Pilot ‘Sully’ Sullenberger on Pruitt’s flights: ‘First class is not safer than economy’

Pilot ‘Sully’ Sullenberger on Pruitt’s flights: ‘First class is not safer than economy’
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Famous retired airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger weighed in on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittHillicon Valley: Facebook, Google struggle to block terrorist content | Cambridge Analytica declares bankruptcy in US | Company exposed phone location data | Apple starts paying back taxes to Ireland Overnight Energy: Pruitt taps man behind 'lock her up' chant for EPA office | Watchdog to review EPA email policies | Three Republicans join climate caucus Six steps Pruitt must take on his legal defense fund to avoid another scandal MORE’s premium-class flying record, saying there’s no reason first class is safer.

Pruitt and the EPA have cited security concerns to justify him using taxpayer funds to fly in first or business class, despite government standards meant to limit official travel to coach class.

“First class is not safer than economy,” Sullenberger told The Washington Post.


Sullenberger famously landed a jet in the Hudson River in 2009 after it malfunctioned. He’s now an aviation safety consultant.

Some safety experts the Post spoke with agreed with Sullenberger.

"I cannot think of anything” that would make sitting up front safer, Harro Ranter, chief executive of the Aviation Safety Network, told the Post. “In an actual accident, best chances of survival are usually in the rear."

But Martin Rottler, an airline operations expert at the Center for Aviation Studies at Ohio State University, told the Post that sitting in first class might yield some benefits.

Being up there would “facilitate ease of entry and exit” for a government official, and “you're dealing with a smaller number of people” in the premium areas, Rottler said.