Thursday, October 4, 2012
“Same same but different.” Ever since I have been a SWISS flight attendant I have often heard this saying and I use it myself with increasing frequency in connection with inflight service, flight destination or passengers on board. From the point of view of work routine, there is no real difference between a flight to Barcelona and one to Hamburg. Depending on the meal cycle, the same snack and the same beverages are served, and the duration of both flights is about one hour and in most cases the aircraft used is the same type. However, every flight is in fact different because of the people involved – cabin crew and passengers. My awareness of where the flight is headed most often comes into focus at boarding. Although the board announcements by the maitre de cabine and the information shown on the cabin screen indicate our destination, it is the passengers, with their language, body language and behaviour, who really make it clear. On a flight to Barcelona, for example, the passengers are typically young, lively and in the mood for fun. Flights to Düsseldorf are characterised by passengers travelling on business who know exactly what they want: quiet, two drinks and space for their roller trolley. For me, the real classics are the flights to Moscow: demand is particularly strong for the goods on the duty-free trolleys.
But recently I was on a flight in which for once the aircraft itself was different. From the outside, it looked no different: an Airbus 320 with SWISS logo. But the cabin interior was predominantly blue rather than the regular dark grey on grey. Blew carpet and blue seats. And when I say blue, I mean really blue. Blue like the sky, blue like the water in a swimming pool. Blue like a smurf! I soon found what was going on. This slightly different SWISS aircraft had been converted into an Edelweiss plane. That is, not completely, because the transformation was on the inside only. Viewed from the outside, it still looked like a SWISS aircraft. I then found out that this aircraft was often used for code-share flights operated by Edelweiss – therefore the rather more colourful interior with Edelweiss flowers. That’s quite alright, however, because Edelweiss destinations are often sunny, so our passengers boarding in Zurich are already put in a holiday mood. Regardless of its blue colour scheme, the flight itself is the same – as in , “same same but different”.