When it comes to the pilot flying our plane, it seems we prefer a Home Counties resident rather than a Cockney Londoner.
Actor Nigel Havers topped the poll of celebrity accents passengers would find most reassuring on a flight, in a survey of business travellers.
But, while a London accent was deemed lest trustworthy, regional accents, such as Scottish and Irish, were considered particularly comforting, with Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson making it into the top 10 celebrity voices we’d most like to hear over the speakers
The poll, for the Business Travel Show in London, found that the Scottish James Bond’s voice was the second favourite for a pilot, followed by plummy Stephen Fry, Patrick Stewart and Hugh Grant.
However, the Midlands accent was given short shrift as the least trustworthy after the Cockney lilt.
Other favourite celebrity voices saw two women in the list, Joanna Lumley and Joan Bakewell – who recently revealed she lost a regional accent to make it at the BBC.
And while most of the trusted accents were from the UK and Ireland, George Clooney’s dulcet tones also made a surprise appearance in the top 10.
Airline expert and travel writer 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.’
Some airlines believe their pilots represent a range of accents, including Europe’s largest regional airline Flybe.
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!’
David Chapple, event director of the Business Travel Show, added: ‘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?’
The top celebrity pilot accents:
Top five most reassuring pilot accents
Home counties 42 per cent
Scottish 27 per cent
Rep of Ireland 12 per cent
North east 10 per cent
Midlands 9 per cent
Top five least reassuring pilot accents
Cockney 34 per cent
Midlands 25 per cent
Home Counties 16 per cent
Northern Irish 13 per cent
Scottish 12 per cent
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