Monday, June 30, 2014

SWISS on Instagram (FlySWISS)

Our next Instagramer of the Month is flight attendant Fabienne Gassmann. She has been travelling around the world with SWISS since 2011 and in July you’ll have the chance to accompany her on multifaceted line of work. You can look forward to many creative photographs of what goes on behind the scenes. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and enjoy Fabienne’s pictures.

by Fabienne Gassmann

Dear SWISS fans and followers

Next month I will have the honour of presenting you with insights into my exciting job as a flight attendant. I am eagerly looking forward to sharing impressions of my aerial "office" with you.

After completing my commercial training with Swiss Federal Railways I wanted to see more than just the four walls of an office. Since 2011 I have been a highly enthusiastic SWISS cabin crew member. I love the variety my job brings because every day is different in terms of the crews, passengers and destinations.

During my first six months with SWISS I worked on short-haul flights. I then received training for the long-haul routes and since then I have been flying on all SWISS flights worldwide.

My preference is for long-haul flights because they involve only one take-off and landing, give us much more time with passengers on board and include a free day or two at the destination. I love the sea so I am always happy to be on a rotation to SFO, LAX or MIA. Hong Kong is another of my favourite destinations as a place that has everything to offer: shopping, great food, good and affordable massages and beautiful views from such places as The Peak and many more attractions.

During my free time I like getting together with friends. In the summer I love swimming in Lake Zurich or barbecuing at home when the weather is fine.

I hope you enjoy my pictures from all over the world and thank you sincerely for following @FlySWISS on Instagram. See you in July!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

SWISS on Instagram (FlySWISS)

This month in June on our Instagram account we will again take you to the skies. Join our A320 First Officer Sales Wick and let him show you his world as a SWISS pilot. Enjoy some insights and view of his fascinating job above the clouds.

Sales Wick, First Officer Airbus A320-Family

Dear followers and fans of SWISS. My name is Sales and I will be your Instagramer in June. I am happy to give you some insights into my work as a First Officer on the Airbus A320-family that serves our short-haul network. Further, I will take you along to some of my days as a simulator- and theoretical knowledge instructor in our type-rating training. I joined SWISS four years ago after completing my basic training at SWISS Aviation Training in 2010. In the upcoming month I will be regularly sharing photographs taken during my days at work, either above the clouds or at our training facilities.

I grew up in central Switzerland close to Lucerne and completed an apprenticeship as a technician before starting the training to become an airline pilot. During my time off I enjoy doing sports as much as I can and like to travel to places I don’t get to visit during work.

We operate a total of 37 Airbus aircraft of the A320-family to our various European destinations out of Zurich and Geneva and even fly to some holiday destinations on behalf of Edelweiss.

Destinations I enjoy the most are the ones with certain characteristics, for instance the short flight from Zurich to Nice, Coté d’Azur. It’s one of the most scenic routes in our network. Especially flying over the Alps and seeing all the beautiful peaks passing underneath as well as the challenging approach into the airport of Nice is nothing but breathtaking.

Enough for now: Welcome on board! 

I hope you enjoy the photographs I get to share with you, follow us @FlySWISS.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Long layover in Beijing (My ski-high life)

In this SWISS Blog report, flight attendant Kristina Roder recounts her impression of Beijing during a night-stop rotation on which she was accompanied by her father.

by Kristina Roder 

I’m always excited when the timetable changes in the spring and autumn. Although the route network generally remains the same, schedule adjustments on specific routes sometimes mean longer layovers for crews, which is great news for a keen traveller like me. During this past winter, we were able to take advantage of a particularly long stay in Beijing.

For flights departing Switzerland on Sunday we had a four-night layover at the centrally located Swissôtel, near the Forbidden City, various parks and numerous markets. The minute I looked at the timetable I wanted to try for a night-stop rotation. This was something I had always wished for and this time my wish was granted. Because my father had long wanted to fly with me to China, this was the perfect opportunity. He obtained a visa while I arranged a ticket for him.

This was my first ever night-stop in China, too. I had never flown to either Beijing or Shanghai before. The culture of Hong Kong is rather different from these two mainland cities, so I was naturally very excited about the imminent night-stop, and a little bit nervous too, based on some of the negative things I had heard in Switzerland about life in the Chinese capital. Fortunately, I can say that nothing of that kind was confirmed. For a tourist at least, a visit to Beijing is a pleasure regardless of the language barrier. The people are easy-going and pleasant. And they do their best to be helpful and take pleasure in the sight of a relatively rare face from the western world. The city’s attractions are visited primarily by Chinese. In fact, tourists are a rarity in China. Business travellers from the West are generally too busy to have time to see much of land or its people.

Beijing, a city with a thousand years of history, impressed us on various levels, from the Great Wall to the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. The buildings are hallmarked by the attention given to detail. They are also colourfully illuminated and truly unique.

The food in Beijing is particularly good, too. Delicious vegetables, fried meat and shared and enjoyed. Chinese-style green beans are one of the best delicacies of all. It might sound incredible but it’s true. Local beer and rice brandy are ideal beverages and combine with the food to make for a perfect evening on the other side of the world.

Please find more details and photos about my journey on my personal blog: A cocktail a day

With the summer timetable now in effect, I’m hoping for night-stop assignments for Chicago or Dubai.

Best regards, Kristina

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Paul Beck experienced a fairy tale come true

His moving story was one of thousands from the “Seats for Switzerland” campaign. Paul Beck won a ticket to be reunited with his loved ones. He recently wrote to us with a report about his surprise visit in Guatemala.

How I experienced a fairy tale come true.

By Paul Beck

This is my account of my surprise trip to Guatemala. The surprises began on the morning of 5 March, the day of my departure. A former workmate accompanied me to the airport, where we were met by my friend and retired Swissair captain H. P. Hartmann, who was there to see me off. That produced a mutual "hello" as the two of them knew each from their days as apprentice mechanics. On that note, I boarded the aircraft. The take-off was observed from the side of the runway by both men.

My flight to Miami was one of the nicest I have ever experienced in terms of quiet. The onward journey to Guatemala also went very well.

The next day kicked off with my first surprise visit, to my friend Rolf Meier, the chef of Chocolateria Zürich. I told him my story and asked for his permission to surprise his sales assistant Gladys Puluc, our "foster child", in the Peri Roosevelt shop and restaurant in Guatemala City. I travelled there by taxi in the afternoon, my surprise appearance drawing a response of wide-eyed delight from petite Gladys. We talked about everything I had imagined in connection with this travel story. The expression of delight on Gladys's face speaks for itself.

On Sunday, 6 March, I returned to Peri Roosevelt to discuss Gladys's day off. My assumption was that on Sunday the shop would not be too busy with customers. But I was thoroughly mistaken on that point. There were very few tables empty in the spacious restaurant, and in the store was an impressive queue of customers, with Gladys alone on duty behind the counter because it just happened to be her colleague's lunch break. Without realising it, she showed me why she had been chosen best sales assistant. 

With quick hands she packed up a lovely cake, smiling from ear to ear all the while. She was clearly in her element and gave no indication that was the least bit under any stress. 

She dashed back and forth and even found a second to wave to me without her customers even noticing. After she had taken her own lunch, she came to my table with a stack of papers in hand, the orders for the next day, which need to be organised.

On her day off I invited her and her "Mama" who had brought her up at the local SOS Children's Village and with whom she still lives, to dinner at a nice restaurant in Antigua Guatemala. We travelled there aboard the public bus, which drove "like the fire brigade". I knew we would enjoy good food at the Posada de Don Rodrigo. 

While the tortillera shaped the tortillas with her clapping hand movements and then baked them in the hot bowl, we were entertained by the music of the marimba band, who performed despite the absence of a few members. 

Upon our departure, the band performed one of my favourite piece of music: “Luna de Xelaju", which caused me to stop and listen until the final note had sounded. This was probably my last farewell, and so it was much more than mere coincidence that this melody filled the air. (Example of "Luna de Xelaju")
We returned by bus to the Peri Roosevelt shop and restaurant.

Easter was a clear presence at the Chocolateria Zurich. The business's own "chocolate artist" had prepared her creations for both Easter and National Secretary Day. On display were Easter bunnies 50 cm tall, the likes of which I have never seen in Switzerland. The production equipment with dark or light chocolate was in steady use.

On Sunday, 16 March, I returned to Antigua in the hope that the El Agua volcano would demonstrate its full majesty. But that didn't happen. The gradual arrival of the next rainy season became evident. The peak of the mountain was, as usual, obscured by cloud. As an alternate attraction there was a procession by people from the neighbouring village, Santa Inés del Monte Pulciano. The entire route was carpeted with beautiful flowers, coloured sawdust and green coffee berries. 

Suddenly, the parade of cucuruchos dominated the scene, the violet-clad figures gradually passing by with their slow, swirling movements. They were followed at a respectful distance by a group of women carrying an image of the Virgin Mary. This was a prelude to the La Merced Good Friday procession, in which some 160 men are needed to transport the two-and-a-half ton figure of Christ with the cross.

On the final day of my stay I was able to take my friend Rolf Meier along with me to a photo session with the three main characters of this "true fairy tale". There I received a surprise woven gift embroidered with a message.

I have no idea when our Gladys found the time to get that done. She probably worked on it through the night.

On 19 March I boarded the flight for the journey home, arriving in Zurich on the 20th, a half hour ahead of schedule. I would like to thank you most sincerely for the ticket and hope that my photographs give you some impression of the happiness my surprising visit generated.

Paul Beck, thank you very much for your letter with wonderful insights of your journey.  SWISS

Thursday, May 1, 2014

SWISS on Instagram (FlySWISS)

Our Instagramer of the month in May is SWISS Golf Traveller lady Corinne Vogt, who will give you unique insights into her professional and private life. As a working mom she has plenty of stories to share with you. 

Hi everyone! My name is Corinne Vogt and I will be your Instagramer of the Month during May. I am really looking forward to sharing impressions of my exciting job as the person in charge of SWISS Golf Traveller. Some of you may be wondering what SWISS Golf Traveller is. It’s simply the best golf club in the skies, with great benefits available to members. Above all, the free transport of golf equipment up to 23 kg on flights operated by SWISS, Edelweiss and Lufthansa (not valid on codeshare flights or on Lufthansa flights to/from/via USA and Canada). In addition, we host 8 golf tournaments per year in Switzerland for our members. These tournaments are very popular and available slots are always soon fully booked. During the month of May I will share my impressions of the first two tournaments of 2014, at golf courses in Vuissens and Kyburg so that you can see what goes on within the world of SWISS Golf Traveller.

 At 34 years of age, I am almost a “dinosaur” in SWISS terms! My airline career started back in 1997 with a 3-year commercial apprenticeship at Swissair. In the nearly 17 years since, I have held a variety of jobs with both SWISS/ Swissair, with no signs of fatigue so far! SWISS is very close to my heart and I am proud to have the privilege of working for such an exciting company. I have been doing my current job for the past 2 years on a 60-per-cent basis. The reason for my part-time function is that I am also the proud mother of daughter Lynn, who is now 2 years and 8 months old.

I am very glad to have the variety that goes with being a working mother. It is, of course, a great organisational challenge but thanks to the support of my husband and my superiors at SWISS I am able to manage things well. We live near Zurich Airport and also enjoy travelling in our free time. Lynn is almost a frequent flyer already. She really likes flying around. In April we travelled on holiday to the USA and visited Chicago, Spokane (near Seattle) and San Francisco. The whole trip was simply fabulous!

See you soon on Instagram! Thank you for following @FlySWISS.