then remained in the cockpit until landing.

What do you make of this cockpit brawl incident?

Conversations (39)
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  1. Kendall Guest

    Pilots tend to have big egos.

  2. NathanJ Gold

    I’m certain the First Officer told the Captain he saw his wife wearing last season’s Prada.

    Enough to get anyone riled up.

  3. Gerard Potter Guest

    Kor, what a load of rubbish. I studied and worked as a chartered aerospace engineer for years for two different companies, followed by a brief stint in finance, before becoming a pilot and the engineering industry is the slowest paced and most easy going industry I’ve ever worked in. Work is checked over and over so much it takes forever to get anything finished and you’re certainly not on the front line where making a...

    Kor, what a load of rubbish. I studied and worked as a chartered aerospace engineer for years for two different companies, followed by a brief stint in finance, before becoming a pilot and the engineering industry is the slowest paced and most easy going industry I’ve ever worked in. Work is checked over and over so much it takes forever to get anything finished and you’re certainly not on the front line where making a mistake that costs lives is easily done. There is no comparison. Everyone usually worked at most 8am to 5.30pm with no anti-social shifts. In flying cruise is a quieter time and on shorthaul flights like these if the sectors are about 1.5hrs you might have a 15min break to eat your dinner between top of climb checks and starting briefing for your destination. Throw in bad weather or a shorter flight and forget about any break. WTD doesn’t apply to us because aviation rules used to be stricter but not following EASA modifications which have stayed in place. We regularly work six days straight, can work seven, can have no breaks in 11-12hr working days at all if there is disruption and we’re trying to catch up the schedule all day - it leaves us completely exhausted.

    Long haul seems to share a significantly lower workload but jet lag and flights through the night are the big issue there. Although I’ve never done it so unlike you don’t want to make a judgement.

    Everyone thinks they know more about aviation than they do, even airline managers/directors which in my opinion is making it dangerous by recruiting people who should never be doing the job in the first place. We’re paid for what we’ve been trained to do not what we do on a daily basis. In the same way my recollection of engineering is studying a really advanced, mathematical and in-depth degree, which I loved, only to be such a small cog in the in the wheel of the industry, sat doing the same simple calculations or running the same computer models day and after day that quite honestly anyone could do after a few days of training. But I imagine your experience is different….

    Don’t assume to know more than you do. Workload does vary significantly between airlines but unless you’re a charter airline pilot in the winter months we’re working harder than people make out. Flight hour limits mean nothing if you’re doing multiple flights a day with busy turnarounds.

  4. uldguy Diamond

    One has to wonder just where they found the time to be so pissed off with each other. GVA-CDG isn’t a long flight. Something tells me these two have a history of being disagreeable to one another.

  5. Sad State of Our Nation Guest

    Passengers should be glad they weren't american pilots going from texas to alabama, each carrying an AR-15, after all it's their second amendment right, damn it, and they have to protect themselves against something, something...

    1. Eskimo Guest

      No No No.
      Flying with an AR-15 is not about the 2nd amendment.
      It's their Emotional Support Rifle that they have to travel with along with their ESA miniature horse, turkey, and kangaroo.

      They pet and polish their AR-15 to keep them calm and make their genitals look bigger.

  6. Atul Guest

    How did the flight attendants get into the cockpit? Wouldn’t it be locked and impossible to enter? One of the fighting pilots let them in?

    1. GLCTraveler Member

      They knocked..... And said let me in children!!

  7. Victor Guest

    Whenever I read something like this, I am reminded of the flight MH 370. Aviation too is dependent on your luck - more than one thinks.

    1. Jeffrey Guest

      Yikes. Dear God. What in the world have come to lately!??!?!?1

  8. Alex Guest

    Latest in a long line of cockpit safety incidents at Air France. Even France's own safety regulator criticized their pilot culture this week.

  9. TravelinWilly Diamond

    It could be any number of things.

    1. The co-pilot stole the pilot’s fois gras.

    2. What started out as a collegial conversation over “Who made the better argument that god is dead, Sartre or Camus?” got overheated.

    3. Who will ever really know?! They’re French!

    The smart money is on #3.

    1. Unhoeflich Diamond

      Thank goodness he didn't slap the other pilot with his gloves, or they would have to schedule a duel.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Imagine the reaction to your humors if this was El Al or flight to Tel Aviv.

    3. GLCTraveler Member

      Damn Frogs......... Snotty & Petty to the end!!

  10. FlyerDon Guest

    Hopefully the CVR recording is available and can provide some useful information. If this is as bad as it sounds, au revoir fellows.

    1. Jeffrey Guest

      Embarrassing. If this was an MHC session, it would be more amusing and fun to listen to.

  11. Cmorgan Guest

    What a stupid comment “Bob”when you don’t even know all of the details yet.

  12. Dr K Guest

    People are people-some have attitude

  13. Bob Guest

    They should have their licences suspended for life,They are a flying bomb.

    1. Jeffrey Guest

      Air France has a lot of old hags on the plane. Forget it.

    2. LCat Guest

      @Jeffrey, same advice. You guys are a couple of real winners. Please tell me you don’t have Moms, sisters, wives or daughters. If you were my kid you’d be grounded for at least a year.

  14. Tim Dunn Diamond

    There is no knowledge of the reason for the altercation.
    If it was truly safety or performance related, the pilot that thought the other was doing something wrong should have radioed their dispatcher and asked for the flight to be diverted and both pilots removed pending an investigation.
    Any other reason is cause for termination, even under French law.

    1. S Member

      GVA to CDG is a super short flight. By the time they reached cruise altitude, it wouldn't have made any sense to go anywhere else.

    2. GLCTraveler Member

      Absolutely Tim.......... This is TOTALLY unacceptable and a major safety issue. Get the details and adjudicate with stiff penalties, including termination if justified.

  15. Kor Guest

    I know this blog is about travel and aviation and I enjoy it very much.

    However, today, being a pilot, while being responsible job, is not so more difficult job than most other occupations. They are well paid, they work half hours than most of other people and even when flying their actual job, apart from taxi, take off and landing is basically nothing.

    I am civil engineer, I work 10 hours a day,...

    I know this blog is about travel and aviation and I enjoy it very much.

    However, today, being a pilot, while being responsible job, is not so more difficult job than most other occupations. They are well paid, they work half hours than most of other people and even when flying their actual job, apart from taxi, take off and landing is basically nothing.

    I am civil engineer, I work 10 hours a day, every weekday, often weekends. And that's full time 10 hours, many days no time even for lunch. I am paid quite less than a pilot. And if I make a mistake it could also cost lives of occupants of buildings I design And yet no one is praising engineers as much as pilots (and flight attendants)!!!

    1. Omar Guest

      It is unfair to under estimate the level of rigor that the job requires and to over estimate the wage.
      Try to get yourself a private pilot lisence then you will understand what it feels like to be in charge of
      an airplane.

    2. Al Guest

      Since you brought it up, I bet you are home for every birthday, anniversary, holiday and evening. Not pilots.

      “I am paid quite less than a pilot.”…I know some engineers that make more than I do.

      “And if I make a mistake it could also cost lives of occupants of buildings I design And yet no one is praising engineers as much as pilots”…I understand that your job is very important and lives depend on...

      Since you brought it up, I bet you are home for every birthday, anniversary, holiday and evening. Not pilots.

      “I am paid quite less than a pilot.”…I know some engineers that make more than I do.

      “And if I make a mistake it could also cost lives of occupants of buildings I design And yet no one is praising engineers as much as pilots”…I understand that your job is very important and lives depend on it but you and I don’t do the job for the praise.

      “is not so more difficult job than most other occupations. They are well paid, they work half hours than most of other people and even when flying their actual job, apart from taxi, take off and landing is basically nothing.”…you really have no idea about piloting do you. A pilot does “BASICALLY NOTHING” at times otherthan taxi, take off and landing. WOW. Tell that to Captain Al
      Haynes, Captain Sully Sullenberger and too many others to mention. While not heroes, because they had no choice, they did their jobs extremely well as do most pilots as it is NOT a basically nothing job at all times.

    3. Bryan Guest

      A pilots monthly flight hours may average only about 80 hours, however the average time away from base generally exceeds 240 hours per month. Keep that in mind as concerns how much pilots “work”.

    4. jetjock64 Guest

      @Kor. This sounds like a case of sour grapes. That you chose a career that's less remunerative than some others, whether by lack of talent or interest, or aversion to the work and commitment it might take to become a doctor, lawyer, or even a professional pilot, is your own doing. You need to learn to live with your choices, or pick out a new career. You also need to take a flying lesson or...

      @Kor. This sounds like a case of sour grapes. That you chose a career that's less remunerative than some others, whether by lack of talent or interest, or aversion to the work and commitment it might take to become a doctor, lawyer, or even a professional pilot, is your own doing. You need to learn to live with your choices, or pick out a new career. You also need to take a flying lesson or two to learn that some of the intricacies and subtlelties involved in error-free flying. Multiply that "introduction" by a thousand or two if you want to become a paid professional--but only if your talent, interest, and doggedeness will carry you that far.

    5. David Diamond

      You think pilots are getting paid for 99.99% of the time when everything is going right.

      In reality they're being paid for 0.01% of the time when things don't go right.

      I'm quite happy they're well paid for that.

    6. Eskimo Guest

      @David

      I disagree. With the number of human errors and advance in technologies.
      I think pilots are getting paid 99.99% of the time to not screw up.
      I don't think they deserve that 0.01% to fix their own mess.

      And if you know how under paid regional pilots get, you probably don't want to fly regional anymore.

    7. Kent Guest

      Hi Kor - this blog is related to aviation (I wouldn't say it is about aviation because it really isn't). Beyond this blog, I don't think much about pilots. They are doing a job, which is to ferry me around, just like my chauffeur or a bus driver. For that matter, neither do I think about civil engineers much, except when stuck in traffic. That's not to say that either is superior to the other....

      Hi Kor - this blog is related to aviation (I wouldn't say it is about aviation because it really isn't). Beyond this blog, I don't think much about pilots. They are doing a job, which is to ferry me around, just like my chauffeur or a bus driver. For that matter, neither do I think about civil engineers much, except when stuck in traffic. That's not to say that either is superior to the other. Most pilots wouldn't have a job if it were not for the airports and infrastructure designed to serve aircraft. The point is that this blog is mildly focused on aviation so you are not gonna see emphasis on other professions much. I can only speak for myself, which is I that give two cents about the pilot or the flight attendant serving the flight beyond the common courtesy.

      I think some of the comments on the dedication to pursue a field over another are naïve. Dedication to pursue a field for perfection is always difficult and many make sacrifices in their own way. I would certainly hope that the aerospace engineer designing the airframe is smarter (and more well paid) than the pilot flying it. Anyways, I am also an engineer, as you. Unlike you, my income is orders of magnitude greater than that of any commercial pilot. I never wanted to be a pilot (didn't even think about it) since I love building grand machines. Regardless, why compare? Life is a journey so choose your path carefully. Stop comparing since there is always a bigger fish in the sea.

    8. Eskimo Guest

      @Kor talks trash and envy pilots. I guess someone is forgetting politicians.

      They look like they are working 80 hours a week, but probably screwing interns most of the time, the rest is golf and fundraisers.
      They always make mistakes and cost hundreds or thousands of lives especially with proxy wars. Some with personal vendettas made a trip to sour relationship with a mega power affecting millions of jobs and billions in trade. (Just...

      @Kor talks trash and envy pilots. I guess someone is forgetting politicians.

      They look like they are working 80 hours a week, but probably screwing interns most of the time, the rest is golf and fundraisers.
      They always make mistakes and cost hundreds or thousands of lives especially with proxy wars. Some with personal vendettas made a trip to sour relationship with a mega power affecting millions of jobs and billions in trade. (Just to start another war?)
      They are paid well but definitely not in millions but yet many end up millionaires.
      And some get so much praise, the public made him President.

    9. Jeffrey Guest

      Wow…… you are great at math, but you cannot explain to me at what pilots actually do on the job besides take off and landing. All the plane does is takeoff and fly on autopilot. Wow…… I like to see you fly a plane and apply your basic understanding of math to this subject matter in which you are not educated in. If there is something you don’t know about, then keep your comments to yourself mister.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

TravelinWilly Diamond

It could be any number of things. 1. The co-pilot stole the pilot’s fois gras. 2. What started out as a collegial conversation over “Who made the better argument that god is dead, Sartre or Camus?” got overheated. 3. Who will ever really know?! They’re French! The smart money is on #3.

6
Unhoeflich Diamond

Thank goodness he didn't slap the other pilot with his gloves, or they would have to schedule a duel.

3
Kor Guest

I know this blog is about travel and aviation and I enjoy it very much. However, today, being a pilot, while being responsible job, is not so more difficult job than most other occupations. They are well paid, they work half hours than most of other people and even when flying their actual job, apart from taxi, take off and landing is basically nothing. I am civil engineer, I work 10 hours a day, every weekday, often weekends. And that's full time 10 hours, many days no time even for lunch. I am paid quite less than a pilot. And if I make a mistake it could also cost lives of occupants of buildings I design And yet no one is praising engineers as much as pilots (and flight attendants)!!!

3
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