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
Friday, June 17, 2011So when I received my May roster there was one flight I was dreading - and for a change it wasn't a red-eyed Hyderabad turnaround. I had on my roster a 24hr layover in Malta, which sounds like a paid holiday but considering it features both ways a stopover in Cyprus (LCA) it can be a very tiresome pairing. I hadn't done this flight since I was a Business Class crew member, and have only had memories of the flight being demanding, tiring, and the service never ending. It was so bad in fact that the last flight I did in the 2 class aircraft I volunteered to take on the Economy position, and in the Business Cabin the service was so short on time that when the Captain made his decent PA in the cabin the other Business Crew were still on their first round of the Dessert/Cheese/Fruit trolley, with both second round and clearence of the passengers to go - at least another 40 min from finishing.
So onto my Malta flight this time around, and I was glad to see the service department whittle down the service to one more appropriate for the flight time, however it was still incredibly busy in First Class during the DXB-LCA sector. But once you land at the tiny airport and breathe in the fresh sea air, your mood totally changes. I missed the scenic drive to the hotel (I had zero sleep the night before) but I booked myself in for a night time bus tour and gave myself a few hours to power nap. I stocked up on my energy supplies first by dining on some Rabbit Stew.
I'd been strongly advised to try this by a freind of mine, and at first I loved it to bits, but after I was halfway through the dish I'd has enough, and found the stew far too strong for my pallate.
So onto the tour! Everytime I'd been to Malta I would spend the layover out to dinner with the crew, or spend it on the beach topping up the tan, but I'd never spent the layover sightseeing properly. I went during sunset, so the light wasn't the best for photos (nor was the moving open-top bus!) but I tried my best. Here you go.
I wish the exterior of my apartment was this nice...
I don't know why I found this picture worthy. I just love the easy miniature petrol pumps!
Random anchored ship in the bay.
I think that's Valletta.
Too many boats.
My sleep-deprived brain didn't register what this building was. I think it was the National Parliament.
View from the alleged National Parliament.
Big Bell, blurry.
Church. Very Pretty!
So at this stage we were able to explore the ancient city of Mdina, but as it was night time there were very few places open, so you were left to appreciate the architecture.
Entrance to Mdina (pronounced Em-Deena, apparently)
The next morning was spent jogging, as I want to compete in a 10k event in August (though I'm still pussy-footing around with the registration as my attendance depends on days off from the airline) and it was probably the most beautiful run I've ever done. The scenery was just breathtaking.
Yet again more boats.
This road is just begging for joggers to test it out.
I was told to take a photo of these buses before I left. In June they were being replaced by more clean and more environmentaly friendly buses. But these yellow buses were notorious for their iconic 'flair' each driver would use near the drivers area to personalise their bus.
I thought it was cute how they use empty bottles of Fabric Softener as buoys.
Paparazzi Restaurant, which gave me a full English Breakfast for 7 Euros. Just what I needed.
I was absolutely shattered (and sleeping for the last 30 min) when the tour ended, but the morning run really lifted my mood and my opinion about the island. After landing back into Dubai I thought that it was a really great trip, not one that I would bid for, but should one pop up on my roster I'm not going to actively get rid of the trip. I can understand why it was the paid holiday all the other crew had made it out to be - Malta is just gorgeous! If only I had more time... 7 comments
Monday, June 06, 2011Well for those of you who follow me on Twitter, or Formspring would know, it was my Birthday yesterday. One of the downsides of this job is that since planes take off 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, you do not get Christmas off, nor Easter, not even Eid, and it’s inevitable that you’ll have to work on your Birthday. I’ve been lucky in the past, I’ve either had the day off in Dubai, been on a Perth layover, or had a great layover with crew, but this time I was lumped with a Red Eye turnaround flight to Hyderabad. And of course, it was paired with a Geneva that I didn’t want to swap (nor could swap – it was the inaugural flight!) and a day off, and my roster was so packed that giving away that one day off would make my roster ‘illegal’. I was operating the flight whether I wanted to or not.
In hindsight, the circumstances weren’t too bad. The crew were amazing and did their best to cheer me up - they even bought me a bracelet from the On Board Duty Free. Our cabin was actually booked to be a Business Class cabin, which made the turnaround service for us in First Class much easier. The timing of the flight was such that it was completely dead inside the Terminal, and even more dead in the Business Class lounge, so many of our passengers tend to eat there in preference to stomaching the aircraft food and spend the flight sleeping instead. So it wasn’t that bad. In theory...
The most horrific part came much later. It didn’t really affect me – I barely went down to the Economy Cabin. As the Birthday Girl I was spared the trip to Economy to help out, and we were full up the front so I couldn’t have gone down even if I wanted to. Whilst on ground in Hyderabad the Purser told me that there were 12 Economy seats that passengers had urinated on. They just...peed in the seat. And not told the crew until we all found out on ground and everyone had disembarked. Grown adults, who were very likely intoxicated, who were happy to walk off the aircraft with urine-soaked pants. Unbelievable. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so mortified in my life.
I guess I could understand it if there were young kids who had done this that had a history of bedwetting. Or even someone elderly who may have been suffering from incontinence. Or even if it was turbulent and the constant shaking of the aircraft made this more likely, and possibly prevented people from reaching the lavatory for long periods of time. But this was not the case. These men (and after asking the door operator that was there for disembarkation, it was grown men who had the tell-tale crotch patch) had started drinking at one of the airport bars, gotten semi-sloshed, asked the crew for another drink and couldn’t handle anymore. I find it hard to believe that they could walk onto the aircraft completely sober and become so drunk in such a short period of time purely from what was served from the aircraft bars – the flight simply isn’t long enough, nor the service quick enough for that to happen. What would be most likely is if they bought their ‘Walking Johnny’ in the Duty Free in the terminal and drank it on the plane. This is what happened on my infamous Moscow flight, which was 1.5hrs longer and even then we saw only one guy walked off who had peed his pants. But 12 grown men urinating on the seat mid-flight must be an industry record surely...
It should be noted that we do carry seat covers on board. I mean, we have passengers who are motion sick and stain the seats every now and again, so this would need to be changed for the next sector, regardless as to whether it’s a turnaround or a layover. But we only stock 10 seat covers on the aircraft at any one time, so 2 seats on an overbooked flight were still wet by the time the cleaners were finished. We asked the ground staff to block the seats from sale but after the boarding had finished I looked at our passenger list and it said 54 in Business Class and 183 in Economy Class – Not a single seat was blocked from sale and every seat on the aircraft had someone’s behind on it. The strangest part of the whole day, for me anyway, was that neither one of the 2 passengers made a complaint of a wet seat. Simply unbelievable.
Aside from that, the flight wasn’t too eventful. The Captain said he was going to hire a Hyderabadi stripper for me for my Birthday, which made me laugh a little. I’ve never been one for strippers, so I had to pass. After hearing of the horror occurrence in Economy all I really wanted for my Birthday was to chill out at home for the rest of the day, complete with a VERY long bath. With a shower in bleach to start off with.
Image from here. 8 comments