He was born in Ourique, Alentejo, in 1986. Marcelo Santos is one of the most recent members of the TAP family, but he is unique in having passed through three airlines before reaching the one that was part of his dreams.
He left home with 18 years old, to study in Faro, Algarve, where he graduated in Tourism. After finishing the course, he went to Brussels, in Belgium, then to Crete Island, in Greece, and then to Madrid, where he lives for almost nine years. Yes, lives, although in part-time, nowadays.
Ryanair, Iberia and Qantas. These are the three Airlines where Marcelo worked – for about nine years – before, a month ago, he began flying with the Portuguese airline uniform, as flight attendant. "It is a little boy’s dream. I've been waiting for this for a long time. If I had not come, I would always wonder what might have been", says Marcelo in an interview. They were enriching experiences and very different from each other, due to the phases of life he was living, the working conditions, the flights and the destinations he was flying to.
At Ryanair, for example, he made friends for life. Due to the airline’s nature itself, work was more tiring, he says. He made several "legs" a day, always without stays. The tiredness was greater. "I think the service that is provided to customers depends a lot on the way crew members are treated. If I am well rested, I am more at ease with the passenger and obviously I will provide a better service. Even the interaction between crew members during the flight: if we are happy, the passengers listen to us and that gives them a good message about the company".
He worked for five years in the Irish company until moving to Iberia, also based in Madrid, where he had already established roots. The informal treatment between employees, and even customers, was undoubtedly one of the highlights of this experience, which also lasted approximately two years.
The fear of change is common to most of human beings. With Marcelo it was no different when he received a phone call from the Australian company Qantas, which led him to an intensive recruitment and training process and to a change of basis to London. He left, then, to adventure, to a world he didn’t know, and stepped in Australia for the first time, making another old dream come true.
At Qantas, he worked only in the long-course – "Flying the A380 is amazing!" – with two to three flights a month and several consecutive days off. However, the flights were very long, as he explained: "I really enjoyed it, but it's not as easy as people might think it is, because there are many sleepless nights and very long flights, some of 14 hours". With a destinations network totally different from those of Ryanair or Iberia, Qantas allowed Marcelo to visit places like Dubai, Singapore, Sydney or Melbourne, and to move from the middle to the long-course.
Marcelo wanted to know the world. He left Portugal early and, still today, tries to conciliate the job in TAP with home in Madrid. Why come back, then? Why leave a life that, in his own words, was very comfortable, to risk again the change and come to the Portuguese airline?
The whole process had already taken place and Marcelo was waiting for the final results of the medical examinations, which would dictate his entry into training. Even so, he still had doubts. It was a new change. One day, on a flight between Sydney and Dubai, he heard someone speak Portuguese. What followed might have have been destiny or just a big coincidence. The passengers were TAP's crew and convinced him that this is the best company to work for.
In March this year, TAP was once again on the TOP 3 of the best companies to work in Portugal, the only one in the civil aviation sector, having won the third place of the "Randstad Employer Brand 2018 Award", which distinguishes the most attractive companies to work according to the active population’s perception. At the time, Pedro Ramos, TAP’s Human Resources Director, highlighted on the one hand "the work of a broad team that works the TAP brand as a strong and attractive employer and, on the other hand, continues to promote a culture of balance between the personal and professional life of its employees".
From left to right: José Miguel Leonardo - Randstad Portugal CEO, Pedro Ramos – TAP Human Resources Director and Paulo Alexandre Ferreira, Assistant Secretary of State and Trade
This first month of TAP
Marcelo fell in love with aviation and TAP when, at 14 years old, he traveled to Brazil with the Airline. Today, a month ago flying with our uniform, he says he is already winning: "I could not not come, after so much time thinking about it… So much time. It's like coming home. I think Amália Rodrigues, our flag, the national anthem – nowadays Cristiano Ronaldo – and TAP are our greatest symbols. And getting on a TAP flight – now as well, but before, as a passenger – gives us that sweet taste. And I think it's a unanimous feeling."