This, a first in a series, appeared in the "Horizons" magazine issue dated February 1996.

Life as a 'Con', by Annette Malvar

"Con", the word evokes so many different, and sometimes unflattering images.

When I first started working at Air Canada, references were constantly being made to this "con" or that "con". I was intrigued. Who are these people? Did we have a special contract with the Canadian government for the carriage of prisoners? Why weren't we told about this in training? Even after I found out, I couldn't remember the real definition for the longest time. Probably because my first encounters with the word had conjured up other, more devious images.

In time however, I reconciled myself with the more mundane truth and began to enjoy the fruits of being a con. Yes, I am one of them and it's time to speak out and let the stories be recounted.

I think we can all agree whether we fly as cons once a year with our spouses and seven kids, or whether we fly alone to a different destination every weekend, being a con is an experience.

Over the next few months. I shall be relating some of these. Some are standard fare in training classes. As examples of 'do's and don’ts I'll be bringing you hints on travel or for small talk with your seat partner, the top ten attractions (distractions) of the Rapidair lounge in Toronto and how travelling with a friend and fellow con can be very straining on a relationship.

In the meantime, remember the time you were comfortably seated in the plane, only to hear your name being broadcast through the cabin? Nooooooo! However, I digress....

Editor's note (from original article): As a complement to Annette's anecdotes, Yaffa Bouskila will be providing readers with expert advice on travel privileges.

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