By: Mond Ortiz
Mahatma Gandhi once said "Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy." Before halting passenger services, three Philippine Airlines arrived in Manila, carrying repatriated passengers are are happy to be home a crew who braved the pandemic to bring home these homesick Filipinos.
For the flight attendants on PAL's last remaining long haul flights from New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco before going to a pause, it was more than just answering the call of duty, but it was now about being of service to our country and fellow countrymen. It was a time when the heart of the Filipino did shine on top the dangers of a pandemic like this CoviD-19. While our pilots flew the aircraft ensuring everyone would arrive home in one piece, it was our flight attendants who ensured all our homebound Filipinos were comfortable and safe. They were the frontliners in the sky, those who dedicated themselves for our passengers, regardless of the conditions and risks. Besides, the cabin crew ensured that they protect themselves with face masks, and alcohol in order to regularly sanitize.
These passengers were excited to be home. They wanted to see their families. They wanted to be at the comforts of their houses, in quarantine with the people they love. As each of them stepped inside PAL's Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350-900 ready to take them home, flight attendants welcomed them with a smile as the pilots went on their checklist and flight plans for their journey back to Manila. Seeing the huge "Philippines" on each aircraft fuselage was home already.
"Don't worry sir, uuwi na po tayo" said one flight attendant to a passenger with a smile. This was one of the many scenes on board the last remaining PAL flights (before temporarily halting operations) from the USA to the Philippines. For the cabin crew, their duty became a mission, perhaps a fulfillment of one's service to our "inang bayan." Despite the danger of CoviD-19, they were all smiles, having that great privilege of uniting families.
Just like the doctors and nurses known as our frontliners serving their mission to cure the sick, these cabin crew were the frontliners in the sky in ensuring that all passengers arrive home in one piece comfortably. They faced our passengers, serving them with every heart of a Filipino, feeling their excitement to get back home.
These flight attendants left home to bring people home and it was a mission greatly fulfilled! The crew, our 'frontliners' in the sky, stood above and beyond a pandemic, because they were called to serve not just an airline, but a whole nation, and they did it with joy.
We put our hats off to the frontliners of the sky, our cabin crew and pilots. Thank you for your utmost dedication and commitment not only to Philippine Airlines, but to the whole Filipino nation.
We would also like to give our hats off to our ground crew, airport personnel, aircraft maintenance, ramp workers, and who made these flights possible.
Mabuhay po kayong lahat, and we give you our snappy salute! You have brought home fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, husbands, and wives. Thank you for uniting families!
Allow me to end with another quote from the "queen of soul", Aretha Franklin:
"Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well."