Always the bridesmaid, never the bride!

One of the great things about working in the aviation industry is that you do get to visit a lot of places. Over the years working for various airlines, ground handlers and an aviation technology company, I have put a lot of pins on the map.

Travel the world
A world of choice

Ok, at the moment it’s all a bit in abeyance and in the past six months where I might reasonably expected to have been in numerous European countries, the middle East and possibly USA…my travel has been limited to Aldi, Lidl and the Co Op in my local town..but hey ho, I am not alone in that respect of a changed life!

Tins of beans
Full of beans

Travelling is great , I love it and I never forget to be grateful and aware of my privilege of having these opportunities even if they don’t return in the future.

However it isn’t always quite as wonderful as it sounds. I was asked by a friend recently had I ever visited Johannesburg? …I had to think a lot and answer realistically.

My trip there had been out on a flight for 9 hours, walk through the terminal to the airport hotel. I then attended a meeting (included refreshments: one cup of coffee!) After the meeting, straight to bed in same hotel, and up again six hours later for flight back to UK!

It gets better….a quick flight one morning to a European capital to attend a meeting with a Low Cost Airline. On arrival I was met at gate by pleasant but anxious young man tasked with getting me to the airline office by car across the ramp area. Lots of phone calls but still no (airside) transport arrived..he was very apologetic at this point. Then a phone call or two was then reassured that alternate transport would arrive. After some more minutes waiting – it surely did arrive…a toilet truck!

I do this job purely for the glamour!

Work to live and love your work

Everyone is familiar with the expression ‘work to live , don’t live to work’.

Healthy, sound advice as there is far more (or at least should be) far more in our lives than what we do for 40 out of the 168 hours in every week. I know 50 or so hours are occupied sleeping, but even so I think you get my point.

However if we like or even love what we do in our work time that is a real bonus.

And of course work not only provides income, but social interaction, personal and professional development and in some cases a sense of family ..either an additional work family or perhaps for those estranged or otherwise separated, their only opportunity to belong.

This week saw the demise of Thomas Cook group.

There is enough being said on the internet at the moment about the causes, level of governmental support required etc. that I won’t add to that here but what is heart warming is how others in the aviation and travel industry at both a personal level and corporate level are reacting and endeavouring to support their wider travel industry family. I worked for two companies that ultimately (way after my employment with them) became part of Thomas Cook group so I do know many individuals involved now affected and I am overwhelmed by the loss people are sensing from the cessation of this family as well as the more basic impacts of lost income etc.

A less high profile example also this last week is the administration of Wright bus, makers of next generation jump on, jump off iconic London buses.

In the same way that TC workers were proud to see their logo and product worldwide, Wright bus employees would have too .

They manufacture in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, but they are the main stay of London’s bus transport system and supply similar products worldwide. It’s not an industry I come from but as I understand it, it is small, specialised and in the UK there is only one other company similarly engaged in this business, Alexander Dennis based in Falkirk, Scotland. It is distressing for those in that declining industry to see one of their few counterparts disappearing. Cynics will say the competition (in either of the above) will relish this departure of the weakest but the reality is the humans with soul will see the pain and hurt for their counterparts and think ‘ there but for the grace of God go I’.

So appreciate and enjoy your work family if you have one and remember that family’s grow, change and widen..and sadly have breakups and separate at times.

Above us only sky

John Lennon’s words back in the 1970’s don’t really reflect aviation today. Actually, they are not supposed to, I think it was more about revolution and hippy stuff. But it’s a great phrase and on a clear night or day if you look into the azure blue or dark night sky we see a truly vast emptiness and maybe some aircraft . Until relatively recently, unless you lived near an airport and had lower altitude aircraft in descent or extremely good eyesight all you could surmise was that indeed it’s a plane. The internet, cheap 3g/4g data plans and free or very low cost apps have changed all that.

So now the closed world of planespotting has been gatecrashed/or overtaken by mobile Apps such as Flightradar24 and various others. There is something quite amazing in clicking on the aircraft icon on a map reflected in the overlay of your location and seeing that the silver shape above you is a Lufthansa Airbus A380 going from Frankfurt to Denver at 580mph, 38,000feet above where you stand in rural Britain

Spotting is perhaps still the category for the archetypal anorak wearing persons found at railway platform ends, or grasping binoculars and radio-receivers at airport viewing galleries. But for the rest of us whether we are basic bronze version app users just taking an interest or gold version users feeling needy for an essential bonus data such as colour of the captain’s socks etc. This not us all being turned into a geek; it’s the opposite – its being informed and being information ready. It is also deemed by most as quite good fun!

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