Whenever I happened to cross paths with cabin crew colleagues returning to the Operations Center early in the morning from long-haul destinations such as Mumbai, Hong Kong, Johannesburg and Bangkok with bags full of treasures and aromas from these distant places, my own desire to work on such a rotation intensified. By contrast, I would be preparing for duty on a flight to a rather less exotic destination, such as Hannover. My impatience grew with the awareness that practically all of the flight attendants with whom I had been through basic training had by now acquired their first long-haul experience and raved about the destinations and the flights. I admit that I am rather impatient!
At last, after a lengthy wait, my opportunity to work a long-haul rotation arrived. I already imagined myself in Hong Kong, enjoying the breath-taking view from the Peak, or in São Paulo, sipping a Caipirinha. But before these dreams could become reality, I still had to get through a two-week training period to prepare me for the various advantages and disadvantages of long-haul duty.
Flying Opera Last week I went to the opera. It was fascinating once again: Acting, singing and dancing mixed with beautiful scenes and an impressive orchestra. Everything was live, loud and dynamic. At the end of the show, the audience clapped their hands enthusiastically and gave the performers a standing ovation, during which my thoughts wandered away from theatre for a short while. People often ask me if we still receive applause from passengers after landings. So I started to think why people gave applause on airplanes some years ago. And why they still do – on rare occasions.
Good old times Applause has been a sign of acknowledgement for hundreds of years. And applause was apparently often heard on airplanes in the old days. Why? I can only guess. Wasn’t a flight like an opera? Wasn’t it a unique event? The crew prepared seriously behind the scene. When the curtain fell (or boarding began), the crew started their several hours live performance: Standing and sitting in front of the audience. Making melodious announcements for everyone’s safety. Changing altitude to avoid turbulence. Minimizing ground time to be punctual. Everything live! Simply giving their best, so that passengers felt comfortable, passionate and could experience a beautiful event – like at the opera. And after all this, passengers possibly wanted to express their acknowledgement and gave a warm round of applause to the flight crew.