She Speaks: The Pandemic Through the Eyes of an Emirates Pilot

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Photo: Courtesy of Nils Nedel

To say our current feelings about travel are complicated is an understatement. Whether you had to cancel a solo trip you had long been saving for, cut short a holiday abroad with your girlfriends, or reschedule a very special romantic getaway, it’s perfectly normal to feel sad about travel plans that went awry – and conflicted about making new ones. But what if flying people from A to B is your bread and butter? Here, Savoir Flair speaks with Captain Rocio Mireya Rodriguez from Emirates about what these unprecedented circumstances have meant for her line of work.


As a pilot, how have you been personally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
It has hit the travel industry very hard, this is definitely an unprecedented time. Personally, I have not been able to fly for over a month now. However, as pilots, we do understand the necessity of maintaining such measures to ensure we stay safe and come out of this stronger and better.

What one aspect of flying do you miss most?
I love my job with Emirates – with every flight, I have a different office view from the cockpit. From meeting with the crew who are from all over the globe to flight operations and all the wonderful places I get to go to, these are things I miss every day and very much look forward to.

Photo: Courtesy of Shaun Darwood

What advice would you give to fellow pilots worldwide who are currently grounded and therefore struggling?
I can only comment on what has worked for me, and that is I take life day by day, keep busy, and always remain positive.

As pilots, we do understand the necessity of maintaining such measures.

What is the one question you’re asked most frequently these days?
The one question that I get asked most on a daily basis is, “When will things get back to normal?” I think we are all looking for that answer. Until then, it’s important to be positive and enjoy this time, bonding with family and maybe discovering new hobbies and activities.

As we speak, we’re living through history in the making. What do you think you’ll remember most about this time in the future?
We are truly living through a challenging period in human history. With so many lives affected worldwide, this is a time to reflect and appreciate what I have here – from spending quality time with my husband and my kids to speaking with my family back in Mexico everyday. I also try to see the positives around me; people are joining together despite social distancing to help alleviate the impact of the pandemic, and Mother Nature is healing herself.

Photo: Courtesy of JD Mason

Considering the role of travel in your life, how are you coping with being homebound? What keeps you busy?
I’m trying to regulate a diet and sleep routine. Conducting online schooling with the kids and finally getting around to those house projects that I have been putting off has kept me busy. I have also enrolled for online training courses, and am learning yoga.

If the world magically returns to its normal state overnight, where would you travel tomorrow and why?
I would love to take my family back to Mexico. I’ve not had a chance to see my family members there for some time. I miss the great food and the beautiful beaches in Mexico. Once conditions allow it, we can all start traveling again, enjoying the great experiences that come with meeting new people and exploring new cultures.

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