Every Thursday around noon, you might notice a certain turmoil among KLM cabin crew. Because that’s when our new flight rosters are published: we log in to our intranet en masse from all over the world to check our schedules for the next month.
We do get the opportunity to make requests for flights, but obviously some flights are more popular than others. In brief, the idea behind the system is to assign requests evenly, monitoring the number of times that someone gets the flight that he or she requested.
When I’m sitting at my computer making requests, my friends often remark that it’s like I’m planning a holiday trip. And I must admit, it does feel like that now and then. “Shall I go for Los Angeles? But I’d love to go to Hong Kong too! Or shall I request a Kuala Lumpur flight – haven’t been there for a long time!”
On the other hand, there’s more to it than just planning a nice trip. Our rosters are very important to us since they influence a large part of our social life as well. So a lot of times we request less popular trips in order to have a better chance of being at home on our partner’s (or our own!) birthday, to attend that important sports game of our children, or to celebrate our parents’ wedding anniversary.
For example, my boyfriend and I decided to have a housewarming party this summer. That brought us up against a dilemma. If we waited too long before inviting our friends, we would run the risk that they might be occupied already. But if we just planned a date without knowing my flight roster, I would risk missing my own party!
We decided to play it safe and we sent out the invitations only when my schedule was published. The party will be next weekend. And it looks like it will all turn out well. But I will still only be completely at ease when my plane home touches down on the runway at Schiphol airport.