Why do pilots tell the passengers about the wind?

April 23, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Travel, Weird 395 views

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Another prohibition sign from AirplaneHave you ever noticed how, on a commercial airline flight, the pilot always – without fail – informs the passengers of the speed and direction of the wind at the destination? I can understand telling us about the local time, temperature, and general weather (e.g. foggy, sunny, raining) at the destination. That’s useful information about how much clothing to don before exiting the aircraft.

I also comprehend that it is absolutely paramount that the pilot know the direction and speed of the wind at the destination airport, since that determines what runway will be used, and what techniques to use for landing. Sometimes the pilot doesn’t even convert the speed to miles per hour, but reports it in knots. Great, thanks.

What passenger really cares whether the wind is coming out of the north or south? Maybe once in a hundred thousand flights one of the first class snobs is planning on having his driver take him from the airport directly to the marina where he will be taking his ketch for a sail that afternoon, and, with this handy wind data he can start planning his tacking course. But most of the time, all the first class folks want to do when landing in Madrid is find car hire in Spain at the Hertz desk, or via carhirespain.net for cheap car hire in Spain.

My hypothesis is that the pilots receive a transmission with all the weather data, and rather than consider its utility to their audience, they just read the whole thing out to us verbatim. The practice amuses me every time I fly.

And now you will be unable to ignore it, too.

  • Lee

    Because they have nothing else to say, and the food sucks too much to talk about. 

  • JoshAGrady

    Better that then the usual rubbish that spews from the mouths of Iberia pilots.  Yeah, tell me again about how oppressed you guys are.

    I’ve yet to find a better cabin show than on SWA.  A number of their pilots are genuinely funny, and most seem to enjoy the opportunity to communicate with their passengers.

  • Isn’t it because it may affect arrival time? You’re more likely to touchdown earlier if you have a following wind.

    • They also tell you the predicted arrival time. They’re talking about the wind at the destination, not along the flightpath.