As much as I love to keep my blog positive and only post about the fun things I get up to either in Dubai or on my layovers, the reality is that I don’t actually spend every layover out and about, exploring the city or surrounding areas.
And that’s perfectly ok! I think I would be totally burned out if I never rested and made sure to get a proper night’s sleep or spend some of my layovers just lounging in bed.
I would love to keep you all believing that this is the most glamorous job in the world, but that isn’t always the case I’m afraid! Now, of course we all know that sometimes it really is amazing – breakfast in Dubai, lunch in Milan, and dinner in New York. But on other days, the reality hits you and I don’t want to portray a false illusion here.
One of the main things that every crew has to deal with is the constant tiredness. You get back from a flight at 6am, coming home well after the sun has risen. Yet you’ve worked the entire night serving your passengers and trying to keep yourself awake, so it’s only right that you feel utterly exhausted! On these days it’s perfectly normal to sleep all day and wake up at dinner time, feeling guilty that you’ve “wasted” the entire day. I know for people who don’t fly it can seem strange to be able to sleep all day, but every cabin crew will understand that it’s perfectly normal.
Sometimes you can be rostered a string of flights in a row, with no real days off in-between. These are the killers, as you barely have time to do anything in-between flights, and have to prioritise sleep over everything else.
Another harsh reality of the job is the loneliness you can often feel. You’re flying with 25 other crew every time – how could you possibly be lonely? The truth is it can be hard to see your friends, with conflicting rosters you have to plan well in advance just to be able to catch up over a quick lunch. Even living together can mean you don’t see each other as much as you want – one person could be coming and the other going within a few hours.
Even with all of the technology in the world – you could be 10.000km apart and in complete opposite time zones to your loved ones, which can make you feel incredibly lonely at times. You could even go days without speaking to anyone other than the supermarket cashier or saying hello to the security guards in your building!
Believe me when I say, I really don’t spend every layover going out sightseeing, eating in lovely restaurants and exploring the world. Sometimes you don’t click with the other crew, or they all have different plans to what you fancy doing. So you decide to stay in, relax, and treat yourself to some room service.
Yet when you realise that there is still a whole afternoon ahead of you with absolutely nothing planned…it can be so boring! I sometimes wish I’d made more of an effort to go out with the crew, but I know that everyone has different plans and it can end up with all of you walking round for hours not really deciding where to go or what to do.
Not only on layovers, but sometimes when I’m home in Dubai the boredom strikes. I know, I know, there are so many things to do here! But as I mentioned above, it can be hard fitting things in when everyone has different rosters. As much as I could easily go out and do things by myself, it’s always much more fun with someone else.
Lastly, the jet-lag. In a way this ties in with the other things I’ve mentioned above, especially the tiredness. As glamorous as it can be to be in Hong Kong one day, Sydney the next, and San Francisco the week after, sometimes your body just can’t cope.
When I have short-ish flights (i.e. around 7 hours or less) I never really struggle with jet-lag, as it’s not usually a huge time difference from Dubai so I adjust pretty quickly. Most of our layovers are 24 hours, so it doesn’t give you enough time to feel the difference too much.
However, when you fly to places that are a long flight away, or are lucky enough to have a 48 hour layover, you really start to notice the difference.
Recently I was in San Fran, and by 4pm I was already struggling to keep my eyes open. I tried to push myself to stay awake and adjust to the local time, but it’s really hard when your body is 8 hours ahead! On the other hand, I’d be wide awake and ready for breakfast by 4 or 5am. Not ideal! Of course, once I was back in Dubai it was the opposite, and I could have slept until dinner time if I hadn’t forced myself out of bed.
With all of this being said, I do absolutely love my job and wouldn’t trade it in for the world. And that is precisely why I don’t post about every layover, because the reality is that I don’t spend every layover out and about exploring or sightseeing!
Sometimes you just need to rest, relax, get on that wifi and treat yourself to a delicious plate of pasta from room service. I hope I haven’t disheartened anyone reading this who is thinking about applying for the job as cabin crew, please don’t be discouraged because it honestly is the best job in the world and I would 100% without a doubt say go for it!
So there we have it, a little bit of reality in an otherwise glamorous lifestyle!