Here I am back again with another roster post. Slowly but surely they are starting to get a little more interesting, with more than a couple of flights per month. I can’t wait for things to go back to how they were pre-covid (my salary is crying out for 100 flying hours!) but for now I’m happy to have some layovers, especially some where we can go out and explore again.
If you saw my roster post last month, I only ended up doing 2 of the original flights I was rostered. The Cape Town flight I had was cancelled fairly shortly after the roster was published, and then I was also removed from the Dammam and Kabul flights. Glasgow was also removed because my Tunis layover turned into a 48 hour layover!
Instead I got given a Perth flight which I was happy with, as it meant a good amount of flying hours. It was a shame we were trapped inside the hotel room for the duration of the stay, but unfortunately that’s the requirement from the Australian government.
At the end of the month I was also put on a Düsseldorf flight which was a nice and easy trip, and a good way to bring in September. This month (if nothing changes!) I’ll be heading off to:
Welcome back to another roster post! This year has been quite different in terms of rostering, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now. Slowly but surely, however, things are starting to get back on track a little bit and I’m actually getting a few flights when the roster comes out each month.
This November I’ve had the most flying hours I’ve had all year (well, does January/February even count as this year? It seems like another world away!), with 3 ULR (ultra long range) flights to Houston, Sydney and Chicago.
It’s made me realise just how much I miss flying, and I can’t wait for things to get back to normal, whenever that may be! On that note, my December roster looks like this:
SEP – Exams
FRA – Frankfurt, Germany
CAI – Cairo, Egypt (turnaround)
KRT – Khartoum, Sudan (turnaround)
Starting off the month with my yearly exams, which means it’s time to study! Once a year we have to renew our licenses and make sure we are fully updated on all safety and emergency procedures (SEP). Normally it’s two full days in training college, but due to the pandemic this year the majority needs to be done online beforehand, and then we just have one day in college for exams and some practicals.
My first flight of the month is a 48 hour layover to Frankfurt, Germany. I was there just the month before last, and as usual for all of our layovers these days, I wasn’t able to leave the hotel. I don’t anticipate things changing on that front any time soon, but you never know. I’m itching to get back out and explore, and normally Germany in December would be perfect for a visit to the Christmas markets. Sadly I think that won’t be an option this year!
Up next is a turnaround to Cairo, which is an overnight flight. Flight time should be around 3 hours each way, plus we stay on ground while the cleaners come on and prepare the aircraft for the return sector.
That leads nicely into my annual leave, which unfortunately doesn’t fall over Christmas this year. I was lucky enough to have Christmas off last year, and in our job it’s always a gamble as to whether or not you’ll be off for birthdays, Christmas and special occasions! The UAE has opened up a travel corridor with the UK, which means I’ll be able to fly home and spend time with my family without having to quarantine.
I was actually rostered a Düsseldorf layover directly after my leave over Christmas, but this has been removed, which has left me with some reserve days. I’ll try to extend my leave so I can stay home a few extra days and perhaps even for Christmas Day!
Next up is the last flight of the month, a turnaround to Khartoum, Sudan. I don’t remember ever having done this flight before, but according to the crew portal I’ve actually done it twice! It’s a fairly long day at around 4 hours flight time each way, but nevertheless I’m happy to have all the hours I can get these days.
And just like that, the final roster of 2020 is here! What a crazy year it’s been for everyone, and especially so for the aviation industry. Onwards and upwards for 2021, I think things can only get better from here!
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.
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.