This heartwarming picture shows pensioner Olive Jones grinning from the cockpit of an airplane – after finally overcoming her fear of flying at the age of 85.
Olive had always wanted to take to the skies but had been too nervous to spread her wings.
Her great-nephew James Gibson, a cabin crew member for Monarch, had been trying to persuade her for years, telling her it was “just like being on a coach that travels a bit quicker and a bit higher off the ground”.
And after many years of looking up at planes flying overhead, listening to James’ stories of jetsetting throughout Europe, Olive was inspired her to embark on her own European adventure.
Joined by her son Michael Jones, Olive boarded a plane from Birmingham Airport heading to Venice, even squeezing in a trip to the cockpit before the flight took off.
Olive, from Tipton, Sandwell, West Midlands, said: “From the moment we got to the airport everyone was so kind and attentive.”
“The Monarch check in supervisor could see I was nervous and came across and talked me through what would happen from check-in through to arriving in Venice.”
“This really put my mind at ease. When we boarded the aircraft the crew were lovely and helped settle me in for the flight. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to be flying up in the air.”
“I was quite scared when it came to take-off, but I was determined to go through with it and I did.”
“The pilot was lovely and rather good looking too, meeting him helped ease my nerves, I knew I was in safe hands.”
James, who has worked for Monarch for eight years, said: “Olive has a real zest for life and new adventures, but she has always been nervous about take-off and landing.
“She likes coach travel so I told her it was just like being on a coach that travels a bit quicker and a bit higher off the ground and she eventually agreed to try it.
“She is proud of my career, working for Monarch and is always singing their praises to people at her social clubs.
“I explained to her that the best way of telling people about Monarch is to sample their service for herself so we sent off for a passport and away we went.”
“I’m really proud of her and I feel privileged to have accompanied her during her first ever flight. When it came to choosing an airline, of course it was always going to be Monarch.
“It has been the experience of a lifetime for her I’m sure. The only question is where do we go for our next holiday?”