I’ve been retired for three years now and I find myself missing something that I could not have predicted before working my last Christmas Day in 2015. I miss working over the holidays.
This was always a time when we could truly feel that we belonged in the large extended family that is the airline industry. All of us, in Customer Service, In-Flight and Maintenance, could appreciate the people that provided our livelihoods, our passengers, and know that the brief time that we were away from our own families, played a significant part in bringing families and loved ones together.
A special memory for me is one year, in the late nineties, when my first day off was Christmas Day and (after my shift on Christmas Eve) I planned to fly to Montreal overnight to spend Christmas with my mother. Considering the season, not easy to do on stand-by.
I waited anxiously in the lounge while the first of three overnight flights was being loaded and, luckily heard my name called. When I arrived at the counter, the CSSA stretched out her hand containing a boarding pass and said quickly, “Flight Deck, Go!”
I hurried down the gate and was the last person to board; the flight attendant just said ‘Hi’ and pointed to the open flight deck door. I sat down and strapped into the jump seat, receiving only nods from the pilots, who were discussing the weight of the aircraft (no doubt full of Christmas presents).
As we lifted off from Vancouver, there was a group sigh and both pilots then turned to chat with me. The in-charge then poked her head in and apologized that she could not bring me a festive beverage in the flight deck, but I was welcome to stand in the galley area to have one.
The busy crew went about their duties professionally and enjoyed themselves and shared the warm feeling of knowing that what they do is very important to a plane full of passengers anxious to be with their loved ones.
To all the special people who will be spending this holiday season bringing people together, thank you.
The YouTube video is entitled,
“Air Canada: Coming home for the holidays”.