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.