Detachment From Work in Airport Hotels: Issues for Pilot Recovery

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Abstract

The work of airline pilots is demanding and must be followed by rest periods (slips) so that pilots recover sufficiently well to keep flying safely. When slips occur away from home base, pilots are usually accommodated in a hotel. This paper reviews the phenomenon of psychological detachment from work (i.e., not thinking about work) and its implications for pilot accommodation and recovery. The review suggests that pilots accommodated in hotels located in or close to airports may be less able to psychologically detach from work during slips, with implications for recovery, fatigue, and ultimately safety. The paper presents a rationale for considering psychological detachment from work when evaluating the quality of hotels chosen for pilots.

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