A lot of children want to follow in their parent’s footsteps when they’re older and it’s nice to see that some do continue on to follow this dream. We’re very proud at Thomas Cook Airlines to have not one, not two but three fathers training their children to take a seat in the captain’s chair just like them.
Charles and Andy are training captains and both have had the pleasure of flying alongside their children. Alan and his son Cameron have both worked at Thomas Cook Airlines for over a year but only recently had their first flight together.
Captain Andy Jones and First Officer Chris Reimann-Jones
I’m a training captain at Thomas Cook Airlines and have taught people to fly Boeing aircraft for 17 years. I must admit I never expected to look across the flight deck and see my son sitting in the other pilots seat. As parents you know you’re going to teach your children to walk or ride a bike, but a B767 somehow wasn’t on the list.
Chris was lucky enough to get a job as a pilot with Thomas Cook Airlines last November when he was 21. When he got assigned the same aircraft type and base as me, I knew one day we would fly together. We started out in the simulator with me teaching him the differences between the B757 and B767. I was very proud of his performance and couldn’t wait to fly together.
Their first father and son flight
Our first flight was his second training flight operating the B767. On entering the crew room a couple of cabin crew knew we were father and son. The others didn’t, the cabin manager assumed it was a joke and only realised as the flight went on that we really were related. It was a kind of odd feeling, someone you know so well in one setting carrying out a professional role.
I had to smile when one of the crew called on the inter-phone from the back of the aircraft to ask a question, Chris answered. ‘Hi it’s Chris’. She said ‘Hi Chris, can i speak to your dad…. She didn’t really want anything, All I could hear was the laughing from the back galley…
It was a fantastic day out, one where I walked away incredibly proud and looking forward to flying together again soon.
Captain Alan Chisholm and Senior First Officer Cameron Chisholm
After 25 years in the RAF, I became a Flight Engineer on the DC 10 at Gatwick in December 1996.
After completing my Commercial Pilot’s licence in 1998 I was offered a position as a pilot, still on the DC10. At the end of the DC10, I flew the A320 (Gatwick) and then the A330(Manchester). In 2005 I moved to Glasgow on the Boeing and gained my Command in 2007. I converted again to the Airbus at the end of last year.
From IT to the flight deck
My son Cameron studied Computing Science and worked in IT for several years, during which time he studied for and gained his Commercial Pilot’s Licence, all in his spare time.
His first commercial job as a pilot started in the autumn of 2012 and was then offered a position with Thomas Cook Airlines in January 2015.
He was trained onto the Airbus and based at Newcastle during the summer of 2015 and has been based at Glasgow since the beginning of this summer season.
We flew together for the first time on Sunday 5th June to Tenerife and then back to Gatwick. We had a fantastic day together and thoroughly enjoyed being a team for the day.
Captain Charles Allix and Senior First Officer India Allix
I’m training captain on the Airbus A321/330 fleet and been flying at Thomas Cook Airlines for 25 years. My daughter, India, has recently joined the airline as a Senior First Officer after 2 years based in Poland, where she flew Airbus A320.
We recently flew our first flight together as a crew on the Airbus A321 from London Gatwick to the Canary Island of Fuerteventura and I joked with India to stop asking me the question all children ask their parents on long journey’s “Are we nearly there yet Dad?”
Working together was very special for both of us but felt completely normal because in the airline industry we use ‘Standard Operational Procedures’ (SOP’s) which enable us to complete tasks to make flying an airliner a routine operation and avoiding miscommunication and achieving uniformity and safety….whoever you are flying with!
I have also been lucky enough to have flown with my son Ben as my copilot on the Thomas Cook Airbus fleet a few years ago but he now works abroad flying the Boeing 777.