Picture it, Guatemala City, 1997. You’re sitting in the terminal waiting for your flight and you glance outside at your plane. The big blue Boeing 747-400 sits serenely nearby, but what is that on top?! Is that… are there people… surfing… on the roof?!

This is exactly the sight that greeted astonished passengers back in September 1997. For what it’s worth, I would have found it amusing, though I am sure KLM management didn’t!

Jumbo Surfing!

All Boeing 747s have an escape hatch in the ceiling of the flight deck. This allows pilots to escape using emergency ropes that permit them to slide down the side of the fuselage.

It can be opened and closed on the ground and in this case it came in handy as an egress point for a cheeky KLM crew. They decided it would be a good idea to go out onto the roof and adopt surfing poses.

As luck would have it (or not, depending on your point of view!), a photographer from Belgian newspaper De Morgen happened to be in the vicinity. Of course he took pictures and naturally they were subsequently published.

A KLM representative stated in a newspaper article from the time that it was “Very unusual and certainly not without safety risks. We are curious to hear the reason from the crew.” No doubt!

Overall Thoughts

Not everyone can say they have been surfing on top of a Boeing 747, can they? While it certainly looks like there was an element of risk, they are clearly having a good time.

If you look hard enough, you can find pictures of airline crews doing all sorts of things at work. You can find them out on the wing, standing or sitting in engines and getting up in the overhead lockers. Unprofessional? Not really.

When you think about it, consider some of the things you have done at work for the laugh. People once thought it would be fun to make me an outfit out of blue kitchen roll, including a hat and a makeshift headset, just for fun. The instigator was the Finance Director of all people! Harmless fun during a quiet time, that’s all it is.

What do you think of the KLM crew’s surfing antics? Sure must have been a good view from up there! Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Tim de Groot on Airliners.net.