After four decades of dedicated service, ELMARIE GREYLING is retiring this year. She shares some of her wonderful memories and experience flying with SAA
My love and passion for people and adventure came together when I joined South African Airways in 1978 as a flight attendant and what started as a dream job ended up becoming a lifelong career! Being in the aviation industry for a very long time I have seen many changes with a lot of ups and downs, but one thing that I have learned is that as long as you keep a positive perspective, you can adopt and overcome any obstacle life throws at you. As crew members we are hard-wired for this job! By the grace of God and thanks to SAA, I fulfilled my dream as a flight attendant – it is a privilege to serve the passengers with dedication and work with exceptional colleagues in true SAA spirit.
WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT THIS JOB
I can use all my different skills to provide excellent service to passengers, as every flight is different with new experiences.
MY MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
There are so many – from meeting famous celebrities, VIPs and world leaders, to real-life on-board emergencies. Once I had one of the world’s greatest statesmen on board, our own president Nelson Mandela! What an honour and privilege it was to have served him.
WHEN I’M NOT FLYING, I’M A…
very active, outdoor person. I enjoy hiking and scuba diving, and I’m also an advocate against women and child abuse. Raising money for these causes has seen me climb Mount Kilimanjaro and doing a 21m deep scuba dive. Being a true South African I also enjoy wildlife and visited the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi – an unforgettable experience.
MY FAVOURITE INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS
I have visited so many places with SAA over the past four decades, it’s hard to choose just one. These are some of my favourites.
Ngorongoro Crater It’s just spectacular with vast amounts of wild animals wondering its plains. It is a must-visit destination, preferably with an overnight stay to see sunset and sunrise.
The Oktoberfest I love the traditional music and typical Bavarian folklore clothing at the biggest beer festival in the world.
English Garden This huge public park has eye-catching temples, teahouses, pavilions, pagodas and biking and hiking trails, along with a variety of restaurants serving typical German dishes like schnitzel or bratwurst.
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour It’ a great way to see the city’s main sights, including beautiful architecture with the Alps rising in the south.
I’ve always found this a fascinating city, partly because of its interesting history, but also because of the sightseeing and, of course, the shopping! I enjoy bargaining at the famous local markets – the Ladies Market, Temple Street Night Market, The Jade Market and many more.
Trying the food offered at the many street-corner restaurants is also a unique culinary experience.
The best way to explore New York is on foot; there are several walking tours available. There are so many iconic sights – the Empire State building, Chrysler building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Broadway, and Central Park. The One World Trade Center was a highlight for me.
And of course … there’s the food! With something like 24 000 restaurants in Manhattan alone, it’s foodie heaven. For a proper New York bagel with cream cheese and salmon, you have to pay a visit to Ess-a-Bagel at 821 3rd avenue.
NY BY NIGHT
Staten Island ferry is one of the best ways to see the bright lights of lower Manhattan skyline.
Brooklyn Museum is open until 11pm on the 1st Saturday of every month.
Brooklyn Bridge is open until 10pm and is a great stroll.
360° views To get the full vista of this great city at night, try the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center and the One World Observatory on floor 100-102 of the One World Trade Center.
Watch a game Not everyone is familiar with the intricacies of American sports, but they are a spectacle to behold. If you can get tickets, it is worth attending a baseball (the Yankees and the Mets), ice hockey (the Rangers), or American football (the Jets and the Giants) game.
Watch some jazz At legendary clubs Fat Cat’s, The Blue Note, Birdland, and Terra Blues.