Be Visible, Be Real, Be Funny
Being visible, real and funny has currency! We had landed in Glasgow (this morning) with a thump at 1am, four hours late. The highlight of the fiasco was when we had pushed back around 22.39pm and the pilot told us he never had enough on his tacho to get us home so we had to go back to base. There were also some nicely heated words from irate travellers earlier in the fancy BA Gatwick Lounge, where free food and drink were plentiful but information rationed.
The last pilot, our third, sent us home happy which was no mean feat. When he arrived, half an hour after we had snuck back to gate 10, we all saw him standing up front. Phone to his face, there was an apology and context and the white shirt and epaulettes and nicely knotted tie. Job done, we were off. Well sort of, as there was more delay but that half hour was peppered with real time information and a pragmatism that was absent in the Dandy Lounge earlier. That void was, to be sure, down to lack of certainty about what was going to happen but also a lack of the communication skills our pilot displayed as soon as he arrived.
Physical visibility and authenticity are a heady concoction, the effect is similar to the cocktail I created in the BA Lounge earlier (The KWantroChinno: Cointreau, double espresso, milk & ice) as I listened to Radio Four and ate pesto pasta, tiramisu cookies and mature cheddar cheese. This delay had first world problems written all over it.
Two hundred Weegies were in a better place at 1am than they had been for the best part of the previous evening because our pilot got that, you could call it authenticity or empathy or charisma. And he had one more card to play. As we whacked the ground so hard audible shock was expressed by the snowflakes our hero came on and, in his own inimitable style, apologised once more and hoped we knew he had done his best to get us north safely, as quickly as he could and, specifically, that all the flying was done by him.
But the landing was down to the First Officer. Cue laughter from 200 tired, fed up passengers well after midnight on a Friday.