Travel

Note left for female pilot: Cockpit 'no place for a woman'

March 5, 2014 at 6:16 PM ET

WestJet pilot Carey Steacy posted this note left by a passenger on a recent flight on Facebook.
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WestJet pilot Carey Steacy posted this note left by a passenger to her Facebook page.

It turns out that some still aren't ready for women to fly planes, as a sexist note left by a passenger for the female pilot of his flight revealed. 

“The cockpit of an airliner is no place for a woman,” began the note scrawled on a napkin and left behind by a passenger on a recent WestJet flight from Calgary to Victoria, B.C.

“Were (sic) short mothers, not pilots” continued the note, signed by "David," and also referenced a biblical verse. The passenger wrote he wished the airline would tell him when “a fair lady is at the helm” so he can be sure to “book another flight.”

The plane’s pilot, Carey Steacy, shared the note on her Facebook page with a response that said, in part, "I have heard many comments from people throughout my 17 year career as a pilot. Most of them positive... You were more than welcome to deplane when you heard I was a 'fair lady.'"

Steacy’s Facebook post has since been removed. She could not immediately be reached for comment, and a WestJet spokesperson said she was on a flight.

“My first reaction was shock," Steacy told CTV Vancouver. “I have to think that that’s very much not a common feeling among the general public.”

Canadian carrier WestJet has 1,111 male pilots and 58 female pilots. Its subsidiary regional airline, WestJet Encore, has 87 male and 10 female pilots.

“We are enormously proud of the professionalism, skills and expertise of our pilots, and we find this note very disappointing,” the airline said in a statement.

Women in the aviation industry have rallied behind Steacy and commended her for responding to the sexist note with dignity and class.

“Some might say the crude note did not deserve a response, but it is important to do so,” said Barbara Williams, interim executive director at the International Women’s Air and Space Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. She added that it serves “to remind us all that women continue to achieve and play an important part in the aviation world's history.” 

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