Earlier this week I defended a United Airlines pilot who took a nap during an overnight flight from New York to Scotland. As it turn out, the whole story may be a hoax.
According to an eyewitness onboard, the captain changed out of his uniform, neatly hung it on a hangar, then placed it on the open seat next to him. That seemed odd at the time, as we know that flights rarely go out with open seats in business class and only one seat is reserved for pilot rest. This 757-200 had only 16 seats in business class after all. Nevertheless, a photograph was provided.
Many people noticed (and sadly I did not), however, something peculiar about the photo. The captain’s epaulet featured five stripes. A United captain has four stripes while a first officer has three stripes. No pilot from United Airlines has five stripes.
Everyone is talking about the “sleeping United pilot,” which has been debunked, but why is no one talking about this pilot having FIVE stripes on his uniform?? pic.twitter.com/t8GvAZFem4
— Phil Derner, Jr. (@PhilDernerJr) September 12, 2018
That leaves one of two options. First, the captain takes a very high view of himself and purchased the epaulets on Amazon in clear violation of United’s uniform policy. Second, the picture is fake or photoshopped. I’m betting on the second option.
I’m filing this story in the fake news drawer. If the concerned passenger wants to present an unedited photo from the flight, then maybe the sleeping pilot will be in trouble…but not for sleeping.
> Read More: The Ridiculous “Story” Of The Sleeping United Pilot