Free Character Writing Prompts #82: 
Pilots, Attendants and Crew

Flight crew: Prepare for a set of 10 character writing prompts about pilots, attendants and crew. It's amazing to think that just a century and a half ago, there was no such thing as air travel. Nowadays, there are thousands of flights zigging and zagging across the globe to get people to their destinations quickly and easily. The people that make it happen are the pilots, flight attendants and flight crew that get us safely from point A to point B. If you go flying frequently, it can be easy to take these hard working people for granted, but we can make up for it by including them and their stories in our work. 

Free Character Writing Prompts #82: Pilots, Attendants and Crew

1. He became a pilot because of Tom Cruise. Well, not directly, but the movie Top Gun had certainly made an impact on him. He figured that he'd be some amazing fighter pilot going all over the world ending the lives of bad guys. Through a series of life events, such as starting a family and having to tend to his aging parents, he ended up becoming a commercial airline pilot instead. He never did achieve the glory of a "Maverick" character, but he was happy with how his life had progressed. He enjoyed interacting with the thousands of passengers he transported each week and his family was proud of him. He didn't need the glory anymore. How close did he become to being a fighter pilot and what caused his change in direction?

2. He'd lived a full life but there was one thing he wanted to do that he never got around to. That's why he decided to take up flying lessons at a local airport. He did this without telling his children because he knew they would worry about him. He just told them he was going to the YMCA to do some water aerobics classes, since they'd never have the time to accompany him. Ever since his wife passed away, he knew that she would have wanted him to cross everything off his "bucket list." Flying a plane was near the top of the list. The funny thing was, he was actually quite a natural at flying and his instructor said he was one of the best beginners he'd ever taught. He felt a pang of regret, wondering if flying was actually what he was supposed to do. What reactions will he receive when he tells his kids the truth of his afternoon excursions?

3. You had been on many flights before, but this was the first time you'd seen a female pilot. She was calm and appreciative of her opportunity. After all, she knew that people were looking at her, simply expecting a male pilot and co-pilot at this point. People who hadn't noticed her before takeoff practically jumped when they heard a woman saying, "This is your pilot speaking." When the flight landed, you spoke to her for a few minutes asking about her experiences. She said that she'd met a lot of resistance from both her peers and her parents, but she always knew she wanted to fly planes. She recalled telling herself upon her first plane ride that she would pilot planes when she grew up and she never looked back. What is some of the resistance that she faced during her attempts to be a pilot?

4. She was amazed every day with the amount of crap people brought with them from city to city. She understood that some vacations required a hefty amount of clothes, but she could tell from the magic of matching luggage exactly how many clothes some believed they needed. She was on the runway six days a week loading possessions into and out of planes all day long. She had struggled to find a job after college and found this to be a bit mindless and labor intensive but well paying enough to live on. She felt like she was helping people with their peace of mind, making sure that bags made it safely and securely to their final destination. What are some of the most interesting items she's seen been transported on an airplane and what was her reaction to them?

5. He came to be a flight attendant because of his love of traveling. He found it difficult to engage in the fun parts of travel, since most days he was completely confined to the small cabin space in his assigned airplane. He loved his co-workers and he more or less enjoyed the clientele, he just wished he could be in more wide open spaces during the day. From time to time, he'd stay in a destination city to explore the area, but he was usually too tired from his job to go as wild and crazy as he'd like. In addition, while he was allowed to end up in a different city on some weekends, he had to deal with all of the room and board expenses. He wondered if he'd gotten into the wrong line of work and now dreamed of being a traveling food critic. What are some of his best experiences in the cities he has traveled to?

6. He felt like he had one of the most rewarding jobs in the air travel industry. When a plane had a technical issue, it was up to him to quickly identify it and fix it, making sure it was safe, sound and ready to transport people from place to place. If he didn't do his job properly, people could be in danger. Pilots and flight attendants knew that he was one of the best in the business and they trusted him implicitly. He relished the pressure that was put on him every single day and there was nothing he loved more than getting his hands dirty on a faulty airplane. He had a perfect record of repair, as there had never been a problem with his planes after he dealt with them initially. He planned to keep that record perfect the rest of his life. What kind of skills has he had to develop to deal with such high-pressure situations?

7. She had been in the business a long time and she'd seen it all. From her beverage dispensing walks down the aisle to her seat belt demonstrations, her job had changed a great deal over the last 30 years. She remembered back to when she was a pretty young thing, getting ogled by businessmen in first class. Those days were long gone and a lot of flight attendants who started with her had long moved onto other professions or motherhood. She'd practically run away from home to become a flight attendant, defying the wishes of her parents to get something more secure and husband-attracting. They said that all she wanted was a trip to the "mile high club," which she was proudly still not a member of. She was good at her job and was happy to have done it well for many years. What are some of the wildest things she's seen in her line of work?

8. Her position was so secretive on that and other flights, that even the flight attendants didn't know she was there. Her job, as an undercover air marshal, was to travel on flights to major cities like New York and Los Angeles and make sure that there were no terrorist or criminal activities. She went through a special security screening and did her best to look like an average businesswoman. She'd never had to pull her gun or stop any strange activity and frankly she was glad. She never really liked air travel in the first place and it tended to make her queasy. She wondered how well she'd be able to handle a terrorist with a bomb when she was reaching for her sick bag. How was she initially assigned to be an air marshal and what kind of situations is she trained to diffuse?

9. He didn't see how someone could fall asleep while doing his job. He was an air traffic controller and from the beginning to the end of his shift he was completely wired. He saw things more three-dimensionally than most and his spatial reasoning ability was off the charts. He didn't need anything like caffeine or sugar to keep him focused, because his job made him incredibly excited. He felt a duty and a responsibility to be the best he could at his position and he took that pride home to his family every single day. He'd always had the skill to corral multiple variables at once, which showed during his high school ability to plan parties and his college ability to date multiple people at the same time. What are some of the other qualities he must exhibit to be the best he can at maintaining airport safety?

10. She was dry, she was witty and she knew exactly how to make the safety speech stick in your head at the beginning of a flight. This flight attendant had done "the spiel" so many times that she began adding her own little quirks. She mocked the fact that they had floatation devices for a flight over land. She made fun of the people sitting in the emergency exits. She even insulted herself and her own crew to get a chuckle out of her passengers. She spent the entire flight cracking jokes with the pilots, her peers and her customers, who were frequently in need of a laugh. She remembered back to when she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, doing her best to stick to every aspect of protocol imaginable. She had gotten jaded from saying the same things over and over again and adopting this sand-dry attitude was her best way of coping. Has she ever gotten in trouble for her wittiness? 

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    Written by Bryan Cohen

    Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.
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