Fearless Cabin Crew Helps Bring Home OFWs Amid nCoV Outbreak
Less than a week after being cleared from the mandated 14-day quarantine, Red Catte, an OMNI alumnus, recounts the most momentous flight of his career so far.
Amidst growing fear over the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), a repatriation mission for Filipinos in the outbreak’s Wuhan epicenter was set to be undertaken. Royal Air Philippines, the airline tasked with transporting the repatriates, called upon its employees to announce the need for volunteers to serve in such a critical flight.
Red recalls that during the meeting, as he sat amongst his colleagues, it immediately came to him to volunteer himself. “My mom is an OFW [in Hong Kong] too, and that’s one of the factors that affected my decision to take the flight,” he shared. “Plus, they are our fellow countrymen, why not lend a hand to those co-Filipinos who are in need knowing that you are capable.”
With a daunting task ahead, Red knew the preparation he had to take on to ensure his and his countrymen’s safety. “Days before the flight, I took time to pray and prepared myself, been taking vitamins, been eating fruits and veggies to strengthen my immune system. This is no ordinary flight so it requires you to be physically, spiritually and emotionally healthy knowing that after the flight, you’ll be quarantined for 14 days straight.”
Red went on to narrate the ensuing events. “It took 3 [hours] for the flight to Wuhan and for that leg I was so calm and relaxed.” According to him, the nerves kicked in when their plane touched down. However, upon the passenger’s boarding, he noted that the flight felt just like any other with the exception of their safety gears and hazmat suits.
During his two-week quarantine with the repatriates and his team members at New Clark City, Red saw the level of care required to contain such epidemics. He also said that this period gave him “the opportunity to reflect” and to “look for all the bright sides.”
Asked what aspect of the mission scared him most, Red simply responded: “Honestly, with my eagerness to help, [I] never felt fear. [I] never thought of any negative things, my mind has been set for compassion and helping.” True enough, his mindset attracted good tidings, as everyone under quarantine was cleared and certified virus-free on February 22, 2020.
From his flight attendant training at OMNI in 2018, to the heroic rescue he and his crew members accomplished this 2020, Red Catte truly has come a long way. Given his experience, Red shared a key takeaway: “Lend a hand when you know you are capable and be grateful for all the people behind every situation’s success. I might not know when my last flight will be, so I’m making all my flights memorable.”