Home counties accents found most reassuring in a pilot

When it comes to flying, the pilot can impact our comfort levels, and new research has shown that we prefer a Home Counties resident rather than a Cockney Londoner.

A survey of business travellers has revealed that actor Nigel Havers has been topped as the most reassuring voice during a flight.

Regional accents such as Scottish and Irish have been considered particularly comforting with actors: Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson making it into the top 10 celebrity voices we’d most like to hear over the speakers.

Whereas Cockney London accents have been deemed least trustworthy, with the Midlands accent coming in as the second least trustworthy.

The poll – for the Business Travel Show in London – revealed that the Scottish James Bond’s voice was voted second favourite for a pilot’s voice, followed closely by Stephen Fry, Patrick Stewart and Hugh Grant.

While most of the trusted accents came from the UK and Ireland, George Clooney’s voice also made a surprise appearance in the top 10 list.

Dave Richardson, an airline expert and travel writer 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”.

Some airlines believe that their pilots represent a range of accents, including Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline.

A spokesman said: “Flybe prides itself on having crew that represent an extensive selection of some of the ‘coolest’ regional accents in Britain.

“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”.

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh