LAS VEGAS, NV – Ultra-low-cost air carrier Allegiant Airlines has proposed a new cost-cutting measure that could save the company millions of dollars annually. By crowdsourcing the co-pilot responsibilities on each flight, they plan to eliminate a huge swath of expensive pilot salaries.
Facing budget shortfalls after a disastrous two years of weak travel during the pandemic era, combined with pilot shortages, Allegiant Airlines is getting creative.
A new program was leaked to the public that describes a cost-cutting measure that eliminates all co-pilots from the cockpit and replaces them with passengers traveling on the flight itself.
If implemented, the airline intends to use a crowdsourcing model to find a suitable co-pilot to fly up front. Using the PA system, Captains will address passengers in the gate area by asking who is qualified or who might want to help fly the plane. The method for selection is relatively straightforward and uses 10 criteria to identify the best candidate:
- Actual current pilots certified to fly the type of plane used in the flight, but are on vacation
- Former pilots
- RC pilots
- People who’ve played Microsoft Flight Simulator
- That one guy who always wanted to be a pilot, but just had bad eyesight
- People who’ve seen Top Gun at least 9 times or more*
- The guy who always comments “any landing you walk away from is a good landing”
- Travel bloggers who routinely criticize other airlines
- Flight attendants who might be deadheading
- Literally anyone over the age of 16
*May be asked to prove watch history
Company spokesperson Jim Trending offered this official statement: “We can’t comment on the program’s veracity, but as always Allegiant Air is committed to providing the lowest cost air travel option for our valued cattle.” Trending later amended his statement to say he meant “passengers” not cattle.
The program was met with surprising popularity by some fans of the airline. One airline veteran offered this comment, “Listen, with computers these days, the role of co-pilot is pretty limited. And honestly, if Allegiant is smart about this, they could use it as an upcharge for passengers who are selected for the one-time job. Maybe even a perk for frequent fliers.”