Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Jersey overnight with a friend :)

Last week I had to pleasure of doing a ‘two day six’. In the cabin crew world that means that over two days, I complete six sectors. This time it was: LGW-AMS, AMS-LGW, LGW-JER, JER-LGW, LGW-ALG, ALG-LGW. The flights on a two day six are short and you get a nice overnight stay so it gives you a little extra money. I had also been looking forward to the trip for a while because I was rostered the overnight stay in Jersey with one of my friends from my training course! I was very excited to catch up with her and discuss how her last month had gone. 
Even though we were in Jersey for less than 24 hours, we managed to get a lot done! We hired bicycles, and at the help of our purser who also enjoyed cycling, we made it all the way to this beautiful little lighthouse. There was a very steep hill on the way which I nearly died on, but after seeing the views at the top, it was definitely worth it! We had a good old chatter, cycled back and then went for a nice swim in the hotel, followed by a good steam. It was just what I needed: decent conversation with someone who had been through the same roller-coaster ride as me. A few of the crew then met up for dinner and we went to a nice Italian restaurant called Little Italy. Usually, the crew just eat at the hotel so it was nice we managed to persuade everyone to go elsewhere! After dinner, it was time to get into the comfiest bed I have ever been in and get my beauty sleep in before our 6am pick-up the next day. 

Although it was a short stay in Jersey, I am really happy that I got to spend it with a friend I had gotten to know over our 6 week training course. With experienced cabin crew, they are usually less eager to want to explore, because they may have already done it a million times before, so it was lovely that I got to spend an afternoon and evening with someone that was also new and shared the same excitement of wanting to see everything! 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Four day trip to Antigua!

On Friday, I had the pleasure of another long-haul flight. This time, | was off to Antigua! Once again, the nerves set in and I sat in the briefing room quietly shitting my pants. There was no need to worry though (no matter how many flights I go on, I’m a worrier, so I don’t think that will ever go away). The crew were really nice and for the first time on long-haul, I was put in Club. 

When you join BA, you realise everything is based on seniority: how long you have been at the company. Everything down from the position you are working on the aircraft, bidding for flights, what meals are in the oven for crew, to hotel rooms, there is an order. If you are like me and joined less than a month ago, you get to pick last for pretty much everything! 

I was quite surprised that even though I was last to pick a position on board, I was left with a position in Club World. I was to work with the Cabin Manager which suited me as I got a lot of guidance and support along the way! I thought my flight out went ok. At times I felt like a lemon because I am still not used to the different service and the preparations on board. The galley is a very complex place! I had the urge to take photos, so I could go back and study where everything was (yes that sounds very sad) but I was reassured that it was normal to feel like that now and that in a few months I’ll be reaching for things and won’t even have to think about it. But for the moment, it’s all very overwhelming. 

Since the others knew what they were doing, they were quick to get things done which left me hanging around the galley, getting in everyones way. The awkwardness was well…very awkward! However, once the service started, I got into the swing of things. I wouldn’t say that I did a perfect job. I mean, there were a couple of passengers that may have gotten Champagne instead of Chablis. The flight was loud ok! I told them I was new and all was forgiven. Phew! Other than that, I think I did alright. The crew reassured me after that they wouldn’t have known I had never worked in Club before and that I seemed confident. I guess looks can be deceiving, because I definitely did not feel confident in the slightest!! We had a full flight, so the time went by quickly. Before I knew it, it was time to disembark. We got to the hotel and had a nice evening chatting in the crew lounge.

Unfortunately, we had a shuttle the next day to St Kitts, so we didn’t have much time to do anything that day.  Because the shuttle was so short (20minutes), my Cabin Manager and the Flight Crew let me go in the flight deck for take off and landing. IT WAS AMAZING. By the time we got back, it was the evening. Although the crew were lovely, there was no-one I felt like I really connected with. The chat was more general talk, rather than finding out bits about each other and the crew were too varied in personalities, that no-one really suggested to do anything together.

This meant that the next day, I spent most of the day sitting on the beach reading by myself. To be honest, this was exactly what I needed. Sometimes it is nice to have some alone time, to fully relax without having to worry about the wants and needs of others. In a job where you are constantly surrounded by people, it is nice to be able to take a break from that. 

And just like that, my time was up in Antigua. Our night flight home ended up being delayed by two hours, so we didn’t get into gatwick until 11am. Luckily, as it was a night flight, most of the passengers spent the flight sleeping so I wasn’t too exhausted from their demands haha. By the time I was back in England, I was buzzing. I had completed another long-haul flight, and was on my way home for two days!

I am back at Gatwick tomorrow though for an overnight-stop in Jersey. Hopefully the weather will be good to me! Wish me luck :) 

Speak soon,

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

First long-haul flight to Kingston, Jamaica!

So there are always downfalls to every job. Downfall of being cabin crew : standby. Currently I am sitting in a Costa an hour away from my home for a supposed ‘home standby’. Unlucky for me, I’m about a 60-75 minute journey away from Gatwick airport (that’s without traffic/without the horrendous m23 roadworks that are going on at the moment). For home standby, they require you to be within a 90 minute journey away. They forget to tell you that that also includes getting on the staff bus, checking-in and being sat in your briefing room ready to go. When I looked at my roster and found that I had home standby this month, I had a panic as to what I was going to do. Hence why it is currently 9am and for the past hour and a half, I had been sitting in my car waiting for Costa to open. The website said that it opened at 8.30am, so I waited in my car from 7am till 8.31am to find that it actually opened at 7am. Kill me now. Only got until 14.30 to wait…..

Whilst I have some spare time, I thought I would blog about my first long-haul experience to Kingston, Jamaica!! Initially, I was quite worried about this trip. I have never flown before, so am not used to working long-haul flights. It also meant that I had no idea what I was doing. Never good. When I would tell other colleagues that I had my first long haul coming up to Kingston, I got a lot of pity looks, and good lucks. Apparently the passengers are notorious for being loud and rude. It is more of a cultural difference thing rather than actual rudeness though. But yeah, lets just say that Kingston is not a destination that people are jumping head over heels to work. 

Nevertheless, I have lived to tell the tale! I think that because I had heard so much negativity about the flight and passengers, that my experience of it all was far better than what I was imagining. I’m not going to lie, the flight over there was intense. Trying to sort out hand luggage issues, arguments, seating, broken headphones all at once was enough for me to feel shattered and we hadn’t even taxied yet! However, we got going and things got a little easier. I had an amazing crew, and was down the back with a lovely purser so it made the flight go a lot smoother. Also, I should mention that I GOT TO MEET USAIN BOLT. Yes, he was on the flight. Crazy! Anyway, the passengers, generally, were absolutely lovely. What I think throws people is their outgoing and outlandish personalities. I have never experienced a flight where passengers do not stay in their seat but congregate in groups nears the aircraft doors for the whole flight. Passengers that have only just met, ended up speaking and laughing for hours. The constant queue by the galley for passengers wanting alcoholic drinks probably helped fuel their plane party. 

Anyway, I got to Kingston, having survived the journey. I had a quick drink with a few crew members and had a well deserved night of rest! Now for the fun to begin! I was fortunate to have a few crew that did not want to sit by the hotel pool for the entirety of the trip so my purser organised a taxi to take us to Lime Cay. We had to get on a lovely little fishing boat to get to it. Lime Cay is an absolutely stunning small island, with a beach. On a sunday it gets busy with locals but for every other weekday it is tranquil and peaceful. We went on a tuesday so when we arrived, there were only two other people on the island. We had stopped off at a supermarket on our way, so the day was spent drinking rum, eating Cheetos and bananas, and of course, sunbathing! It was bliss. I had such an amazing day. I can’t get my head around the fact that I am getting paid to do this! By the time we got back to the hotel, it was time for dinner. We managed to get the whole crew, the Captain and the two First Officers out to a restaurant just opposite the hotel. I had the steak and it was AMAZEBALLS. I went to bed feeling content. The day had been filled with laughter and happiness.

The next day was more chilled because we knew we would be leaving that night. A few of us spent the morning by the pool sunbathing and then we all retired to our bedrooms for a quick nap. And just like that, it was time to head to the airport for the night-flight home. I have to say, I much preferred the flight home: the passengers were less rowdy, many were sleeping, so there was little drama. We also had a bunked aircraft which meant that on our break, we had little pods where we could rest our eyes. I survived the 90 minute drive home without falling asleep and then got into bed where I spent the next four hours. For my first long-haul trip, I don’t think it could have gone any better. A few of the crew and I have already made plans to meet up at some point because we all got along so well! Its strange wrapping your head around the idea that whenever you fly, it’s generally going to be with someone different. I guess its something I’m just going to have to get used to :)

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