You might have seen our new TV ads, calling on Britain to ‘get your suitcases out’ and try out one or two of the new Monarch routes. To celebrate, we’re running a month of suitcase-themed fun and today we’re looking inside the suitcases of our staff and customers.
Starting with… a pilot, naturally! Head of Pilot Training Martin Dudley has flown with Monarch for over two decades, so if anyone knows how to efficiently pack a suitcase it’s him! But Martin’s is no ordinary luggage- the ‘pilots bag’ is his home from home, and contains all the tools of the trade, including flying license, passport, visas and a mysterious envelope containing the plans for every flight. Like to know more? Read on…
Hi Martin! How long have you been flying for?
I’ve been a pilot with Monarch for 21 years. It’s a really nice place to work.
Where do you fly the most?
I usually travel to the Mediterranean. I fly short haul in one of our smaller planes, so it’s Spain, sometimes Italy and Greece.
What luggage do you use?
When I’m travelling I take my flight bag. There’s no one standard bag for all our pilots, they vary in size. You tend to just accumulate stuff, then every so often you go through it, throw it all out and start again with the bare essentials. It’s a home from home. It lives by the back door and then when I’m off to work it’s a case of ‘grab and fly’…
There are the essentials: my license (they stop us at the other end and ask for it, so it’s an absolute essential), and my passport, any visas I might need, and some spare change in case I need to make a phone call.
What other stuff do you carry?
In case you get caught out on the flight and the lights go out. I haven’t needed it yet, but I work on the principle that it’s best to be prepared. If you leave something at home you’ll miss it later.
What’s in that big brown envelope?
That’s the flight paperwork. It’s issued for every flight. It gives us everything we need- weather forecast, all the routes, the note outs (notice to admin at the airport), the fuel required on the day, and it allows us to plan out where all the beacons along the way are. We come into work knowing we’ll go from A to B, but you only find out the actual routes when you read the paperwork on board. Its a bit like driving up to the north, you don’t know which motorway you might end up on.
Like there are motorways in the sky?
Do you get time to shop for souvenirs?
I think I’ve picked up a few things along the way- a girl of about five on the last flight gave me this really adorable little drawing of a Monarch plane in the sky. It happens frequently, and they always hand it to the crew.
Do you bring any home comforts with you?
I don’t actually, but a lot of pilots do. But I’m a bit of a magpie that way; I like to just try things. I’ll eat anything that’s put in front of me!
What’s your no.1 tip for packing it all into one bag?
Sit on it.