Familiarisation Flight

My first placement on the UK&I scheme was with the in-flight retail team. The department encourages new employees to take part in a ‘familiarisation flight’ so that staff can find out what it’s like for our customers to fly Thomson Airways.

As a self-confessed nervous flier, the prospect of spending a full day in the air wasn’t exactly top of my priority list, but after some persuasion from my manager I was booked onto a round trip to sunny Tenerife.

At 6am I checked in with my fellow passengers and as soon as the plane was airborne I met up with the cabin crew on board. I spent the outbound flight with the crew, learning about life on board with Thomson Airways. It was great to have an opportunity to speak with some of our loyal customers and after three months behind the scenes in head office, it was interesting to see how everything fits into place.

The four hour flight whizzed by and before I knew it we had landed in sunny Tenerife. The hardest part was seeing the sunshine but not being able to step off the plane – we only had a quick break while the cleaners came on board before welcoming the tanned and relaxed passengers for their return flight back to Luton.

The return flight was an unforgettable experience as I was offered the chance to sit in the “jump seat” on the flight deck between the pilot and the first officer. I was given a headset so I could listen in on the instructions from air traffic control and the view from the cockpit as we took off from Tenerife was fantastic. Any previous fears I had about flying quickly disappeared as I listened to the pilot talk about his 30 years of experience, and dismiss some hairy turbulence as ‘a bit annoying’.

Now I am not in the slightest bit mechanical and struggle to understand what most of the buttons on a car dashboard do so the pilots had a tough job trying to teach me the mechanics of getting a 757 off the ground! Despite my initial fears, I absolutely loved the whole experience and haven’t stopped boring my friends and family with my new found plane knowledge ever since.

Rosie Sumner (UK Commercial Graduate)

Sat in the pilot's seat

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