When it comes to making the most of your travel experiences, it takes planning and being open to learning about the people you meet and places you visit. No one understands this better than the cabin crew at SWISS International Airlines. The men and women who work for this world-renowned airline travel the world and meet fascinating people, while discovering new, unique, and exciting places. It is an integral part of their job, and they love sharing their experiences and expertise with their passengers. We recently spoke with three of the LBGTQ crew members of SWISS to hear their stories and discover the best places to eat, party, play, and visit in some of their favorite destinations on their international routes.
Where are you from and when did you start working with SWISS?
I grew up in the beautiful Swiss Alps in the region called Bernese-Oberland, where I was exposed to tourists and their different cultures from an early age. Last spring, it’s been one decade since I joined Swiss International Airlines. Beginning as a regular Cabin Crew Member, I was given the chance to work in several functions, and I still love my Job!
What is the primary route that you are you currently flying?
As a Purser or “Maître de Cabine” (what we call this position at SWISS), I am flying to over 70 destinations in Europe. In addition, I usually get one intercontinental flight per month scheduled as well. Some European destinations change seasonally. During the summertime, we serve many sunny destinations around the Mediterranean such as the Greek islands or beautiful places in Italy and Spain. In the winter, we also serve remote locations such as Kittilä in the Finnish Lapland.
What are some of your favorites restaurants in each of these cities?
One of my favorite destinations is Athens. Winters are mild and sunny, perfect to hike the surrounding mountains or for a jogging tour through the old town of Plaka. In the summertime, the beaches are superb! I am addicted to exploring the various hidden restaurants and bars along the side streets of Evangelismos or strolling through the small streets from Syndagma Square, toward Monastiraki where you’ll also find great restaurants. If you prefer a picturesque dinner setting with great food, head down to the old port of Mikrolimano, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants offering Greek and international food.
Speaking of the four seasons, I also count Zurich, my home base, as one of my favorite “destinations.” I appreciate living in one of the cleanest cities with a sophisticated infrastructure. The commute from my downtown flat near the lake to the airport, for instance, takes roughly 20 minutes on public transportation.
My husband and I formerly graduated as chefs; so cooking and having friends over is a big passion of both of us. However, when we go out for dinner, we love two places in our neighborhood: Marcellino a small Italian restaurant. My second living room basically is the nearby Bohemia. A brasserie that serves breakfast, bunch, and dinner.
What do you do to stay in shape while traveling?
One pair of sneakers fit in every suitcase. Right there is my workout! Many cities such as Barcelona, Miami Beach, or Berlin have street workout stations all over the city, where cardio can be alternated with some muscle training. This is a great way to stay in shape, get some fresh air after being in an aircraft, and explore unknown parts of the cities to.
We all know how important it is to relax and rejuvenate after a long trip, do you have a spa to recommend?
One advantage when working irregular hours is that I can hit a spa off peak. The Thermalbad Zürich, beautifully built in a former brewery, features a Turkish bath and a wide range of treatments. It is nice to sit in the rooftop whirlpool overlooking Zürich, and let your thoughts take off.
What are some of your favorite LGBT bars and clubs?
Cranberry, the oldest gay bar in Zurich is a quiet, social place with a patio where locals and tourists meet. It has a great after-work crowd and keeps busy till late. I especially like the professional bartenders.
A friend is traveling to Zurich for the first time, describe the perfect weekend for them there.
After arriving in Zurich head down toward the lake and grab a bratwurst and a beverage to go at Sternen Grill. Sitting on a chair on the adjacent Sechseläuten-Square lets you soak up the atmosphere. On a hot summer day, it is best to enjoy the lake at either Utoquai or Tiefenbrunnen before heading down to Frau Gerolds Garten to get started with a long night out. You’ll probably end up at Langstrasse, the only place where the city never sleeps! Alternatively, the Kunsthaus or the Landesmuseum are great museums to spend a couple of hours. For an overview of the city, walk up Grossmünster tower or take a train to Üetliberg. Sunday morning Café Schober offers a nice breakfast before you stroll around both sides of the old town in the Niederdorf and Lindenhof area.
What is your number-one travel tip to help make a long-haul flight more enjoyable?
Even though you might be in the mood for a cocktail to start your trip, it‘s best to fuel up on water. Preferably, get up and get your drink in the galley for some exercise that prevents thrombosis and stimulates the circulation. Wear comfy clothes and bring a jacket or hoody, because the air-conditioning cannot be regulated on each seat row individually. Sit back relax and enjoy the flight with a good movie.