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‘The things some married pilots say to get you into bed’

The wife thinks her pilot husband is in a hotel room in Bangkok, pining away. My cabin crew experience is different – I’ve heard every excuse out there

There can be few jobs in existence that offer such a perfect environment for infidelity than being a pilot.

Think about it. You’re abroad, in a foreign country, with the hotel room paid for and a 50 per cent discount at the bar. Plus, young stewardesses are just vying for your attention. You don’t even have to make up an excuse about where you are – the wife thinks you’re safely tucked away in the hotel room in Bangkok, pining with homesickness.

After 10 years as cabin crew for an international airline and hearing other crew members’ scandalous stories on my podcast, The Bad Air Hostess, I have heard every excuse in the book from married pilots who have hastily removed their wedding rings at the hotel bar, but forgot to conceal the telltale tan line.

At 37, I’m practically Betty White in cabin crew years – I’ve heard every trick in the book.


Here’s the top five excuses I’ve heard from (some) married pilots who want to get you back to their hotel room. Ladies: don’t believe a word.

1) We’re in an open relationship

If I had a euro for every pilot who told me he was in an “open relationship” ...

All jokes aside, this must be the most well-worn line of all. It might even be true, if by “open relationship” they mean, open as soon as we take off from Heathrow, but when we fly back home, the marriage is back to being the priority again.

There are many variations on this theme, including, “she’s really ‘cool’ with it”, and “we never have sex anyway”.

Just in case there’s any confusion, if you ever hear this line from a pilot, they are not in an open relationship, and the wife has no idea – and she’s definitely not “cool with it”.

2) My wife is a lesbian

Oh yes. The old lesbian wife story. If you think I’m joking, I heard the lesbian wife excuse on a trip to Buenos Aires about a month ago. It goes something like this – sure, the poor fella only got himself stuck, married to a woman who actually fancies women and wants nothing to do with him.

This excuse is often merged with the “open relationship” line, in that she’s off doing her own thing, while he pursues his pleasures en route.

Ladies, his wife is almost certainly not a lesbian and has no idea that she has been thrust out of the proverbial closet to every female cabin crew member within range.

3) We’re separated ... but living together

They’re not. This is a total lie. Don’t believe a word.

4) She’s in a coma

This line is usually trotted out at about 2am in a South African nightclub when every other trick has failed. It has the added bonus of seeking to instigate the sympathy vote. Trust me, his wife is most definitely not in a coma, and more alert than you are right now, sitting at home with the kids, texting her husband as we speak: “Hey babe. You went quiet?!”

5) She’s dead

I know what you’re thinking. Don’t be ridiculous, do you expect me to believe that some pilots actually lie and say their wives are dead just to get some 21-year-old into bed on a night out in São Paulo?

Yes. That is exactly what I’m saying.

At this point, I should mention that this doesn’t apply to all pilots, especially the Irish ones, who are a truly lovely bunch. I get it: #NotAllPilots. But, if you’re out at bar and spot a dashing fella with striped epaulettes who feeds you any of the above lines ... don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Paula Gahan is an international flight attendant and hosts The Bad Air Hostess podcast on Apple and Spotify. Every week, she interviews cabin crew and takes listeners behind the galley curtain to find out what life is really like.

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