Behind the Scenes – Monarch Blog http://blog.monarch.co.uk Monarch Airlines Official Blog Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:01:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 Cabin crew life: meet Niall http://blog.monarch.co.uk/16886-2/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/16886-2/#respond Tue, 02 May 2017 07:00:37 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16886 Some people have travel in their blood, and our Manchester cabin crew member Niall is definitely one of them! Check out his story and find out what working at Monarch means to him, as well as what he gets up to on a daily basis. Hi Niall! First things first, tell me a little bit about you and how you ended up working for the big M! My Name is Niall, I was born and bread in Liverpool. I grew up in the Aintree area not too far from where the Gran National takes place. I left school always knowing what I wanted to do, however to get to the job role that I wanted, I had a couple of roads and options to take. Eventually I decided to start my travel career at the age of 16 as a travel agent and foreign exchange advisor. I left the company aged 18 to join Thomas Cook Airlines as cabin crew. I was put on long haul fleet covering Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica, Las Vegas, Barbados just to name a few. I left Thomas Cook in 2012 to come and join Monarch. I now live in the Wirral, over the water from Liverpool. If your friends described you in three words, they would say… Well…I have just put this to the test over Whatsapp and the answers I have received are “hysterical, honest and crazy”! What made you want to become cabin crew? I had always wanted to be cabin crew since I was little. Every time I went on holiday with my parents I watched the cabin crew at the gate and onboard the aircraft – I was amazed by them. I remember my mum asking me at the age of seven what job I would like to do (in fact we were sat on a plane going to Gran Canaria) and I replied by pointing at the crew. She called the cabin crew lady over to our seats and told her that I would like to join the team. The things mums do…I was very embarrassed especially when I had just told my dad I want to be a footballer! How long have you been working for Monarch? I have now worked for Monarch for four years and I can reassure you that time literally flies. I started on a fixed term basis and I have stayed here ever since. I am now a full-year working cabin crew. What does your day-to-day job look like? My day-to-day involves offering advice and providing exceptional customer service. Safety is also a massive part of my job role and we must make the aircraft safe for our customers (as well as our colleagues) at all times. We achieve this by making sure our responsibilities onboard the aircraft are to the highest levels of standards meeting all company expectations. Whilst in the air, I also promote products from our onboard range of food and duty free items. What are some of your proudest achievements? My proudest achievement was becoming part of the recruitment team at Monarch, which I love. I think at this stage I’m also meant to say my wedding is another of my proudest achievements. It took place last July, and it was designed around an Alice in Wonderland theme. It was amazing! Any advice for those thinking of pursuing a career similar to yours? All I can say is there are big changes happening all the time at Monarch and we have great teams on the ground and onboard to create one of the best airlines in Europe, which means better opportunities for the all employees. If you’re willing to work hard, want something different and want friends for life then the role of cabin crew could be perfect for you! Thank you so much Niall! Finally, on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why? This is the hardest question so far as we fly to so many destinations but I am going to have to say Gran Canaria. The resort of Puerto Rico offers sand, sea and year-round sunshine with a family-friendly buzzing resort. I LOVE IT!

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Some people have travel in their blood, and our Manchester cabin crew member Niall is definitely one of them! Check out his story and find out what working at Monarch means to him, as well as what he gets up to on a daily basis.

Hi Niall! First things first, tell me a little bit about you and how you ended up working for the big M!

My Name is Niall, I was born and bread in Liverpool. I grew up in the Aintree area not too far from where the Gran National takes place. I left school always knowing what I wanted to do, however to get to the job role that I wanted, I had a couple of roads and options to take. Eventually I decided to start my travel career at the age of 16 as a travel agent and foreign exchange advisor. I left the company aged 18 to join Thomas Cook Airlines as cabin crew. I was put on long haul fleet covering Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica, Las Vegas, Barbados just to name a few. I left Thomas Cook in 2012 to come and join Monarch. I now live in the Wirral, over the water from Liverpool.

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

Well…I have just put this to the test over Whatsapp and the answers I have received are “hysterical, honest and crazy”!

What made you want to become cabin crew?

I had always wanted to be cabin crew since I was little. Every time I went on holiday with my parents I watched the cabin crew at the gate and onboard the aircraft – I was amazed by them. I remember my mum asking me at the age of seven what job I would like to do (in fact we were sat on a plane going to Gran Canaria) and I replied by pointing at the crew. She called the cabin crew lady over to our seats and told her that I would like to join the team. The things mums do…I was very embarrassed especially when I had just told my dad I want to be a footballer!

How long have you been working for Monarch?

I have now worked for Monarch for four years and I can reassure you that time literally flies. I started on a fixed term basis and I have stayed here ever since. I am now a full-year working cabin crew.

What does your day-to-day job look like?

My day-to-day involves offering advice and providing exceptional customer service. Safety is also a massive part of my job role and we must make the aircraft safe for our customers (as well as our colleagues) at all times. We achieve this by making sure our responsibilities onboard the aircraft are to the highest levels of standards meeting all company expectations. Whilst in the air, I also promote products from our onboard range of food and duty free items.

What are some of your proudest achievements?

My proudest achievement was becoming part of the recruitment team at Monarch, which I love. I think at this stage I’m also meant to say my wedding is another of my proudest achievements. It took place last July, and it was designed around an Alice in Wonderland theme. It was amazing!

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

All I can say is there are big changes happening all the time at Monarch and we have great teams on the ground and onboard to create one of the best airlines in Europe, which means better opportunities for the all employees. If you’re willing to work hard, want something different and want friends for life then the role of cabin crew could be perfect for you!

Thank you so much Niall! Finally, on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why?

This is the hardest question so far as we fly to so many destinations but I am going to have to say Gran Canaria. The resort of Puerto Rico offers sand, sea and year-round sunshine with a family-friendly buzzing resort. I LOVE IT!

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Our summer menu gets a tasty upgrade http://blog.monarch.co.uk/summer-menu-2017-upgrade/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/summer-menu-2017-upgrade/#comments Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:00:18 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16859 May sees the start of a few changes on Monarch flights, with our onboard menu getting a tasty upgrade for the new season. Being major foodies, we know that getting your flight off to the best start means getting a mouthful of the best flavours, which is why we decided to look to our very own customers to shape our new in-flight offering. With a food survey sent to over 630,000 of our customers the results showed that over 64% of respondents had bought hot food on a Monarch flight, meaning that our Hot Breakfast and Pasta Pomodori will be here to stay come May! In regards to sandwiches; our Bacon Paninis were at the top of the list , with the Ham & Cheese and Cheese & Tomato Toasties coming in at a close 2nd and 3rd place, meaning they’re also here to stay. When asked what filling was most preferred on a chicken sandwich, more than half of respondents opted for coleslaw, resulting in our new Roast Chicken & Coleslaw Sub Roll being a new tasty option for our summer menu. Another new addition to the in-flight food offering will be the Mature Cheddar with Apple & Tomato Chutney Sandwich, after the majority of people opted for chutney as their perfect accompaniment to a cheesy snack. Dietary requirements are a top priority for 19% of our customers who took part in our survey.  A newly developed Gluten Free Feel Good Box will be available for sale, plus a brand new Vegetarian Mediterranean Snack Box will join our best-selling Ploughman’s Box. The trusty kosher Salmon Bagel, served on our Israel routes will also be remaining in our onboard menu. Look out for our gorgeous new menu card onboard from 1st May 2017 showcasing our delicious  money saving meal deals which are available on all Monarch flights*. *Fresh food is subject to availability. Wine tasting at 37,000 ft In December, we had the very difficult task of hosting an onboard wine tasting for our customers, with a mix of red and white wines to get everyone’s journey off to the best start (and put a few smiles on the faces of our returning customers!). From our previous food tasting panel we understood the science behind how our sense of taste changes in the air. With this information we believed that there could be no better taste-testers than our very own customers and we wanted to build a summer wine menu around those at the heart of Monarch’s services. “At Monarch we like to put our customers at the centre of everything we do so it was very important to us to let them tell us what they wanted to see in our latest on-board product range and food and drink menu. We’ve run customer tasting sessions, inflight wine tasting and even asked our customer panel to help us pick our latest menu. This all means our latest inflight should really hit the spot with Monarch customers.” Ian Chambers – Chief Commercial Officer Our outbound flight from Manchester to Faro gave customers a chance to try out three red wines, and it was safe to say that there were no objections to raising an extra glass – or three – on board. We taste tested a Shiraz Cabernet, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot. The best of the bunch was the elegant and well balanced Spanish Merlot by Contenda, scoring an impressive 16/ 20 of votes. It has complex aromas of plum and black cherries, one taster stating ‘it was easy to drink and fruity on the nose’. On the inbound flight, it was time to open the white wine, bringing home a little bit of the holiday spirit for those that were on their return journey. We taste tested a Chenin Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay. The whites were harder for our customers to choose between and we had a tie break between two. The one chosen to go onboard is the Contenda Sauvignon Blanc which has intense aromas of citrus and exotic fruit such as pineapple, with subtle herbs. It has a fresh, fruity and lively taste and we can’t wait for it to join the range in May. Not forgetting our Rosé lovers, the fresh and fruity Donna Lorenza Pinot Grigio Blush will also be joining the range. It’s fresh and fruity on the palate with hints of pear and citrus, as well as strawberries. All our wines are priced at £4.50 onboard and you can enjoy 2 for £8.50. The wine tasting was a great way to engage our customer and glean opinions making sure our selection of wines on board are tailored to the people who fly with us. A big thank you to everyone who took part. Watch this space for more experience flights coming your way in 2017! If you would like to see something new on our menus, let us know below!

The post Our summer menu gets a tasty upgrade appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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May sees the start of a few changes on Monarch flights, with our onboard menu getting a tasty upgrade for the new season. Being major foodies, we know that getting your flight off to the best start means getting a mouthful of the best flavours, which is why we decided to look to our very own customers to shape our new in-flight offering.

With a food survey sent to over 630,000 of our customers the results showed that over 64% of respondents had bought hot food on a Monarch flight, meaning that our Hot Breakfast and Pasta Pomodori will be here to stay come May! In regards to sandwiches; our Bacon Paninis were at the top of the list , with the Ham & Cheese and Cheese & Tomato Toasties coming in at a close 2nd and 3rd place, meaning they’re also here to stay.

When asked what filling was most preferred on a chicken sandwich, more than half of respondents opted for coleslaw, resulting in our new Roast Chicken & Coleslaw Sub Roll being a new tasty option for our summer menu. Another new addition to the in-flight food offering will be the Mature Cheddar with Apple & Tomato Chutney Sandwich, after the majority of people opted for chutney as their perfect accompaniment to a cheesy snack.

Dietary requirements are a top priority for 19% of our customers who took part in our survey.  A newly developed Gluten Free Feel Good Box will be available for sale, plus a brand new Vegetarian Mediterranean Snack Box will join our best-selling Ploughman’s Box. The trusty kosher Salmon Bagel, served on our Israel routes will also be remaining in our onboard menu.

Look out for our gorgeous new menu card onboard from 1st May 2017 showcasing our delicious  money saving meal deals which are available on all Monarch flights*.

*Fresh food is subject to availability.


Wine tasting at 37,000 ft

In December, we had the very difficult task of hosting an onboard wine tasting for our customers, with a mix of red and white wines to get everyone’s journey off to the best start (and put a few smiles on the faces of our returning customers!).

From our previous food tasting panel we understood the science behind how our sense of taste changes in the air. With this information we believed that there could be no better taste-testers than our very own customers and we wanted to build a summer wine menu around those at the heart of Monarch’s services.

“At Monarch we like to put our customers at the centre of everything we do so it was very important to us to let them tell us what they wanted to see in our latest on-board product range and food and drink menu. We’ve run customer tasting sessions, inflight wine tasting and even asked our customer panel to help us pick our latest menu. This all means our latest inflight should really hit the spot with Monarch customers.” Ian Chambers – Chief Commercial Officer

Our outbound flight from Manchester to Faro gave customers a chance to try out three red wines, and it was safe to say that there were no objections to raising an extra glass – or three – on board. We taste tested a Shiraz Cabernet, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot. The best of the bunch was the elegant and well balanced Spanish Merlot by Contenda, scoring an impressive 16/ 20 of votes. It has complex aromas of plum and black cherries, one taster stating ‘it was easy to drink and fruity on the nose’.

On the inbound flight, it was time to open the white wine, bringing home a little bit of the holiday spirit for those that were on their return journey. We taste tested a Chenin Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay. The whites were harder for our customers to choose between and we had a tie break between two. The one chosen to go onboard is the Contenda Sauvignon Blanc which has intense aromas of citrus and exotic fruit such as pineapple, with subtle herbs. It has a fresh, fruity and lively taste and we can’t wait for it to join the range in May.

Not forgetting our Rosé lovers, the fresh and fruity Donna Lorenza Pinot Grigio Blush will also be joining the range. It’s fresh and fruity on the palate with hints of pear and citrus, as well as strawberries. All our wines are priced at £4.50 onboard and you can enjoy 2 for £8.50.

The wine tasting was a great way to engage our customer and glean opinions making sure our selection of wines on board are tailored to the people who fly with us. A big thank you to everyone who took part. Watch this space for more experience flights coming your way in 2017!

If you would like to see something new on our menus, let us know below!

The post Our summer menu gets a tasty upgrade appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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Meet Katie, Senior First Officer http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-katie-senior-first-officer/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-katie-senior-first-officer/#comments Wed, 08 Mar 2017 08:00:57 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=12613 My name is Katie Withers. I’m a Senior First Officer flying the A320 and A321 out of Birmingham airport, where I’ve been based for the last five years. I joined Monarch six years ago, initially based in Manchester, but moved to Birmingham to be closer to family. Before Monarch, I spent eight months flying for EasyJet out of Bristol and Belfast Aldergrove. What attracted you to the job? As far as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to fly. I think the fact my Dad is also interested in aviation played a part; he had flying lessons when I was young, and used to take me to see air shows and visit air museums. I was hooked – I’d read or watch anything to do with aircraft. My interest continued to grow, and I joined the Air Training Corps at thirteen, and then the East Midlands’ Universities Air Squadron whilst studying at Nottingham. I considered a career in the RAF, but decided I’d probably prefer the lifestyle of commercial flying, especially being female. However, I lost my focus a little at this point as I wasn’t sure of the best route to becoming an airline pilot. I suppose I told myself that flying was just a pipe dream, and that I’d probably end up doing something else. How did you get into it?  I’d studied Law (on a bit of a whim – I wish I’d done an engineering degree but changed my mind at the last minute), and then fell into accountancy, joining a graduate training programme with Ernst & Young and working in audit. I hated this from day one, but my sensible side told me to stick with it as a good, solid career. I started flying lessons at a local airfield, Wellesbourne, at weekends. However, this only made matters worse when I realised how miserable I was in accountancy, and that flying as a hobby just wasn’t enough. I remember one particular instructor, Captain John Richards, who was a retired airline pilot. His inspiration, and the support and encouragement of my parents gave me the courage I needed to finally bite the bullet, and pursue the dream. I applied to CTC Aviation, a well-established training school that offered to take people from zero hours all the way through to sitting in the right-hand seat of a commercial jet. Luckily, I passed selection and was offered a course to head out to New Zealand (where they conducted the basic training) in December 2007. I duly handed in my notice at Ernst & Young, took out an eye-watering professional training loan, flew out to New Zealand, and I’ve never looked back since. What are the best bits of the job – and the worst?  I love my job, and I think it’s a real privilege to be able to say that – I’m very lucky. Even now a few years on, I sometimes have to pinch myself when I’m driving into work. I see some fantastic sights, from flying over the snow-capped Alps, to shooting stars at night, or watching lightening flash within a storm cell nearby. It really is a unique perspective of the world. Katie’s typical office view – credit: Michael Weeks With hindsight, I’m glad I spent two years in accountancy because I can say from experience that I don’t enjoy working in an office environment. There’s a greater sense of freedom when flying. We meet up as a crew of typically two pilots and four or five cabin crew, and then it’s down to us to safely get the aircraft and passengers to destination and back. Days out are often good fun, and there’s a lot of banter amongst the crew. This is probably down to the fact that Monarch is a relatively small and friendly airline, so people get to know each other better as we fly together more regularly. The technical skills of flying the aircraft are just one aspect of the job. There are countless decisions to be made throughout the day, and as pilots we must oversee the whole operation, keeping safety, legality and commercial issues in mind. We coordinate with various groups of people from ground handlers to air traffic control, and there are often problems and challenges to overcome in order to keep things running smoothly. Anyone who thinks flying is just button-pressing in an office with a nice view is much mistaken! Managing rest to stave off fatigue isn’t easy, and this is one of the big down sides to the job. We work unsociable hours, rarely have weekends off, and occasionally may have to work over Christmas or bank holidays. It’s not the sort of job that fits in with a typical family life, and I know colleagues with children can struggle to get childcare arranged at late notice when they’ve been called into work off standby. Saying that, many jobs are moving away from a traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday pattern so it’s a problem people will increasingly face. On the flip side, it’s nice to have days off mid-week, and standby days often pass without you being called in. In total, we have more days off in a year than an average worker. We spend a lot of time being tested and scrutinised – for obvious reasons given the responsibility of the job. Every six months pilots spend two days in a simulator where we must handle various technical failures and critical situations under test conditions. Most would agree that it’s not a pleasant experience, but it’s a good way to get the confidence to know we could handle such emergencies in real life. How often do you fly and to where? From Birmingham, we have quite a varied network of routes across Europe. Every day is different, some days are a lot more challenging than others depending on where we’re going and what the weather’s doing. I enjoy flying into places like Nice. It has an interesting approach which is fun to fly, and we get some beautiful views of the French Riviera. Generally, the flying programme is much busier in the summer, especially during the peak periods when children are on school holidays. We’re limited on the number of hours we can legally fly in a given time period, but nevertheless, rosters can be exhausting at times. It varies, but in the summer, runs of five or six days of flights are common, with maybe two or occasionally three days off between runs. This doesn’t sound too bad, but bear in mind that it’s shift work, so you may be getting up at 3am one week, and then switching to afternoon flights meaning you might not go to bed until 3am the next week. Also the length of a day’s work can vary depending on where you’re going, but probably averages at nine or ten hours from when you report. What’s it like working in a male-dominated industry? Females are definitely a minority in the industry, though there are increasingly more of us. I do feel a bit of a novelty at times, especially when I meet people and they find out what I do. The response from a stand-up comedian a few years ago who asked me what I did for a living sums it up and its not printable! People are usually well-meaning, and genuinely interested, though sometimes I find it a little awkward so now will often try to divert the question. First and foremost, at work I see myself as a pilot, gender doesn’t come into it. I can honestly say that my experience to date has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been told by some male pilots that a day out with a female pilot is different to flying with another male pilot. It’s not a negative, but just an observation, probably because the topics of conversation are perhaps a bit different (although no, I don’t talk about make-up and the latest issue of Cosmopolitan). They also say they notice more people glance at us walking through the airport than when they’re walking with another male pilot. I do feel that I put pressure on myself to perform well, perhaps because subconsciously I think I need to prove myself more than my male counterparts. In a modern airline environment, the skill set required is no longer “typically male”. After all, physical strength to handle the controls is less of a factor. Otherwise, there is an awful lot of multi-tasking, and softer skills of people management, communication and organisation that are arguably more traditionally female strengths. Obviously, there is a place for authoritative, decisive leadership (perceived as male strengths) but generally, a more inclusive and encouraging leadership style is used. Airlines want pilots to make considered, balanced decisions, and not take unnecessary risks. There is no reason why women cannot match this required skills profile, and perform well in the role of a pilot. Do you ever get any negative reaction from passengers?  I am aware that the odd passenger will make a sarcastic comment when they know there’s a female pilot on board. Most comments are teasing rather than derogatory, and if I’m there to hear it I’ll try and respond with humour. There’s no point being offended. Anyway, the vast majority of passengers seem totally accepting or not bothered, and I do get some nice comments when people are getting off the aircraft and realise they’ve been flown by a female. A few ladies in particular have said, “good on you”, or words to that effect. What’s your advice to other women considering being a pilot as a career?  I would encourage anyone who has a passion for aviation to pursue it as a career. Male or female. It’s not an easy career to get into. There are financial barriers to entry as well as the need to have an aptitude for flying. There’s a huge amount to learn and exams and skills tests to pass. Once qualified we continuously have to learn new rules and procedures. So you must be motivated to put in the necessary work to succeed. However it is a rewarding and challenging job, for a woman as much as a man. I can understand shift patterns may put some women off (and men of course), but this can be said for many other jobs. Throughout history, women have successfully taken up careers in other industries long perceived to be the preserve of men; medicine, law, finance etc. There is no reason why they can’t do the same in aviation.   Edit: since the article was first written, Katie was promoted to Captain and you will find her sitting on the left hand side of the cockpit. Congratulations, Katie!

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My name is Katie Withers. I’m a Senior First Officer flying the A320 and A321 out of Birmingham airport, where I’ve been based for the last five years. I joined Monarch six years ago, initially based in Manchester, but moved to Birmingham to be closer to family. Before Monarch, I spent eight months flying for EasyJet out of Bristol and Belfast Aldergrove.

What attracted you to the job?

As far as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to fly. I think the fact my Dad is also interested in aviation played a part; he had flying lessons when I was young, and used to take me to see air shows and visit air museums. I was hooked – I’d read or watch anything to do with aircraft.

My interest continued to grow, and I joined the Air Training Corps at thirteen, and then the East Midlands’ Universities Air Squadron whilst studying at Nottingham. I considered a career in the RAF, but decided I’d probably prefer the lifestyle of commercial flying, especially being female. However, I lost my focus a little at this point as I wasn’t sure of the best route to becoming an airline pilot. I suppose I told myself that flying was just a pipe dream, and that I’d probably end up doing something else.

How did you get into it? 

I’d studied Law (on a bit of a whim – I wish I’d done an engineering degree but changed my mind at the last minute), and then fell into accountancy, joining a graduate training programme with Ernst & Young and working in audit. I hated this from day one, but my sensible side told me to stick with it as a good, solid career. I started flying lessons at a local airfield, Wellesbourne, at weekends. However, this only made matters worse when I realised how miserable I was in accountancy, and that flying as a hobby just wasn’t enough. I remember one particular instructor, Captain John Richards, who was a retired airline pilot. His inspiration, and the support and encouragement of my parents gave me the courage I needed to finally bite the bullet, and pursue the dream.

Monarch Birmingham-4113

I applied to CTC Aviation, a well-established training school that offered to take people from zero hours all the way through to sitting in the right-hand seat of a commercial jet. Luckily, I passed selection and was offered a course to head out to New Zealand (where they conducted the basic training) in December 2007. I duly handed in my notice at Ernst & Young, took out an eye-watering professional training loan, flew out to New Zealand, and I’ve never looked back since.

What are the best bits of the job – and the worst? 

I love my job, and I think it’s a real privilege to be able to say that – I’m very lucky. Even now a few years on, I sometimes have to pinch myself when I’m driving into work. I see some fantastic sights, from flying over the snow-capped Alps, to shooting stars at night, or watching lightening flash within a storm cell nearby. It really is a unique perspective of the world.

12.02.16 FFD clouds over zurich michalis_weeks

Katie’s typical office view – credit: Michael Weeks

With hindsight, I’m glad I spent two years in accountancy because I can say from experience that I don’t enjoy working in an office environment. There’s a greater sense of freedom when flying. We meet up as a crew of typically two pilots and four or five cabin crew, and then it’s down to us to safely get the aircraft and passengers to destination and back. Days out are often good fun, and there’s a lot of banter amongst the crew. This is probably down to the fact that Monarch is a relatively small and friendly airline, so people get to know each other better as we fly together more regularly.

The technical skills of flying the aircraft are just one aspect of the job. There are countless decisions to be made throughout the day, and as pilots we must oversee the whole operation, keeping safety, legality and commercial issues in mind. We coordinate with various groups of people from ground handlers to air traffic control, and there are often problems and challenges to overcome in order to keep things running smoothly. Anyone who thinks flying is just button-pressing in an office with a nice view is much mistaken!

Managing rest to stave off fatigue isn’t easy, and this is one of the big down sides to the job. We work unsociable hours, rarely have weekends off, and occasionally may have to work over Christmas or bank holidays. It’s not the sort of job that fits in with a typical family life, and I know colleagues with children can struggle to get childcare arranged at late notice when they’ve been called into work off standby. Saying that, many jobs are moving away from a traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday pattern so it’s a problem people will increasingly face. On the flip side, it’s nice to have days off mid-week, and standby days often pass without you being called in. In total, we have more days off in a year than an average worker.

We spend a lot of time being tested and scrutinised – for obvious reasons given the responsibility of the job. Every six months pilots spend two days in a simulator where we must handle various technical failures and critical situations under test conditions. Most would agree that it’s not a pleasant experience, but it’s a good way to get the confidence to know we could handle such emergencies in real life.

How often do you fly and to where?

From Birmingham, we have quite a varied network of routes across Europe. Every day is different, some days are a lot more challenging than others depending on where we’re going and what the weather’s doing. I enjoy flying into places like Nice. It has an interesting approach which is fun to fly, and we get some beautiful views of the French Riviera.

Generally, the flying programme is much busier in the summer, especially during the peak periods when children are on school holidays. We’re limited on the number of hours we can legally fly in a given time period, but nevertheless, rosters can be exhausting at times. It varies, but in the summer, runs of five or six days of flights are common, with maybe two or occasionally three days off between runs. This doesn’t sound too bad, but bear in mind that it’s shift work, so you may be getting up at 3am one week, and then switching to afternoon flights meaning you might not go to bed until 3am the next week. Also the length of a day’s work can vary depending on where you’re going, but probably averages at nine or ten hours from when you report.

Monarch Birmingham-4134

What’s it like working in a male-dominated industry?

Females are definitely a minority in the industry, though there are increasingly more of us. I do feel a bit of a novelty at times, especially when I meet people and they find out what I do. The response from a stand-up comedian a few years ago who asked me what I did for a living sums it up and its not printable!

People are usually well-meaning, and genuinely interested, though sometimes I find it a little awkward so now will often try to divert the question.

First and foremost, at work I see myself as a pilot, gender doesn’t come into it. I can honestly say that my experience to date has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been told by some male pilots that a day out with a female pilot is different to flying with another male pilot. It’s not a negative, but just an observation, probably because the topics of conversation are perhaps a bit different (although no, I don’t talk about make-up and the latest issue of Cosmopolitan). They also say they notice more people glance at us walking through the airport than when they’re walking with another male pilot.

I do feel that I put pressure on myself to perform well, perhaps because subconsciously I think I need to prove myself more than my male counterparts.

In a modern airline environment, the skill set required is no longer “typically male”. After all, physical strength to handle the controls is less of a factor. Otherwise, there is an awful lot of multi-tasking, and softer skills of people management, communication and organisation that are arguably more traditionally female strengths. Obviously, there is a place for authoritative, decisive leadership (perceived as male strengths) but generally, a more inclusive and encouraging leadership style is used. Airlines want pilots to make considered, balanced decisions, and not take unnecessary risks. There is no reason why women cannot match this required skills profile, and perform well in the role of a pilot.

Do you ever get any negative reaction from passengers? 

I am aware that the odd passenger will make a sarcastic comment when they know there’s a female pilot on board. Most comments are teasing rather than derogatory, and if I’m there to hear it I’ll try and respond with humour. There’s no point being offended. Anyway, the vast majority of passengers seem totally accepting or not bothered, and I do get some nice comments when people are getting off the aircraft and realise they’ve been flown by a female. A few ladies in particular have said, “good on you”, or words to that effect.

What’s your advice to other women considering being a pilot as a career? 

I would encourage anyone who has a passion for aviation to pursue it as a career. Male or female. It’s not an easy career to get into. There are financial barriers to entry as well as the need to have an aptitude for flying. There’s a huge amount to learn and exams and skills tests to pass. Once qualified we continuously have to learn new rules and procedures. So you must be motivated to put in the necessary work to succeed. However it is a rewarding and challenging job, for a woman as much as a man. I can understand shift patterns may put some women off (and men of course), but this can be said for many other jobs. Throughout history, women have successfully taken up careers in other industries long perceived to be the preserve of men; medicine, law, finance etc. There is no reason why they can’t do the same in aviation.

 

Edit: since the article was first written, Katie was promoted to Captain and you will find her sitting on the left hand side of the cockpit. Congratulations, Katie!

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Meet Andrea, Airside Performance Manager http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-andrea-airside-performance-manager/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-andrea-airside-performance-manager/#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 08:00:48 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16516 Amongst the many roles you will find at Monarch, Andrea certainly has a very interesting one! Born and bred in sunny Venice, read what brought him all the way to Luton and what he gets up to on a daily basis… Hi Andrea! Let’s start with something interesting about you… I spent the first 27 years of my life in Venice before moving to London to pursue a career in commercial aviation. During those years was been forged by a multitude of different interests. I’ve been a scout, a full-time sprinter, a Trekkie, a biker, an aspiring tailor and astrophysicist, a student, an entrepreneur and many other things that helped me grow up. But more than everything else I was an aviation enthusiast and a pilot wannabe. Immediately after high school I started working with my father in theatres – not as an actor, but as a technician responsible for the magic behind the scenes. I was his partner and managed the company for a few years. Although it was a fascinating experience, I always felt that it wasn’t my path so I decided to further my education and attended university to study Economics. Once I graduated, nothing could stop me from jumping on a plane to London and be a step closer to aeroplanes. If your friends described you in three words, they would say… They would never openly admit, it but I know that deep inside they see me as a loyal, passionate and supportive friend with far too many passions and eclectic abilities. When did your passion for aviation start? I cannot exactly remember when, but I do perfectly remember why. It all started when my grandfather took me to watch aircraft taking off from Marco Polo airport in Venice. There was a tiny trail close to the water that ran parallel to the runway. We used to cycle there and sit on a bench watching all those incredible machines climbing before our eyes. I still have this vivid image in my mind of a long, slim aircraft that was the loudest of them all and had a livery with a lot of green in it: the MD-80 AKA ‘mad dog’, flying for the Italian flagship carrier Alitalia. Green happens to be my favourite colour and combined with the powerful sound of the aircraft’s engines and its peculiar shape I fell in love with it. That brief sight of the mad dog triggered the desire to become a pilot and subsequently my passion for aviation. Admittedly, the film Top Gun was also a huge contributory factor a few years later. Why did you choose to work for Monarch? When I landed my first job at Monarch I was looking to further my career within an airline. Then, my knowledge of Monarch was limited to the few details I had collected before the interview. What immediately captivated me was the strong reputation of being a customer-centric airline who deeply cares about its passengers. Now, what makes me want to stay with Monarch is the respectful and supportive work environment that ultimately translates in respect and superior service we all proud ourselves to deliver to our passengers. How long have you been working for Monarch? I’ve been working for Monarch since December 2014 when I started as a Ground Operations Officer. What does your day-to-day job consist of? One of the benefits of my current role is its variety, each day is different and new challenges keep rising. On an average day I may turn up at the airport early in the morning to inspect the aircraft and make sure they are ready to accommodate our crew and passengers. Subsequently I tend to supervise the departures of the busiest or critical flights, the ones that are more likely to struggle departing on time. Later in the day I normally have meetings with service providers, airport authorities and colleagues from different departments. Interacting with people around the business is fundamental to keep the operation going as smooth and safe as possible. Ground Operations are a fantastic example of the proverbial “blanket too short” and we need a delicate balance to keep the performance up to a satisfactory level. The last portion of the day is normally dedicated to office work. There are always forms to fill, checklists to complete, reports to write and safety investigations to follow up. In addition to all of these tasks I always make sure I have the time to analyse all our source of data aiming to keep our KPIs under control. Between all these things I am currently under training to make a decent tea with milk… no bread and butter for me! What are some of the challenges of the job? You can summarise my role’s challenges in two points: uncontrollable variables and stand-alone consistency. To explain the former you have to imagine the ground operations as an intricate puzzle, formed by many pieces that keep changing shape and size, and very few of them are under your direct control. We operate in airports shared with several other airlines, where a multitude of different service providers and stakeholders have to be orchestrated to make sure our flights depart on time and safely. We can do all the right things and yet someone else’s problem can suddenly become your problem. Not even mentioning how all airports and airspaces are interconnected and how much we can suffer locally from complications generated hundreds of miles away. The stand-alone consistency is even more difficult to achieve and it is all about creating the right conditions to make sure our operations are robust and the performance reliable on the long term without any direct involvement. It would be easy for me to get caught with the daily operations on the ramp but if I did so I would lose control of the bigger picture; ultimately my presence around our aircraft could become essential and this is not a desirable scenario. We have several service providers that look after our passengers and aircraft at the airport and they all aim to deliver a wonderful service to our customers. The stand-alone consistency can only be achieved by creating the right synergies between these players and making sure they operate autonomously in the right environment to express their potential. What gives you the most satisfaction in the job? My role in Luton allows me to make a tangible difference to our customers and to the business. I am convinced that working on the continuous improvement of Monarch’s performance means offering the best possible service to our customers and the best working conditions for our crew. I find gratification in knowing that I have an active role on this important aspect of the airline. What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job? There are three fundamental aspects that keep me motivated. Firstly, I like the people I work with, they are all exceptional professionals with a lot of inspiring experience. Secondly, I am learning new things every day therefore I’m widening my sphere of knowledge. Thirdly, I still have to achieve the results I have set for myself and I believe I have all resources and tools to do it. What do you love the most about it? I enjoy its focus. I dedicate my time and resources to one single airport, develop strong relationships, understand and live within the local environment every day. Being in close contact with the people you work with and immersing yourself into the airport gives you a different perspective and opens up a multitude of opportunities. But there is something else that I deeply love: it is the privilege of arriving early in the morning before anyone else, going to find one of our aircraft, being the first to open its door and spending a few minutes sitting in the flight deck, in silence. For someone who once dreamt of being a pilot it is something special! What are some of your proudest achievements? As strange it may sound, being successful in the selection process for my current role is something that I am particularly proud of. This is exactly the career progression I wanted and I remember I felt a huge sense of achievement the day I was told I got the job! On a less personal note when I was dealing with the overseas airports, I managed to obtain a substantial change on the stands allocation in two of our busiest destinations. This resulted in a better airport experience for our passengers and an improved punctuality of our flights. It wasn’t an easy task convincing the local authorities and I felt great about it! Any advice for those thinking or pursuing a career similar to yours? Commercial aviation is an old style industry based more on experience and practical knowledge rather than academic background, especially the operational side of it. There are no shortcuts and you have to work your way up the ladder. My advice is to start from check-in and move to aircraft dispatch as quick as possible, avoid laziness and take all opportunities to do more, to learn more and to gain knowledge as fast as you can. It is a competitive industry and you need to be always a step ahead of your peers if you want to stand out. On the flip side there is no room for individualism in aviation, it is truly always a team work and you need to find the right balance. Thank you for your time, Andrea! One last question…on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why? If I have to choose only one destination it will definitely be Venice. I was born there and for me it is still my other-home! Plus it is a perfect gateway to the Dolomites which are a spectacle. This being said, Menorca is a stunning destination for its waters… just beware of the jellyfish!  

The post Meet Andrea, Airside Performance Manager appeared first on Monarch Blog.

]]>

Amongst the many roles you will find at Monarch, Andrea certainly has a very interesting one! Born and bred in sunny Venice, read what brought him all the way to Luton and what he gets up to on a daily basis…

Hi Andrea! Let’s start with something interesting about you…

I spent the first 27 years of my life in Venice before moving to London to pursue a career in commercial aviation. During those years was been forged by a multitude of different interests. I’ve been a scout, a full-time sprinter, a Trekkie, a biker, an aspiring tailor and astrophysicist, a student, an entrepreneur and many other things that helped me grow up. But more than everything else I was an aviation enthusiast and a pilot wannabe. Immediately after high school I started working with my father in theatres – not as an actor, but as a technician responsible for the magic behind the scenes. I was his partner and managed the company for a few years. Although it was a fascinating experience, I always felt that it wasn’t my path so I decided to further my education and attended university to study Economics. Once I graduated, nothing could stop me from jumping on a plane to London and be a step closer to aeroplanes.

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

They would never openly admit, it but I know that deep inside they see me as a loyal, passionate and supportive friend with far too many passions and eclectic abilities.

When did your passion for aviation start?

I cannot exactly remember when, but I do perfectly remember why. It all started when my grandfather took me to watch aircraft taking off from Marco Polo airport in Venice. There was a tiny trail close to the water that ran parallel to the runway. We used to cycle there and sit on a bench watching all those incredible machines climbing before our eyes. I still have this vivid image in my mind of a long, slim aircraft that was the loudest of them all and had a livery with a lot of green in it: the MD-80 AKA ‘mad dog’, flying for the Italian flagship carrier Alitalia. Green happens to be my favourite colour and combined with the powerful sound of the aircraft’s engines and its peculiar shape I fell in love with it. That brief sight of the mad dog triggered the desire to become a pilot and subsequently my passion for aviation. Admittedly, the film Top Gun was also a huge contributory factor a few years later.

Why did you choose to work for Monarch?

When I landed my first job at Monarch I was looking to further my career within an airline. Then, my knowledge of Monarch was limited to the few details I had collected before the interview. What immediately captivated me was the strong reputation of being a customer-centric airline who deeply cares about its passengers. Now, what makes me want to stay with Monarch is the respectful and supportive work environment that ultimately translates in respect and superior service we all proud ourselves to deliver to our passengers.

How long have you been working for Monarch?

I’ve been working for Monarch since December 2014 when I started as a Ground Operations Officer.

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

One of the benefits of my current role is its variety, each day is different and new challenges keep rising. On an average day I may turn up at the airport early in the morning to inspect the aircraft and make sure they are ready to accommodate our crew and passengers. Subsequently I tend to supervise the departures of the busiest or critical flights, the ones that are more likely to struggle departing on time. Later in the day I normally have meetings with service providers, airport authorities and colleagues from different departments. Interacting with people around the business is fundamental to keep the operation going as smooth and safe as possible. Ground Operations are a fantastic example of the proverbial “blanket too short” and we need a delicate balance to keep the performance up to a satisfactory level. The last portion of the day is normally dedicated to office work. There are always forms to fill, checklists to complete, reports to write and safety investigations to follow up. In addition to all of these tasks I always make sure I have the time to analyse all our source of data aiming to keep our KPIs under control. Between all these things I am currently under training to make a decent tea with milk… no bread and butter for me!

What are some of the challenges of the job?

You can summarise my role’s challenges in two points: uncontrollable variables and stand-alone consistency. To explain the former you have to imagine the ground operations as an intricate puzzle, formed by many pieces that keep changing shape and size, and very few of them are under your direct control. We operate in airports shared with several other airlines, where a multitude of different service providers and stakeholders have to be orchestrated to make sure our flights depart on time and safely. We can do all the right things and yet someone else’s problem can suddenly become your problem. Not even mentioning how all airports and airspaces are interconnected and how much we can suffer locally from complications generated hundreds of miles away.

The stand-alone consistency is even more difficult to achieve and it is all about creating the right conditions to make sure our operations are robust and the performance reliable on the long term without any direct involvement. It would be easy for me to get caught with the daily operations on the ramp but if I did so I would lose control of the bigger picture; ultimately my presence around our aircraft could become essential and this is not a desirable scenario. We have several service providers that look after our passengers and aircraft at the airport and they all aim to deliver a wonderful service to our customers. The stand-alone consistency can only be achieved by creating the right synergies between these players and making sure they operate autonomously in the right environment to express their potential.

What gives you the most satisfaction in the job?

My role in Luton allows me to make a tangible difference to our customers and to the business. I am convinced that working on the continuous improvement of Monarch’s performance means offering the best possible service to our customers and the best working conditions for our crew. I find gratification in knowing that I have an active role on this important aspect of the airline.

What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job?

There are three fundamental aspects that keep me motivated. Firstly, I like the people I work with, they are all exceptional professionals with a lot of inspiring experience. Secondly, I am learning new things every day therefore I’m widening my sphere of knowledge. Thirdly, I still have to achieve the results I have set for myself and I believe I have all resources and tools to do it.

What do you love the most about it?

I enjoy its focus. I dedicate my time and resources to one single airport, develop strong relationships, understand and live within the local environment every day. Being in close contact with the people you work with and immersing yourself into the airport gives you a different perspective and opens up a multitude of opportunities.

But there is something else that I deeply love: it is the privilege of arriving early in the morning before anyone else, going to find one of our aircraft, being the first to open its door and spending a few minutes sitting in the flight deck, in silence. For someone who once dreamt of being a pilot it is something special!

What are some of your proudest achievements?

As strange it may sound, being successful in the selection process for my current role is something that I am particularly proud of. This is exactly the career progression I wanted and I remember I felt a huge sense of achievement the day I was told I got the job! On a less personal note when I was dealing with the overseas airports, I managed to obtain a substantial change on the stands allocation in two of our busiest destinations. This resulted in a better airport experience for our passengers and an improved punctuality of our flights. It wasn’t an easy task convincing the local authorities and I felt great about it!

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

Commercial aviation is an old style industry based more on experience and practical knowledge rather than academic background, especially the operational side of it. There are no shortcuts and you have to work your way up the ladder. My advice is to start from check-in and move to aircraft dispatch as quick as possible, avoid laziness and take all opportunities to do more, to learn more and to gain knowledge as fast as you can. It is a competitive industry and you need to be always a step ahead of your peers if you want to stand out. On the flip side there is no room for individualism in aviation, it is truly always a team work and you need to find the right balance.

Thank you for your time, Andrea! One last question…on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why?

If I have to choose only one destination it will definitely be Venice. I was born there and for me it is still my other-home! Plus it is a perfect gateway to the Dolomites which are a spectacle. This being said, Menorca is a stunning destination for its waters… just beware of the jellyfish!

 

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From apprentice to Head of Engineering: meet Lee Burgess http://blog.monarch.co.uk/from-apprentice-to-head-of-engineering-meet-lee-burgess/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/from-apprentice-to-head-of-engineering-meet-lee-burgess/#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 08:00:04 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=12709 I do love a success story and when I was organising the blogs for National Apprenticeship Week, I knew Lee Burgess was a natural fit. Starting off as an apprentice with Monarch Engineering back in the 80s, Lee worked his way up through various roles within the company, until his recent appointment as Head of Engineering.  I caught up with Lee to find out more about his journey, where the passion for aircraft started and how his hard work as an apprentice led him to a ‘flying’ career!   Hi Lee! Firstly, tell us a little about you! I was born and grew up in Hitchin, just down the road from Luton Airport. My dad used to bring me to the airport as a young boy, I recall a place in the surrounding countryside where you could wait and watch the aircraft pass over your head on the approach to the airport. I remember being in awe of but also a little scared of these incredible machines, two emotions which have put me in good stead throughout my career in aviation. I am an Arsenal fan for my sins, and enjoy running in the countryside surrounding my home. It sounds like your interest in aviation started early! How did you nurture this passion growing up? As a child I had a collection of aviation books (which unfortunately got lost during a house move). I also used to make Airfix models and had a collection in my bedroom. Now, about the apprenticeship at Monarch – when did you first hear about it? I became a Monarch Aircraft Engineering apprentice more by luck than judgement. An old family friend who still works for Monarch to this day took me for a tour of the hangars and I decided to apply for apprenticeships at the airport. I was successful in gaining an apprenticeship at a business jet MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) called McAlpines, but they went into receivership shortly after I started (through no fault of mine I hasten to add!). My fellow apprentices and I were walking down Percival Way (where Monarch’s Headquarters are based in Luton – Ed.) after being made redundant when we were approached by Julie Bonner, the then Monarch HR Manager, who asked if we would like to continue our apprenticeships with Monarch. The rest is history. What were some of the tasks you had to carry out during your apprenticeship, and what were some of the challenges? I did a four-year apprenticeship, with the first year based in a workshop learning the basic hand skills needed to work on aircraft. We learnt how to work with metal including shaping, forming, bending, and welding. We spent weeks filing a metal block to create a three-dimensional shape as per a drawing we had been given, with a tolerance of a few thousandths of an inch! We also learnt how to repair holes in aircraft skin and we made a lot of useful tools that I still have in my garage at home. During this time we also did a lot of theory training on engineering processes and standards, aviation regulation, and theory of flight to name a few. On top of this we did a day release to Bedford College to gain an engineering qualification. I really enjoyed my apprenticeship and made a lot of good friends, many of whom still work in aviation and I have remained in contact with. I have ex-apprentice friends who now work in Scotland, Toulouse, Seattle, San Diego, Abu Dhabi, and of course Luton. How did you find the environment at the engineering division? Year two of the apprenticeship was spent completing my college studies and touring the various departments that make up Monarch Aircraft Engineering. I spent time in Planning, Logistics, Component Maintenance Centre, Powerplant Bay, Technical Services, Design, and others. I really enjoyed this time as it gave me a good understanding of what each department did and how they supported the maintenance activity. I have always found the people at Monarch to be warm and welcoming, even as a young lad I knew this was a place I would spend many years to come. Which roles did you take on after you completed the apprenticeship, and when were you appointed Head of Engineering? I finished my apprenticeship in 1991 and still remember my weekly pay rising from £70 to over £200 per week! MAEL (Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited) had three hangars at Luton back then, and the volume of activity and number of different aircraft types and customers created a great environment to learn my trade. I spent 14 years as an aircraft engineer gaining the position of Leading Hand looking after a team of ten mechanics. Although based at Luton, I was lucky enough to travel a lot during this time; some of my most memorable trips were spending six weeks in Munich working for Monarch with LTE, carrying out a remote engine change in the searing heat to rescue a Monarch A300 in Larnaca, and working on the apron in Florida to rescue an Airtours 767 which had a collapsed main landing gear. These were great times spent with great people; for those that are reading this now, you know who you are. In 2005 I was selected to be a Business Expert User for a two year project that saw us select and implement AMOS as our MRO software solution. This helped launch my management career and since then I have held a number of management positions across the engineering business, culminating in my promotion in July 2015 to Head of Engineering. What are your responsibilities now? As Head of Engineering I am responsible for a number of departments within MAEL. I have a large team that provide Continuing Airworthiness Management services for the Monarch Airlines and other operators’ fleets. This basically means keeping an aircraft airworthy by ensuring a number of activities are carried out and by complying with the regulation set out by the body for the country in which the aircraft operator is based. These activities include the development of the maintenance program, monitoring the aircraft flight hours and cycles to ensure all required maintenance is performed when due, and the monitoring of the reliability of the aircraft/fleet to ensure a safe aircraft. MAEL provides these services for customers in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. I also manage the Design Services team who generate modifications for the Monarch fleet and for other operators; the Technical Library who manage and store all the technical documentation needed to maintain aircraft; and the Maintenance Planning and Control team in Birmingham who maintain an oversight on all the planned maintenance activity across our Base and Line stations. Looking back at your career – what are some of your proudest achievements? I was really proud to be selected for a team of engineers that worked alongside Boeing to complete the first series of pylon improvement modifications on the Boeing 757 aircraft. The pylons form the structure between the wing and the engine which basically holds the engine. Boeing selected Monarch Aircraft Engineering to complete the first modification, which involved removing the pylons, disassembling them and beefing up the structure to prevent cracking on older aircraft. We completed a series of aircraft with the Boeing team on site developing the modification instructions as we went. I still have a certificate from Boeing and the VHS video (!) that they produced to show other MROs how to perform the modification. I am also proud of my involvement in the selection and implementation of AMOS. This was a significant project that brought together experts from all over the business. We spent two years selecting the product, changing procedures, training staff, and then supporting the staff once it was implemented. That was in 2007 and the members of the team are still seen as expert users today. Clearly, I am also proud of my promotion into my current role. Having started out as an apprentice 28 years ago to become one of the four people responsible for the running of the business is a great achievement. However it is also an indication of what can be achieved within Monarch. I was talking to the son of a family friend back in February who is leaving school and wants a career in engineering. My advice to him was that aviation is a great industry to work in and, as long as you are committed and work hard, you can end up in working in any role, for any company, anywhere in the world. I also really enjoyed the Lead to Succeed leadership training that I completed a few years ago and culminated in us all meeting rower and Olympic Gold Medallist Katherine Grainger. Why would you recommend the engineering apprenticeship scheme? The Monarch Engineering apprenticeship scheme provides an excellent foundation for a career in aviation. Monarch Aircraft Engineering has hangars across the UK and line stations across the UK and Europe. Once you have completed an apprenticeship and learnt your trade, the sky really is the limit! Do you have any advice for those thinking of pursuing a career similar to yours? Definitely; you need good school grades, so study hard. Sadly apprenticeship places are limited, so apply to more than one company. If you are lucky enough to get in: work hard, ask questions, and enjoy it. Thank you so much for your time, Lee! I have one last question for you: on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why? That’s a tough one, but as I have young children I would have to say Menorca or Majorca. They both have great weather, great beaches, and are very family friendly. Are you interested in a career with Monarch Engineering? Our Apprenticeship Scheme is now open! Apply here.

The post From apprentice to Head of Engineering: meet Lee Burgess appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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I do love a success story and when I was organising the blogs for National Apprenticeship Week, I knew Lee Burgess was a natural fit. Starting off as an apprentice with Monarch Engineering back in the 80s, Lee worked his way up through various roles within the company, until his recent appointment as Head of Engineering. 

I caught up with Lee to find out more about his journey, where the passion for aircraft started and how his hard work as an apprentice led him to a ‘flying’ career!

 

Hi Lee! Firstly, tell us a little about you!

I was born and grew up in Hitchin, just down the road from Luton Airport. My dad used to bring me to the airport as a young boy, I recall a place in the surrounding countryside where you could wait and watch the aircraft pass over your head on the approach to the airport. I remember being in awe of but also a little scared of these incredible machines, two emotions which have put me in good stead throughout my career in aviation. I am an Arsenal fan for my sins, and enjoy running in the countryside surrounding my home.

It sounds like your interest in aviation started early! How did you nurture this passion growing up?

As a child I had a collection of aviation books (which unfortunately got lost during a house move). I also used to make Airfix models and had a collection in my bedroom.

Now, about the apprenticeship at Monarch – when did you first hear about it?

I became a Monarch Aircraft Engineering apprentice more by luck than judgement. An old family friend who still works for Monarch to this day took me for a tour of the hangars and I decided to apply for apprenticeships at the airport. I was successful in gaining an apprenticeship at a business jet MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) called McAlpines, but they went into receivership shortly after I started (through no fault of mine I hasten to add!). My fellow apprentices and I were walking down Percival Way (where Monarch’s Headquarters are based in Luton – Ed.) after being made redundant when we were approached by Julie Bonner, the then Monarch HR Manager, who asked if we would like to continue our apprenticeships with Monarch. The rest is history.

What were some of the tasks you had to carry out during your apprenticeship, and what were some of the challenges?

I did a four-year apprenticeship, with the first year based in a workshop learning the basic hand skills needed to work on aircraft. We learnt how to work with metal including shaping, forming, bending, and welding. We spent weeks filing a metal block to create a three-dimensional shape as per a drawing we had been given, with a tolerance of a few thousandths of an inch! We also learnt how to repair holes in aircraft skin and we made a lot of useful tools that I still have in my garage at home. During this time we also did a lot of theory training on engineering processes and standards, aviation regulation, and theory of flight to name a few. On top of this we did a day release to Bedford College to gain an engineering qualification. I really enjoyed my apprenticeship and made a lot of good friends, many of whom still work in aviation and I have remained in contact with. I have ex-apprentice friends who now work in Scotland, Toulouse, Seattle, San Diego, Abu Dhabi, and of course Luton.

lnkedin

How did you find the environment at the engineering division?

Year two of the apprenticeship was spent completing my college studies and touring the various departments that make up Monarch Aircraft Engineering. I spent time in Planning, Logistics, Component Maintenance Centre, Powerplant Bay, Technical Services, Design, and others. I really enjoyed this time as it gave me a good understanding of what each department did and how they supported the maintenance activity. I have always found the people at Monarch to be warm and welcoming, even as a young lad I knew this was a place I would spend many years to come.

Which roles did you take on after you completed the apprenticeship, and when were you appointed Head of Engineering?

I finished my apprenticeship in 1991 and still remember my weekly pay rising from £70 to over £200 per week! MAEL (Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited) had three hangars at Luton back then, and the volume of activity and number of different aircraft types and customers created a great environment to learn my trade. I spent 14 years as an aircraft engineer gaining the position of Leading Hand looking after a team of ten mechanics. Although based at Luton, I was lucky enough to travel a lot during this time; some of my most memorable trips were spending six weeks in Munich working for Monarch with LTE, carrying out a remote engine change in the searing heat to rescue a Monarch A300 in Larnaca, and working on the apron in Florida to rescue an Airtours 767 which had a collapsed main landing gear. These were great times spent with great people; for those that are reading this now, you know who you are. In 2005 I was selected to be a Business Expert User for a two year project that saw us select and implement AMOS as our MRO software solution. This helped launch my management career and since then I have held a number of management positions across the engineering business, culminating in my promotion in July 2015 to Head of Engineering.

What are your responsibilities now?

As Head of Engineering I am responsible for a number of departments within MAEL. I have a large team that provide Continuing Airworthiness Management services for the Monarch Airlines and other operators’ fleets. This basically means keeping an aircraft airworthy by ensuring a number of activities are carried out and by complying with the regulation set out by the body for the country in which the aircraft operator is based. These activities include the development of the maintenance program, monitoring the aircraft flight hours and cycles to ensure all required maintenance is performed when due, and the monitoring of the reliability of the aircraft/fleet to ensure a safe aircraft. MAEL provides these services for customers in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. I also manage the Design Services team who generate modifications for the Monarch fleet and for other operators; the Technical Library who manage and store all the technical documentation needed to maintain aircraft; and the Maintenance Planning and Control team in Birmingham who maintain an oversight on all the planned maintenance activity across our Base and Line stations.

Capture

Looking back at your career – what are some of your proudest achievements?

I was really proud to be selected for a team of engineers that worked alongside Boeing to complete the first series of pylon improvement modifications on the Boeing 757 aircraft. The pylons form the structure between the wing and the engine which basically holds the engine. Boeing selected Monarch Aircraft Engineering to complete the first modification, which involved removing the pylons, disassembling them and beefing up the structure to prevent cracking on older aircraft. We completed a series of aircraft with the Boeing team on site developing the modification instructions as we went. I still have a certificate from Boeing and the VHS video (!) that they produced to show other MROs how to perform the modification. I am also proud of my involvement in the selection and implementation of AMOS. This was a significant project that brought together experts from all over the business. We spent two years selecting the product, changing procedures, training staff, and then supporting the staff once it was implemented. That was in 2007 and the members of the team are still seen as expert users today.

Clearly, I am also proud of my promotion into my current role. Having started out as an apprentice 28 years ago to become one of the four people responsible for the running of the business is a great achievement. However it is also an indication of what can be achieved within Monarch. I was talking to the son of a family friend back in February who is leaving school and wants a career in engineering. My advice to him was that aviation is a great industry to work in and, as long as you are committed and work hard, you can end up in working in any role, for any company, anywhere in the world. I also really enjoyed the Lead to Succeed leadership training that I completed a few years ago and culminated in us all meeting rower and Olympic Gold Medallist Katherine Grainger.

Katherine Granger

Why would you recommend the engineering apprenticeship scheme?

The Monarch Engineering apprenticeship scheme provides an excellent foundation for a career in aviation. Monarch Aircraft Engineering has hangars across the UK and line stations across the UK and Europe. Once you have completed an apprenticeship and learnt your trade, the sky really is the limit!

Do you have any advice for those thinking of pursuing a career similar to yours?

Definitely; you need good school grades, so study hard. Sadly apprenticeship places are limited, so apply to more than one company. If you are lucky enough to get in: work hard, ask questions, and enjoy it.

Thank you so much for your time, Lee! I have one last question for you: on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why?

That’s a tough one, but as I have young children I would have to say Menorca or Majorca. They both have great weather, great beaches, and are very family friendly.

Antalya

Are you interested in a career with Monarch Engineering? Our Apprenticeship Scheme is now open! Apply here.

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Monarch awarded Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award http://blog.monarch.co.uk/feefo-golden-service-award-for-monarch/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/feefo-golden-service-award-for-monarch/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:04:51 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16447 Since 2010, Feefo have advocated transparency and trust in customer reviews and after recieiving 500,000, we have now been awarded an outstanding service award from them: The Gold Trusted Service Award. This recognises businesses that receive a high service rating from their customers (93% in the last month). It’s a testament to the cross department service delivery success with all areas measured from web booking to service at the airport and on board experience. Monarch strives to make sure that customers start their holiday the moment they enter the airport by accommodating to all their needs and we have developed our services to ensure that we maintain our acheivements over the past year: We became The worlds most punctual low cost carrier -OAG 2016 We reached 500,000 Feefo reviews from our customers We were one of the first airlines to offer 0% credit card fees on all flights and holiday bookings Other than flying you to our growing range of great European destinations Monarch want to ensure that everything we do reflects exactly what you expect and need from us. Whether we are inviting you to create our on-board menu or giving you free flights for your random acts of kindness; Monarch value their customers. We intend to make the entire journey a pleasant and comfortable experience and Ann Marie Cottee -Head of Cabin Services has said: We invest heavily in our crew training, both in safety procedures and service delivery with all crew undergoing World Host training. This is an accredited programme used to train the Games Makers for the London Olympics in 2012. It focusses on putting the customer at the heart of what you do. We were the first airline to roll out this programme in 2013. We have also simplified our on board service allowing more time for crew to interact with our customers. We have a robust programme for managing cabin defects, therefore ensuring our cabin environment is as comfortable and presentable as possible. And finally we have focussed heavily on OTP and last month OAG named us ‘The world’s most punctual low cost carrier 2016’ Your feedback is always taken on-board and we have recognised changes that you wanted throughout your flight with us. In November maintanence on the aircrafts were in operation, we took this opportunity to look into seat defects and then refurbished a couple of our planes to ensure our customers had a comfortable flight . This is just one of many improvements that have been made to make flying with Monarch more relaxing. We also listened to your views on pace of service which has now been updated to incorporate a speedier delivery on board. Website optimisation is a prominent change at Monarch where we are developing an easier experience when booking your flights. After reviewing our previous app we made updates to it to ensure that it is adapted to suit your busy lifestyles. Mobile transactions were up 300% YOY so it was important to make sure that we were delivering the best mobile service.The booking process allows you to now quickly find and book Monarch flights on the go whilst also allowing you to track your flight so you are aware of the status of your departure and arrivals as well as managing your overall booking. Another great feature of the app is that you can finally check-in online which makes your airport experience much simpler and stress free. If you don’t have it already make sure you download our app from Google Play or the Iphone App store.   If you know of any way in which you think we can improve our service please let us know below!

The post Monarch awarded Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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Since 2010, Feefo have advocated transparency and trust in customer reviews and after recieiving 500,000, we have now been awarded an outstanding service award from them: The Gold Trusted Service Award. This recognises businesses that receive a high service rating from their customers (93% in the last month). It’s a testament to the cross department service delivery success with all areas measured from web booking to service at the airport and on board experience.

Monarch strives to make sure that customers start their holiday the moment they enter the airport by accommodating to all their needs and we have developed our services to ensure that we maintain our acheivements over the past year:

Other than flying you to our growing range of great European destinations Monarch want to ensure that everything we do reflects exactly what you expect and need from us. Whether we are inviting you to create our on-board menu or giving you free flights for your random acts of kindness; Monarch value their customers. We intend to make the entire journey a pleasant and comfortable experience and Ann Marie Cottee -Head of Cabin Services has said:

We invest heavily in our crew training, both in safety procedures and service delivery with all crew undergoing World Host training. This is an accredited programme used to train the Games Makers for the London Olympics in 2012. It focusses on putting the customer at the heart of what you do. We were the first airline to roll out this programme in 2013. We have also simplified our on board service allowing more time for crew to interact with our customers. We have a robust programme for managing cabin defects, therefore ensuring our cabin environment is as comfortable and presentable as possible. And finally we have focussed heavily on OTP and last month OAG named us ‘The world’s most punctual low cost carrier 2016

Your feedback is always taken on-board and we have recognised changes that you wanted throughout your flight with us. In November maintanence on the aircrafts were in operation, we took this opportunity to look into seat defects and then refurbished a couple of our planes to ensure our customers had a comfortable flight . This is just one of many improvements that have been made to make flying with Monarch more relaxing. We also listened to your views on pace of service which has now been updated to incorporate a speedier delivery on board.

Website optimisation is a prominent change at Monarch where we are developing an easier experience when booking your flights. After reviewing our previous app we made updates to it to ensure that it is adapted to suit your busy lifestyles.

Mobile transactions were up 300% YOY so it was important to make sure that we were delivering the best mobile service.The booking process allows you to now quickly find and book Monarch flights on the go whilst also allowing you to track your flight so you are aware of the status of your departure and arrivals as well as managing your overall booking. Another great feature of the app is that you can finally check-in online which makes your airport experience much simpler and stress free. If you don’t have it already make sure you download our app from Google Play or the Iphone App store.

 

If you know of any way in which you think we can improve our service please let us know below!

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Meet David Page, group head of communications http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-david-page-group-head-of-communications/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-david-page-group-head-of-communications/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:06:54 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16392 There aren’t many departments in a company as dynamic as Communications. No day is the same and its range of responsibilities makes it a really interesting and challenging world to be a part of! Catch up with David Page, Monarch’s group head of communications, who will give you a glimpse of what his role is really like… Hi David! Tell me a little bit about you. I’m a Londoner – actually quite a rare breed. I used to think I was really adventurous and would live all over the world, but I’ve actually only moved about three miles from where I was born. I studied Geography at university: it gives you a good, all round knowledge of people and places. If your friends described you in three words, they would say… Organised, friendly, quite funny (sorry, that’s four words). When did your passion for communications start? It did out of necessity in my final year at university – I needed to find a job. I somehow knew that PR/advertising would be my thing as I like writing, influencing and being at the heart of a business. PR seemed to capture all of that. I joined a PR company called Biss Lancaster a month after leaving university, working on two amazing clients: Haagen-Dazs ice cream and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. It set the tone for a love of travel and food-related communications, which has lasted with me throughout my career. Why did you choose to work in PR? Because it offered the most opportunity to write and influence. PR/Communications should be at the heart of any organisation, it involves external audiences and internal ones and goes through multiple channels – journalists, opinion formers, consumers and employees. What made you want to work for Monarch? I’ve always loved airlines and holidays.  My dad was in the travel business so it’s in my bones. There are relatively few airline groups in the UK and Monarch is the oldest, has a great reputation – and was looking for a new head of communications! How long have you been working for Monarch?  Nearly a year now.  I started in April 2016. What does your day-to-day job consist of?  Running the in-house communications team and our external agencies. We never quite know what enquiry will come in from the media – so we always have to be on our toes. We plan proactive campaigns focusing on new routes, building our brand awareness and supporting our corporate reputation. We brief journalists, write statements, generate coverage in the media. Internally, we run the MPeople intranet and Internal Communications and coordinate Monarch Foundation activity. And overall try to ensure that all parts of the business know what the other parts are doing – and why. What are some of the challenges of the job?  Media is a 24 hour business now, so you never quite know what is going to come in. It might be a great opportunity; or it might be something serious. Internally, a big challenge is working out the best ways to reach the whole company. When so many of Monarch’s employees don’t work in an office, with a computer screen readily available, many traditional ways of communicating are limited. What gives you the most satisfaction in the job? PR is a very public side of the business. The statements that we write, the conversations we have, the interviews we arrange are all seen by our customers, stakeholders and employees. It’s a great feeling when a story lands really well – like our move to 0% credit card fees: when we’re seen as leading the way in the industry. It’s a bit of an old cliché but I really enjoy talking and engaging with people, so I’ve enjoyed getting out and about within the company – finding out who does what and how we can promote and enhance what they do internally and externally. And I’ve been lucky enough to sit in the cockpit during a flight to Gibraltar – looking out of the front of an aircraft was a dream come true! What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job?  Lots of things.  Getting coverage in the media (positive, hopefully!) about Monarch and its achievements. Seeing the impact the Monarch Foundation makes. Running a small but happy team. Getting staff discounted flights! What are some of your proudest achievements?  At Monarch, being with CEO Andrew Swaffield when he addressed the ABTA Convention in October 2016, announcing that our licence had been renewed and we’d had the largest investment in our history. It was a day spent making sure he spoke with everyone he needed to:  journalists at the event, journalists back in the UK, ABTA members at the Convention. It was literally a non-stop day, but very rewarding. In my previous job I escorted David Beckham up the BAFTA red carpet as he did his media interviews. That made me smile inside (although I had to look very serious on camera!) Any advice for those thinking or pursuing a career similar to yours?  Get experience – understand what some of the highs and lows are. You’ve got to love writing, be very adaptable to change and able to think quickly on your feet. Thank you for your time David! Finally…on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why? Rome. I’m a city boy at heart and Rome has it all. Amazing history, culture, beauty, food, day life and nightlife. I’ve been a few times and will happily go a few more.

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There aren’t many departments in a company as dynamic as Communications. No day is the same and its range of responsibilities makes it a really interesting and challenging world to be a part of! Catch up with David Page, Monarch’s group head of communications, who will give you a glimpse of what his role is really like…

Hi David! Tell me a little bit about you.

I’m a Londoner – actually quite a rare breed. I used to think I was really adventurous and would live all over the world, but I’ve actually only moved about three miles from where I was born. I studied Geography at university: it gives you a good, all round knowledge of people and places.

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

Organised, friendly, quite funny (sorry, that’s four words).

When did your passion for communications start?

It did out of necessity in my final year at university – I needed to find a job. I somehow knew that PR/advertising would be my thing as I like writing, influencing and being at the heart of a business. PR seemed to capture all of that. I joined a PR company called Biss Lancaster a month after leaving university, working on two amazing clients: Haagen-Dazs ice cream and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. It set the tone for a love of travel and food-related communications, which has lasted with me throughout my career.

Why did you choose to work in PR?

Because it offered the most opportunity to write and influence. PR/Communications should be at the heart of any organisation, it involves external audiences and internal ones and goes through multiple channels – journalists, opinion formers, consumers and employees.

What made you want to work for Monarch?

I’ve always loved airlines and holidays.  My dad was in the travel business so it’s in my bones. There are relatively few airline groups in the UK and Monarch is the oldest, has a great reputation – and was looking for a new head of communications!

How long have you been working for Monarch?

 Nearly a year now.  I started in April 2016.

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

 Running the in-house communications team and our external agencies. We never quite know what enquiry will come in from the media – so we always have to be on our toes. We plan proactive campaigns focusing on new routes, building our brand awareness and supporting our corporate reputation. We brief journalists, write statements, generate coverage in the media. Internally, we run the MPeople intranet and Internal Communications and coordinate Monarch Foundation activity. And overall try to ensure that all parts of the business know what the other parts are doing – and why.

What are some of the challenges of the job?

 Media is a 24 hour business now, so you never quite know what is going to come in. It might be a great opportunity; or it might be something serious.

Internally, a big challenge is working out the best ways to reach the whole company. When so many of Monarch’s employees don’t work in an office, with a computer screen readily available, many traditional ways of communicating are limited.

What gives you the most satisfaction in the job?

PR is a very public side of the business. The statements that we write, the conversations we have, the interviews we arrange are all seen by our customers, stakeholders and employees. It’s a great feeling when a story lands really well – like our move to 0% credit card fees: when we’re seen as leading the way in the industry.

It’s a bit of an old cliché but I really enjoy talking and engaging with people, so I’ve enjoyed getting out and about within the company – finding out who does what and how we can promote and enhance what they do internally and externally.

And I’ve been lucky enough to sit in the cockpit during a flight to Gibraltar – looking out of the front of an aircraft was a dream come true!

What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job?

 Lots of things.  Getting coverage in the media (positive, hopefully!) about Monarch and its achievements. Seeing the impact the Monarch Foundation makes. Running a small but happy team. Getting staff discounted flights!

What are some of your proudest achievements?

 At Monarch, being with CEO Andrew Swaffield when he addressed the ABTA Convention in October 2016, announcing that our licence had been renewed and we’d had the largest investment in our history. It was a day spent making sure he spoke with everyone he needed to:  journalists at the event, journalists back in the UK, ABTA members at the Convention. It was literally a non-stop day, but very rewarding.

In my previous job I escorted David Beckham up the BAFTA red carpet as he did his media interviews. That made me smile inside (although I had to look very serious on camera!)

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

 Get experience – understand what some of the highs and lows are. You’ve got to love writing, be very adaptable to change and able to think quickly on your feet.

Thank you for your time David! Finally…on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why?

Rome. I’m a city boy at heart and Rome has it all. Amazing history, culture, beauty, food, day life and nightlife. I’ve been a few times and will happily go a few more.

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Meet Filipe, Senior Route and Network Analyst http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-filipe-senior-route-and-network-analyst/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-filipe-senior-route-and-network-analyst/#respond Tue, 07 Feb 2017 08:00:35 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16264 How does the company determine which aircraft we fly, and how are our destinations chosen? Today I catch up with Filipe Salgado, who works as a Senior Route and Network Analyst here at Monarch. Part of his job will answers these questions! Hi Filipe! First off, tell me a little about you. Where are you from, and how did you join the aviation industry? I am an Olisipo (first name of Lisbon around 800–600 BC) born and bred guy. I have always been interested in technology as far as I can remember. All my studies were based on that path and I went on to graduate in Computer Sciences and Business. I quickly realised that professionally, IT was not for me so after spending three to four years in one of the big consultancy firms, I opted for a somewhat radical move to Business Management. This allowed me to move abroad for the first time to join easyGroup and the Car Rental industry. After five years, I decided to move back to Portugal to join Hertz as Head of Revenue Management (where I acquired the roles of Head of Reservations and B2B Project Management). I managed three brands across two countries plus a lot of people and absolutely loved it (cars are one of my main passions). Still, the desire to join the aviation industry was there and I felt I needed to try it. I eventually decided to downgrade in terms of career so that I could enter the industry and I’m absolutely loving it! If your friends described you in three words, they would say… Honest, generous and loyal. I didn’t write this one… indeed I called a friend! 🙂 Can I ask the public now? When did your passion for aviation start? I don’t really know. I believe that it is part of my love for technology. Aircraft are highly technological machines. This combined with the fact that it moves the world forward with the ability to make a difference in peoples’ lives, makes it highly appealing. Why did you choose to work in Network Development? I wanted chance to see first-hand the impact that the decisions made in this area have on the company as a business was a big motivation. I like being able to work in areas where you can steer the development of the business and have an immediate glance at the results of those decisions. And of course the possibility of knowing the aviation industry from the inside and being to help with the decision of new routes and destinations – where millions of people will enjoy the journey and get in touch with new ideas and cultures. What made you want to work for Monarch? Monarch is one of the best companies in the market. I have always had an idea that this company was committed to quality over quantity, more concerned with passengers and what they want rather than just seeing them as numbers and in that sense, offering a more personalised service. I wanted to work in a place that strives for excellence to help improve it even further. How long have you been working for Monarch? I joined in January 2014, so exactly three years ago but it feels like yesterday…This is not long when working in a new industry and I am sure I know very little yet – there is still a lot to learn and process. I wish for a long career in this area and to be able to have an impact and make many more changes in order to adapt to the fast-paced nature of this industry. What does your day-to-day job consist of? One cannot talk about day-to-day tasks in this department. Every day is different with new challenges and possibilities! I can get to the office in the morning and have to create a view on potential new flying programmes or destinations, or get to decide on alternatives for critical and unexpected situations like the closure of Sharm-El-Sheik or Tunisia. In a nutshell, we decide where Monarch flies to, when and with which aircraft type based on financial performance and development of the routes. We can divide this in two big lines of thinking: Short-medium term, where we design the flying programme for the next season Long-term strategy planning. Where does Monarch want to be in five years’ time and how to get there? Which new destinations to choose? When to launch them? We also meet with airports on a regular basis and check on market potentials, customer types, build business bases (we cross check several information sources and measures like aircraft size, flying costs, number of potential passengers, market, yields, airport costs, etc.) and present recommendations for the company directors to decide. What are some of the challenges of the job? Some of the challenges are working with the data we have (sometimes we have a lot of it, sometimes very little); planning ahead without knowledge of competitors’ strategy; and trying to understand why a particular flight might not be successful and to find a way to improve it or find suitable alternatives. What gives you the most satisfaction in the job? To know that every time our aircraft take-off, some of my work enabled our passengers to go on their chosen holiday, family reunion, culture sampling or simply a business trip.I feel and believe that I’m responsible for helping with the decisions on where Monarch is going to fly next. I also love when we introduce a new route and/ or destination and it becomes successful. What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job? My goal is to continue to surpass myself and my achievements for the benefit of the company. To have the possibility to innovate and introduce something new. I also love the company environment, the colleagues (it’s a melting pot here!), and the possibility to grow and face new challenges every day. What do you love the most about it? Seeing the routes that I helped to develop and grow proving a safe bet. I also love taking Monarch to new places and making a known brand. What are some of your proudest achievements? Seeing the launch of my hometown, Lisbon, as a new route for Monarch! Knowing the potential as a city break destination and how well it would fit with the new year-round strategy confirmed it was a perfect choice. Seeing its potential for growth makes me very proud indeed! Any advice for those thinking or pursuing a career similar to yours? Be committed and dedicated, with a passion for aviation and determined to succeed. Be able to adapt to a light speed paced environment! Thank you for your time, Filipe! And finally…on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why? My hometown Lisbon of course! There are many others as well but I am going to say Tel Aviv for its peculiarity and difference from other European destinations.

The post Meet Filipe, Senior Route and Network Analyst appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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How does the company determine which aircraft we fly, and how are our destinations chosen? Today I catch up with Filipe Salgado, who works as a Senior Route and Network Analyst here at Monarch. Part of his job will answers these questions!

Hi Filipe! First off, tell me a little about you. Where are you from, and how did you join the aviation industry?

I am an Olisipo (first name of Lisbon around 800–600 BC) born and bred guy.

img_2917

I have always been interested in technology as far as I can remember. All my studies were based on that path and I went on to graduate in Computer Sciences and Business. I quickly realised that professionally, IT was not for me so after spending three to four years in one of the big consultancy firms, I opted for a somewhat radical move to Business Management.

This allowed me to move abroad for the first time to join easyGroup and the Car Rental industry. After five years, I decided to move back to Portugal to join Hertz as Head of Revenue Management (where I acquired the roles of Head of Reservations and B2B Project Management). I managed three brands across two countries plus a lot of people and absolutely loved it (cars are one of my main passions). Still, the desire to join the aviation industry was there and I felt I needed to try it. I eventually decided to downgrade in terms of career so that I could enter the industry and I’m absolutely loving it!

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

Honest, generous and loyal. I didn’t write this one… indeed I called a friend! 🙂 Can I ask the public now?

When did your passion for aviation start?

I don’t really know. I believe that it is part of my love for technology. Aircraft are highly technological machines. This combined with the fact that it moves the world forward with the ability to make a difference in peoples’ lives, makes it highly appealing.

img_3408

Why did you choose to work in Network Development?

I wanted chance to see first-hand the impact that the decisions made in this area have on the company as a business was a big motivation. I like being able to work in areas where you can steer the development of the business and have an immediate glance at the results of those decisions.

And of course the possibility of knowing the aviation industry from the inside and being to help with the decision of new routes and destinations – where millions of people will enjoy the journey and get in touch with new ideas and cultures.

What made you want to work for Monarch?

Monarch is one of the best companies in the market. I have always had an idea that this company was committed to quality over quantity, more concerned with passengers and what they want rather than just seeing them as numbers and in that sense, offering a more personalised service. I wanted to work in a place that strives for excellence to help improve it even further.

How long have you been working for Monarch?

I joined in January 2014, so exactly three years ago but it feels like yesterday…This is not long when working in a new industry and I am sure I know very little yet – there is still a lot to learn and process. I wish for a long career in this area and to be able to have an impact and make many more changes in order to adapt to the fast-paced nature of this industry.

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

One cannot talk about day-to-day tasks in this department. Every day is different with new challenges and possibilities! I can get to the office in the morning and have to create a view on potential new flying programmes or destinations, or get to decide on alternatives for critical and unexpected situations like the closure of Sharm-El-Sheik or Tunisia.

In a nutshell, we decide where Monarch flies to, when and with which aircraft type based on financial performance and development of the routes. We can divide this in two big lines of thinking:

  • Short-medium term, where we design the flying programme for the next season
  • Long-term strategy planning. Where does Monarch want to be in five years’ time and how to get there? Which new destinations to choose? When to launch them?

We also meet with airports on a regular basis and check on market potentials, customer types, build business bases (we cross check several information sources and measures like aircraft size, flying costs, number of potential passengers, market, yields, airport costs, etc.) and present recommendations for the company directors to decide.

eucroatia

What are some of the challenges of the job?

Some of the challenges are working with the data we have (sometimes we have a lot of it, sometimes very little); planning ahead without knowledge of competitors’ strategy; and trying to understand why a particular flight might not be successful and to find a way to improve it or find suitable alternatives.

What gives you the most satisfaction in the job?

To know that every time our aircraft take-off, some of my work enabled our passengers to go on their chosen holiday, family reunion, culture sampling or simply a business trip.I feel and believe that I’m responsible for helping with the decisions on where Monarch is going to fly next. I also love when we introduce a new route and/ or destination and it becomes successful.

What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job?

My goal is to continue to surpass myself and my achievements for the benefit of the company. To have the possibility to innovate and introduce something new. I also love the company environment, the colleagues (it’s a melting pot here!), and the possibility to grow and face new challenges every day.

What do you love the most about it?

Seeing the routes that I helped to develop and grow proving a safe bet. I also love taking Monarch to new places and making a known brand.

What are some of your proudest achievements?

Seeing the launch of my hometown, Lisbon, as a new route for Monarch! Knowing the potential as a city break destination and how well it would fit with the new year-round strategy confirmed it was a perfect choice. Seeing its potential for growth makes me very proud indeed!

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

Be committed and dedicated, with a passion for aviation and determined to succeed. Be able to adapt to a light speed paced environment!

Thank you for your time, Filipe! And finally…on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why?

My hometown Lisbon of course! There are many others as well but I am going to say Tel Aviv for its peculiarity and difference from other European destinations.

05.01.16-lisbon

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#AskThePilot: Captain Nigel Webster answers your questions http://blog.monarch.co.uk/askthepilot-captain-nigel-webster-answers-your-questions/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/askthepilot-captain-nigel-webster-answers-your-questions/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2017 08:00:30 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16187 With over 40 years of flying behind him, there aren’t many as experienced and knowledgeable in aviation as our Captain Nigel Webster! I recently asked him some of the most popular questions we have been receiving about flying…enjoy his answers! What’s your most memorable flight? There are far too many to choose from! If forced to pick one, I think it would have to be my longest flight, on our Airbus A330 from Manchester direct to Sumatra in Indonesia: 14 hours 18 minutes half way around the world! What made you want to move into commercial flying? I grew up in, around, and with aircraft in the Middle East, and have always wanted to fly, to carry on seeing the world and even to be paid to do so. I went straight into commercial aviation from school, and four decades and 22,200 flying hours later I have loved every minute! How did it feel to fly a commercial aircraft for the first time? I was in an elderly piston-engined aircraft, a DH Dove, with just one pilot: me! The joy of being airborne is tempered by your responsibility for putting everyone and everything back on the ground again afterwards, preferably smoothly. The value of the years of intense training soon becomes clear though, and confidence rapidly grows with experience.   Have you ever been afraid while flying a plane? When I started flying the Dove back in the 1970s I had a couple of incidents that did frighten me – a fire in flight being the worst. My friend Dave Sparrow took this picture of our Doves in 1976 (above). Modern jets are a world apart from those days, far more reliable and powerful, capable of coping even with multiple failures without compromising safety. What advice would you give to people who are scared of flying? It is understandable that turbulence, sudden noise, and unfamiliar movements and sensations can be unsettling in the cabin. Try to bear in mind that we often fly about ten flights a week and would not put ourselves – and therefore you – at any risk. Most of the uncomfortable parts of flying are very short in duration (though it might feel longer). Modern aircraft are very strong and capable, but if we suspect that conditions might be too much for us or the aircraft then we would not fly in them. The most dangerous part about flying is definitely the drive to the airport! What would happen if a window broke – would we get sucked out? Cabin windows are built to easily withstand the pressurisation load on them. (Supersonic fighter jets have bubble canopies of much the same material – and they are bullet-proof!) They are not really subject to impact damage from birds etc., and are inspected before flight. They often have a secondary screen which absorbs scratches. Flight deck windows are under more load, but they have two very thick layers, either of which can maintain cabin pressure. In the unlikely event of a multiple failure the cabin pressure would equalise with the outside in a matter of seconds, and anyone right beside the window would feel a pull – everyone else would feel a breeze. Top tip: if you keep your seatbelt loosely fastened at all times you will be completely unaffected by this and most other equally unlikely events – although your coffee will probably be spilled. pic: First Officer Ashish Raval Can doors be opened mid-flight? Cabin pressure means that the doors cannot be opened mid flight – but please do not try this because you will be prosecuted, and you could also damage the door. What happens if an engine stops working? On old aircraft like the Dove it could be a problem, as there was little surplus power and the engines were quite unreliable. Modern public transport jets on the other hand (like the Airbus and the Boeing) are designed to be able to suffer a complete loss of power on one engine at the most critical point, and then either stop on the remaining runway (if they are taking off), or continue the take-off on one engine, climb to a safe height, and either divert to a different airport or return to the original airport to land safely on the remaining engine. Twin-engined jets therefore have plenty of spare power, even on one engine, by design. If an engine were to fail in the cruise then there is more than enough power to continue flight on one engine. (Depending on the reason why it stopped, it might also be possible to restart the engine in flight.) The reliability of modern jet engines means that most of today’s pilots will only ever experience an engine failure during simulator training – but we practise it every six months in the simulator anyway! Is it safer to fly during the day? How do you see where you’re going during night time? All our flying is conducted under Instrument Flight Rules, meaning that we are flying solely on information from our instruments, navigation equipment, radios and radar, and Air Traffic Control. It follows from this that it makes no difference whether it’s day or night, because we do not need to see outside until on the (lighted) runway. In practice the airways are busier by day, so we generally have fewer delays at night. Being able to see the runway by day, or its lights by night, can make for a more expeditious approach. Is there a safer seat on the plane? Not really – all are equally safe. There is a best seat – mine, up front on the flight deck, but it’s already taken! What happens in a plane gets hit by lightning? We avoid thunderstorms, but if we are struck then modern aircraft are designed to withstand it. The lightning strike is conducted away from critical areas and discharged overboard. We might hear a brief noise on our radios, and some of our instruments could be affected (although I have never experienced it, despite several lightning strikes). On its next landing the aircraft will need to be thoroughly checked by the engineers before being released for further flying. picture: Senior First Officer Tim Hearn 

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With over 40 years of flying behind him, there aren’t many as experienced and knowledgeable in aviation as our Captain Nigel Webster! I recently asked him some of the most popular questions we have been receiving about flying…enjoy his answers!

What’s your most memorable flight?

There are far too many to choose from! If forced to pick one, I think it would have to be my longest flight, on our Airbus A330 from Manchester direct to Sumatra in Indonesia: 14 hours 18 minutes half way around the world!

What made you want to move into commercial flying?

I grew up in, around, and with aircraft in the Middle East, and have always wanted to fly, to carry on seeing the world and even to be paid to do so. I went straight into commercial aviation from school, and four decades and 22,200 flying hours later I have loved every minute!

dove-1

How did it feel to fly a commercial aircraft for the first time?

I was in an elderly piston-engined aircraft, a DH Dove, with just one pilot: me! The joy of being airborne is tempered by your responsibility for putting everyone and everything back on the ground again afterwards, preferably smoothly. The value of the years of intense training soon becomes clear though, and confidence rapidly grows with experience.

dove

 

Have you ever been afraid while flying a plane?

When I started flying the Dove back in the 1970s I had a couple of incidents that did frighten me – a fire in flight being the worst. My friend Dave Sparrow took this picture of our Doves in 1976 (above).

Modern jets are a world apart from those days, far more reliable and powerful, capable of coping even with multiple failures without compromising safety.

What advice would you give to people who are scared of flying?

It is understandable that turbulence, sudden noise, and unfamiliar movements and sensations can be unsettling in the cabin. Try to bear in mind that we often fly about ten flights a week and would not put ourselves – and therefore you – at any risk. Most of the uncomfortable parts of flying are very short in duration (though it might feel longer). Modern aircraft are very strong and capable, but if we suspect that conditions might be too much for us or the aircraft then we would not fly in them. The most dangerous part about flying is definitely the drive to the airport!

What would happen if a window broke – would we get sucked out?

Cabin windows are built to easily withstand the pressurisation load on them. (Supersonic fighter jets have bubble canopies of much the same material – and they are bullet-proof!) They are not really subject to impact damage from birds etc., and are inspected before flight. They often have a secondary screen which absorbs scratches. Flight deck windows are under more load, but they have two very thick layers, either of which can maintain cabin pressure. In the unlikely event of a multiple failure the cabin pressure would equalise with the outside in a matter of seconds, and anyone right beside the window would feel a pull – everyone else would feel a breeze. Top tip: if you keep your seatbelt loosely fastened at all times you will be completely unaffected by this and most other equally unlikely events – although your coffee will probably be spilled.

window-_3shi

pic: First Officer Ashish Raval

Can doors be opened mid-flight?

Cabin pressure means that the doors cannot be opened mid flight – but please do not try this because you will be prosecuted, and you could also damage the door.

What happens if an engine stops working?

On old aircraft like the Dove it could be a problem, as there was little surplus power and the engines were quite unreliable. Modern public transport jets on the other hand (like the Airbus and the Boeing) are designed to be able to suffer a complete loss of power on one engine at the most critical point, and then either stop on the remaining runway (if they are taking off), or continue the take-off on one engine, climb to a safe height, and either divert to a different airport or return to the original airport to land safely on the remaining engine. Twin-engined jets therefore have plenty of spare power, even on one engine, by design. If an engine were to fail in the cruise then there is more than enough power to continue flight on one engine. (Depending on the reason why it stopped, it might also be possible to restart the engine in flight.) The reliability of modern jet engines means that most of today’s pilots will only ever experience an engine failure during simulator training – but we practise it every six months in the simulator anyway!

dsc_0855_1024

Is it safer to fly during the day? How do you see where you’re going during night time?

All our flying is conducted under Instrument Flight Rules, meaning that we are flying solely on information from our instruments, navigation equipment, radios and radar, and Air Traffic Control. It follows from this that it makes no difference whether it’s day or night, because we do not need to see outside until on the (lighted) runway. In practice the airways are busier by day, so we generally have fewer delays at night. Being able to see the runway by day, or its lights by night, can make for a more expeditious approach.

Is there a safer seat on the plane?

Not really – all are equally safe. There is a best seat – mine, up front on the flight deck, but it’s already taken!

What happens in a plane gets hit by lightning?

We avoid thunderstorms, but if we are struck then modern aircraft are designed to withstand it. The lightning strike is conducted away from critical areas and discharged overboard. We might hear a brief noise on our radios, and some of our instruments could be affected (although I have never experienced it, despite several lightning strikes). On its next landing the aircraft will need to be thoroughly checked by the engineers before being released for further flying.

thunderstorms-over-the-bay-of-biscay-timhearnphoto

picture: Senior First Officer Tim Hearn 

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Meet Ben, Customer Services Operations Advisor http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-ben-cs/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/meet-ben-cs/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2017 08:00:42 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16115 Our customer services department is one of the liveliest ones you will find at Monarch. As you walk through the double doors into their floor at our Luton offices, you can feel a buzz which I haven’t quite found anywhere else in the company. All the various teams, from preflight to post-flight to social media support, are immersed in their tasks which ultimately all have one goal: make our customers’ journey as hassle-free as possible. Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Ben (if you follow us on Facebook or Twitter you might know him as “^BL”!), Customer Services Operations Advisor. With a real passion for both aviation and customer service, he is a perfect fit for the team. Get to know him better and find out what he gets up to on a daily basis!   Hi Ben! First things first, tell me some juicy information about you! I’m from Bedfordshire, born and bred. From a young age my hobbies were game consoles, watching and playing the beautiful game (as well as other sports). Throughout my time at school, I always wanted to work in the aviation industry but where most kids wanted to be a pilot, I wanted to be an air traffic controller…even though I have now ended up as a private pilot!  To achieve this, after I left school I went straight to college to study Travel & Tourism. I’ve been working at Monarch pretty much since I finished! If your friends described you in three words, they would say… Helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. When did your passion for aviation start? It all started with my grandad who used to take me to Luton Airport as a youngster to watch the aircraft. Over the years I learnt more about the industry and a few years ago I started combining both of my Grandad’s hobbies, aviation and photography. More recently I have done a lot of flight simulation and through meeting various people, I took a trial flying lesson which gave me the bug for flying! I’ve now held my flying licence for 3 years. Why did you choose to work in customer services? I have always enjoyed helping people. The sense of achievement you feel after you have helped a customer with their trip is a great feeling. What made you want to work for Monarch? Having lived around Luton all my life, I’ve always liked the livery on Monarch’s aircraft – having seen it so often when plane spotting at Luton. I think that set a seed inside and when an opportunity at Monarch came up, I sent an application in and was successful. How long have you been working for Monarch? I’m about to start my seventh year! What does your day-to-day job consist of? I am part of the customer service operations team, so my day varies day to day. Some days I will be assisting customers on the phone or via social media; others, I will be ensuring we have the knowledge and tools we need to assist our customers. What are some of the challenges of the job? Some of the smaller challenges we face come from external factors which impact our flying programme, like the weather and air traffic control. Other challenges we face are incidents in our resorts and destinations like the most recent events in Sharm el Sheikh and Tunisia. When an incident occurs, we look at the situation and decide on what actions needs to take place from a customer service perspective. This may include extending our opening hours, extending our social media coverage, ensuring the most up to date information is with the team and making sure we are in a position to help our customers the best way we can. We also continuously liaise with all areas of the business to ensure everyone is aware of the latest situation. What gives you the most satisfaction in the job? The biggest satisfaction is knowing that the work you have done has made a customer’s life and journey better and easier. What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job? The aviation industry in general is always evolving and no two days are the same. We’re always looking at new ways we can make the customers experience better and better! What’s more, I love the buzz working in an airline – being my passion, I was set on this industry! Tell me about your proudest achievements so far! There have been some great times when I was able to help make a customer’s journey that much easier to a degree where it made travelling enjoyable for them. Another one would be where I was able to help get a lost phone back to its owner – as it turned out, it held a lot of good memories for the customer. Any advice for those thinking or pursuing a career similar to yours? My advice would be to study a subject like Travel & Tourism, as this will give you the tools and knowledge you need to start off in this fast-paced industry. Thank you for your time Ben! Lastly, before you go back to your busy job…on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why? I would have to say Palma, Majorca. There is just something for everyone. I’ve had some great family holidays in the north of the island, as well as a recent wonderful day trip which was spent exploring the area around the cathedral and marina.

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Our customer services department is one of the liveliest ones you will find at Monarch. As you walk through the double doors into their floor at our Luton offices, you can feel a buzz which I haven’t quite found anywhere else in the company. All the various teams, from preflight to post-flight to social media support, are immersed in their tasks which ultimately all have one goal: make our customers’ journey as hassle-free as possible.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Ben (if you follow us on Facebook or Twitter you might know him as “^BL”!), Customer Services Operations Advisor. With a real passion for both aviation and customer service, he is a perfect fit for the team. Get to know him better and find out what he gets up to on a daily basis!

 

Hi Ben! First things first, tell me some juicy information about you!

I’m from Bedfordshire, born and bred. From a young age my hobbies were game consoles, watching and playing the beautiful game (as well as other sports).

Throughout my time at school, I always wanted to work in the aviation industry but where most kids wanted to be a pilot, I wanted to be an air traffic controller…even though I have now ended up as a private pilot!  To achieve this, after I left school I went straight to college to study Travel & Tourism. I’ve been working at Monarch pretty much since I finished!

13119118_10209807591052732_4132187264134706074_n

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

Helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

When did your passion for aviation start?

It all started with my grandad who used to take me to Luton Airport as a youngster to watch the aircraft. Over the years I learnt more about the industry and a few years ago I started combining both of my Grandad’s hobbies, aviation and photography. More recently I have done a lot of flight simulation and through meeting various people, I took a trial flying lesson which gave me the bug for flying! I’ve now held my flying licence for 3 years.

Why did you choose to work in customer services?

I have always enjoyed helping people. The sense of achievement you feel after you have helped a customer with their trip is a great feeling.

What made you want to work for Monarch?

Having lived around Luton all my life, I’ve always liked the livery on Monarch’s aircraft – having seen it so often when plane spotting at Luton. I think that set a seed inside and when an opportunity at Monarch came up, I sent an application in and was successful.

How long have you been working for Monarch?

I’m about to start my seventh year!

ben2

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

I am part of the customer service operations team, so my day varies day to day. Some days I will be assisting customers on the phone or via social media; others, I will be ensuring we have the knowledge and tools we need to assist our customers.

What are some of the challenges of the job?

Some of the smaller challenges we face come from external factors which impact our flying programme, like the weather and air traffic control. Other challenges we face are incidents in our resorts and destinations like the most recent events in Sharm el Sheikh and Tunisia. When an incident occurs, we look at the situation and decide on what actions needs to take place from a customer service perspective. This may include extending our opening hours, extending our social media coverage, ensuring the most up to date information is with the team and making sure we are in a position to help our customers the best way we can. We also continuously liaise with all areas of the business to ensure everyone is aware of the latest situation.

What gives you the most satisfaction in the job?

The biggest satisfaction is knowing that the work you have done has made a customer’s life and journey better and easier.

What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job?

The aviation industry in general is always evolving and no two days are the same. We’re always looking at new ways we can make the customers experience better and better! What’s more, I love the buzz working in an airline – being my passion, I was set on this industry!

10999896_10207002648730927_5578386180317313780_n

Tell me about your proudest achievements so far!

There have been some great times when I was able to help make a customer’s journey that much easier to a degree where it made travelling enjoyable for them. Another one would be where I was able to help get a lost phone back to its owner – as it turned out, it held a lot of good memories for the customer.

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

My advice would be to study a subject like Travel & Tourism, as this will give you the tools and knowledge you need to start off in this fast-paced industry.

Thank you for your time Ben! Lastly, before you go back to your busy job…on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why?

I would have to say Palma, Majorca. There is just something for everyone. I’ve had some great family holidays in the north of the island, as well as a recent wonderful day trip which was spent exploring the area around the cathedral and marina.

majorca

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