I was recently selected to part of a special set of crew – taking the A380 on it’s inaugural flight to Vienna! Since I joined Emirates, I’ve been trained to fly on the A380 as well as the 777, and since being part of the business class team (coming up to 2 years now) I fly more on the A380 than the 777. She really is huge (519 passengers at maximum capacity, as well as 26 crew members) but most of us love it, and there’s something a bit special about having a real-life bar onboard!

I could feel the excited atmosphere as soon as I arrived in the briefing room, and it was quite a few of the crew’s first time to Vienna. Having lived in Austria for 6 years before moving to Dubai I’m quite familiar with the city, and unfortunately none of my friends or family were able to make it this time, so I planned to have a relaxing layover in the city.

We were just about ready to take off, when we were informed of a water leak in the first class galley, which resulted in us returning to the gate so an engineer could come onboard and fix it. After an hour and a half delay, we were finally off!

The flight went nice and smoothly (after the initial hiccup!), and upon arriving in VIE, we were greeted with a water canon salute, a tradition for inaugural flights.

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Since my jumpseat was located at the back of the aircraft, it was more of a trickle by the time it got to us, but nevertheless it was pretty cool to watch from the onboard cameras.

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After an absolutely delightfully easy roster this month, it’s back to regular flying in July. I’m at the bottom of the seniority rotation, and should have been on reserve, but somehow managed to get a pretty normal roster.

On an exciting note, I’ve been put on the inaugural A380 flight to Vienna on the 1st of July! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may remember that I used to live in Austria before moving to Dubai (for 6 years, although not in Vienna) so I am excited to be heading back! I get rostered plenty of flights to Germany and Switzerland being a German Speaker, but very rarely to Vienna!

Other than that I’ll be heading off to:

  • VIE (Vienna, Austria, the inaugural A380 flight, I’m hoping for a water canon salute when we land!)
  • SIN (Singapore)
  • DEL (Dehli, India, a shortish turnaround)
  • ZRH (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • DOH (Doha, Qatar, one of the shortest turnaround flights we have – about 45 minutes each way!)
  • ZRH (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • BHX (Birmingham, UK)
  • JFK (New York, USA)

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Only 2 turnarounds this month, and relatively short ones which is not too bad. I even have one new destination, Birmingham, which I was rostered to fly to a while back but never ended up going (I can’t remember why, I think I swapped it or must have been off sick!). Any suggestions for what to do there are most welcome, as I’m fairly sure most of the crew just go shopping!

My JFK flight is one of the tougher ones, as it’s around a 13-14 hour flight each way, and only a 24 hour layover! I’ll still try and get out and do as much as I can, especially as it should hopefully be nice and warm there.

I’m looking forward to another month of flying, and of course I’ll keep you updated in case of any swaps!

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Recently I had a few days off in a row and decided a spontaneous trip was in order. I hadn’t seen my sister Lizzie & her boyfriend Jarett for a while and they’d just moved into a new flat in Vienna, Austria, so I booked my tickets and off I went!

After my flight from Hong Kong I had just a few hours to quickly get home, unpack, shower, re-pack and make my way to the airport, so I was hoping I remembered to take everything with me that I needed for the couple of days.

Lizzie had just arrived a few hours earlier on a flight from the UK where she’d been visiting our mum, so her and Jarett were already waiting at the airport when I arrived. Since it was evening and I’d been travelling all day, we headed straight to their apartment and did nothing more than catch up and chill out!

The next morning we were woken by the lovely sunshine streaming in through the curtains, and after breakfast at home we set out to do some exploring. Jarett (who is American) has a German course for a couple of hours every weekday so he made his way there and we arranged a meeting point for lunch a bit later on. Lizzie and I got on the bikes and cycled through the pretty streets of Vienna, making our way to the Prater.

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A couple of weeks ago I had some leave and decided to fly back to Austria to visit my family for a few days.

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I had a lovely time catching up with lots of friends and spending time with mum in the garden.

We drove up to the holiday house in the mountains and just look at the view! Luckily the weather was beautiful and we spent lots of time outside enjoying the sunshine. It’s too hot in Dubai to stay outside for long now!

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Right after my trip to San Francisco, I had around 2 weeks of leave! Mum and Dad very kindly invited me to come on holiday with them. They were going to be cycling around 400km from Vienna to Budapest!

I decided I might as well join them and get a bit of exercise!

Right after I landed from San Fran I quickly packed my bags and headed back to the airport for an overnight flight to Vienna. I made my way to their hotel and our first day of cycling was from Vienna to Bratislava.

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Most of the route was right along the Danube river on cycling paths.

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We stopped along the way by a huge cherry tree and Dad insisted that I climb the tree to get cherries for us!

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Once we arrived at our hotel in Bratislava, we had a nice walk around the city before dinner. There was some kind of food festival going on, so we just couldn’t pass up a glass of wine for 50 cents each!

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The next day our route took us from Bratislava to Mosonmagyarovar, in Hungary. (Not the easiest name to pronounce!)

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A lot of the way we were cycling along gravel paths, which was very tough going!

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Passing by fields and fields full of beautiful white poppies.

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After Mosonmagyarovar, our next stop was Györ, also in Hungary.

The company that organises the cycling holidays arranges all the hotels for you, and every morning they come and pick up your suitcases and drop them off at the next hotel. Very handy for us, as it meant we didn’t have to carry anything with us except what we needed for the day.

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From Györ we cycled back into Slovakia, to a town called Komarno. It’s actually in both Slovakia and Hungary, split into two parts by the Danube river. We stayed on the Slovakian side, and whilst exploring we discovered some beautiful buildings in the town.

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Our second last day took us from Komarno to Visegrad, back into Hungary. I think this was one of the longest routes we did, at about 80km!

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Finally on our last day of cycling we went from Visegrad to Budapest.

We stopped off at a very picturesque little town on the way called Szentendre, which was absolutely full of tourists!

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Once we finally made it to Budapest we were pretty much all cycled out!

Luckily we had two days here to do some exploring and sightseeing…and all of those pictures will be in my next post! 🙂

P.s. If you’d like to see more day-to-day updates of what’s happening in my life, follow me on Instagram and Twitter @rachelwwilson!