Today I came across an incident that left me with half a smile and half worried about the state of cockpit crews these days. On a Aerolinas Argentinas flight from Buenos Aires to Rosario, the cockpit crew thought is was a good idea to allow some busty social media starlet with the name of Vicky Xipolitakis (never heard of that women before and not sure if I ever want to again) into the cockpit and take some selfies together.
After Xipolitakis then tweeted it to her ~400k Twitter followers the airline became aware of it. Aerolinas management took drastic steps and fired both pilots over the incident as reported here by the New York Daily News. According to the report she also had her hands on the controls although while on the ground.
In an associated video the pilots can be heard joking that ‘she owns a bit of the plane and as a taxpayer is entitled to fly the Aerolineas Argentinas craft’.
The company has been run by the Argentine state since 2008.
Bosses at Aerolineas Argentinas, however, have wiped the smiles from the pilots’ faces.
Mariano Recalde, Aerolinas President said the pair “put lives at risk.”
“As soon as we became aware of the situation, we dismissed the pilots. They are two irresponsible people,” said Recalde.
Yahoo reported that Xipolitakis will be banned from flying Aerolinas Argentinas for a period of five years as penalty for her part in the incident.
It’s not the first time (and for sure not the last) that the cockpit crew ‘let’s loose’ up front. Earlier this month Japan Airlines suspended one of their pilots over another selfie incident with a flight attendant while the co-pilot left for the bathroom.
After the tragedy of the Germanwings Crash, everything related to cockpit access is deemed highly sensitive and to a certain extent that is for sure justified. I can’t fault the airline for taking a hard line with their pilots for the unprofessional behavior and commentary especially on video.
Those of us who were allowed to visited a cockpit as children back in the days will likely remember it as a special event. It’s somewhat sad that such things are close to impossible these days, at least during the flight. Incidents like these certainly don’t make the situation any better.