“Flying’s fun – you should apply!” Flight attendant Martina’s advice to her daughter Marlies after she finished school. The pair have been flying around the world ever since – often together. We met them and chatted to them about their airborne family history:
Marlies, how did you come to decide to pursue a career as a flight attendant – and what’s it like doing the same job as your Mum?
Marlies laughs and grins: People actually ask me that question all the time. I originally fell in love with flying not just because my Mum worked in the air, but because my Dad did too. He was a pilot with Austrian Airlines for many years. I found the things my parents did for a living totally cool. Both of them moved around a great deal, told incredibly exciting stories, and gave me some great insights into life in the cabin and cockpit. That had a huge influence on me, naturally. But I didn’t always want to become a flight attendant – quite the opposite, in fact. Just after I’d taken my school-leaving exam, my Mum said to me: “We’re looking for new staff! Flying’s fun – you should apply.”
How long have you been working as a flight attendant, Martina, and what does the job mean to you?
I’ve been flying since 1988, and still enjoy the job enormously. I particularly like the fact that you have such a large circle of colleagues – I love being part of that, and am truly honoured to be part of such a team. I’ve also made many great friendships over the years through my work.
Apart from that, I find the international flair of the job fascinating, as well as the lovely stopovers and wonderful people you meet.
And how long have you been flying, Marlies? What makes flying so special for you?
Time flies! I’ve been flying for nearly five years myself now. I started my basic course in December 2013, and don’t regret the decision for a second.
Thanks to my family having this history of working in the aviation industry, flying is something very special for me, and always will be. I’m carrying on a family tradition through my job, and love flying with colleagues who know my parents as well. It always makes me smile when I tell people I’m the Winkler Daughter – my colleagues love telling stories from years ago, when they used to fly with Mum and Dad on the MD80.
Where would you say is your favourite destination?
Marlies: Long-haul, it’s definitely Chicago. Within Europe, I’d have to say Innsbruck.
Martina: Innsbruck is my favourite route too! The breathtaking panorama in Tyrol is just amazing.
Had you ever had the pleasure of working on the same flight?
Marlies laughs again: We get asked that a lot. We have flown together, of course, and I love flying with my Mum. We had our first flight together shortly after I finished my basic course. We always work as a pair, of course; I’m like her right hand. We work as a finely-tuned team when we’re together, and I even call her “Mum” on the plane.
Martina grins: Once we were both on standby, and were assigned to exactly the same flight. We’ve also done stopovers together in the past, though. We were once in Tel Aviv together, when my elder daughter Annika was with us as well. It was an unforgettable experience!
Do you have any special memories of a flight you took together?
Marlies: Absolutely! We once requested a flight to Lefkas together so we could pick my Dad from sailing. Our plan worked perfectly, and Dad was over the moon! The passengers couldn’t quite believe their ears when I said “Mum” to a person they thought was my colleague!
Martina: Yes, that’s exactly how it was!
There really is an Austrian Airlines gene, so it would seem! If you think you might be interested in a career as a flight attendant, click here to find more information about how to do so.