A question I get asked a lot is: “So, does your husband always fly the same route?” I guess I can understand why people might think this – bus drivers, ferry operators, London underground drivers, long-distance truck drivers, mums on the school run, we all do the same route. So why not an airline pilot?
I smile and answer politely, “No, he flies to different places all the time.” He could be in New York one week, then Seoul the next, followed by London or Munich the week after. There’s a bidding system, which is too complicated to explain here, but that’s how it works. And it varies from month-to-month, too, with training, ground schools and six-monthly medicals as well.
Often, his trips take him to more than one country, so they’ll go to Sydney, then on to Auckland, or they’ll fly to Bangkok and from there onto Hong Kong. A bit like picking the children up from school, then continuing on to an after-school activity, I suppose. Or not.
Anyway, last week he was at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, preparing to fly on to Hong Kong. Picture the scene, if you will: a busy Thai airport, with nearly 16 million arrivals a year, serving a huge, cosmopolitan capital brimming with gold-spired temples, colourful markets and sà·nùk (fun).
The flight crew is sitting in a corner before boarding, when a Chinese lady sits herself down right next to DH and asks if it would be okay for her friend to take a photo of them. Sure, says DH, and makes her day by letting her wear his hat for the picture.
The area they’re sitting in isn’t particularly busy, so you can imagine my DH’s surprise when he looks up and sees what’s happened.
Did you guess? Yes, out of nowhere, a line has formed. A 15-deep queue of excited passengers, many of whom are probably travelling on the A380 for the first time, all wanting a photo – with THE HAT.
My DH, who’s very good-natured, obliged. Bless him! And I did have to laugh because it’s not the first time he’s caused a line: a long time ago, when we were 16, he was waiting for me at a train station, in school uniform. I arrived to find DH standing by the exit, collecting tickets. The reason? A passenger had thought he was the inspector and handed her ticket over, causing everyone getting off the train to follow suit.
Proud of you DH, for fulfilling your flying dreams – and for the fact people will actually queue for you!
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