“The Pilot is a Problem” Meaning in Hijack, Explained

Apple TV+’s thriller series ‘Hijack’ revolves around Flight KA29, a Kingdom Airlines flight that travels to London from Dubai. After its departure from Dubai, a group of passengers hijacks the flight. They force the pilot of the flight Captain Robin Allen to open the cockpit, by threatening to kill his lover Colette, to take complete control of the flight. Meanwhile, corporate negotiator Sam Nelson tries to negotiate with the hijackers by helping them deal with the predicaments that arise on the flight. At one point, he even passes a note that reads, “The pilot is a problem,” to Stuart, the head of the hijackers. But what does the note mean? Let us find out! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Strategic Deception: “The Pilot Problem” as a Tactical Ruse

After Stuart and his team hijacked KA29, Sam Nelson tries to negotiate with them. He lets them know that he doesn’t care about other passengers but he needs to reunite with his family. Rather than provoking or attacking the hijackers, he also tells them that they are smart and intelligent to successfully hijack the airplane without letting the authorities on the ground know about the same. When two of his fellow passengers attack one of the hijackers, Sam even sides with the latter. However, his efforts to help the hijackers are his way of gaining their trust so that he can safeguard himself and others onboard by informing the authorities.

After handing over his phone to the hijackers, Sam realizes that the only way to inform authorities of the hijacking is through the pilot of the flight, Captain Robin Allen. Sam knows that he cannot instruct the pilot when the latter is in the cockpit with other hijackers in between them. Therefore, he pulls a trick on Stuart to establish a communication line between him and the pilot. He passes a note that reads, “The pilot is a problem,” to Stuart to make the latter sit Robin in the business class, near the negotiator. Sam lets Stuart know that the flight will continue its journey even without the pilot in autopilot mode.

Stuart, who considers the possibility of Robin trying to inform authorities of the hijacking one way or another using the resources available at the cockpit, then transfers him to the business class. Thus, Sam succeeds in finding a way to establish contact with Robin with a note he writes just to fool the leader of the hijackers. He writes that the pilot is a problem only to earn their trust and make the transfer of Robin to business class happen. After Robin is transferred, Sam talks to him using the chat option in a multiplayer game.

Sam then instructs Robin to return to the cockpit when Iraqi security officials call the flight for inquiry and security confirmation. He asks the pilot to confirm that everything is alright on the airplane to make the hijackers think that they are cooperating. After confirming the same to an Iraqi security official, Robin changes the direction of the flight by 3° as a sign of threat onboard as per Sam’s plan. An English airline official named Alice Sinclair, upon getting suspicious of the false alarm call explanation of Robin, checks the location of the flight and discovers that there is a 3° change in the direction of the flight from its original route.

Alice realizes that the change in direction is a sign from the flight that the same is under the threat of multiple hijackers. Sam’s note eventually succeeds in informing the authorities of the hijack by fooling Stuart.

Read More: Is Hijack Based on a True Story? Is Flight KA29 a Real Airplane?