Love is in the air

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, TUI has shared stories of the couples that fell in love while working as cabin crew for the airline and asked them what it’s like to share a job in the travel industry

James and Alice

James and Alice White from the South Coast first met on a TUI work trip and as their paths continued to cross for the years following. They quickly realised while it wasn’t love at first flight, they were destined to be together. James has been working at TUI for 26 years, and Alice just celebrated her 19th TUI anniversary. 

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How did you two meet?  

Alice: We first met on a trip to Ghana, our paths then crossed several times over the years and the deal was sealed after a week trip in the Maldives. When you spend a week away on a trip with 10 other crew, you become a work family, this week somehow changed our path, and the rest was meant to be.  

What is it like working together and living together? 

Alice: I love the balance we have, we get to travel, holiday and at times, get to spend a lot of time together, despite the industry being 24/7, 365 days a year.  Our lives have changed so much over the years, as have our values for the balances. I have so many special memories of our times and trips away; countless places and trips; we’ve enjoyed a Christmas in Cuba, a New Year in Barbados and plenty of other special ‘just because moments’ along the way!! We have our lovely little family now with our 5 year old daughter Beth and our dog Meg. Now we are even more lucky to bring Beth into our love for travelling adventures and help grow her love for travelling the world too, she definitely has the bug!  

James: Before our daughter came along, we used swap around and try to do long haul trips together all the time, now childcare takes priority so we are often more like passing ships in the night! The nature of the rosters means that we do get lots of time together as a family though which we wouldn’t change for the world.  

Do you have any special memories of working together? 

Alice: I’ve learnt so much from him over the years; my most valuable lesson was on the first trip we did together, and he helped guide me with one of my most important lessons in my flying career; Always let the Captain and Cabin Manager check in at the hotel first and I’ve never checked in before them since! 

James: Over the years we have been very lucky and done so many amazing long-haul trips together and it was always lovely to work together as a husband and wife team in the Premium Cabin. I suppose one stand out funny moment though was when Alice and one of the other crew tricked me into thinking having my eyebrows threaded wouldn’t hurt! They were having theirs done on a trip to Sri Lanka and I was persuaded to have mine tidied up. Well…..the sneezing didn’t stop for hours but the laughter went on and on! It was like some sort of torture!   

Would you say it is ‘easy’ to work with your spouse? 

Alice: It is very easy to work together, we both have the same work ethics and love for the job, we enjoy bouncing this off each other too and I really feel this then shows at work together. We remain professional at all times, but when you do get chatting to customers and share the secret, they always say they could tell! It’s also such a comfort to come home and be able to talk about your day to your husband who totally understands. 

James: Well before Alice got promoted to Cabin Manager too, it was always a standing joke. I was ‘meant’ to be the boss on the aeroplane but funnily enough it never really worked like that! Seriously though, it’s a unique industry and having someone at home after a really tough day to use as a sounding board and that understands it, can be really useful really comforting.  

What made you want a career in aviation? 

Alice : Always since I was a little girl I had the dream of wanting to be an air hostess and as soon as I turned 18 I was able to apply! I was so lucky to be successful at one of my first interviews! I had the dream of travelling the world and seeing some amazing places!! I flew to Menorca on Britannia on my first flight as an Infant and am so proud (and lucky!) to be flying for part of that airline now. 

James : My mum used to fly back in the early 70s and hearing her stories of travelling the world made me want to give it a try for a year or two – although I never thought I’d be here all these year later. 

What are your favourite parts of the role? 

Alice : I love spending the days with people, be it the customers or the crew family we are so lucky to have at work. I get to enjoy so many different experiences, have lived recommendations of where to go and what’s on trend. I’ve met so many different people and have learnt so much from every walk of life, it definitely keeps your mind young and a great way to keep active!  

James : I love the customer service, it’s great to be a part of our customer’s holiday journey. It’s really rewarding when people get off thanking you for an amazing flight. I also like the variety from day to day. Different colleagues, different destinations, different customers, no two days are ever the same.  

What would you say to others considering a career in aviation? 

Alice: Just go for it, you only live once! It is such a life experience, that becomes your lifestyle! I feel so lucky to be doing a job I love, with the person I love(!!!), and they don’t come around very often!!! You never know who you might come across to share your life with. 

James: Do it! An airline like ours gives you the best of both worlds with a mix of long and short haul flying. It’s not easy scraping yourself out of bed at 2am for the third day on the bounce, but the pros far outweigh the cons and you’ll get to see some amazing places.  

Anything else you would like to add about your career/working together? 

James: Even my Brother’s Best Man speech at our wedding was flying themed. Unbeknown to us, he managed to borrow a real TUI safety demo kit from the safety department and got one of the ushers to hilariously do a safety demonstration, tying all the items into his performance. It was priceless, unique and definitely memorable! 

Alice: You just never know what life is going to bring your way, you meet thousands of customers on flights and thousands of crew over the years, you just never know when you’re going to find ‘your’ other half! Our paths may never have crossed, but we’re so thankful they did! May there be more love in the air for other lucky flyers! 

Carl and Sacha

Carl and Sacha fell in love while working together on a flight to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic in 2001. Now they share two teenage daughters, and juggle traveling, working and holidaying together.  

Carl from Leicester has been working at TUI for 25 years, and Sasha originally from Brighton has been working at TUI for 26 years.  

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How did you meet?  

Both: We had known each other for a while, and we were rostered on a trip to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic back in 2001. We had a fantastic crew on a 5-day trip. We had a brilliant time and realised that we had a lot in common, and as they say the rest is history.  

What is it like working together and living together?  

Carl: It’s easy, we have two teenage daughters to keep us distracted from work when we are home. Working together is slightly different. Sacha is senior to me so always in charge, so thinking about it, there’s not a lot of difference from being at home! She likes to remind me that she’s always in charge, however I like to remind her I have the car keys so unless she wants to walk home from Gatwick to Brighton, she best be nice.  

Do you have any special memories of working together? 

Sacha: We had a fantastic trip to Australia with Britannia in 2005, where we made so many brilliant memories and visited some incredible destinations. We’ve also had great trips together to the Maldives, Brazil, St Lucia and of course the Dominican Republic where we got together.  

What would you say to others considering a career in aviation? 

Both: If you love travel and enjoy meeting new people and seeing the world this is a fantastic job. Yes, there’s deep night flights and unsociable hours, but the good always outweighs the bad. You’ll meet people, crew and flight deck that will be friends for life. We’re extremely lucky to have had a job that has given us so many opportunities to see the world with some great people.

What are your favourite part so the role?  

We both love flying with great crew, going to fantastic destinations, and generally meeting interesting and diverse people.  

Anything else you would like to add? 

It’s been fantastic sharing many memorable trips, flights and times together. There are not many jobs that you can share experiences together and have fantastic memories. We hope that our experiences, stories and travels will inspire our daughters to go out and discover the world as we have.  

Sally and James

Sally and James first met in the air on a charter flight, and after their paths crossed again five years later they became a couple. They both started working for TUI in 1989, and are now both celebrating 35 years of service. Sally is from Essex, and James if from Devon.  

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How did you meet? 

Both: We were both called out for a sub charter flight for a pharmaceutical company who were flying from Luton to Nice for a conference.  The cabin crew were a mixture of Luton, Gatwick and Birmingham TUI bases. Around 5 years later our paths crossed again at a mutual friend’s 30th birthday party, and we reconnected.  

What’s it like working together and living together? 

Sally: We are lucky enough to have had many fabulous trips together. Our furthest destination was Auckland, NZ via Abu Dhabi, Singapore.  When the children were little, we tried to arrange our working lives so one of us was always home. When flying restarted after COVID we were very fortunate to be rostered on a week’s trip to St Lucia. 

Do you have any special memories of working together? 

Sally: For James’s 30th birthday we were on a Calgary trip. The whole crew rented a lodge in Banff and we enjoyed 5 days of skiing.   

Would you say it’s easy to work with your spouse? 

Both: Yes. James is happier if he’s in charge however as Sally is more senior this does not always happen. For a quiet life Sally sometimes hands over the role of Cabin Manager to him!!!  

Where is your favourite destination to fly to?  

Sally: Singapore holds wonderful memories from when I first started flying with Britannia Airways and feels like home from home.  We always try and stay for a few days on route to New Zealand which is my ultimate holiday destination and we are very lucky to have family and friends over there.  

What made you want a career in aviation? 

James: The desire to travel to lots of different countries around the world, experience different cultures, meet new people, deliver holiday smiles and help make memories.  

What are your favourite parts of the role? 

Both: Working and socialising with the great crew that we have at London Gatwick Airport. Chatting with passengers from various different parts of the country, about their careers and seeing them get off their flight excited.   

What would you say to others considering a career in aviation ? 

Both: We have enjoyed a fabulous career with TUI Airways and it’s allowed us to have a wonderful lifestyle.  Every day is different, you will meet some wonderful people and have the privilege of visiting countries you would never have imagined going to.