Pilot banned from flying for life after passenger cockpit photo emerges
A Chinese pilot has been banned from flying for life after a photograph of a female passenger in the cockpit of a plane went viral.
The incident is said to have taken place on January 4, on board an Air Guilin flight from Guilin City to Yangzhou City, according to state media, but was only brought to the airline's attention after screenshots of the apparent passenger's post went viral on micro-blogging site Weibo.
Watch this bizarre video of a passenger controlling his TV screen with his feet:
The image in question shows a woman posing in the cockpit with what appear to be refreshments laid out in front of her. It was captioned "Thanks to the captain. So happy.", according to the BBC.
The airline hasn't confirmed whether the image was taken mid-flight, although analysts have said that the picture does appear to have been taken during the flight.
The woman pictured is believed to be a flight attendant in training at Guilin University, per reports.
The pilot, who was not identified, has been banned from flying for life, and in a statement Air Guilin said he had "violated [regulations] by allowing irrelevant personnel into the cockpit".
Meanwhile, other staff members involved have been suspended "indefinitely" while investigations are carried out.
"Passengers' safety is always Air Guilin's priority. We take a zero-tolerance approach against any inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour that might risk the aviation safety," the airline said.
Last year, carrier EasyJet was forced to investigate an incident during which one of its pilots was filmed dancing in the cockpit during a flight.
A statement given to the Independent at the time by EasyJet read:
“Whilst at no point was the safety of the passengers compromised, this falls well short of the high standards easyJet expects of its pilots.
“It is not acceptable and is not representative of the thousands of highly professional pilots who work for the airline. We take this issue seriously and as such the pilots have been suspended (in line with our procedures) pending a disciplinary investigation.”