We’re lucky to have an amazing team on board (excuse the pun) at the Monarch Group – with more than 3,200 talented and passionate men and women occupying roles as diverse as marketing, administration, tour operations, web development, finance and flight operations. Almost half of The Monarch Group’s staff are women, including 82 percent of our cabin crew, 5 percent of our pilots, and 42 percent of our managers. So, in honour of International Women’s Day, we’d like to introduce you to three of our wonderful female employees:
Samantha Hockley, Captain, Monarch Airlines
Sam, 28, has just been promoted and will be flying as Captain for the first time on Saturday, coincidentally, just in time for International Women’s Day. When she’s not jet-setting or studying, she loves spending time with her family and has an artistic side, working with arts and crafts.
What is your favourite destination? I take people on holiday, but I don’t get away as much as I’d like. My husband and I love the States. There’s so much to see. In particular, the West Coast – San Francisco, Las Vegas. We have quite a few friends who live out there so we see it as locals, which is really the best way to see a destination. We skipped over the tourist traps and went straight for the little hole-in-the-walls and hidden gems where the locals go.
I also love the Greek islands. Zakynthos, in particular. In fact, that’s one of the first times I realized I wanted to be a pilot, looking out the window on a flight. Physically, the Greek islands are great to fly into – They’re just really beautiful.
Insider tip: It makes a huge difference to see a destination from a local perspective so ask a local for their recommendations.
Where will you be travelling in 2014? We’re going to be travelling quite a bit around the UK. I’ve been very fortunate to see a lot of incredible places through work, but there are some incredible spots in the UK, and I’m looking forward to exploring them.
I really want to go to Skiathos as well. I don’t know when I’ll go, but I’ll definitely be going there at some point.
What’s your best travel tip? I hate rushing. My holiday starts the minute I get to the airport so give yourself some time, don’t rush. Once you’re through security, get yourself a drink or just stare out the windows at the planes taxiing and taking-off. That was always my favourite way to spend time at the airport, and it still is now.
I’m terrible at packing. I always pack way too much and take everything for every occasion. Try to plan out outfits based on what you’ll be doing so you’re not packing something you’re never going to need.
Charlotte Berrigan, Engineering Apprentice at Monarch Aircraft Engineering Ltd
Charlotte’s interest in the airline industry began at a young age. The 21 year-old engineering apprentice at Monarch Aircraft Engineering Ltd started training as a pilot before realising that she was more interested in how the plane worked than how to fly it! In her spare time, Charlotte has traveled to several Disney Theme Parks to dance in parades, shows, and other Disney fun.
What is your favourite destination? Dubrovnik. I think it’s still undiscovered; it’s still a quiet, peaceful city. It’s really beautiful and old-fashioned.
Insider tip: I would definitely recommend visiting the Old Town. Just wander around, sit and have a coffee. It’s like a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean, with a castle, defensive walls, and cobbled streets.
Where will you be travelling in 2014? I’m heading to Cyprus in August. I’m planning on having my wedding there in 2016 so we’ll be spending some time on the beach and some time planning for the wedding.
What’s your best travel tip? Wherever you’re planning on going, learn a few basic phrases in the language. It’s really important for getting around, and the locals will appreciate it.
Catarina Bras, Website Assistant, Monarch Airlines
Catarina, 26, has worked for Monarch for almost nine years. As Website Assistant, she’s the person behind the scenes on Monarch’s beautiful website. In fact, she’s so passionate about her job, she even creates websites in her free time, when she’s not hanging out with friends, going to the cinema and going to concerts.
What is your favourite destination? My favourite destination is without a doubt Portugal, which is conveniently also my home country.
Insider tip: The great thing about Portugal is that you can enjoy a city break as well as a beach break. That being said, there is a Portuguese beach for everyone. My favourites are the beaches in Costa da Caparica, which have very big waves and are great for picking cockles.
Portuguese food is amazing. I suggest trying Carne de Porco á Alentejana, which is a traditional dish of pork, clams and fried potatoes. The sauce is the secret to its incredible taste!
Where will you be travelling in 2014? I will certainly be visiting Portugal again this year. I’m also planning to visit Spain and Holland at some point.
What’s your best travel tip? In terms of travel tips, you should wear your most comfortable clothes when you fly, but be mindful of the country you are departing from and what country you will be landing in. The same applies when you’re exploring a new city. Wear comfortable clothes and footwear, but consider how the locals dress.
Pack light wherever you go. If you have forgotten something – a toothbrush, toothpaste, hat, or sunscreen – it’s not the end of the world. It will probably be fairly easy to find in your destination.
Happy International Women’s Day! We’re thrilled to recognise the unique talents and personalities of the women on the Monarch team. Take advantage of the day to recognise those women who inspire you, impress you, and have an impact on your life. Maybe you should even surprise them with a quick getaway to the sunshine?