Who would have thought that when I stepped on the plane to go to Lahore, Pakistan and back, I wouldn’t be coming home until more than 24 hours later!
As I mentioned in my roster post of August, it was supposed to be a quick trip to LHE and back. The flight is around 3 hours each way, so not too long but still sufficient time to do the service. We had a full cabin in business class so we were busy, but since we departed Dubai around 3am, plenty of the passengers chose to sleep and didn’t have breakfast.
As we were approaching Lahore, the captain made a PA that the weather was very bad, thunderstorms and lots of rain around the area of the airport. Amongst the crew we made jokes that we would be turning around and going back to Dubai instead of landing….if only we knew what was to come!
Shortly after the purser informed us all that instead of landing in LHE, we would be diverting to MUX (Multan, another city in Pakistan around 30 mins flight time from LHE). The captain also made another announcement to inform all of our passengers, who of course were not very pleased!
Once we landed in Multan, we had no idea how long we would be staying on ground or if the passengers would be offloaded there. We ended up serving so much tea and coffee in business class that we ran out of cups! Luckily after around an hour on ground the weather had improved slightly and we were ready to head back to LHE. The flight was less than 30 minutes and we stayed strapped in to our jump seats the whole time, so at least we finally got to sit down for a moment!
After disembarkation, what usually happens on a turnaround is that the cleaners come on, and we prepare the galley and cabin for the return sector. This means unloading all the unused meals from the ovens and loading the new ones, preparing the seats with blankets, headsets, water bottles, menus, etc. After that we start our safety and security search. We didn’t even get the chance to start the security search before the purser made a PA for everyone to come to the front….
We were no longer legal to fly back to Dubai, as our duty had started in the middle of the night and we now had been on the aircraft for too long. That meant we would have to stay in Lahore! None of us were particularly pleased about that to be perfectly honest, as we all had plans for the day ahead. Our captain liaised with the ground staff for a hotel to be organised for us, and we waited around in the airport for a while whilst everything got sorted. Unfortunately we had one Indian crew member with us who wasn’t allowed to enter Pakistan, so she had to stay in an airport lounge for the next 10 hours (in uniform!) while we headed off to the hotel.
The weather looked just like an English summer…rain, rain and more rain!