Monarch Blog » Behind the Scenes http://blog.monarch.co.uk Monarch Airlines Official Blog Mon, 27 Jun 2016 12:58:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Monarch launches downloadable colouring book http://blog.monarch.co.uk/monarchcolouringbook/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/monarchcolouringbook/#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 14:32:05 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=14121 I’m sure many of you have seen our recent campaign which we launched back in April to celebrate the growing trend around adult colouring in. Following such a great response, we’ve created a Monarch colouring book for all our customers this summer.

Why not bring to life some of your favourite destinations including Barcelona, Rome, Venice and even London? Don’t forget to bring out your creative side either! Ever wondered what the famous Collosseum would look like painted blue? Or how about London’s famous red telephone boxes changing to green?

So what are you waiting for? Download the Monarch colouring book below and colour your summer!

Oh and don’t forget to share your masterpieces with us! Send them in via our Facebook or Twitter channels.

Download your colouring book today!

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Meet our Social Media team http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-our-social-media-team/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-our-social-media-team/#comments Mon, 20 Jun 2016 08:00:23 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=13845 If you have ever interacted with Monarch on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed that our social media agents’ initials always make an appearance at the end of each response.

But who are the people behind the ^KK, ^JW etc.? It’s always nice to put a face to a name (or initials, in this case) so today we’re introducing you to the team involved in our social media responses!

 

 ^GH

Gem

Name: Gemma Hyslop

Role at Monarch: Social Media & Content Manager

How long have you been with Monarch? 10 months

What do you love about it? Seeing the teams coming together to help in any way they can. Working in social media means you touch on so many areas of the business.

An interesting fact about you: I once jumped off a cliff in Rio de Janeiro! (On a hand-glide)

 

^NB

Naomi

Name: Naomi Bressan

Role at Monarch: Social Media & Content Executive

How long have you been with Monarch? 1 year 3 months

What do you love about it? Monarch has a family feel I have never experienced in any other company. In my role, I love creating content for our channels and writing blogs that people will (hopefully) enjoy!

An interesting fact about you: I have visited both the northernmost capital in the world, Reykjavik (Iceland), and the southernmost capital, Wellington (New Zealand).

 

^BL

Ben

Name: Ben Leonard

Role at Monarch: Customer Services Centre Advisor

How long have you been with Monarch? 6 years

What do you love about it? I’ve always wanted to work in the airline industry from a young age (yes…I’m an ‘avgeek’!), plus you just can’t beat the great feeling of helping a customer.

An interesting fact about you: I have a private pilot’s licence and fly the PA28.

 

^JW

Jess

Name: Jessica Ward

Role at Monarch: Customer Services Centre Advisor

How long have you been with Monarch? 1 year 11 months

What do you love about it? I enjoy the working environment, and the people in it!

An interesting fact about you: I used to scuba dive.

 

^RV

Rachael

Name: Rachael Valentine

Role at Monarch: Contact Centre Agent (Holidays)

How long have you been with Monarch? Just over 2 years

What do you love about it? I’ve never worked with a more close-knit team than I do now and I’ve really enjoyed learning a new skill in answering posts on social media.

An interesting fact about you: I am scared of cheese – now I know what you’re all thinking, and no, I’ve never had a pizza in my life! I’ve gone through life with people getting their amusement out of chasing me with cheese…

 

^LM

Lindsay

Name: Lindsay MacDonald

Role at Monarch: Customer Services Centre Advisor

How long have you been with Monarch? A while..! I worked in Operations for 13.5 years and Cabin Services before then for 2.5 years. I re-joined at the end of February as a Customer Service advisor.

An interesting fact about you: When I was studying many years ago, I had a part time job as a ghost…yes, a ghost! I had to jump out of hidey holes in walls and scare the wits out of tourists.

 

^KK

koko

Name: Kokoab Khan

Role at Monarch: Customer Service Centre Advisor 

How long have you been with Monarch? 2 Years

What do you love about it? I love being a part of the Monarch family – I work with such lovely people and company who are always looking to aim higher.

An interesting fact about you: I am probably the biggest chocolate addict you will ever meet!

 

^KM

Jelly

Name: Kelly Marie Ridgway

Role at Monarch: Contact Centre Agent (Holidays)

How long have you been with Monarch? 3 years, 3 months

What do you love about it? I like the department I work in as it challenges me; plus, I work with a brilliant team of people!

An interesting fact about you: I’m a registered youth worker, and run two youth groups.

 

^VR

FullSizeRender

Name: Victoria Rooney

Role at Monarch: Customer Service Centre Advisor

How long have you been with Monarch? 1 year

What do you love about it? My favourite thing about Monarch is the people I work with.

An interesting fact about you: I used to play netball for the county.

 

 ^LC

libby

Name: Libby Cargill

Role at Monarch: Contact Centre Agent (Holidays)

How long have you been with Monarch? 6 and a half years.

What do you love about it? I enjoy helping people look forward to their holidays, and love working with our team as we all get on so well. It’s also a great experience communicating with customers via social media.

An interesting fact about you: I have double jointed fingers.

 

 

 

 

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Confidence in flying: my flight deck experience http://blog.monarch.co.uk/my-incredible-flight-deck-experience/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/my-incredible-flight-deck-experience/#comments Tue, 14 Jun 2016 07:00:41 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=13735 Confession: I like to feel in control. I am the one who insists to be the designated driver at any given occasion, the seemingly lost soul holding the map during a trip abroad with friends, and I can’t help but sneaking into first position on a bike ride. I can’t say this is always successful (me and map reading in particular are still working on our relationship), but feeling like I have an involvement in the direction I am going somewhat makes me feel happy and secure.

With this in mind, you may guess that I have mixed feelings when it comes to sitting on an aeroplane. I am a frequent flier and am very accepting of flying being the safest way of travelling; reading about how turbulence works, how pilots handle bad weather and how cabin crew are trained when it comes to passenger safety, validates this well-known fact. My favourite part of a flight is take-off – the feeling of being “squashed” to your seat is so unique and I enjoy the adrenaline kick you get when the plane lifts off the ground. But when the excitement wears off, that’s when it slightly changes for me.

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Here’s a fairly typical scenario that takes place on nearly every flight I take when I visit my family in Northern Italy. About 1.45hrs into the flight, the seatbelt sign switches on; the crew then immediately proceeds to reinforce the message by confirming that we may encounter some turbulence over the Alps. Whilst I am far from being a fan of turbulence, what mainly populates my mind is what may be happening behind the cockpit door. How do the pilots even know we’re going to encounter turbulence? What buttons are they pressing and what knobs are they turning to make sure we’ll be safe until landing? My inner control freak, which I’ve successfully repressed so far, makes an appearance. I remain calm on the outside, but not feeling in control or knowing what is going on behind that door somehow and all of a sudden tampers my confidence in flying.

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Since starting my job at Monarch over a year ago, I have had the opportunity to see a lot of what goes on “behind the scenes”. I have learnt how crucial our customers’ safety is and have marvelled at the countless, precise steps taken to ensure this – from maintenance, to staff training, to constant communication between all teams in the company; but one question had remained unanswered for a long time: what happens behind the cockpit door from take-off to landing?

I was lucky enough to finally receive my answer in a recent, very special flight: to write this blog, I was given special permission to sit in the jump seat in the cockpit behind the pilots’ seats for the whole duration of the flight, from take-off to landing. I jumped at the opportunity: how could I refuse the chance to finally experience a flight through a pilot’s eye? After going through a few security checks and management signatures, I was booked to go on a return flight from Luton to Gibraltar operated by Captain Martin Dudley (who is also Monarch’s Director of Flight Operations) and First Officer Chris Price.

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The flight departed Luton Airport bright and early, at 7.30am. I checked in, went through security and queued at the gate with the rest of the passengers; if any of you are reading this, I apologise for the stupid grin that was stamped on my face throughout the whole time. I just couldn’t help it. Once on board of G-ZBAS, an Airbus A320, the lovely crew showed me to my foldable (and very comfortable) seat in the cockpit, which slides out and locks in the centre of the cabin, behind the pilots. Captain Dudley, sitting on the left seat, welcomed me on the flight and gave me the safety instructions, including how to buckle up (the seatbelts in the cockpit have extra straps above the shoulders) and where the emergency exits are located.

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He also introduced me to the very friendly First Officer who was sitting to his right, Chris. Before I knew it, I was asked to wear my headset (this includes a microphone: you use it to communicate to each other in the cockpit, as well as to talk with Air Traffic Control), and we were ready to go.

Captain Dudley also took the time to explain what each section of the controls do, from the radar in the screen in front of them, to the autopilot section (the ‘strip’ of controls at the top), to the braking system. I wish I could remember them all – but as you can imagine it’s a lot to take in, especially when you are really excited and ready to be in the air!

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Before and after take-off, as well as before and after landing, the pilots will go through several – and very thorough – checklists, to ensure all systems on the aircraft are set up correctly. I sat quietly while the first checks were made and the plane was being pushed back by the airport tug; we then proceeded to queue up for departure (that’s right – not even aircraft escape queueing!) and in a matter of a few minutes, we were accelerating on the runway. One thing that stuck with me, remember that “squashing” feeling I mentioned on take-off? Strangely it’s a lot more subtle when you’re sitting in the cockpit, to the point you hardly feel the difference.

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Once safely in the air and following the after take-off checklist, pilots will normally let the autopilot take over; however, this is where I was wrong: I thought it was just a matter of pressing a button and relaxing, but there is a lot more to it. They still need to communicate with Air Traffic Control, check the radar, and make the necessary speed and altitude adjustments throughout the flight to ensure the aircraft is flying efficiently and is keeping well out of the way of others. We did pass several other aircraft, but even though they seemed relatively close, they were in fact several miles away.

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Spot the aircraft!

One thing that transpired from the very first minute I entered the cockpit, is the passion and confidence that the pilots have. It’s so infectious and I instantly knew I would be in safe hands. During the cruise I had the opportunity to chat with the pilots and find out more about them. Captain Dudley has 38 years of flying behind him (ten of which were spent flying Hawks and Jaguars for the RAF, the rest were here at Monarch). His dad flew the Lancaster during the Second World War which sparked his passion and motivation to take on flying. First Officer Price has been flying for five years, and his passion for flying stemmed from the times he used to go watch aircraft take off and land by a small runway in Lands End, Cornwall. Both pilots, despite the different backgrounds, are incredibly knowledgeable, well-trained, confident and have the ability to remain calm under pressure. They know the aircraft inside out and can take full control of the plane in the case of any (very unlikely) technical issue.

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Prior to taking off, both pilots will go through the weather conditions they will encounter during the flight which helps them ensure they make it as comfortable as possible for all passengers; their radar screen also alerts them of any bad weather and thunderstorms which they will largely avoid.

Some turbulence, such as clear air turbulence, is often unpredictable but this does not represent a safety concern; Captain Dudley explained that every single aircraft we fly is built to withstand a force much greater than any aircraft will ever encounter. He also said that the feeling of sickness one might experience during turbulence can be helped by simply looking outside the window. Extra tip: the best seat to be on during turbulence is by the wings – that’s where the aircraft will be more stable.

Another interesting fact is that pilots can communicate to our ground operations team from the air; so as well as receiving it from Air Traffic Control, they can get important information or assistance from their colleagues, too. They use a system that could be compared to texting; a screen on their side is used to type and receive messages.

10

A plus of sitting at the very front of a plane, is, of course, the views: to an extent, you can get some spectacular views from any window on an aircraft, however this is amplified by the wide, reinforced glass panel which basically surrounds the pilots in the cockpit. I definitely think this is one of the perks of the job!

During the flight, a minor technical glitch which affected the lighting in the passenger section made Captain Dudley take the decision to divert the flight to Malaga, where our engineers would be able to take a look and fix any issues to avoid any further inconvenience to the passengers. It might sound odd, but this enhanced my confidence even further: the decision was made quickly, all communication with the ground staff was done seamlessly and in the matter of a couple of minutes the pilots were given a new route to follow. Although they had to make some manual adjustments to the flight system, the safety of the flight was not compromised at any point and both pilots remained unfazed by a situation which could have been unnerving to some. They explained to me that the aircraft itself is packed with ‘redundancy’, which means that it would be perfectly safe to fly it even if, in an extreme case, one of the engines stopped working.

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Thanks to the great communication system that pilots have on board, by the time Captain Dudley safely landed in Malaga a coach had already been arranged by our ground operations team to take all passengers to their original destination, Gibraltar, which is a couple of hours away. The engineers were also already on site and waiting, and made sure that any technical issues were looked into and fixed. Before the passengers for the flight back to Luton boarded, the lovely cabin crew completed a safety check of the whole aircraft, which was also cleaned, and after only a small delay (which I have to admit, I can’t complain about as it gave us some time to lounge in the Spanish sun) we were ready to fly back to Luton.

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The flight back was very similar to the previous one, minus the technical glitch. Lots of checklist, spectacular views, and plenty of communications with Air Traffic Control. What also didn’t change was the fact that both Martin and Chris were constantly vigilant, but friendly and professional and happy to answer any questions I had (which was mainly “What does this button do?”).

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Can you spot the o2 arena?

All in all, I am so thankful I had this incredible opportunity. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and it really made me understand that no matter the circumstances when I’m sitting on a plane, I am in safe hands and my annoying need for control will no longer have to bother me while I’m 37,000ft above ground.

 

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Flying siblings: meet James & Chloe http://blog.monarch.co.uk/flying-siblings-meet-james-and-chloe/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/flying-siblings-meet-james-and-chloe/#comments Wed, 08 Jun 2016 07:00:33 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=13673 Meet James and Chloe Lynch, who are both cabin crew members here at Monarch. James has been with us since 2011 and in March, his younger sibling Chloe took the big step and decided to join him! They recently flew together for the first time, and we caught up with them to find out how it felt and what made them want to take to the skies.

Hi James and Chloe! So, did you both always want to be cabin crew?

James: when I was younger I honestly didn’t have a clue on what I wanted to do! I studied Sports Science at college, but eventually had a big change in subject and went on studying Travel and Tourism for a few months before joining Monarch. I couldn’t think of doing anything different now!

Chloe: I knew from about the age 13 that I wanted a career as cabin crew. Growing up with family members who work in and around the (Luton) airport really influenced me – especially James, who loves his job and always comes home with a smile!

What was it like growing up together?

James: We are very close and always have been. I’m very protective over Chloe, I’ve been there to make sure she’s doing everything right…right from when she started to walk and talk!

Chloe: Even though there is a five-year age gap we were very close growing up, James always looks out for me and keeps me involved in everything he does.

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Who is the eldest out of you two?

Chloe: James is the eldest, he is 23 and I’m 18!

I know you have recently travelled to Cyprus for the first time together as cabin crew. What was it like to work so closely?

James: It was strange to see my little sister working on the same aircraft, but I enjoyed it – especially as she is quite new in the job, I knew I could give her a hand if she needed it!

Chloe: It was very strange flying to Cyprus with James, but it’s not so bad because it’s not an everyday occurrence! Working in the same airline as James also helped me a lot because I didn’t really have to introduce myself to anyone, everyone either already knew who I was or could tell just by looking at me!

How did your first flight as cabin crew feel?

James: My first flight was five years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday! I never feel nervous, but I was both anxious and excited on the day. The rest of the crew soon calmed me down and the day ‘flew’ by!

Chloe: My first flight was to Faro. I was so nervous on the way out, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so many butterflies in my stomach! On the way back to Luton I felt a lot calmer and more confident in what I was doing. It helped a lot to have such a lovely crew that day!

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What’s your advice for anyone wanting to start a career as cabin crew?

James: Do it! That’s the only advice I can give you if you’re considering it. The training can take its toll, but it’s so rewarding after the five weeks are up!

Chloe: If it’s something you want to do, do it! It will be the best decision you will ever make. If you’re worried about the training or exams just push yourself, you don’t know what you’re capable of! The five weeks of training were the most tiring, stressful weeks of my life but they were the most rewarding so far!

What do you love about working at Monarch?

James: I love the friendly atmosphere, walking into the crew room and seeing everyone smiling, getting on and having a laugh together!

Chloe: The friendly atmosphere and the fact that everyone is so welcoming. There aren’t many jobs where you can walk in on your first day and already feel like you’ve been there for years!

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And finally…what is your favourite Monarch destination and why?

James: It’s got to be Gibraltar! It was my first flight with Monarch and it’s been my favourite since then. Seeing the famous Rock of Gibraltar can’t go amiss, especially when it has clouds around it or during a sunset!

Chloe: I haven’t done many flights yet, but so far my favourite has been Gibraltar. You meet a lot of lovely people who are genuinely interested in your job and love to have a chat during the flight which is great for me because I can talk for England! You also get to see the Rock of Gibraltar in the sunshine which looks amazing!

05.01.16 GIB

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Proud to be Monarch http://blog.monarch.co.uk/proud-to-be-monarch/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/proud-to-be-monarch/#comments Fri, 03 Jun 2016 08:07:44 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=13764 We recently attended Birmingham Pride with our very own Monarch float, and had a blast! I caught up with Natalie, Marketing & Partnership Executive, who helped organise Monarch’s involvement in the event.

Hello Natalie! To start with, tell me about the choice to take part in a parade.

Well, this year Monarch were keen to show its support to the LGBT community as a whole, and also to the same community within the company. We looked at lots of different ways we could get involved, and felt that a parade would be the best way to achieve our goal, as well as giving our employees the opportunity to take part in a fun way.

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Why did you choose Birmingham Pride?

Birmingham is our biggest base and with this being the 20th event for Birmingham Pride, we knew it was going to be huge. They estimated over 75,000 people engaged with the event over the weekend and it was their most successful parade. With over 75 walking floats, vehicles & buses, it was a great parade to be part of!

Who was part of the Monarch float?

We had a fantastic group which included employees from all over the business – from cabin crew to engineers. It was great to bring different bases and departments together and also meet some of our employees’ friends and family. Our crew are at the core of all our communications, so it was brilliant to have several participants wearing their uniform on the day. They were asked for a lot of pictures!

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What was the highlight of the event?

I think the energy of our group on the day was amazing and having a walking float allowed us all to interact with the crowd. My favourite part was the safety demonstration that the crew performed. It was a really fun way to get everyone involved!

That’s great to hear it went so well! Will Monarch be taking part in any more similar events?

As our involvement with Birmingham Pride was so successful, we’d certainly like to take part in other parades around the UK! We think that it’s not only a good opportunity to give back to our own LGBT community, but it’s also a great chance for people to interact with Monarch brand and  see what we stand for. I’d love to see us attend both Manchester Pride and Brighton Pride (both taking place this August). They are both huge events, and no doubt a lot of fun!

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Being cabin crew and an army reserve: meet Emma http://blog.monarch.co.uk/being-cabin-crew-and-an-army-reserve-meet-emma/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/being-cabin-crew-and-an-army-reserve-meet-emma/#comments Tue, 31 May 2016 05:00:02 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=13562 Emma is like a superhero; you could find her looking glam welcoming you on your next flight, as well as spot her sleeping rough in the wild, carrying a weapon with camouflage paint over her face. How is that possible, I hear you say?

Here’s the secret: Emma works part time as cabin crew here at Monarch, as well as being a British Army reserve. We caught up with her to see why she chose such different occupations, and what she gets up to in both. Enjoy the read! 

Hello Emma! First off, tell us a little bit about your background.

I joined the Royal Navy after I left school at 16. I spent five fabulous years living on warships around the world – this included serving onboard HMS Ark Royal during Op TELIC in 2003. I then left the ships behind to pursue a career on planes – that’s when I joined Monarch.

Today I live at home with my husband of eight years, my eight-year-old daughter Ellie and four-year-old son Archie.

How long have you worked in both roles?

I have worked for Monarch as cabin crew for nearly 11 years, but two years ago I decided to join the army reserves and started my training to become a combat medic technician for the British Army as a reservist.

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What made you decide to join Monarch after spending five years in the Royal Navy?

After serving five years with the navy I fancied a career change. During that time I came across a job application for Monarch and thought, why not – it can’t be that different from working on ships! I started on a temporary contract with all intentions of leaving after six months to start University (I wanted to go down a medical route, whether it be nursing or paramedic), but the six months came and went and I am still here 11 years later! I was very fortunate to be offered a permanent contract and I couldn’t give it up, I loved every part of my job and still do.

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What made you decide to join the army reserves?

After seeing their advert, I decided to go for it. Working part-time, I thought the reserves role would fit around my working life. I went along to my local career office, told them about my aspirations of wanting to train in the medical field and they suggested the role of combat medic technician. From then everything fell into place, I started my medic training last November and absolutely loved it. To know that one day I will be trained enough to make a difference to our heroes out there fighting to protect our country is an amazing feeling, plus I missed that military lifestyle and the people you meet. Now I have the best of both worlds.

If you could pick the main differences between the roles, they would be…

These are two jobs at completely different ends of the spectrum: as a cabin crew member I apply my make-up, paint my nails, plait my hair and put on my sky suit and heels; but when I’m not flying, I put on my combats, fill my Bergen with 15KG weight, collect my rifle and brush up on my soldier skills or march as a squad doing six miles in 90 minutes.

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As an army reservist, I once spent four days living in the field as part of my basic training, sleeping in a ditch that I dug out myself with a waterproof poncho tied to two trees for shelter – a far cry from the 5* hotels I’ve been used to in the past with Monarch in the Maldives. At that time, my only make-up was camouflage cream (AKA cam cream) and I didn’t brush my hair for four days!

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What keeps you passionate about both roles?

They’re so different from one another and I love them both for that. With the reserves I am learning new things all the time whether it be command tasks, leadership training or surviving in the field. Everything I learn in the army is a positive. When it comes to Monarch, I love how it’s so different from the army: I can wear heels and make-up and pull my case on wheels; I get to meet all types of people from different backgrounds; as cabin crew we are there to provide a service but I take pride in knowing that if anything untoward was to happen on a flight, being trained to the highest of standards, we would able to deal with the situation.

Are there any downsides to doing such different roles?

Both can be occupational hazards against the other. I once gave myself a black eye with my rifle (thankfully I was on leave with Monarch), and another time I sat in the car park at my unit in my greens scratching hot pink nail varnish off. But all in all, I wouldn’t change either role and I am so passionate about both.

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How do your colleagues react when they find out about your other occupation?

I love the fact that my army friends are shocked when they find out I’m cabin crew, and my cabin crew friends are shocked when they find out I am in the army. They are surprised by the contrast: one day I will be scraping my hair back in a bun, putting on my combats and playing soldier learning new skills; another day, I am applying a full face of make-up, fuchsia nail varnish and lipstick and wheeling my case instead of putting it on my back!

However like this week, when I am alternating both jobs, I do worry about turning up to either job in the wrong uniform!

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Meet Sally, Corporate Responsibility & Communications Coordinator http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-sally-corporate-responsibility-communications-coordinator/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-sally-corporate-responsibility-communications-coordinator/#comments Tue, 24 May 2016 07:00:18 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=13635 Doing My Bit For Charity – by Sally Russell

Sally Russell

I was born in March, Cambridgeshire and grew up in the village of Brampton near Huntingdon. I went to Hinchingbrooke School, the local 1800-pupil comprehensive, which gave me the best start in life.  My love of all things outdoors led me to Loughborough University where, aside from playing sport and enjoying the odd pint of purple nasty, I studied Modern European Studies (Economics, Politics and German). The best thing about my degree was spending a year living in Germany – I learnt how the world worked and with five different nationalities in my flat and German our only common language, I had to learn quickly! These days I live in Hitchin and am married with three teenage children and a husband (also a positive legacy of my time at Loughborough!) who has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years.

My friends would probably describe me as kind, calm and confident.  I’m also known for my lively sense of fun and my wise counsel – and for mixing the two whenever possible!

I joined Monarch in January 2014 following a number of happy years working as Community Partnerships Manager for Hertfordshire Constabulary and a long and successful career in sales and marketing before that. Compassion and community-mindedness have always been important to me and I made a positive decision that whatever I did next in my professional life would involve working with charities. This, along with my love of travel, meant that the job at Monarch was the perfect opportunity.

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My day to day role involves making sure that Monarch is a responsible corporate citizen and provides effective and sustainable support to the charitable sector through fundraising, skills transfer, benefits in kind, volunteering, ambassadorship and networking. I manage the relationship with Monarch’s charity partners and look after all charity related activities including employee matched funding, strategic CSR initiatives, fundraising and events. Most recently I was responsible for the implementation of Monarch’s corporate charity partnerships review including the employee vote for new charity partners. I also act as Secretary to the Monarch Foundation charity group making sure that charity initiatives and activities are reviewed by the group and are brought alive across the business. I work with a fantastic network of charity champions who are based at all Monarch locations both in the UK and overseas and I support them in any charitable and fundraising activities they are planning. My role sits within the PR & Comms team and another element of my job is promoting the work of our charity partners and the Monarch Foundation to Monarch’s staff and customers. I write the internal comms for the Monarch Foundation on Monarch’s intranet and external articles for the press and for our inflight magazine, Passport. I also look after any other charitable activity which Monarch supports including one off campaigns, onboard charity initiatives and requests for donations.

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The thing I love most about my work is helping Monarch to make a positive difference to society – playing a pivotal role in how our customers and employees can make a difference to others is extremely rewarding. I work with some wonderful charities who do amazing things and being involved with them on a daily basis means I’m lucky enough to see first-hand how important their work is and how they help those in need of support. It puts everything into perspective. Life is hard for so many people and often it is the smallest of gestures that can make a huge difference to someone. I also really enjoy supporting staff fundraising and helping to encourage those who have made the often brave step to raise money for their chosen charity.

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One of the more challenging elements of my job is thinking of fun and innovative ways to engage employees and customers with our charities.  But this is also one of the elements I enjoy the most as it results in a lot of enthusiasm from everyone as they get involved in all sorts of different activities!  The annual Monarch “Pimp My Pod” competition is a really good example of this, with our CEO at the forefront of the fun, along with the Movember campaign, which always results in a lot of competitive hair growth from our employees and customers! Some of my highlights at Monarch have included being an international volunteer for the Homeless World Cup Foundation, working with the inspirational Blind Veteran Simon Brown; implementing a strategic review of the onboard charity collections procedure and moving to a new supplier; working on the employee vote for new charity partners and being asked as an industry expert to be a judge at this year’s Business Charity Awards.

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My best moment since I joined Monarch was at the 2014 Homeless World Cup in Santiago, Chile. It was such a privilege to be a part of the phenomenal work of this small charity, which uses football to change the lives of homeless people. At the opening ceremony, Mel Young, co-Founder and President of the Homeless World Cup, said to the hundreds of players who had turned their lives around from homelessness “You are showing the world how we as human beings should behave. You are an example to the world”. Listening to those words and seeing the incredible impact of the Homeless World Cup Foundation and the way in which lives had been changed was a defining experience for me.

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If you’re thinking of pursuing a career similar to mine, make sure you work for a cause you believe in, get a good grounding in marketing and communications and gain as much experience in third sector activities as you can – from volunteering to fundraising and event organisation. Being a people person and a good communicator is a must. And last but not least, you need to have a heart big enough for the incredible people you will meet, the countless acts of kindness you will see and the unbelievable resilience you will come to understand from those for whom the work of a charity is their lifeline.

 

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Meet Ed, Avionics Technical Services Engineer http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-ed-avionics-technical-services-engineer/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-ed-avionics-technical-services-engineer/#comments Tue, 17 May 2016 07:00:58 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=13495 Working in avionics means no day is the same, as Ed will tell you. Find out what he gets up to here at Monarch as an Avionics Technical Services Engineer! Spoiler: it involves travelling to Greenland.

 Hi Ed! First off, let’s find out a bit more about you – what’s your background?

I was born in Luton and was raised in a village about 10miles form there called Harlington. I spent 16 years there until I moved back to Luton after I got an apprenticeship with Monarch. I went to Harlington Upper School which is a Specialist Science College which I really enjoyed. It turns out a lot of people from Harlington Upper School work as engineers here at MAEL!

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If your friends described you in three words, they would say…

Generous, committed and caring. I am usually referred to as the one in charge – taking after my dad. I always know what we’re doing and where we going.

When did your passion for aircraft start?

My whole family works at Luton airport so it’s kind of in my blood. However I’ve always wanted to do something different, something you don’t hear of people doing every day. I started out wanting to be an electrician, but was soon on to the idea of becoming an aircraft engineer. As I wanted to be an electrician what better to do than work in avionics, the best of both worlds.

Why did you choose to work in engineering?

I enjoy tinkering, taking things apart and putting them back together. I also love cars and motorbikes especially, I ride my Yamaha MT-07 every day to work and back. This said, I thought I could take on the challenge of working on aircraft – it’s a different level of engineering, the tolerances worked to are within thousands of an inch! My apprenticeship certainly pushed my boundaries, but I enjoyed every minute of it and I’m glad I did it.

What made you want to work for Monarch?

My auntie was cabin crew for Monarch at the time I expressed my interest in the aviation industry, so she got me an application form to apply for the company’s apprenticeship scheme. I had looked around at other companies, but Monarch has been commended for their apprenticeship scheme and has been taking on apprentices for 40 years or so. I ended up only applying for Monarch, as I only wanted to get an apprenticeship here. Thankfully, I got it.

How long have you been working for Monarch?

I have worked for Monarch for nearly 7 years. I completed my four years’ worth of apprenticeship which I loved; when I finished all the apprenticeship graduates including myself were offered jobs at the newly-opened Birmingham hangar, which at the time didn’t suit me. It was while on an ‘A’ license module course at the training school that I saw the Technical Services role advertised. Having some of the engineers moving up to the department in my final year of my apprenticeship made me interested to see what it was all about. I knew they had taken on a trainee in the past so I applied and the rest, as they say, is history.

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What does your day-to-day job consist of?

My day to day role consists of an enormous amount of work. It can be anything from assessing publications for Service Bulletins to Airworthiness Directives for some of our many customers, to troubleshooting aircraft issues, to speaking to manufacturers or vendors. We also have a long list of other work items we have to monitor – some of these being user-loadable software, coding and registering Emergency Locator Transmitters, controlling modification statuses, providing assistance in flight safety investigations, monitoring defects, reliability analysis, support to aircraft on ground and many more. Also answering any issues our customers may have. As you can tell a lot of work goes on! There are 16 Technical Services Engineers on my floor with the same workload as me, if not more on some days. The workload can change from day to day, I am never doing the same thing. This is a busy and exciting time to be a Technical Services Engineer at MAEL.

What are some of your best memories from travelling on the job?

I’d say the best memory from travelling with work was travelling to Greenland. It was a trip of a lifetime! How many people can say that? I have been to many places but Greenland sticks out. Between jobs we went fishing, saw an iceberg, got bitten by small birds (not so fun), drank local beer and I was inside the Arctic Circle!

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What are some of the challenges of the job?

The main challenge of this role is keeping on top of the massive workload! There is so much to do and my to-do list is usually jam-packed with items. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy being busy, I find if you’re busy throughout the day it goes quicker. Plus I really do enjoy my job which makes the day go even faster!

What gives you the most satisfaction in the job?

The most satisfying part of my job is seeing the aircraft fly overhead. Knowing how much time and effort that goes on behind closed doors in Technical Services is great, the engineers do a great job but it isn’t without help.

What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job?

What keeps me motivated to enjoy my job is literally enjoying my job. It’s never hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. We also have a good bunch of guys and gals up here and that helps to. I work with a fantastic bunch of people and enjoy every minute of it.

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What do you love the most about it?

It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing, so here are two reasons. One of the things I love most about being a Technical Services Engineer is the challenge, no two jobs are exactly the same. The second thing is the travel, it’s a dream of mine to see the world and travel to do something I enjoy and getting paid for it, is quality! I have been travelling a lot recently but being a young man with no family of my own or commitments it’s easy for me to drop what I am doing and go. Next week I will be going to a new destination, Zurich, which I am really excited about. It’s for a C Check (a big aircraft maintenance check) on one of the aircraft that I look after, and I will be providing onsite support.

What are some of your proudest achievements?

My proudest achievement…so far is completing my apprenticeship! I worked hard for four years but it is paying off now. I really enjoyed it and it was made a breeze by the engineers that I worked with in the Luton facility. I am thankful for their support, they were brilliant. Also a big thanks to my colleagues Jay O’Brien and Jeff Brewer for putting up with me for four years!

Any advice for those thinking or pursuing a career similar to yours?

Absolutely!! Work hard in school, enjoy what you’re doing, and take life as it comes.

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Thank you for your time Ed! Now to finish the interview off…tell me a fun fact about you!

Fun fact about me…I am always happy. You will be hard pushed to find me in a bad mood. Also I enjoy going to watch the England cricket team in fancy dress!

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B737 MAX Project: a Q&A with Captain Jan Buschgens http://blog.monarch.co.uk/b737-max-project-a-qa-with-captain-jan-buschgens/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/b737-max-project-a-qa-with-captain-jan-buschgens/#comments Sat, 14 May 2016 07:00:46 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=13471 Not too long ago we announced we’d be taking delivery of 30 next-generation Boeing 737 Max 8s in 2018. We caught up with Captain Jan Buschgens, B737 Fleet Manager and part of the project team, to learn more about him and his role in the acquisition of the new fleet.

 Hello Captain Buschgens! How long have you been a Captain for Monarch?

I joined Monarch in 2003 as a cadet pilot on the Airbus 320 Fleet starting as a junior First Officer. In 2005 I upgraded onto the Airbus 330 fleet flying a mix of short and long haul. In 2011, I gained my command on the A320/1. During this time I had the opportunity to join the Flight Ops Management team as a Technical Pilot.

Captain Jan Buschgens

Can you let us know what you’re responsible for in the new fleet project?

As the 737 Fleet Manager, I am responsible for the selection of all flight deck systems. From Pilot foot warmers and sheep skin seat covers to Future Air Navigation Systems. I am also responsible for designing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and managing aircraft documentation.

Are all aircraft ‘flight deck’ systems different?

Yes, the architecture of the Boeing 737 is of a completely different design compared with the Airbus. The Boeing 737 is flown primarily by cables, the Airbus is Fly-by-Wire electrics. The 737 MAX Avionics (flying displays and navigation systems) are more advanced to cope with future EASA regulations.

Are you looking forward to a flying a B737?

I am really looking forward to operate the B737! It’s the same excitement as driving a car with that “new car” smell. A brand-new cabin with the latest Boeing Sky interior and mood lighting. The Avionics systems in the flight deck will be of the latest technology available combined with new fuel efficient engines.

Playa de Las Teresitas and San Andres, Canary Island Tenerife, Spain
Playa de Las Teresitas and San Andres, Canary Island Tenerife, Spain

I know you recently visited the Boeing factory in Seattle. What did you enjoy about the trip?

Seattle (Renton) is the home base of Boeing where the B737 are being built. I participated, together with other members of the project team, in a visit with the Boeing configuration team. We discussed about flight deck systems and options available.

Meeting and getting to know people from Boeing together with their great hospitality was a highlight of this trip.

What are some of the challenges of your area of the project?

There are many challenges ahead, one of which is dealing with EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency), regulations and future mandates. Also, selecting the correct aircraft systems to be compliant for the future.

What benefits will come with the new fleet in your opinion?

The new 737MAX will come with many benefits, one of them being the fuel-efficient engines. The cabin will look more spacious and will be equipped with Boeing’s latest sky interior. This interior will offer different colours of light for every occasion: boarding, meal service, sunset and sunrise. Also the overhead baggage lockers are redesigned to create as much space as possible.

Flight-deck wise, the aircraft will be equipped with the latest Navigation Performance Technology called RNP-AR. This system can be used to operate to more demanding destinations like Innsbruck, Salzburg and Chambery by using lower landing limits and potentially avoiding diversions due to weather conditions.

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Meet Jamie, Ground Operations Officer http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-jamie-ground-operations-officer/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-jamie-ground-operations-officer/#comments Wed, 11 May 2016 07:00:10 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=13326 The Ground Operations team here at Monarch is dedicated to make your airport experience as smooth as possible. From handling unexpected disruptions to developing great relationships with ground handling agents, the role of a Ground Operations Officer is one of the most varied you’ll find in the business! I have caught up with Jamie to learn more about what he gets up to on a daily basis. Enjoy!

Hi Jamie, thanks for your time! First off, what’s your background?

I was born and raised in Birmingham and went to The International School where I studied Travel & Tourism and Business. I worked in Midlands Co-op Travel Agency for nearly four years, after which I started my journey with Monarch at Birmingham airport as an Airport Customer Experience Host. After over two years in the airport, I moved to Luton in 2014 to progress in my career with Monarch as a Ground Operations Officer.

If your friends described you in three words, they would say…

Funny, Crazy and Honest.

When did your passion for aviation start?

My passion for aviation began when I chose it as a course in school. I was instantly interested in all areas of the industry. When I left school in 2008 I started an apprenticeship with Midlands Co-op Travel Agency where I sold holidays, flights and travel services to customers. I really enjoyed finding the best holidays for my customers and making sure they got the best value for money. In 2012, due to the company closing stores, I decided to find a new challenge with Monarch.

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What made you want to work for Monarch?

I wanted to work for Monarch as I felt the company understood the needs of its customers. I also loved the family feel.

Why did you choose to work in Ground Operations?

I enjoy the buzz and the atmosphere of airports. The department is so complex and we work with many other departments and other areas of aviation, so the knowledge you can gain has no boundaries.

What does your day-to-day job consist of?

As a Ground Operations Officer, I have a dual-based role. For two months I work in the IOC (24-hour Integrated Operations Centre) handling on-the-day issues across all five of our UK bases and 31 overseas airports. During the day and overnight we work with our Operations team to ensure all airport issues are resolved to achieve on-time departure, and to minimise disruption to our customers. If there is a delay, we ensure we provide the correct customer welfare, updates, support and care.

The other two months I’m based in Head Office, looking after my dedicated airports. Our overseas airports are visited based on volume of flights and performance. For instance, our top six high-customer-volume airports are visited every two weeks. During these visits, we build a great relationship with our ground handling agents and airport authorities and observe all the customer touch points throughout the airports to ensure our customers have a safe, smooth and on-time departure. We also have an oversight and complete regular checks on movement around the aircraft during turnaround to ensure vehicles and equipment operate to our safety and compliance procedures accordingly to ensure our staff are working in a safe environment. For the past 12 months I have looked after Malaga, Gibraltar, Almeria, Turkey and Israel but now the Canary Islands, and Crete will be my dedicated airports for summer 2016.

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What are some of the challenges of the job?

When we are based in the Operations department, we face challenges on a daily basis. We have to be ready for anything that could affect our operation at either our UK or overseas airports. This could be anything as small as a passport query for a customer or a baggage issue, to anything as big as a diverted flight or a delayed flight where we have to make sure our customers receive as much communication from us as possible. We also need to ensure they are provided with welfare such as refreshment vouchers and accommodation (depending on the length of the delay).

When we’re based overseas, every airport is different so we have to adapt our product to the airport but still ensure we remain consistent with what we offer to our customers.  We also face challenges with potential flight delays, and our responsibility is to think of alternatives and work with our ground handling agents and the airport authorities to improve the service or prevent these from happening in the future.

What gives you the most satisfaction in the job?

The most satisfaction I have in my job is when I see good results. It is such a good feeling when I walk out of the office at the end of the day knowing I have made a difference. I enjoy providing customer care during disruption and ensuring our customers know we are doing everything we can to prevent as much inconvenience to them as possible. I also enjoy when I make suggestions to my dedicated airports and we work together to improve something we offer as an airline.

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What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job?

Seeing the airports I look after perform well motivates me. Also, when something isn’t done the right way, it motivates me to learn from it and implement something to ensure it is completed the right way in future.

What do you love the most about it?

I love how every single day is different. You never know what the next phone call will be about. There are so many different questions I could be asked and if I don’t know the answer, I need to find it out – which is great as it means I am learning new things every day.

What are some of your proudest achievements?

One of them has to be becoming a finalist as Young Travel Professional in the UK through a travel trade group which worked with travel agencies throughout the UK whilst I was an apprentice. Another one of my proudest achievements was assisting with the launch of our flights to Tel Aviv in December 2015. I was involved with assisting our handling agents in preparation for the Monarch operation which was due to commence and ensuring they had full support and Monarch training.

Any advice for those thinking or pursuing a career similar to yours?

My advice would be to never be afraid to ask questions, spend as much time with people in various departments as you can, else you will never know how they work. Also, get involved with every opportunity you can!

On Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why?

My favourite Monarch destination has to be Turkey. I love the food, the weather, and the people. I first visited there when I worked in the Travel Agency and toured all resorts on the Mediterranean, this is when I discovered the Turkish Kebab and insisted on visiting every year. I was then lucky enough to have the Turkish airports as part of my dedicated airports which I visited last year and worked with them. Following closely behind would be Tel Aviv.

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