No, you are not a doctor!

Hi there, I’m a travel agent.

I book your flights, and send you on your way to many merry places. I can find you a cheap-ass trip to Vladivostok. I respect the fact that you worked hard to earn your PhD.

Unfortunately, and I must stress this again, you are NOT a doctor!

Your degree in History means jack shit to me if I’m having chest pains, or an embolism at 30,000 feet.

You see, there’s a thing called a manifest. It gets given to the flight crew on your plane. They study it, and if the person in seat 23B blows a valve, they’re coming looking for you! Thanks for wasting many potential “life saving” seconds, you pretentious fuck!

Might be a weak rant, but it bugs the shit out of me.

What is this obsession in this country that people with a doctorate are not properly a doctor if it is not in medicine? Anti-intellectualism, or what?

Not unless it says “MD” after his name. Idiot.

Can you really find me cheap tickets to Vladivostok? Really?

Yeah that’s what I was wondering too. How cheap? And not a shitty time of year, either.

Let’s correct this. That Ph.D. is damn well a doctor. What he is not is a physician.

However, there is a common usage in American English that “doctor” means, first and foremost, “medical doctor, physician,” and only secondarily “possessor of a doctorate in an academic field.”

Therefore, although some of the “facts” in the OP are invalid, it’s a thoroughly justified Pitting. The Ph.D.'s egotistic insistence on being listed as “Dr.” has the potential to waste time and perhaps cause loss of life in an emergency.

Sorry, person with academic credentials. There’s a good reason why people might not want to refer to you by your earned title; it’s not disrespect.

But I play one on TV!

Well, OK, maybe I don’t.

It’s ignorance, then?

Not to mention perhaps causing said Ph.D. to seriously piss him/herself when anxious flight attendants come running for medical help.

I know that if an attendant leaned over my seat and said intently, “Please come quickly, Dr. Kimstu, a passenger in row 12 has stopped breathing”, the last thing I’d be feeling would be a nice warm glow that they called me “Doctor”.

No, it’s common sense. The use of the title “Dr.” on an airline passenger manifest serves no useful purpose except to identify potential sources of help in case of a medical emergency. The rest of the doctors can get along just fine in that situation being referred to as “Mr.” or “Ms.”

Yes, it is correct to address a Ph.D. as “Doctor” in social usage if you know that s/he prefers to use the title socially. But it is not considered in the best of taste for Ph.D.'s to do so. Use your title in your professional context, and let the actual medical doctors be the ones to walk around with a nomenclatural label on them that says “Hi! I know how to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary!”

Mind you, Ph.D.s had the title first. “Doctor” is based on the Latin verb “to teach,” thus, loosely, “teacher.”

I can see a practical reason to identify flying physicans as such, and no practical reason to identify academics. But if you really want to distinguish medical doctors from all other kinds of doctors, you have two perfectly good words: “medic” and “physician.”

Well, then, you didn’t really read my rant, did y’all?

A Doctorate is a great thing. I have family who are PhD’s in Philosophy.

You are NOT a medical doctor.

To Q.E.D., you haven’t been on an airplane recently, have you? There is no provision for MD. You have a choice between MR, MS, MRS, ADM, CAPTN, or others among the military ranks. There is no MD.

To Sven, and Lady, for about 2Grand, I can get you from Toronto to Vladivostok, if you’re willing to fly cattle class, and up for three days on a train.

BTW, thanks, Polycarp, for clarifying.

I’m fine with calling any Ph.D. a doctor in any university or academic setting.

But I agree with the OP. No need to use the title when making airplane reservations.
My father has a doctorate in chemical engineering. It doesn’t even get him a good table at a restaurant any more. At work, he’s Dr. xyz. Any other place, it is Mr. xyz.

Airlines should be able to handle having passengers calling themselves “Dr. Whosit”, as there are plenty of non-M.D. doctor-types. If someone on a flight actually runs down passenger lists in case of emergency, it’d be simple enough beforehand to ask if the Dr. is an M.D., and list them accordingly. Though on the rare flights I’ve been on where an M.D. was needed, the captain asked on the intercom if any were aboard and could help (I volunteered once; it probably helped the peace of mind of the passenger involved that I was not specifically identified as a pathologist). :smiley:

I have one beef about non-M.D.s using the appellation “Dr.”, and that’s in instances where other health care or science-related personnel use the title to give themselves a false aura of knowledge and/or respectability. Not long ago we had a “Dr.” writing to the editor of a local newspaper advising people on how they could avoid vaccinating their children. It turned out that the “Dr.” was a Dr. of chiropractic. Funny how he was willing to leave the impression that he was an M.D., which could have been avoided by using the letters D.C. after his name.

And another example - there is an alt med advocate of dubious health claims for vitamin C going by the name of Dr. Steve Hickey, who wrote this review of a book called “Fire Your Doctor!” You’d never guess that the good doctor is actually a PhD in pharmacology - fine qualifications, but I think it was less than forthright of him to leave the impression for readers that he’s a maverick member of the medical establishment.

As a matter of fact, I have. However, since I’m neither an MD nor a PhD, I don’t have reason to look for those options. Also, I’m reasonably sure that airlines don’t rely on the passenger manifest to obtain medical assistance, but rather will call for volunteers with appropriate medical training because:

And also, the manifest wouldn’t include nurses, EMTs or others who might also be able to offer qualified assistance in an emergency.

Or anyone who might have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

You win the thread.

Consider that that article is over ten years old. Just a quick search will lend you things like

for the US and

for Canada.
I’m not disputing your point, just the quote. Everything I’ve looked at seems to have the crew asking for help, not just grabbing people based on titles. I guess that could happen somewhere, and I could see how the the PhD Vs. MD thing would bother someone. But, I hardly care either way.

Show me a life-threatening situation where an airliner crew might need an expert in Renaissance literature, fiscal theory, or coenzyme catalysis of ketone esters. and I’ll be happy to concede your point.

(voice of agitated stewardess) "Doctor! Doctor, come quickly There’s a passenger in seat 25D who doesn’t understand a Marxist analysis of 19th century economics and is threatening to shoot himself unless someone explains it RIGHT NOW!!

“What?! You’re only a medical doctor who specializes in emergency medical situations in non-standard environments?! What the fuck good are you??”

“No, Mohammed, you are not like Hamlet because the Americans bombed your village and killed your father. Hamlet was a deeply conflicted man with cockeyed schemes who ended up killing pointless… OK, you might have a point.”

“Cuba is a hellhole and one plane isn’t going to fix things. It would have a much better effect on the world economy going to its destination, thereby bolstering confidence in global travel and reducing barriers to trade. Besides, the marginal utility to Castro of an economist who can’t speak Spanish is near-zero, honest.”

“Gee, you look pale beneath your turban. Ever consider eating more beef?”