I felt a great sense of anticipation and expectation toward starting to work on long-haul flights. The first few flights are now behind me and I can say that I am extremely enthusiastic about this new aspect of my work. When making the switch to long-haul flights we are first assigned to five flights in Economy Class, and only after seven Business Class introductory flights are we considered fully qualified for long-haul duties. The Economy Class service on long-haul is somewhat different from that on short-haul. But these differences are less profound than for the switch from Business Class short-haul to Business Class long-haul, which will surely present me with much greater challenges. Working on the first introductory flights in Economy Class gave me the opportunity to enjoy the multifaceted destinations served by the A340.
The first flight, to San Francisco, remains unforgettable. We flew in 12 hours from grey Switzerland to sunny California. En route we pampered the passengers and then afterward enjoyed ourselves during our stay on the ground. You can do a lot during a two-day layover, from cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge to riding on the famous cable car and dining on delicious seafood. On the flight inbound to Switzerland things went smoothly. The majority of passengers in Economy Class were Swiss, who like us were sad to flying back to a cold homeland.
My second long-haul flight was a night operation to Sao Paulo. The biggest challenge was staying awake after we arrived at six o’clock in the morning and wanted to go for a drink together. Like Johannesburg, Sao Paulo’s reputation among crew members is that of being a great place to enjoy meat. I came to understand why after the excellent meal we had in the classy Churrascaria. Such amounts of fine meat are impossible to find in Switzerland, let alone pay for. Unfortunately, the ground time in Sao Paulo is so short that it’s not possible to see much of the city. But it does offer an opportunity to enjoy the warm climate and breathe in the zest for life that is Brazil’s trademark.
The third flight took me to the Far East. Having never been further east than Turkey, I was extremely excited at the prospect of visiting Hong Kong, Asia’s answer to New York. And it did not disappoint at all. Hong Kong offers everything you can desire: fantastic skylines, delicate food, colourful markets, green hills, and turquois sea … a place full of contrasts, pulsating life and international flair. The short excursion to Hong Kong really whetted my appetite for our destinations in the Far East.
My schedule is now filled with flights on the A330: Delhi, Muscat and New York await me, and I am looking forward with great anticipation to becoming familiar with the different passengers and their customs, new cultures and interesting cities.