September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
A survey of 1,000 travellers by the Business Travel Show, which takes place 7-8 February at Earls Court, revealed that flyers feel most reassured by pilots with Home Counties or Scottish accents. Captains with a cockney dialect, however, are a no go. 42 per cent of travellers feel most comforted when a Home Counties access floats over the airplane’s tannoy. 27 per cent felt safest with the Scots. The dulcet tones of the Irish also fared well with 12 per cent of the votes, Geordies came fourth (ten per cent) and a Midlands moniker managed fifth (nine per cent).When asked what accent would make them feel most uncomfortable, however, Captain Cockney was firmly at the top of the list with 34 per cent of travellers giving it the thumbs down. Brummies came in a close second with one quarter of the votes; followed by the Home Counties (16 per cent), the Northern Irish (again!) (13 per cent) and the Scots (12 per cent).The results rang true when travellers were asked to nominate the celebrity whose voice would make them feel happy were they at the helm: Nigel Havers and Sean Connery topped the list. Joanna Lumley and Joan Bakewell flew the flag for flyer feminism and George Clooney - possibly thanks to his role as the global jetsetter Ryan Bingham in Up in the Air - was the only non-Brit to warrant a mention. Airline expert and journalist Dave Richardson said: “There’s no doubt people want to feel safe when flying, and a clipped English accent is more likely to be reassuring than a regional one. I remember taking an internal flight in Russia at a time when some Russian airlines had a poor safety record, but as soon as I heard an RAF-type Englishman addressing us from the cockpit, I felt fine.“However, the growth of flying from regional airports means there is a place for regional accents, too. Passengers can then feel ‘at home’ when flying, especially if they are returning from somewhere more exotic.”A Flybe spokesperson commented: “As Europe’s largest regional airline and the UK’s Number One Domestic carrier, Flybe prides itself on having crew that represent an extensive selection of some of the ‘coolest’ regional accents in Britain! Indeed, Flybe’s Chairman and CEO, Jim French, sets the standard with one of the favourites, with a speaking style that is enhanced by a much-admired gently lilting Scottish accent. However, all our crew are trained to the highest professional standards and feedback from Flybe passengers is that this is the most important factor in feeling comfortable and safe – and it matters not what accent comes over the PA!” David Chapple, event director of the Business Travel Show, finished: “We all love a cockney accent on Eastenders and thousands of Londoners trust cockney cabbies with their lives every day, so isn’t it crazy how some people would feel unsafe if a pilot had a cockney accent? Clearly in the cold light of day, our pilots’ accents make no difference at all, or regional airlines like Flybe wouldn’t exist and we wouldn’t have such a wide range of regional, national and international airlines exhibiting at the Business Travel Show.”PERFECT CELEBRITY PILOT ACCENTS 1. Nigel Havers2. Sean Connery3. Stephen Fry4. Patrick Stewart 5. Hugh Grant 6. George Clooney7. Joanna Lumley 8. Ewan McGregor 9. Joan Bakewell10. Liam Neeson TOP FIVE ‘MOST REASURRING’ PILOT ACCENTSHome counties: 42%Scottish: 27%Republic of Ireland:12%North east: 10%Midlands: 9%TOP FIVE ‘LEAST REASURRING’ PILOT ACCENTSCockney: 34%Midlands: 25%Home Counties: 16%Northern Irish: 13%Scottish: 12%Please visit www.businesstravelshow.com to register for a free visitor pass.