Well hello there – and welcome back to my blog! It’s certainly been a while since I’ve updated anything on here, and this will be my first post of 2021, oops! I never meant to go so quiet, but as you can imagine, I’ve not been flying very much. Slowly things are starting to pick up and I’m seeing more and more flights on my roster, but since we are still not allowed to leave the hotel on our layovers, I don’t have a whole lot to update you on!
Flights are gradually getting back to normal, although we still have to wear our full PPE (mask, gloves, gown and visor) and of course passengers still have to wear a mask. More destinations are opening up though which is a great sign, and I’m hopefully that eventually things will get back to normal. Let me tell you, I’ll never spend another layover in my hotel room again!
Believe it or not, this month I have an *almost* normal roster – quite a few flying hours, which makes for a nice change. Especially since we get paid depending on how much we fly; it’s been over a year since a normal salary.
So if everything goes to plan and no flights get removed (fingers crossed!) in May I’ll be heading to:
JFK – New York, USA
AMM – Amman, Jordan (turnaround)
HAM – Hamburg, Germany
BP – Business Promotion Event
DMM – Dammam, Saudi Arabia (turnaround)
LUN-HRE – Lusaka, Zambia – Harare, Zimbabwe
IKA – Tehran, Iran
I was actually quite excited when I got my roster, as whilst I have been flying a fair amount the past few months, this is the busiest roster I’ve seen since the pandemic!
Welcome back to another roster post! This year has been quite different in terms of rostering, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now. Slowly but surely, however, things are starting to get back on track a little bit and I’m actually getting a few flights when the roster comes out each month.
This November I’ve had the most flying hours I’ve had all year (well, does January/February even count as this year? It seems like another world away!), with 3 ULR (ultra long range) flights to Houston, Sydney and Chicago.
It’s made me realise just how much I miss flying, and I can’t wait for things to get back to normal, whenever that may be! On that note, my December roster looks like this:
SEP – Exams
FRA – Frankfurt, Germany
CAI – Cairo, Egypt (turnaround)
KRT – Khartoum, Sudan (turnaround)
Starting off the month with my yearly exams, which means it’s time to study! Once a year we have to renew our licenses and make sure we are fully updated on all safety and emergency procedures (SEP). Normally it’s two full days in training college, but due to the pandemic this year the majority needs to be done online beforehand, and then we just have one day in college for exams and some practicals.
My first flight of the month is a 48 hour layover to Frankfurt, Germany. I was there just the month before last, and as usual for all of our layovers these days, I wasn’t able to leave the hotel. I don’t anticipate things changing on that front any time soon, but you never know. I’m itching to get back out and explore, and normally Germany in December would be perfect for a visit to the Christmas markets. Sadly I think that won’t be an option this year!
Up next is a turnaround to Cairo, which is an overnight flight. Flight time should be around 3 hours each way, plus we stay on ground while the cleaners come on and prepare the aircraft for the return sector.
That leads nicely into my annual leave, which unfortunately doesn’t fall over Christmas this year. I was lucky enough to have Christmas off last year, and in our job it’s always a gamble as to whether or not you’ll be off for birthdays, Christmas and special occasions! The UAE has opened up a travel corridor with the UK, which means I’ll be able to fly home and spend time with my family without having to quarantine.
I was actually rostered a Düsseldorf layover directly after my leave over Christmas, but this has been removed, which has left me with some reserve days. I’ll try to extend my leave so I can stay home a few extra days and perhaps even for Christmas Day!
Next up is the last flight of the month, a turnaround to Khartoum, Sudan. I don’t remember ever having done this flight before, but according to the crew portal I’ve actually done it twice! It’s a fairly long day at around 4 hours flight time each way, but nevertheless I’m happy to have all the hours I can get these days.
And just like that, the final roster of 2020 is here! What a crazy year it’s been for everyone, and especially so for the aviation industry. Onwards and upwards for 2021, I think things can only get better from here!
I thought it might be fun to share a kind of “day in the life” post about my role as cabin supervisor. Somehow it’s been more than a year since I did my training, and I was able to finish my 6 month probation period just in time before all flights got put on hold. So I thought I’d give you a bit of an idea of what my job entails now.
Let’s start with before the flight. The same as when I was working in any other cabin, I need to make sure my cabin bag is prepped and ready to go, which means making sure my waistcoat is clean and ironed, shoes are polished, and all other items are available. One additional step I have now is charging my company provided “KIS” tablet. This is an HP tablet which is given to the seniors (pursers and cabin supervisors) for use on the flights, you can check all of the passenger information as well as lots of details about each specific destination, all of our manuals and much more. Due to the pandemic, we are currently not using our waistcoats as we are provided with single use disposable gowns, as well as masks, gloves and a visor. Out of habit I still pack my waistcoat, just in case!
As you may have noticed, it’s been pretty quiet over here on The Dubai Diaries. I’m sure I don’t need to mention why, but as you can imagine the aviation industry has been impacted hugely by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am very fortunate to still have a job, unlike many of my friends and colleagues who have sadly been made redundant. However, in comparison to my usual busy rosters, I’ve hardly been flying since March, although slowly things are starting to pick back up a little. That’s not to say more redundancies won’t happen; at this point it seems nobody knows when the airline industry will recover. I can only keep my fingers crossed that I am one of the lucky ones who gets to keep this job that I love so much.
Our second morning in Cappadocia saw us up bright and early, ready for a once in a lifetime experience – a hot air balloon ride! If you’ve been reading my blog for a few years, you may remember my amazing trip to Myanmar, with my friend Kirsty. She was pregnant at the time, so we were not able to ride in the balloons (click here if you’d like to read!), however this time Emma and I decided it was worth splurging for the experience.
We booked our hot air balloon ride via our hotel tour desk, and there are many different operators offering the ride. From what I’ve read online, the price varies depending on whether it’s high or low season, and we paid €100 each, which I found quite reasonable.
We were picked up while it was still completely dark outside and taken to the office of the hot air balloon company, stopping along the way to pick up a few more people. Once there, you could get some coffee and hot fresh bread rolls (the coffee was truly awful but the bread was lovely, at least!) while the organisers got everyone into groups to be driven out to the launch site.