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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