A day with no smiles is simply inconceivable for SWISS’s Basel Airport office building receptionists Myriam Manca (left) and Sandra Reck. 5 images

Behind the scenes: the warmest of welcomes

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It’s with a beaming smile and a friendly “Bonjour!” or “Hello!” that everyone is greeted at SWISS’s Basel Airport office building by its two receptionists.

And their uniforms are as impeccable as their make-up. It’s not just their warm smile and their SWISS uniform that Myriam Manca and Sandra Reck have in common. They’re both from Alsace, too. Myriam has been in charge of the small Basel Reception unit for over 15 years now. And before that, in the 1990s, she served as a flight attendant with SWISS’s predecessor Crossair. Sandra has been with SWISS since 2002. She initially joined Revenue Accounting, where she still works 50 per cent today. “I’d always wanted to be a flight attendant as well, and work at the airport,” she recalls. “So my job at our reception gets me a little bit closer to that dream.”

Sandra has been assisting Myriam for three years now. Myriam is clearly delighted with the extra help. Because anyone who thinks that all the pair have to do is smile all day is very much mistaken. Their duties range from facility management to answering or passing on customer calls, organising training (and training room equipment), supplying the materials for meetings and briefings, using various security and IT systems and providing back-office services. “It can all get pretty complex,” Myriam confirms. “We never know when we arrive in the morning quite what the day will have in store!” – “And that,” Sandra adds, “makes it all the nicer to know that you’re surrounded by colleagues you can really count on!”

Over 300 people pass through Myriam and Sandra’s reception area every day. “We’re pretty exposed in our work,” Myriam concedes. “But we both really enjoy having so much direct contact with our colleagues and customers, too.” It’s not just SWISS personnel who come to the building, either. “We constantly get visitors who’ve got lost on their way to the airport,” she explains. “Some of them even want us to check them in!” While SWISS ceased its flight operations from Basel, the SWISS airport office building will remain a special place, and one that offers Myriam and Sandra regular highlights in their work. Such as? “Organising the events around the return of the Super Constellation to Basel,” Myriam enthuses. “Or planning big customer events,” adds Sandra, “or decorating the premises, like putting all the ornaments on our annual Christmas tree.”

They may be small things. But in the end, it’s the little things – like a quick smile or a friendly “Bonjour!” – that make all the difference. And they’re keenly appreciated, too.

Text: Valérie Ziegler Photos: Jen Ries


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