The first Saab 340 was delivered to Swiss airline Crossair on June 6, 1984. Almost one week later, on June 12, the airline carried out its first flight with a paying passenger, Pope John Paul II.
The Pope was the first passenger in connection with his first official visit to Switzerland, and he flew from Zurich to Lugano. According to the pilots’ recollections, the Pope was an incredibly interested passenger who stood between them for almost the entire flight.
When it was time to land and passengers were requested to fasten their seatbelts, the pope obstinately remained standing between the pilots. “I couldn’t bring myself to tell him to sit down and fasten his seatbelt. I assumed he had enough protection from above,” said one of the pilots after the flight.
The landing was a success, and that afternoon the Pope flew from Lugano to Geneva in the same aircraft. The story neglects to mention whether he was equally interested on that flight.