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Force Majeure

Cabin Crew Member

Every hopeful cabin crew applicant knows that they will be asked in the interview process about their flexibility and adaptability to unforeseen consequences that might occur during their duty, such as delays or force majeure.

Many aspiring individuals choose this job because they are curious and adventurous, think outside of the box and are prepared to deal with the unpredictable. Routine is not a subject that fits the job description – this is the most exciting career imaginable!

Over the years I have encountered quite some unforeseen events and delays. I remember when 9/11 happened, I was on a three night layover in Tokyo. We will always remember where we were that day, regardless of our career paths. It has been one of the most haunting experiences in my life and from my perspective 9/11 made us bond as crew members. The solidarity we hence developed towards each other and towards other airline colleagues was one of a kind and for me, and it still continues. But there’s also been so called events of higher power that have enchanted me – mainly being snowed in in an attractive city!

I have experienced such blizzards in Chicago, New York, Boston and Tokyo. The first blizzard, in Chicago, was many years ago and had the airport closed down. Our return flight was delayed for two days. Traffic was to a standstill in the city, because of four feet of snow. Here too, we bonded as a team. A Maître de Cabine of ours, me and another friend of his from the city became friends for life by hiking across the snow covered deserted Michigan Avenue towards the Adler Planetarium which amazingly was open. We still get together yearly with fond memories of that blizzard.

A couple of years ago I got stuck in Manhattan over New Year’s Eve! Instead of arriving back home in time for celebrations with our families, a blizzard had closed down the New York airports. That was seriously romantic! Fifth Avenue and Central Park under masses of snow! That’s by the way how I discovered the Metropolitan Museum – I went there with wet feet and shoes full of snow seeking warmth and shelter and came out hours later as an art lover. Instead of flying back that night I bought a ticket to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. When we finally flew home two days later, when the airport reopened, Sophia Loren was our guest on board. She too had missed that New Year’s Eve at home in Switzerland!


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