On Wednesday, 26 September, SWISS gave 24 children from the Sternschnuppe children’s charity an unforgettable and impressive afternoon. Together with their parents and siblings, the children enjoyed a look behind the scenes at SWISS.
This was the second time that SWISS had collaborated with Sternschnuppe and organised “Kids’ Day”. The aim of the adventure afternoon was to give the families an insight into the world of SWISS, to meet staff and crew members in person, and to offer them an entirely different kind of Wednesday afternoon. Twenty-four children and their families were selected from the many entries to take part in the event. Twelve members of staff from SWISS were on hand to provide support. As soon as they arrived, it was quite clear that the children’s eyes were shining with curiosity about what the afternoon would bring. After welcoming everyone, the Kids’ Day began with an entertaining crafts session. In three different themed corners, the children experienced the fascination of flying through play. The undisputed favourite of the themed corners was quite clearly making paper aeroplanes with the assistance of SWISS PR pilot Harry Bänninger, Operational Framework Manager at SWISS. And of course, there had to be a peaceful competition involving the resulting aircraft.
Following the colourful craft session, the group moved on to viewing terrace B, where they were welcomed on the play area by the SWISS mascots Bernie and Lexie. This is probably the only place in the world where a play area is less exciting than the surrounding one. With views of the aircraft being processed as well as others taking off and landing, it was quite clear just how fascinated the children were on viewing terrace B of Zurich airport. “What type of aircraft is that, and where’s it going to?” was one of the children’s most frequent questions of our Crew Members.
At the end, the guided tour of our Boeing 777 HB-JNB that had just landed from San Francisco was the absolute highlight for the visitors. Along with the cockpit and the cabin, the families were also able to go on a walk-around of the aircraft. The children were simply amazed by this opportunity not only to pass through the cabin door and take a seat, but to see the whole aircraft, including the cockpit, up close. Pilot Harry Bänninger was bombarded with questions such as “How many buttons are there in the cockpit?”, “Who flies the aeroplane when you’re asleep?” and “Where do you see the road when you’re flying?”. Meanwhile, back in the cabin, the Crew Members explained the different seat categories to the visitors. “Wow – it’s so comfortable you could stay here forever!” was one 8-year-old girl’s response when she tried a Business Class seat. There was also a lot of interest in the crew bunk. On a walk-around the Boeing 777, tour guide Mario Achermann explained more about aircraft technology at a level appropriate to the young visitors.
After the impressive tour, the group returned to the SWISS Arrival Lounge, where Bernie and Lexie were waiting for them along with some delicious refreshments. Gradually, the first signs of tiredness started to appear, the result of the afternoon’s many different impressions. As the visitors said their goodbyes, SWISS staff presented them with give-aways in the form of gym bags with a pilot’s hat and a model aircraft.
Nicole Sami, co-managing director of the Sternschnuppe children’s charity, was delighted with the success of this event. “SWISS is an important partner for us in allowing the wishes of the Sternschnuppe children to come true – we are so grateful for the co-operation. And of course, we would be absolutely delighted if we could enable our families to enjoy a similar sort of experience again next year.”
In line with various events for special organisations, this year is the first time that SWISS has facilitated Corporate Volunteering. SWISS staff are given the opportunity for personal involvement and to support events during working hours. Over 130 members of staff registered for these voluntary events in order to provide a special day for the participating individuals. The opportunity was greatly appreciated by everyone involved. Flight Attendant Eliane Huonder: “It’s a wonderful feeling to give the children an insight into what we do. I am so glad that SWISS is giving us the opportunity to actively shape these events, and I hope that there will be many more Corporate Volunteering events in the future!”
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this event possible with their commitment,” Melanie Heiniger, in charge of Corporate Responsibility at SWISS, expressed her gratitude to everyone involved.