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!
Once we checked in and were given our rooms, we headed up, feeling very strange not having a suitcase as you normally would on a layover!
Nobody had thought to bring anything with them (spare make-up, underwear, toothbrushes…) so it was a bit strange. Luckily we carry our crew pyjamas on every flight (although it’s not required on a turnaround but it’s just easier to leave them in your cabin bag) so I at least had something to change into. Having started our day at midnight Dubai time, I was feeling rather tired, so got straight into bed ready for a sleep. I had to use my phone sparingly as I didn’t bring a phone charger with me either!
After a good few hours of sleep, it was time for some food! I’d barely eaten on the plane so I ordered palak paneer, which is a mild spinach and paneer cheese curry. When it arrived on a trolley I thought they’d mistakenly brought up enough for a family of four! There was so much rice, raita, salad, condiments and even a paratha the size of a plate! I felt bad leaving so much food as it was delicious, if only I’d had some tupperware to take it back on the plane with me! 😀
Before long our 10 hours in Lahore was up, and I managed to borrow a phone charger from one of the girls so I had 15% battery to see me through til we landed back in Dubai! Luckily we’d managed to get a toothbrush from the aircraft so I could at least go back with clean teeth, even if I had only a few scraps of make-up left on my face! An adventure to say the least.
Once we got back to the aircraft, everything was as we left it (luckily we’d prepared the cabin before we disembarked so that was out of the way) and new catering had brought in. Our passengers were very happy to finally be boarding, after they’d had more than 15 hours delay. A fair few even commented on how lucky we were to have stayed in such a nice hotel….if only they knew I’d much rather have been back home in my own bed!
After a short flight we finally landed safe and sound back in Dubai…around 20 hours later than we had originally thought. Some lessons I’ve learned from that unexpected layover – always carry a spare pair of underwear, some make-up and a phone charger, even if you only think you’re going to Doha and back!
Unfortunately due to the extended timings my roster was changed, and I was removed from my BKK – HKG flight and given 5 days of “can-use” instead. I was put on a London flight straight away, and now I’ve been given an Istanbul turnaround tomorrow. Not ideal, but that’s crew life for you I suppose!
P.s. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter for more day-to-day updates of where I am in the world! 🙂
Wellcome to Lahore. Hope on ur next visit, you should explore some historical places in Lahore. Also have a tour to Islamabad (green cit) and northern area of Pakistan.
im your faithful blog reader:) i wonder and wanna ask you about when you arrive at the hotel did you sleep alone or you have accompany? thanks
Did you mean if we have to share a room with other crew? We always get our own rooms on every layover 🙂
Hi Rachel. I feel so bad that you did not get to see the city completely. But Pakistan is a great country you should come again and spend some time in Pakistan. Love you sooooooooo much Rachel and please visit Pakistan again it is an amazing country!
Hi Rachel, thank you for the lovely post. Could you please help me to understand why it was not legal for you to turnaround? 🙂
Hey its so cool you got to spend a few hours in my city! Hope you enjoyed it, it isn’t as bad as people say it is! The hotel you stayed at is one of the best ones in Lahore though! Would have loved to run into you though :)!
Hi Waqar, yes it’s a shame I couldn’t really see much of the city though! 🙂
Hi Rachel, once again you have excelled at describing what a fascinating life you lead!!! You life seems like an endless adventure and an extended vacation……many can only dream of that life style!! My question is , why is the turn over rate with Emirates rather high? I do understand that scores of young and beautiful men and women apply for or pine for the flight attendant position on board Emirates and yet it appears that once they do get in, many decide to quit in a rather short amount of time! Why is this so?
Hi Asher, thanks for reading! Trust me it’s not all glamorous, I only post about the good bits 🙂 To be honest I can’t really answer that question, I think it totally depends on the reason people join! Not everyone wants to live in Dubai forever, not everyone wants to continue flying once they start a family (especially women)…some people only plan to stay one year before going back home 🙂
The hotel and food look amazing!
The hotel was very nice, and the food was delicious (although enough to feed a small family, haha!).
Thanks for the great post Rachel! I love reading about your adventures.
I’m hoping to become a flight attendant when I’m old enough.
Quick question… Have you ever been to Toronto? I know Emirates does fly here but I rarely see flight attendants staying in Toronto from all the blogs I follow. Is that a difficult destination to get? Or is there a septate crew that gets selected for it?
Thanks so much! 🙂
Thanks Anna, glad you’re enjoying reading my blog! I have been to Toronto, we only have 3 flights a week though which is why it’s quite a hard flight to get! If you use the search box on here and search Toronto you should find the blog post 🙂
How old are you Rachel?
Looks like a good surprise!!
Nooo we were totally unprepared to stay the night! 😀
Can I ask why the Indian crew wasn’t allowed into Pakistan? And did she get some sleep in the airport lounge? Poor girl!
I’m not sure, something to do with Indian and Pakistani politics! She got a little bit, but on the way back she deadheaded (i.e. flew as a passenger) while we worked.
Indian and Pakistanis need visa to enter each others country even if they are airline or cruise staff.
Pitty this happens.
Thanks for sharing the adventure! Keep on this perfect reports !
Thanks for reading Paul! 🙂
Hello Rachel I’m actually very glad that you guys spent hours in my city Lahore Pakistan.. But the experience seems quite bad haha.. I hope you’ll not take it as worst experience… ☺
Hi Shumaila! I’m sure the experience would have been very different if we had actually been expecting to stay there 😀 At least I got to enjoy some Pakistani food! 🙂
Like reading your blog and find very interesting this post about some unplanned events 🙂
Funny you are talking about taking a Tupperware. I’m actually a Tupperware employee 🙂
Thanks Denis! Haha, you should see my dedicated Tupperware cupboard 😀
so what happened to the Indian flight attendant? Seems very inconvenient for her
Yes, I’d also love to know what happened to her. Shame man, such an inconvenience for you all but that paratha looks sooo yum! It has me craving indian food now.
She stayed in the airport lounge until we got back form the hotel and then shelf back with us but as a passenger! You’re right the paratha was sooo good, haha!
She stayed in the airport lounge until we came back from the hotel and then deadheaded (= flew as a passenger) back on the flight with us!
What an adventure! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. More importantly, glad that you got back safe and sound.
Thanks Gabriel! Glad you enjoyed reading.