Think you’re the only one that’s tired after that redeye between New York and London? The pilots are too, and they actually have to fly the aircraft back in a couple of days. Good thing they get plenty of rest and drink a ton of coffee to stay alert in the cabin.
Or do they? Earlier this month, two pilots on an Air India flight bound for Mumbai fell asleep in the cockpit, completely missing the airport. They were halfway to Goa before air traffic control was able to wake them up. A source close to the incident is quoted as reporting that: “The aircraft should have begun its descent about 100 miles (160km) from Mumbai, but here it was still at cruising altitude. We checked for hijack.”
Your guess is as good as mine about how they check for a hijack.
After finally waking up the crew, the aircraft was turned around and pointed back to Mumbai, where the incident is now quietly trying to be brushed under the rug. A local bureaucrat downplayed the incident by suggesting that there was a communications error instead of napping going on in the cockpit. I suppose if you’re asleep and can’t talk, that’s a communication error, right?