THE FLIGHTDECK • April 2022

The family that flies together

Lyndsay McGregor and Mark Mannering-Smith
Lyndsay McGregor and Mark Mannering-Smith

She’s a senior first officer on the A350. He’s a captain on the A320. Together, they’re wife and husband Lyndsay McGregor and Mark Mannering-Smith. This month, The Club sits down with the dream team to learn how they deal with work chat at home, raising a mini AV-enthusiast and how it all started with a kebab…

Tell us how you two met: was it through us? 
Mark: We met through Twitter, over a kebab house recommendation in Glasgow. Both of those things make it sound way seedier than it was! But we both have a presence on Twitter and I was going on a short-haul night stop in Glasgow, and tweeted for recommendations.
Lyndsay: I saw Mark’s tweet and thought, “I can help this guy out”, so I slid into his DMs to say that the best kebab shop in the whole of the short-haul network was Babs, and that he had to go there. We actually went back last year and had a celebratory kebab!

Do you have any rules around work chat at home?
Lyndsay: It’s impossible to completely avoid talking about work, but we mainly talk about who we’ve bumped into and recently met. What is quite nice is that if one of us has had a challenging day, it’s lovely to come home and be able to offload, and for them to understand and have an appreciation of what you’re talking about. We also have our six-month simulator checks, and it’s helpful to have a study buddy for that.

Proudest moments in your respective careers?
Lyndsay: For me, it was being qualified to fly the B747. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been really interested in flying and the 747 was the aircraft that I wanted to fly, so to get that on my licence was my proudest moment. I was sad when it was retired but it gave me an opportunity to fly a new aircraft, which has better technology and is more fuel-efficient so can go to some excellent places.
Mark: A lot of my career has been in management and many of my proudest moments have been in seeing my team develop and grow. I did set a world record, though, during Comic Relief for ‘the world’s highest music concert’, at 34,000 feet. It was 80s themed, and we had Tony Hadley and Debbie Harry performing in the sky.

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How important is it to you both that your daughter Riley is interested in travel?
Lyndsay: It’s really important. We want her to experience different cultures, the way that people live in different ways, and, as she grows up, we plan to take her around the world so she can be immersed in culture and traditions and have that exposure.
Mark: I’ve got three older kids as well, and I’ve found it’s such an important developmental thing to travel, to learn to be on your own somewhere different.

Do you have a dream family holiday that you’re yet to take?
Lyndsay: We’ve only had one family holiday so far, to Spain, but we’d love to head to South Africa and take Riley on Safari. And obviously Mark and I can sample the local wine and food – responsibly of course! We’ve got a few long-haul holidays planned that we want to do. It’d be great to go to Botswana and we love the US national parks, too.

What is the best placed you’ve both visited?
Mark: We went to Yosemite, and it was just excellent. We flew into San Jose, hired a car, visited a few spots in Monterey and on the Pacific Coast and then went up to the National Park. Those newer routes that BA flies to the slightly smaller cities, such as Nashville and Austin, are just superb and give you such a different view of the US. There are so many good European cities that we’ve been to as well, from Barcelona and Innsbruck to Lisbon – and Helsinki was great, too.

What is your number one top tip for a smooth-sailing family holiday?
Lyndsay: It’s all in the planning. If you’re travelling with a kid, you’ve got to be able to distract them, have food and snacks in case the service doesn’t time with when they’re hungry. If you’re travelling with someone, try to split the load so you have a bit of down time. And don’t overpack – planning and packing ‘just right’ is a real skill so you’re not laden with too much kit.

Is there a piece of kit that is a must-have for parent travellers?
Mark: We’ve got this Mountain Buggy Nano 3, which folds up really small so you can fit it in the overhead locker. It’s super compact, really light, and Riley can relax easily and sleep in it. It’s just essential for our trips and fits in your baggage gauge so you dont have to check it in. The YouTube kids app is also great, and you can lock the screen while they’re on it.

To read more Members’ tips for family travel, click here

This article has been tagged Families, BA