Countries Visited (not including Turnarounds): Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, North Korea, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States, Vatican City
London | Perth | Sydney | Melbourne
Seatguru - Most Comfy Seats On Any Airline
pprune.org - Pilot's rumour network
Kangaroo with a Sweet Tooth
Kronicles of Kris
The Adventures of Alle Malice
Joel's trek across Asia/Europe in a Hilux
Phil's Wine Site
I Can Has Cheezburger
The Flying Pinto
Girl on Raw
Things Bogans Like
Bobby at Up, Up and a Gay
Straight Guy in the Queer Skies
Skin by Falter
Tuesday, December 09, 2008Well this month I was supposed to do a promotional event in Santiago, Chile, which I was getting pretty revved up about. There were 16 of us girls going and it was for another soccer event, similar to the one in Korea I did about a year ago - very easy, 5 days or so in Chile with about 8 hours of total actual work. Some girls working the event were also from other promotions I had done in the past, one in particular was a friend of my former flatmate Ash (aka. the klepto) who is always a great laugh.
So with my roster released, planned, swaps sent out and everything, I was really surprised that only 7 days before we were scheduled to leave they cancelled the event. Well they didn't really cancel the event, but they cancelled the trip for us. As a result, the 3-9th on my roster was assigned Can Use (CU), which they usually assign to someone if they're called sick for a long flight, or if they're absent, or call sick during a period of low crew turnout, such as Xmas or NYE, then you get punished with CU, which is essentially additional reserve duty. This is a pain, because you can't swap flights during this period, and with leave coming up I needed some serious hours. Up until today my CU was awful - one standby duty I didn't get called out for, and 4 days spent in DXB doing pretty much nothing, most of my mates either on leave or on long sectors with 9 days away from base. So on the 8th, which was Eid, I was almost guaranteed to get pulled out. Was assigned Airport Standby, and it was the busiest I had ever seen the standby lounge - there were 2 briefing staff along with the usual standby lounge coordinator busy trying to crew as many flights as they could because so many crew had called sick. I only waited 30 minutes before I was told I was headed for Houston. 31.5 credit hours! I can actually afford to eat next month.
The flight to Houston was alright - we only had 2 passengers up the front, one of which was a Captain headed to Mexico, so it was very little work. We had a lot of rest in the bunks which is great to break the trip up, but due to being on standby I didn't pack my pyjamas, so was basically in my underwear and a blanket , and made sure to keep the curtains secure and one eye open just in case one of the male crew got lonely and wanted a kick in the groin.
Arrived at the hotel and was so tired I ended up sleeping in my uniform with a make up remover wipe in my hand. Looking back I only had 1 hr before the standby duty, and 2 hours in the bunks of actual sleep, so for a 16hr flight this was understandable. Was pretty good in Houston, went to the gym every morning and tried to eat healthy food (Note - tried to, outside of the hotel there were McDonald's, KFC, Popeye's, Pubs galore, and plenty of coffee houses, the rumours of finding it hard to get a salad in Texas were very true) I ended up going to Galleria Shopping Centre to get some hand sanitiser from Bath and Body works. They had them in 5-6 different flavours, which considering the amount a Flight Attendant normally goes though is such a luxury.
Houston used to be a 24hr layover, but about a month or 2 ago they changed the legality of the trip and it's now 48hrs layover. having just done the trip, there is absolutely no way I could be fully rested for the flight back. And the flight back was a killer.
The hotel, in their infinite wisdom, programmed the wrong wake up call, so instead of a wake up call at 3pm on the 10th, we had our call at 3am! Not a single crew member was able to sleep afterwards, so most of us were already pretty cranky at check out, and an apology (albeit very sincere) on checkout. No phone call after the wake up call to apologise, or to say they made a mistake, resulting in one crew member going down the lobby in full uniform 12hrs before pick up.
When we left the bus at the airport to go to check in, it started snowing for the first time since Xmas Eve 2004. Which meant a 20 minute delay on push back to de-ice the aircraft. We checked in, went through security, briefed, and then boarded passengers. So we waited a while for the de-icing fluid. And waited. And waited. For 3 hours past the departure time. On ground with a plane full of now-irate passengers. As it turns out, Continental Airlines had priority over the de-icing fluid, and the machines used to de-ice/anti-ice were only for narrow-bodied aircraft, so by the time one wing had finished de-icing, then finished with the second wing, the first wing would have snow on it again. The decision was made to postpone the flight, passengers given snacks upon disembarking (good hearty food like Lay's crisps, Pepsi and Cereal breakfast bars) and we were on our way back to the hotel.
We were given 10 hours rest between check-in and check out, absolute minimum rest. I bolted to my room, waited an hour before housekeeping had a power adaptor for me, then proceeded to change my flights as best i could to Perth, as I was going on leave straight after I was arriving back from Houston. Due to the delay I had missed a non-refundable/non-endorsable ticket, but 5 hours later messing with a slow internet connection managed to list myself on a standby flight.
As it turns out, I was lucky enough to even get a bed for second stay - the hotel was operating at capacity. Some crew entered their rooms, saw the coffee table, couch set, dining table, chairs, and thought that they had scored the suite. Looked around some more, they realised they didn't have a bed to sleep in! The couch was actually a sofa bed, and those crew were told they could sleep in those. I didn't realise until we checked out for the second time how badly we had been screwed over by this hotel - first the wake up call, now this! Unbelievable.
So now, having left Texas, and working the washing machine and dryer to their limits back in Dubai, I'm now in Perth on leave. I've travelled 13 timezones in 2 days, and whilst I don't really suffer from jet lag that often, I really feel it at the moment. Passed out on the couch at home for 8 hours, then slept on the bed for 3, so hopefully my sleep patterns are somewhat normal again. Considering how much of a kerfuffle the Houston trip was I will definately need a week of Dad's roasts to recover from the ordeal. 11 comments