For a pilot, no two flights and no two rotations are identical although they are similar, in a “same same but different” way. But sometimes you and your crew simply have a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip.
When walking through our Operation Center (this is where all of our trips start and end) the place is always crowded with hundreds of pilots and flight attendants, all either checking in for their journey, taking a short break or checking out and going home for a well-deserved rest.
I usually see a lot of people about whom I can say “I have met this person before, but I don’t recall when and where it was and I definitely don’t remember their name”. Well, that is quite natural, because we fly with constantly changing crews and spend a maximum of four days together, and sometimes as little as half a day and only two flights. That makes for over 500 different crew members within just one year, making it impossible to remember everybody by name.
On some rare occasions it may even be a case of saying “Hey! We were flying together last week, but where have we been and what was your name again?”
But on the other hand, there are a lot of very likeable colleagues whose name I will never forget. And I was lucky to get to know five of them on one of my recent rotations. We were scheduled to fly 11 flights in four days together and from the very beginning (our crew briefing in the Operation Center) we all “clicked” and became a perfect team immediately.
“We” consisted of a captain from Geneva, a young Maître de Cabine, a French flight attendant, one young flight attendant with Indian roots, one flight attendant from Venezuela and I, the first officer, from Germany.
Already on the first flight we were spoiled by our flight attendants with self-made beverages (apple juice with lemon) and a nicely arranged lunch. The first evening we had a night-stop in Geneva and went for a late dinner in our crew hotel, without our captain, who lives close to Geneva and so spent the night at home. On the second day with a night-stop in London the whole crew had dinner together in an Indian restaurant in Kensington. There we spent a very nice evening and met up again fully motivated the next day for three flights with another night-stop in Geneva.
This time our captain suggested having a drink with us together before going home. After discussing the when and where for a while, we finally ended with the captain inviting his crew to his home.
While in London, our Maître de Cabine managed to organize a rental car for us in Geneva and so it was only one hour after landing that we found ourselves in the beautiful home of the captain. Still astonished by his hospitality we gave him a little present (we bought some chocolate from our duty free sales) which he in return didn’t expect. We spent another amazing evening together, talking a lot and simply enjoying the extraordinary team spirit.
On the last day of our rotation we only had two flights and everybody was already in a sad mood because our four days were about to end. And so in the evening it was time to say goodbye.
Amazingly, every crew member said that they would waive their free days and even continue to work the next day if it was with this very same crew.
Those are the moments that make our work really desirable and simply wonderful! A big thanks to all of my colleagues, who make every rotation unique. I am looking forward to flying with you!