2017: A Year in Review

Hello everyone and welcome back on-board this very delayed post from Crewfie101. I hope everyone of you had a brilliant Christmas and are looking forward to a great New Year!

As this has been my first full year flying, I thought I post a review of the year with all the highlights and negatives of each month.

Lets start back in January, where we started in Singapore, for New Years Eve and what a night that was. My Dad and I, plus the entire Crew, watched Alicia Keys live before the 8 minute long firework display with the dodgy Singaporean Hosts, who only Jack understood. This was one of my favourite trips I have ever done with one of the best crews I have worked with in my entire time at BA. I had 6 days off after this trip and headed back to Scotland straight after I had landed, I was still living down in London at this point. After spending some well deserved time at home catching up with both friends and family, I headed back down for a 7 day working block with 3 days of Short haul into my first ever Cape Town.

This Cape Town was one of the good ones. We took the cable car up Table Mountain, spotting eagles as we went, taking lots of dangerous pictures for Instagram, almost losing Jamie as we went. I met my friend Emily and we headed along the Waterfront and enjoyed my first Epic South African Steak, a 500g T-Bone. I can guarantee it did not disappoint. From Cape Town I headed back to my first ever long-haul destination, San Diego, California.

On this trip I was operating as Galley Lead downstairs in our largest Business Class Cabin for the first time. I was lucky enough to work with a great team who helped me through it. These guys have become some very good friends of mine, Olu, Dennis and Ian. We went to the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier turned into a huge museum, and went in the pouring rain and sweeping wind. Another highlight of my year.

In February, I was pretty much joined at the hip to one of my training buddies, Jade. We went on trips to Philadelphia, Cape Town and Vegas. The Cape Town being a team trip with the now christened “Sunburn Squad”. There was also a trip to Shanghai, China with Ollie, one of my best mates from back home in Scotland. This was another highlight and was one of the best crews too. I have also never played Jetlagged Snooker, not a good combination.

March came around pretty quickly, and I had lots of time off around my 21st Birthday. I had a lovely day with my Mum and Dad before heading down to London for my Boeing 787 training day. I was so delighted as this opened up so many new destinations for me. Plus I was down in London and had a picture with one when I was around 13-14. My first night Moscow came and went with not much sleep and I can guarantee that it wasn’t my favourite trip of the year. Towards the end of March I headed back to Singapore and Sydney. Another amazing trip to the other side of the world with a great crew. We went luging in Singapore, to the wrong island in Indonesia and missed my dinner reservation in Sydney. Also in March I decided to begin commuting. This was a huge decision for me, but also quite an easy one. It meant I would move back home to Dundee and fly up and down for work.

My April was pretty much spent in San Jose, California with 3 trips to the US City. All four day trips, I headed to San Francisco, explored the city and cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge. These followed my first ever flight on the 787 to Calgary, in which myself and Alisha headed to the zoo.

In May, my first trip to South America. On the 9th, we embarked on my company’s longest flight, the 14 hour flight out to Santiago de Chile. The night flight was basically empty, which made it ten times longer. When we arrived the weather was dreadful so a day on the tour bus was organised and off we went playing Heads Up as we went. Some short haul came and went then a 3 day trip to Las Vegas which turned into a lovely 4 day trip. I headed out into the Grand Canyon on board a Helicopter which turned out to be the highlight of the trip, the views teamed up with the music made it a completely unforgettable experience.

In June, it was time for my first “Recurrent Training”. My first yearly training, it did not go to plan. This was probably, the low point of my year. However another 3 trips to San Jose followed this into July and on the last one Mum came with me for the first time. This was a really great trip walking around San Francisco for a total of around 40km. Also in July, I headed to Baltimore (Twice) and also Abu Dhabi where the temperature peaked at 43 degrees Celsius. Far too hot for me!!

August was one of my quietist months of the year. The highlight was definitely a trip to the Baseball in Toronto, where the Toronto Blue Jays took on the Minnesota Twins. One of my favourite events this year.

September brought to an end the summer season, however all the flights continued to be busy and my schedules also very full on. I headed back to the USA, to Chicago and Houston. I also positioned for the first time, out to Lagos. In October I went on Holiday to Majorca for a long weekend which I absolutely needed. It was a perfect weekend, some sun, sea and great food. I headed back to Seattle, Home Of Boeing, and went up the Space Needle at Sunset, which was absolutely stunning. I went to Nairobi on another trip with the Sunburn Squad and then back to Cape Town which was just as good as ever. Also in October, was my favourite short haul trip I have EVER done, my two day 6 sector trip to Manchester, affectionately now known as MANC2017. This was one of the funniest trips I have ever done. I will never forget it!

November took me to South Korea twice and its border with the dangerous North. This was definitely an experience I will not forget for a long time. Then it was time for my standby luck to change. I survived all of 30 minutes before being called to go back to Chicago. In my next standby block, I survived even less time, around two minutes before jetting off to Miami.

Into this month, the last of the year and when Crewfie101 first took to the web. My month began with standby, from which I was called for Sao Paulo, something I did not expect and was probably the most unexpected thing to happen this year. Since Sao Paulo, I have been to Muscat in Oman, Abuja in Nigeria and then the last trip of 2017 to Cape Town with my Mum. The trip home was my 250th flight as crew, and I couldn’t have asked for a better friend to share it with.

SO in 2017:

165 FLIGHTS TO 47 AIRPORTS ON 92 ROUTES TO 30 COUNTRIES

655,523 KM FLOWN

897HRS AND 19MINS IN THE AIR

LONGEST FLIGHT: SANTIAGO DE CHILE

SHORTEST FLIGHT: MANCHESTER, UK

FAVOURITE LONGHAUL TRIPS: SAN JOSE, CAPE TOWN, SINGAPORE/SYDNEY AND TORONTO

FAVOURITE SHORTHAUL TRIPS: MANCHESTER (MANC2017), GIBRALTAR AND HAMBURG

LEAST FAVOURITE TRIPS: LAGOS AND MOSCOW

SO 2018 LETS HAVE YOU!

I’ll be starting 2018 with a there and back to Stuttgart followed by a 5 day Beijing trip, somewhere I haven’t been yet and am really looking forward to getting to explore. I am also going back to Singapore and Sydney, and heading to a lovely restaurant in Sydney!!

I can’t wait to spend another year in the skies and travelling the world taking Crewfie101 along with me!

My First Flight

Good morning and welcome back onboard Crewfie101. Today I’m heading home back to Edinburgh after one of the toughest weekends for myself and the company in a very long time. As the UK experienced a massive cold front, the airport struggled to cope with the de-icing required which left hundreds of cancellations including my commuting flights from both Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Not an overly enjoyable weekend which ended up with me doing absolutely no flying and just a lot of driving.. Anyhow.. Rant Over.

I thought today I would tell the story of Day 1, Flight 1. My first day as active Cabin Crew. I received my Wings on the 4th of August and after a celebratory dinner with friends from Training, I was due to operate the very next day. I was very lucky in that I had an afternoon report meaning that I had all morning to get myself prepared and also get nervous.. I had a brief lie in followed by a nice “healthy” breakfast of a bowl of cornflakes and a hot chocolate, whilst looking over my notes on the Airbus A319. My report was around 2pm so at 11am, I started to prepare my uniform and myself for the day ahead. I packed a night-stop kit, so fresh underwear and uniform, just in case we had to stay over for any particular reason and and made sure that by 12pm I was ready to go. I hopped on the bus to the airport feeling both nervous and excited. I also felt a sense of pride, a sense I still feel today whenever I put on the uniform, given the fact it had taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears to gain those wings.

So I arrived at the CRC (Crew Report Centre) in Terminal 5 with around 90 minutes before I was due to start briefing. This gave me enough time to catch up with a few of my course mates before they headed off on their inaugural flights, I say catch up, we only left training the day before.. We had coffee and chatted and one by one we headed off to the briefings.

My briefing was in Room 13, Unlucky..? I went in and 2 of the 4 crew were in there already, we just had to wait for the CSM (Customer Service Manager). A minute or two later the CSM walked in and the briefing started. This was the bit of the day I was most nervous about, would I remember all my training.. I did, it was a very chilled briefing and I was assigned position number 4 working alongside the CSM in our Business Class Cabin. I probably should mention where I went. I was operating the BA747 and BA746 to Stavanger, Norway then back to London Heathrow. We departed off Gate A1 (Perfect for Flight No1). My first aircraft was an Airbus A319, G-EUPW. The Aircraft was slightly delayed coming in from Inverness so we waited at the gate for it to arrive and as soon as it did, we got on, checked the aircraft and I welcomed my first passengers on-board. I did my first safety demonstration, pointing out the exits as I went. At my company on your first flight, you get to sit in the flight deck with the pilots for a take off and a landing, just to get that experience. So I sat in for the Take Off and Landing in and out of Heathrow. It was incredible. I could have stayed in there all flight! But I had thirteen hungry business class passengers to feed. I popped my service Gillet on and headed out into the cabin on the bar, and served my first customers. I didn’t spill anything, happy days! Time absolutely flew by, if you’ll excuse the pun and before I knew it we were securing the cabin for our arrival into Stavanger. I checked that all the tray tables were up, seatbelts were fastened and bags were safely put away. We landed in pretty hefty crosswinds and pulled onto stand. I opened an aircraft door for the first time and said hello to our Norwegian colleagues. We had a brief turnaround and headed for home on the BA746. I had to finish off the Business service on my own as the CSM had to deal with something in the economy cabin. I finished up and ate my first ever crew meal, Beef and Broccoli in Oyster Sauce. It’s still my favourite to this day. For the approach back into London’s Heathrow, I was once again in the flight deck and it was fascinating. We flew over the city of London at dusk, just as it was starting to light up. We landed into Heathrow and disembarked on a remote stand, meaning we had to get a crew bus back to the main terminal.

I had done it. 6 Weeks of hard work had totally paid off. I was so proud of myself for doing it. I arrived back at the house I was staying in and my housemates were all there with Prosecco and we had a little celebration! The perfect way to end a perfect day.

Well that’s the story of my first ever flight as international Cabin Crew. I hope you enjoy reading it. There will be another post at some point in the next couple of days.

Thanks for flying Crewfie101 and we look forward to welcoming you back again soon.

Trip Report: Sao Paulo

Hello everyone and welcome on board this Crewfie101 flight with destination Sao Paulo, Brazil. I can safely say I wasn’t expecting this one…

This Sunday morning (3/12/17) was the beginning of a 4 day block of standby, my 3rd in the past month. My luck had been extremely good, getting called for Chicago and Miami! However I didn’t expect to get called this block as my yearly hours were getting quite high. My standby begun at 11:20am at Heathrow so I was covering the 787 trip to San Jose, California. However lets get back to the start of the day..

My morning started at 4am back home in Dundee, Scotland. I got up and ready, and drove to the Airport in Edinburgh. I was on the 6:55am flight down to London getting me in at around 8:30am. When I book commuting flights I tend to play it safe when getting down and then leave it as tight as possible when going home. The flight was nearly empty and luckily managed to get a row of seats to myself, so I spread out and got some sleep. I arrived into Heathrow and had breakfast with one of the girls that I trained with last summer before she continued her short haul tour of Europe. I managed to catch up with some friends, who mentioned that my fleet of crew were taking out the Sao Paulo for one day and one day only, before going to pick up my Standby phone around 5-10 minutes before my block started. I ran into another friend as my block started and no less than 1 minute after 11:20 I was called to an immediate report. I assumed I was going to San Jose, but when I got to the desk they told me that I was going to Sao Paulo.. I couldn’t believe it.

Before I continue, I should explain why this is such a rare occurrence. In my company there are 3 fleets of Cabin Crew. One who only do Long haul, One who just do Short haul and my fleet who do a mix of both. My company fly a lot of routes and these have to be spread between the 3 fleets. So my fleet, currently, doesn’t have Sao Paulo and to my knowledge has never had it. This is why it was such a big deal.

I got into the briefing room and everyone was in the same state of shock and excitement. People had been called off Airport standby (like me) and off Home Standby, the Pilots had also been called off standby. The reason we ended up taking this flight out, was that the flight had been due to go out the previous evening but the aircraft had developed a technical issue and the crew had gone out of hours. Hence we took it out and I can guarantee we were not complaining. I was given my favourite position on the aircraft, the business class galley lead. On this variant of aircraft, the Boeing 777-300, the galley lead stays in the galley and runs the service from there. I had a great team of 4 working with me, we completed the service and headed to the crew bunks to get some sleep. I needed it. After a flight lasting almost 11 and a half hours we touched down at Guarulhos International Airport and taxied to our bussing stand. We landed at around 11:30 local time which was around 1:30am UK time, got all the passengers disembarked and headed into the terminal. Sadly two of the Cabin Crews bags didn’t turn up in Sao Paulo, meaning they had to go shopping later that morning. We got on to the bus and I slept all the way to the hotel, where we arrived around 40 minutes later. I got into bed and slept until around 6:30am which wasn’t quite as long as I had hoped for.

As a group of us met downstairs for breakfast, I noticed one of the pilots looking a bit frustrated at his bowl of cornflakes.. The waitress had poured boiling hot milk on them.. He was not amused! I caught up with the crew and discussed our plans for the day. The FO Rich suggested a bike ride round the Parque Ibirapuera which was just down the road from the hotel. Being someone who enjoys being active I thought I’d join him alongside 3 of the girls. He then mentioned tennis, which I really enjoy playing, and I initially didn’t fancy it. But by the time I had got to my room I had messaged him in the trip WhatsApp group asking if I could join. We headed down and for an hour in the 28 degree heat we played off against the hotel Tennis pro. What a workout. I was knackered. But what fun it was.

After Tennis I had around half an hour till we met to go cycling, I definitely needed a shower.. At midday I met Nicci, Sophia, Suhko and Rich downstairs, where we hired bikes and headed to the park. This bike ride was definitely my highlight of my trip. The park was absolutely beautiful, with huge trees, massive lakes full of wildlife and wonderfully decorated buildings. We cycled along and passed a vulture, one of the most horrible looking creatures on planet earth, I still had to try and take a picture. We kept cycling, taking pictures as we went plus having a really good laugh. We stopped to get some coconut water, which we had to drink out of the coconut. Of course. I have to say I wasn’t the biggest fan of it, Sophia however absolutely loved it. Once it was finished, we decided to try and smash our way into it. It didn’t quite got to plan. Sophia took on the first two tries and it didn’t so much smash as it did bounce. I tried twice and still couldn’t get anywhere near smashing this fruit. The shop vendor couldn’t take anymore of our ineptitude and came over and cut it open.. We cycled on and stopped again for ice cream mainly to cool off! We came across the Parks Christmas tree. This tree was huge and spectacular. We got lots of pictures of us in front of the tree and definitely got us in the Christmas spirit, despite it being so so hot!! On our way back to the hotel we decided to put some retro music on and having discussed this band earlier it was decided that S-Club7 should make an appearance. So there we were, 5 adults, cycling round a park in Brazil, singing a bit of Have You Ever.

We arrived back at the hotel, dropped off the bikes and headed for the supermarket to get some drinks and nibbles for the pool. The supermarket was around a 25 minute walk from the hotel so it took us a while.By the time we all got back the other half of the crew had headed for the beach and wouldn’t get back till late evening. We chilled out around the pool having a laugh about things we would put in Room 101. A British TV show where the panellists put there pet hates into an imaginary room. Boy did we have some laugh. We stayed by the pool for a couple of hours before getting ready to go out for dinner with the rest of the crew plus some of the crew who had arrived that morning. We headed to the Brazilian Steak house where the Salad bar was as big as my bedroom and the meat as good as I have tasted. They give you a map of a cow and come round with all the different cuts on a skewer. The Fillet Mignon and Rump Steak were phenomenal. But the time came all too soon, where we had to stop. We had eaten far too much. We got the bus back to the hotel and the guys who had been to the beach had only just got back. We caught up with them in the crew room before heading to bed.

The next morning Rich and I had arranged to meet at 8am for the Pilots Vs Crew Tennis match. We started off with a rally and then headed into games. I broke his serve in the first game to take an early lead however I only won one more game in the first set. Rich ran out a 6-2 winner, I went on to be leading 4-2 when our hour on court was up, so I had to give the title to Rich. It was such good fun and was definitely something different to do down route.

After breakfast, Suhko, Sophia and I headed to the Havaiana Shop. These are the traditional Brazilian Flip-Flops. I managed to get a few pairs that I like as I have very hot destinations coming up and will be needing to wear them.

When we got back I had to pack and relax for a couple of hours before getting picked up and heading back to the airport. The bus ride back to the Airport in Sao Paulo took well over an hour and once again slept most of the way. I felt very well rested before the 11 hour flight home. We boarded and headed for home, across the Atlantic and up the West Coast of Europe. We managed to get over 3 hours break and after we came back the girls had left us a little care package.

We all care about each other and have to look after each other on both the longest flights and even on a short flight. We arrived back at around 6:40am which was pretty much bang on time. We disembarked and headed back through the terminal, said our fond farewells and I headed back upstairs to departures. I headed home back up to Edinburgh and then drove back to Dundee.

However this trip did come at a price. In going to Sao Paulo, my yearly hours went above the maximum they could be, hence I lost my trip to Beijing. They gave me an extra day off plus 3 Available days. These availables can turn into either a day off (highly unlikely), a trip or standby. My 3 turned into the worst trip that my fleet operate, the night Moscow. An overnight there and back which isn’t hard but is just very tiring. Plus a Milan Linate there and back the following day. Not the best I could have hoped for, but its more flights so I am happy.

Well that brings this Trip Report to Sao Paulo to a close. This trip was one of my favourite I have done since I have been flying. It was a brilliantly unexpected surprise and one that I will remember for a very long time. There will be more posts next week covering another trip and ways to document your flying! 

Thanks for flying Crewfie101 and I hope you have enjoyed your trip with me.

A Day in the Life: Short Haul

6DCDE48B-388E-4897-8E8B-A0BE54A7B20AHello Everyone and welcome back on board Crewfie101! Today I am writing this from Miami, Florida. Another new destination! Once again I was called off standby, only surviving 1 minute.

So today I thought I’d write about a day in my life when I complete a short haul trip. I am going to discuss one of my favourite short hauls that I have done recently, a 2 day trip to Manchester. I will only go into the details of day 1 as day 2 is near enough identical to the first, other than the passengers and the laughs that we as the crew had.

Right, lets go.

Flight Number 1/6

I report at 5:55am for the first Manchester of the day so I set my alarm for around 3:55am in the hotel I was staying at near the airport. This gives me 40 minutes to get up and get ready and then an hour and twenty minutes to get to the airport. I get up, shower, shave and get dressed and head for the bus. I hop on and we are whisked to London Heathrow Terminal 5. I arrive at the Airport around thirty minutes later, head straight up to the report centre, where I “swipe” in and have enough time to get a hot chocolate plus a quick bite to eat. Today I am in briefing room 8 and with around fifteen minutes to the report I head there. In the briefing I meet my crew, who I would be spending the next two days and 6 flights with. I knew Phoebe really well having flown with her before and then met the Cabin Manager and Elle who was the fourth member of the crew. We discuss the latest safety and security information then discuss the passenger loads for both of the sectors, up to Manchester and then back to London’s Heathrow. We were nice and quiet on the way up and very busy on the way back. After the briefing we head to Security (Yes, we have to go through the same level of security as passengers) and down to the aircraft today an Airbus A319. Myself and Phoebe were working in the economy cabin, and boy did we have a laugh. We checked the aircraft all over and got the passengers on board. After a short taxi we headed out to Runway 27L and departed. Now on a Manchester, we have to crack on straight away, as soon as the wheels are up, this being due to the flight time being in the region of only 25-30 minutes. We sold a few coffees and teas, and then before we knew it we had to secure the cabin for our landing into Manchester Airport Terminal 3. We landed and Taxied in, disembarked and set the aircraft up for the return sector.

Flight 2/6

On the ground in Manchester, as one of our customers got off, he commented in the broadest of Northern accents, “That flight was proper lovely! Thank You.”. This would become one of the three standout words of this trip. The other two will be explained in due course. The flight back down was a lot busier, with the A319 nearly full in both cabins. However coming back into London Heathrow, you near enough always, get something called “Holding”. Holding is when you are placed into a stack of aircraft to split them up with enough time in between each aircraft for them to land safely. This meant our flight time was around 45 minutes rather than 25. Hence more time to serve the customers. We landed back into Heathrow early and were on stand bang on time, so the passengers were happy when they got off. After checking the aircraft for any lost property we headed back to the report centre, where we had ninety minutes before our next report for our next flight, again to Manchester. In this break, Phoebe and I had a tradition which was to play cards and for her to beat me quite convincingly. We played the game called “Spoons”. Word number two of this trip. Neither Elle or myself properly understood the rules, so Phoebe won pretty much every time.

Flight 3/6

On this flight back up to Manchester, our last of the day, we had an aircraft change. This time we would fly up to the north of England on the largest aircraft in the A320 Family , the A321. As this aircraft is larger than our earlier aircraft, we had to pick up some extra crew. We picked up two extra crew who would be returning to London on a there and back. This meant we had to re-brief and assign new positions. We then headed to our new aircraft and checked it over before departing back up to Manchester. The flight time was a tad less than 30 minutes and we had a lot of passengers to serve. The 30 Minute flight time felt like 10. The next second we were on the ground saying goodbye to our last load of customers for the day. After the customers disembarked, we greeted our colleagues who had night stopped in Manchester last night and then headed for the crew bus to the hotel.

Down route Time:

We arrived by around 3 in the afternoon. As we had started at 5am, we decided to take a nap before meeting downstairs around 6 to go for dinner in the city. We met the flight crew and headed to the Alchemist, a British Chain who serve cocktails that bubble and boil as if they were magic potions.. Although all we had to drink was some “Wawter..” (Word 3). We had dinner there and after many, many laughs we headed back to the hotel to get as much sleep as possible given the fact we had to do another 3 sectors. The next morning our wake up call was at 8am.

This brings us to the end of a day in the life of the Short Haul crew member. I really enjoy short haul, especially when you fly with some of the best crew in the business. It’s trips like these that make me realise how much I love my job and my colleagues.

My next post will be another Trip Report, coming tomorrow.. And believe me its a good one.. Another lucky Standby phone call.