United Airlines Captain Removes Uniform, Takes Nap During Flight

When you’re flying somewhere, the last person you’d expect to stumble across on the plane is the captain of the aircraft, taking a nap in first class after removing his uniform.
United Airlines captain takes a nap during 7-hour flight in first class 5 photos
Photo: UGC /
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Aviation safety procedures recommend that cockpit crew take “a flat rest” on any flight that is longer than 11 hours. The crew is usually larger on these flights than on shorter ones, allowing time for members to rest – either sitting in first class or napping in the cockpit.

However, this was a 7-hour flight from Newark, New Jersey to Glasgow. And the captain took a nap in first class, where passengers got to see them and understandably freak out. We should note, though, that the United Airlines aircraft was being operated by a 3-man cockpit crew, so it wasn’t like the captain put it on autopilot and went to catch some z’s.

Still, the sight of the captain out of his uniform, dozing off, was very unsettling. A former police officer who now works as a security adviser snapped a picture of the captain and is telling the Daily Record that this put passengers in harm’s way.

“The captain went to the loo and changed into a T-shirt before going for a sleep in first class. When he woke up, he changed back into his uniform and radioed for access back to the cockpit. Police officers get a hard time when they are photographed sleeping in a patrol car,” the man says.

“I don’t think the captain of a flight packed with hundreds of people should be in such a vulnerable position. He slept for an hour and a half, then the first officer went for a sleep. The flight was about seven hours. Surely if pilots are in need of a rest mid-flight, they should do it away from the passengers,” he adds.

Aviation experts agree with him that this was a most unusual sight. First of all, the flight wasn’t longer than 11 hours and secondly, the man should have been resting inside the cockpit.

Still, United stands by its captain: in a statement to the same media outlet, the company says that the man was on his rest period and that it posed no risk to the passengers since 2 other pilots were in the cockpit when this happened.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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