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.
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.
I was finally rostered 2 trips back to one of my favourite cities in the world – Hong Kong! My friend Kirsty has just given birth to her second baby, a beautiful daughter named Imogen, and I was so excited to meet her and catch up with Kirsty.
On my first trip out we were still staying in Causeway Bay, so I got the ferry over to Discovery Bay for some drinks and nibbles at her flat, before dinner in a nice restaurant and a good catch up there.
The second time around, our hotel had sadly closed down which meant a new location…the airport. I am so disappointed by this as we really had the most amazing location right in the heart of Hong Kong, but I guess it just means I’ll have to explore new areas!
I met Kirsty around lunchtime at the airport, as she was dropping her parents off to fly back to England after they’d been out to visit for a while. We got straight into a taxi to take us to Mui Wo, where we would start our hike.
Finally, my reserve month is over! It felt like a much longer month than usual, and I was kept busy with lots of flights.
If you didn’t manage to keep up on Instagram, I went to Warsaw, Jeddah (x2), London Gatwick, Dallas, Johannesburg and Bombay. I also had 2 airport standbys where I didn’t get used. All in all plenty to keep me busy, although I have to say most of my layovers were spent relaxing, eating and going to the gym!
Next month I have some nice flights, and will be heading off to:
MLE – Male, Maldives (turnaround)
BKK – Bangkok, Thailand
KRT – Khartoum, Sudan (turnaround)
BP – Business Promotions Event
LHR – London Heathrow, UK
VIE – Vienna, Austria
HKGx2 – Hong Kong
Both the Male and Khartoum turnarounds are quite long days (around 4 hours each way) so although sadly I don’t get to stay in the Maldives, it will be plenty of flying hours.
Funnily enough I’ve been bidding for Bangkok for months with no luck, and now when I didn’t bid for it, I got one! I’m already looking forward to some Pad Thai and a massage.
Then I have a BP event, which I’m still waiting to hear the details about.
Up next is a Heathrow, which I would love to swap for a Stansted to be able to go home, but I’m not holding out too much hope for that one!
Following on from Heathrow is Vienna! Again, a flight that I didn’t bid for but am always happy to see on my roster.
Last up are two flights to Hong Kong, one of my favourite destinations and one that I did bid for. My lovely friend and old flatmate Kirsty is due to give birth very soon, so I’ll be able to meet her baby which I’m very excited about!
I also have 4 days off towards the end of the month, and am trying to plan a little trip away somewhere not too far from Dubai. Any suggestions?!