October 2020

Brigitte Lakah

Airline: UPS Airlines
Crew Position: Captain
Aircraft: B-747
Domicile: Anchorage, Alaska
Education: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

What airplanes have you flown during your career? 


1987-1990: CRG (FL), MSY (NO), FRG (NY) and TEB (NJ): MISC FLYING: Charters, Flight instructor, Personal Pilot, Cessnas/Pipers/Navajos
1990-1994:Allegheny: ABE (PA), ACY (NJ), AVP (PA): First officer and Captain Sd330/360, DHC-8
1994- Present: UPS
SDF (KY) B727 FE, 1994-1995

SDF (KY) B727 FO, 1995-1999
SDF (KY) B75/76 FO, 1999-2004
SDF (KY) B75/76 CPT, 2004-202
ANC (AK) B747 CPT 2020-current

Have you had any mentors throughout the years?

Brigitte: My uncle was a Captain for EgyptAir, I made friends with the FAA FSDO at TEB and visited them often to ask questions and seek advice. I listened to the old-timers who loved to hangar-talk when the weather wasn’t conducive to flying. I read AOPA and FLYING. I joined the 99’s and attended FAPA Career Days. I sent my resumé to all airlines, even before I had the qualifying time, just to get my name on their list.  

How did you get interested in aviation?

Brigitte: [I was] Born in Egypt, and raised in Belgium, moved to America when I was 15. My dad wanted to be a pilot, but his father stopped him. He took me flying when I was 5 years old and I fell in love.  I made it my mission to fulfill his dream of becoming an airline pilot.  The World is My Playground – Airways Article World Traveller, July 2013

Do you have any future aviation goals you hope to achieve?

Brigitte: Seaplane rating, island hopping 

While on a long layover in Anchorage, what are some outdoor activities that you have enjoyed with other flight crew members?

Brigitte: Riding snow machines (Alaskan for snow mobile) and going snow shoe hiking, trail biking, snow skiing. I’d like to learn how to country ski.

Do you live in base?

Brigitte: No, I live in Clearwater Beach, Florida and I rent a darling apartment in Anchorage. I consider myself a free-spirit vagabond. I’m starting to love Alaska.

Does your schedule require you to be on reserve or do you have a set schedule?

Brigitte: I hold a line, which is a set schedule. Thankfully… I don’t like to be on reserve call-out.

What does a typical day of flying look like?

Brigitte: We take off from Anchorage to arrive at SZX/ZGSZ (Shenzhen, China) with a metric chart in hand and headphones covering both ears.  Reading back metric altitudes when we are used to ‘feet’ can be very challenging, as can dealing with Asian accents.

Brigitte was inducted into the 2020 Captain’s Club, introduced by ISA+21 Member Cate Bute:

A year and a half ago, I attended the ALPA Jumpseat Conference in Washington DC. While the room was filled with intimidating men, I felt instant comfort when this lady came up to me and said “Oh! Look, a mini me!” And from then on, I knew I wanted to be just like Brigitte.  Not only has Brigitte mentored me to be who I am today and teach me how to be an airline pilot, but she’s also showed me how to be a proud female airline pilot. She is one of the most kind, outgoing, exciting and influential women I have met, and because of that, I am incredibly proud to introduce her into the Captain’s Club, and also accept this award on her behalf.


In 2019, Brigitte discovered a cancerous lump in her breast.  She had a lumpectomy.  After her second surgery, her doctor confirmed she was now cancer free. Brigitte urges every female to do regular self-exams while laying down, between checkups.  She was lucky and caught it early.  Read her letter to Womens First Dr. Mollie Cartwright.

This October, ISA+21 celebrates all of our members who have been affected by Breast Cancer.