A group of people I work with have become like family to me. I mean that in the nicest possible I love these guys kind of way and not in the Can you believe Uncle Ernie just poured gravy on the cat again kind of way. It’s a rare thing in my industry, at least at a large airline like mine, to make such good friends at work, but it’s one positive side effect of the recession and the stagnation in mobility that it’s caused in my job. And I'm so very grateful for it. (the good friends part, not the stagnation!)
I fly the 767, to Europe mostly. It’s senior flying and a group of about fifty or so of us are fortunate enough to get to do it just about every week. And we’ve been flying these trips together for nine years. You get to know somebody pretty well when you fly two eight-hour legs across the ocean in the middle of the night. We’ve become sort of like “ The Europe Club.” In the late afternoons, when everyone is in Flight Operations briefing for their trips—to Brussels, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich—we all know each other. Although we stop short of yelling, “Norm!” when someone walks through the door (mostly that’s because none of us is named “Norm”), I think you get the idea. We’re friends. Really good friends. And I don’t want it to stop.
However, like everything in life, we all know the only constant is change. With bankruptcies and mergers and soon, all the age 65 guys (finally!) retiring, movement is coming and our little club as we know it will probably come to an end, as senior co-pilots (like moi) finally take a Captain bid, as 767 Captains bid up to larger, higher paying aircraft like the 777. But as my friend, we’ll call her “Lorrie,” says, “I’m riding this horse ‘til it drops!”
So in the mean time, I will continue to go to concerts in Amsterdam with Captain "Brad," run 15K races with Captain “Mike” and his sons, then go to brunch afterwards with our friends, Flight Attendant “Lara” and her Co-Pilot boyfriend, “Jeff.” I’ll send text after text to my pilot girlfriends, “Karen” and “Ann” like we’re thirteen-year-old girls. I’ll share recipes with “Todd,” when I’m not poking fun of him and he’s not socking me in the arm. We’ll put doner kebob wrappers in “Dave’s” mailbox just to taunt him he wasn’t senior enough to hold Munich this week.
Change may be in the air (pun intended), but one thing I hope never changes: that the friends I made flying to Europe all these years stay my good friends forever. Even you, “Todd.”