I’ve just received my roster for August, and it almost feels like a normal roster! I’m so happy to be getting more flights again, as it means that there’s a sign of pre-pandemic life back on the horizon. It’s still definitely not completely back to normal though, as we continue to wear masks, gowns and gloves onboard. I’m eagerly awaiting the day that I can put my red lipstick back on, who would have thought!
Well, here we again with another roster post. Somehow this year is just flying by and I’m barely finding the time to update my blog, although I do miss writing here! If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen where I went in June, as I only had two flights and then went on leave.
LAX – Los Angeles, USA
IAD – Washington D.C., USA
Although I only had two flights, they were both long ones to the US, which meant good flying hours (= good pay!) so I was happy about that. Restrictions have started to finally ease and we are now allowed out on some of our layovers, so whilst I only made it as far as In-N-Out Burger on my trip to LA, in Washington I was able to get out and about for some much awaited exploring.
Mask rules have also relaxed in the US so it was a breath of fresh air (literally!) not having to wear a mask at all. Obviously I’m fully vaccinated but this hasn’t really meant much has changed at all in Dubai, we still have to wear masks at all times including whilst outdoors – not so fun in the 45°C heat!
On my Washington layover we took a trip to the Great Falls in Virginia, which was an awesome day out. It felt so good to be back in nature and I loved all of the greenery. I’ll try to post about that here ASAP!
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.
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.