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A passenger on board a Delta flight says that he was left uncomfortable after landing and discovering that the plane's pilot had sent him a message on Grindr. Twenty-seven-year-old JP Thorn said that upon landing and switching on his phone in Chicago from Saint Paul, Minnesota that someone on his flight sent him a message.
“I see you’re on my flight,” the message said. "Enjoy the ride to Chicago.”
“My reaction was I knew I needed to get off this plane as fast as I can,” Thorn said “I’ve had some weird experiences with proximity stuff on Grindr.”
The app said that the message was sent about 30 minutes into the flight and from 90 feet away, which caused some concern for the communications major.
Along with being so close in proximity, the message, and the profile picture of a sky from the cockpit, the man deduced that it must be the pilot. “My deductive reasoning led me to believe that he was the pilot,” Thorn said. “I messaged him back and he told me that he was one of the pilots.”
The two then carried on a conversation about the flight. “He asked me about our flight, how it was on the way, and [the conversation] was really standard,” Thorn said. “I said there was no turbulence, then he made a joke about turbulence.”
JP then goes on to say that he deleted the app so has since lost contact with the pilot, but would have met him for coffee or something because he was nice. “I meet up with people all the time from Grindr,” Thorn said. “I think I totally would have met him for coffee.”
“I got a lot of people saying I should’ve met up with pilots because they make a lot of money,” he added. “That was pretty funny.”
So why did this become a story? While it seems unprofessional for staff anywhere in the hospitality industry to engage on apps like Grindr, the pilot most likely didn't put anyone at risk if the pilot wasn't in the cockpit (he could have been actually a passenger).
In 2014, the FAA issued a Final Rule that restricts Part 121 (airline) pilots from operating any electronic devices for personal during flight operations.