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.
So I originally wrote this post around a week or so ago… in the meantime Emirates has announced that all flights are suspended, the UAE government has shut down the airports, and we will be taking a salary cut for the next 3 months minimum. These are certainly crazy and unprecedented times, and I feel lucky to still have a job.
I know of so many airlines that have paused or ceased operations completely, and with most of the world on lockdown the travel industry has certainly taken a big hit.
When I wrote this I still had all my flights on the roster, but day by day they disappeared and I was left with “available days”. As of March right now half of these destinations are ones that we’ve temporarily stopped flying to. I’m certain this will take longer than we all think, but we can be hopeful that perhaps there will be some flights rescheduled at some point in April.
So this is what my roster looked like when I got it a couple of weeks ago…. as of now I have none of those flights left!
BRU – Brussels, Belgium
WAW – Warsaw, Poland
RUH – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (turnaround)
MUC – Munich, Germany
DAC – Dhaka, Bangladesh
BAH – Bahrain, Bahrain (turnaround)
BOM – Bombay, India (turnaround)
ATH – EWR – Athens, Greece & Newark, USA
I was actually quite looking forward to some of these trips – in particular the Athens Newark multi-sector which I’ve never done before. That was one of the first ones to go from my roster, sadly.
I was also supposed to have a trip to JFK at the end of March but that disappeared as well, and right now I’m home on quarantine. According to the UAE law we have to observe 14 days of quarantine after arriving from our last operating flight, that means not even leaving to go to the supermarket or out for exercise.
I’m trying to make the most of it and have been trying to do a daily workout from YouTube (although feel free to send any good workouts my way!), experimenting with cooking new recipes, and of course, plenty of Netflix!
In the meantime we can do nothing but stay strong, and hope that we will get our wings back soon and come back better than ever.
First of apologies for the silence over here on The Dubai Diaries… no excuses, I’ve just been busy enjoying life at the moment!
So, where am I off to next month?
DAC – Dhaka, Bangladesh (turnaround)
ARN – Stockholm, Sweden
LHR – London Heathrow, UK
BOM – Mumbai, India
BHX – Birmingham, UK
JFK – New York, USA
First up is a turnaround to Dhaka, Bangladesh. This is a pretty long day (around 5 hours each way plus time on ground), and sometimes it’s a layover but due to the timing I’ll be doing the turnaround.
After that is another trip to Stockholm. Although I was only just there in January, I’m happy to go back as the hotel is in a great location, perfect for exploring. Perhaps I will even get some snow this time!
Then I have my final review for the Cabin Supervisor pool, that I’ve been working up towards these past 6 months. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Straight after that is a trip to London Heathrow. I haven’t done a flight to Heathrow in a while, as Stansted is close to home so I try and get that flight when I can. I’m looking forward to this one though, as my best friend Lucy lives in London and she’s hoping to be able to take the day off work so we can do something fun together!
Then I have some leave – my friend Emma and I are planning to visit Turkey. We’re thinking a few days in Cappadocia and then a couple in Istanbul. If you’ve visited, feel free to leave some tips in the comments below!
Straight after my leave is a back to back combination of a turnaround to Bombay and then another layover in Birmingham. I’ve just been there, and didn’t manage to do much as all of the trains were cancelled due to Storm Ciara!
Then if my final review goes well, I will have the graduation day for it. This is actually the same as when I joined and completed the 6 month probation, and will be with all of the new crew.
Last up a trip to my favourite US destination – New York! I was originally rostered a São Paolo, but managed to swap it quite soon after the roster came out. I’m excited to visit New York in Spring!
Another month, another roster! January is already flying by, and it’s been a fairly uneventful month so far. I did say I would try to make the most of my layovers, but most of them have been spent alternating between sleeping, working out and drinking lots of coffee!
Let’s see where next month will take me:
STN – London Stansted, UK
VIE – Vienna, Austria
BHX – Birmingham, UK
KHI – Karachi, Pakistan (turnaround)
FRA – Frankfurt, Germany
MLE – Male, Maldives (turnaround)
RUH – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (turnaround)
KUL – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
BP – Business Promotion
First up is a trip home, which I’m very happy about! The only one of my bids that I got, and although I would have loved 2 Stansteds, I’m still grateful I get to go home and see my parents.
Following on from that is a flight to Vienna – I did bid for this in December to go and see the Christmas markets, but perhaps this time there will be some snow.
Straight after is Birmingham, which I’ve only visited once. I have been to Stratford-upon-Avon which is nearby; a beautiful quaint English town which happens to be the birthplace of Shakespeare! Highly recommended for a day trip.
Next up will be a turnaround to Karachi and back. I haven’t done this flight in a while as it is two-class, i.e. no first class, so I wasn’t rostered it while I was working in first class.
Then I have a flight to Frankfurt, which I have visited plenty of times in the past. I’m not sure what I’ll do there, as I expect it’ll be pretty chilly!
I’ve then been rostered two more turnarounds, to Male and Riyadh. Male is one of the longest turnarounds we have and it’s a pretty tiring one, as you fly through the night. The pilots also get to stay in the Maldives for 24 hours while we just go there and back!
My last flight of February will be to Kuala Lumpur. I was actually rostered this flight in January as well, however swapped it for a quick trip to Milan. So I’m hoping for a nice flight to KL next month with some delicious street food! Someone has sent me a swap for Phnom Penh – which one would you take?
Lastly is a business promotion event – I haven’t done one of these since I started the cabin supervisor pool, so I’m very excited! I should find out soon which event I’ll be representing the company at.
So even though February is the shortest month of the year, somehow I have a very busy roster with 8 flights and a BP event! Let’s hope it’s a good one 🙂