Stewardess Spotting + The Queen

 One day I logged into twitter to find that an avid plane spotter and British Airways fan had not only managed to take a cracking photograph of The Queen, but a photograph of The Queen with yours truly on board. This photograph was taken on November 5th 2017 en route to Philadelphia on the BA067 (it seems that BA love sending me there! San Diego please!)

It was an honoured to receive this, and knowing that the time was taken to not only wait for my plane to take off, but to take such a magnificent photograph.  I shared this shot with the flight crew, and they were absolutely over the moon at having a photograph taken of the plane that they were flying at the time.

It only seems fitting that since I have this awesome photograph that I talk a little bit about the Boeing 747 and from a Cabin Crew point of view.

When you are a New Entrant here at British Airways, you are assigned both long and short haul aircraft. The short haul being the Single Aisle Airbus AKA Babybus, the Boeing 777-200 and -300, and either the Boeing 747, or the A380. As it stands more groups are getting trained on the B747 as opposed to the A380, since the B747 route network is larger and therefore the fleet size. As the B747 is slowly phased out, I would imagine a change in the structure of what aircraft we are trained on. It’s a pretty exciting day when you find out what plans you’re going to get because it opens up a different network of routes for you, and those routes can/will change.

On the B747 we fly to destinations such as New York, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Miami, Las Vegas, Nairobi, Cape Town, Boston and Chicago to name a few. The routes can change if an aircraft change is required and some routes are shared with the A380 (Vancouver and Miami which changed seasonally).

The B747 is then split into 3 types: the Mid J, the Hi J and the Super- Hi J. This indicates that the Business Class Cabin has either 52, 70 or 86 seats, which therefore alters the number of total seats on the aircraft. The Super Hi J, having 86 seats in Club World (Business Class), and taking up a considerable amount of space, means that there are 275 seats on board, whereas the Mid J has 52 seats, therefore being a much smaller cabin taking the total number of seats to 345.

We are the largest B747 operator right now, and we have a total of 36 of them in our fleet. I believe the oldest of the B747s are around 27-28 years old, and with that means they are slowly being phased out in favour of newer aircraft, for the simple reason that all good things must come to and end. It’s been proposed that our last B747 will be phased out in 2024 so we still have 6 years left with these iconic planes.

What are they like to fly on?

The Mid J is quite a challenge as the World Traveller Plus (economy plus) cabin is situated between First Class and Club World. For a passenger it’s a really intimate and relaxed cabin since it is situation away from the hustle and bustle of economy, for crew it’s a little awkward since you share a galley with Club World, so you find yourself getting in each other’s way, and fighting for space, but you do get used to it. Obviously, an economy plus cabin is usually an extension of economy, and this seperation only occurs on a B747  Mid J.

A lot of people are under the impression that First Class occupies the Upper Deck, where in fact it’s in the nose of the Main Deck. I absolutely LOVE flying in The Upper Deck, it’s a fantastic cabin to work in since there can only be 20 passengers, and I find that this gives you more freedom to have a chat and build rapport. You have the chance to visit the Flight Deck more often since those in the Upper Deck are responsible for getting the Flight Crew their tea and coffee, and food if they’re nice. Joking! They get a full on banquet when I am working upstairs. You get chance to see those amazing views and ask the pilots loads of nerdy questions about flying, which they LOVE ( it’s all about good CRM!)

Let’s get nerdy

The girl might be getting old, but she’s got some kick. The Queen can hit a maximum speed of 614mph or MACH 0.92, of course this depends on who’s in the driver’s seat, she has a range of 8357 miles, so London to Vancouver is roughly 4710 miles, and Singapore is 6760 miles to put it into perspective of the mileage this aircraft can do, and the plane takes off at around 180mph and lands at 160mph.

Another thing to note is that the plug sockets won’t give out any power until the aircraft is at an altitude of 10,000ft.

Just to let you know.

I really have spoke quite a lot there, but there has been quite the demand for me to write a post on the aircraft that I fly on.

Have you ever flown on the B747? Let me know below and stay turned for more blog posts and Cabin Crew Life, travel and aviation!

 

 

 

January’s Roster + Recurrent

It’s my favourite time of the month! Roster day! Just in time for Christmas as well. So, where will the New Year be taking me?

(*= New Destination **= New Country)

  • Recurrent Training (PASSED!)
  • Düsseldorf/DUS, Germany 🇩🇪
  • Chicago/ORD, USA 🇺🇸
  • Tel Aviv/TLV, Israel 🇮🇱
  • Transforming Club World training
  • Vancouver/YVR, Canada 🇨🇦
  • Toronto/YYZ, Canada 🇨🇦

I am hoping to swap a couple of places to hopefully check out another city in the USA, or a 3 day Euro Tour since I have been to both PHL and ORD plenty. Maybe I’ll talk about trip swaps in another blog.

What is a recurrent?

It is a annual exam to make sure that we are up to standard with regards to Safety and Emergency procedures on board all types of aircraft that we are trained on. In my case I must demonstrate that my knowledge is current for the A319/20/21,B777 and the B747, and in aviation medicine too. Given the nature of the role that we do in the air and on the ground, it something we MUST pass to continue to fly. Every 3 years we have to do redo the fire training and every 5 years we have to retake our attestation which is our license to fly. Our real wings if you think of it that way.

I also have service training for the BRAND new Club World service, which I am very excited about (it may have something to do with the wine and cheese tasting). British Airways has invested £400m in transforming our most popular cabin, and it looks AMAZING. We have  brand new catering which has taken quite the jump, everything is hand run, more personal, and the table wear is stunning.  This cabin has HAD A SERIOUS UPGRADE and it really is a product to be proud of.

You can take a look at the new service in Club World right here, but in the meantime I  still have some jetsetting to do before January and training.

I wish you all a  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

 


Disclaimer: All posts are of my own personal view and opinion, and do not reflect or represent the views of my employer. I do ask that any one working in the media contact the correct department for the company I work for should they have any questions.

December’s Roster + Changes

Welcome back guys! Although January’s roster is about to be released (sorry!) I thought it was well worth talking about this once since there have been some changes to it.

Our rosters are published 12 days prior to the end of the month, unless that day falls on a weekend then it will be 13 or 14 days prior instead. The legal minimum days we have to be notified by rules set by the CAA are 11 days, but here at BA we get our rosters a day earlier than needed.

December’s Roster originally started with (* = New Destination):

  • Vancouver/YVR, Canada 🇨🇦 (Not a new destination for me, but a new one as a Flight Attendant)
  • Philadelphia/PHL, USA 🇺🇸
  • Home and Airport standby which turned into a Luxembourg/LUX turnaround and a Manchester/MAN night stop!
  • Krakow/KRK, Poland 🇵🇱(Turnaround)
  • Tel Aviv/TLV, Israel 🇮🇱 (Was Doha!)
  • Toronto/YYZ, Canada 🇨🇦*

However, there have been some changes to this months roster, and I shall explain why. Recently, some of the Boeing 787-900s have been recalled because they have noticed that the blades in the engines have weathered faster than anticipated, and of course this needed to be addressed ASAP. So, those planes have been grounded and brought in for the appropriate maintenance to be undertaken to get those Dreamyliners back in the air. As a result of this, some of the 777s have been used to cover these routes since they’re incredibly popular for us, and one of the easiest routes for us to take an aircraft away from just so happens to be Doha. As Qatar Airways flies Doha to London to Doha, 5 – 6 times per day ranging from the A380 to the B787, and with them being a OneWorld alliance partner, the frequency of those flights can facilitate BA passengers, and free up an aircraft to be used elsewhere, and subsequently an entire crew as well. Which is what happened to not only myself, but a lot of crew throughout December and of course this is to ensure the utmost safety whe travelling with us, and other airlines too.

What was a trip has now been altered to an ‘AVAILABLE’ day. As far as BA are concerned that was a work day, and will continue to be so since I was originally rostered for a flight. My available will change with 48 hours notice, and I could end up being rostered a trip where someone has requested unpaid leave, and the rest of my roster marries up well with theirs in terms of my days off after that available period, I could cover someone who had called in unfit to operate, and again my trio can only change if my days off allow it, and of course, I could be fostered as non-op (non operating crew AKA day off). Since I have only one day off before next duty, I am quite restricted to where I can fly. I could end up doing North Africa, The Middle East, a 3 day Euro Tour or 3 days of turnarounds. *Update* my available days turned into a 3 day trip to Tel Aviv!

I hope that gives some insight into our schedules and how they’re rostered, but also that nothing is ever linear. Everything in the aviation industry is so layered and destined, and the tiniest consideration has to be made at even the smallest level.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Victoria goes to Muscat

It isn’t exactly a secret that I am obsessed with The Middle East given how much I talk about this area. A lot. I have been fortunate enough as a child to have visited Tunisia and Morocco, and I know they’re not Middle Eastern countries, but they are Arab Nations so when I say The Middle East, Northern Africa is also included. From such a young age I fell in love with the buildings and THAT architecture, the food (especially the food), the culture, the souqs, the history, and that luxurious Arabian feel to everything they do. Since then I have visited a few Arab nations, and my experiences have been nothing but wonderful each time. When I completed my training at BA, the first destination that I requested was Muscat, after hearing amazing things from one of the trainers, so that was my April requested route, and again in August.

We fly to Muscat once a day on the 777 and 787 throughout the year, aircraft depending on the time of the year. So, right now, Muscat isn’t on my personal route network since I am not trained to operate on the 787. The flight itself is great with a flight time of around 6.5 – 7 hours depending on which flight crew you have (joking!)  You land in the morning so if you’re visiting on holiday you get a full day there rather than losing a few hours getting there. In my experience the flights are never full, so as a crew member, it’s nice for us to be able to build up rapport, which can be difficult to do on full flights. You also fly right over Dubai too and you can get some AMAZING views should it not be too hazy.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

This place is EASILY one of the most beautiful buildings that I have ever seen in my life. It is open for non-muslims from 8 -11 on Saturdays to Thursdays only. It was built in 2001 as a gift from Sultan Qaboos to Oman to mark 30 years on the throne. I won’t talk too much because there isn’t a word or metaphor that I can use to really emphasise the beauty of this place, and do it justice. You are obviously required to dress modestly, and females are required to cover their hair too. With that, I was having a mare with mine. It kept falling out of the scarf, and the guards found it quite funny since I have quite the wig on me, and I was worrying that I was going to get arrested for my hair not behaving. Instead an Omani lady who worked there approached me and offered to do my hair for me since it wasn’t playing nice.

     

The MOST important bit 

 Middle Eastern cuisine is by far my favourite in the whole world, and you know that I am enjoying my meal when I don’t utter a single word. I was that engrossed in my amazing meze that I didn’t get any photographs of the food, and it looked incredible. So incredible. If you are ever in Muscat, I urge you to go to a restaurant called Kargeen. From the outside, it looks a tad questionable, like “are you sure this is the right place?” From the inside it’s like The Cave of Wonders. The trinkets and decor are so beautiful with the choice of eating inside or outside, where you’ll find gorgeous Arabic cushions, sheesha, lanterns, tagine pots cooking off dried fruits, the spices, the colours, and the aromas. I can smell them now. Seriously, especially my fellow Cabin Crew, if you want a seriously good meal with beautiful surroundings this is where to go.

Website can be found here

 

I do have more to write about this amazing city, but I am waiting for another trip out there for more photographs to use. It is one of my favourite layovers to do, and it can be as action packed or as relaxed as you wish, which is where the next post on Muscat will come in. There is something to do for everyone, if you’re into indulging and relaxing, you have your pick of the most stunning hotels with some stunning sunset views of the gulf and the mountains, if you fancy something outdoorsy, Oman has the second biggest canyon in the world believe it or not, and some amazing diving spots complete with some very friendly dolphins. However, I am saving that for another blog post, because, you gotta leave people in suspense haven’t you?

Thank you again for the love and support, it makes my day knowing that people enjoy what I write about and have to say.

Victoria

November Roster + Sightseeing

For crew, roster night is sort of reminiscent of Christmas Eve, where you know that in a few hours you’ll be opening up something with sheer excitement and not having a clue what you’re going to get, even if you have asked. In our cases, that something is opening up our intranet page, logging in, clicking on roster, and refreshing the page for about 2 hours until it finally reveals what the month ahead has in store. It can either be the happiness day of your life, or you wonder why you bother. Needless to say, I have got one cracking roster coming up.

So, where am I heading in November? (* =  New Destination )

  • Prague, Czech Republic*
  • Luxemburg ( Turnaround )
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Tel Aviv, Israel*
  • Stuttgart, Germany ( Turnaround )
  • Las Vegas, USA
  • Chicago, USA
  • Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Manchester, UK ( Turnaround )

I will be ticking off two more countries this month, as well as covering 40,000 miles over 4 regions.

I was asked by a lovely follower of mine about how much sightseeing I can realistically do on a layover, and what I do. First of all, I tend to base my plans on whether or not I’ve been there before, and is it a requested flight. If so, I will make plans for that particular destination, and I try to stick to a plan since I want to make every minute count where possible I know in November that I will be ensuring that I make the time and effort to explore Tel Aviv, or in this case Bethlehem. I also gauge it on the day based on my tiredness levels. It can be quite difficult at times to not get carried away with feeling like you have to see everything, and do everything when you’re exhausted. It’s something that has taken me a few months to get my head around, but I have to get myself into this mentality that I am not on holiday, even though I am somewhere wonderful, and have so much to discover. I am there for work. I need to be well rested for my duty, and sometimes you have to make a call whether or not to relax, or to head out and explore. Let’s take my flight to Prague as an example. I haven’t been to Prague yet, and I am dying to go, however I land at 22:20, and will probably be at my hotel and in bed for around midnight. I have to be ready for my flight back to London at 9:45. In reality, even though I am somewhere new, I don’t have sufficient time to really head out and explore, not without comprising my rest time. In this case, I would rather make sure that I have had enough sleep, hit the gym, and ate properly, rather than feeling like I have to rush around a city that I am likely to fly back to, all for the sake of saying that I’ve been. I could have a quick gander in the morning , and grab a coffee and cake, but as far as sightseeing goes, not today!

I have a lot that I want to answer, and rather than doing one big post on it, and being vague. I want to answer your questions with some detail, rather than brushing over a topic quickly. I have so much that I want to share, and it really does make my day when I get messages to say how much my content is appreciated, and how I’ve encouraged someone in some way to apply for Cabin Crew, or to book a trip to somewhere that I love. It really does amaze me, and thank you so much. Make sure you follow me on social media to keep track of my travels and what I am doing.

IG – @ThatJetsetGirl

Facebook – @ThatJetsetGirl

Twitter – @ThatJetsetGirl

The Best Thing I Ever Did

Hello to you all,

I have been wondering what my first post should be for a while, since I don’t want to just go straight into it without some sort of background story, without it being an about me sort of page. The idea of this blog has been in motion for a while, and here it is.

My first flight to Chicago

I figured that since I have been flying for over 6 months that it would be a perfect place to start, and it has been the most incredible 6 months for me. So here goes…

Last year I had just returned home from a stint in Australia, and I honestly had no idea what I was going to do with myself. I had just come back to a life that I honestly thought I’d never see ever again, but there I was. Back in 2012 I had applied for a few major airlines to no avail, and I suppose that lead me to working in the French Alps, and then Australia. It was something that I had wanted for a long time, and could see myself doing, but I was very wary of being given the “try again next time” email. I recall being on my flight back to Manchester thinking “if these girls can do it there’s ABSOLUTELY no reason why I can’t.”  This was my final time in applying for an airline ever, and I promised myself that if it was another no, that it really wasn’t meant to be. It was meant to be. The best thing I ever did was to not give up on something that I had wanted so badly for a long time, and here I am 6 months into my career as cabin crew.

When I got my wings!

So, how have those 6 months been ? 

Magnificent. Don’t get me wrong it’s challenging at times, and it does take it’s toll on your body, but this is the happiest that I have been in my whole life. Training was tough, one minute you’re learning about the safety and security of the aircraft, to learning how to save a person’s life with the tools you have on board. The days were long, and you were constantly reading up on the material needed to pass well over 40 exams in order to get your wings.

My first flight was to Chicago, and it was the most thrilling experience to be able to sit in the flight deck. To see the procedures in taking off, and landing. All those buttons, the screens, the information given by the computer, listening to Air Traffic Control, and that feeling of sitting at the front and just gliding through the air. I am extremely lucky to be able to experience what that feels like, and I’ll never digress from that.

The most thrilling experience of being able to sit in the flight deck for take off!

In 6 months I have taken off and landed 113 times, I have been to over 35 airports in 25 countries spanning 5 continents, and I have a quarter of a million air miles under my belt in this short time. I have been to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, I have been to the Great Wall of China, I’ve had a girl’s night at Marina Bay Sands, I’ve had deep dish pizza in Chicago, I have watched the world go by at The Grand Canal of Venice, I have played with baby tigers in Johannesburg, and baby elephants in Nairobi, I have sat with a champagne at Sydney Opera House, I have walked along The Bund in Shanghai at night, I have partied in Vegas, I have chilled out in Miami, and I am sure I have many more amazing experiences coming my way. There are times when I have to pinch myself because it seems absolutely surreal to me even now. When I was a little girl, I never thought I’d make it to China in my life, to me it seems another world away, and verging on the impossible. To a small child the world seemed like to big of a place for these things to ever be a reality, and what this job has given me is the world in my hands. It’s given me freedom, peace in myself, and happiness. Something you can’t put a price on.

Aircraft conversions in the hi vis jacket and goggles!

Was it what I expected ?

For the most part, yes. I have/had friends who had worked as crew before who told me of the hardships of the job role. I knew that I would be constantly jetlagged and catching up on much coveted sleep, I knew that I would have early mornings, long days with multiple sectors, long flights to far places, missing special occasions, working weekends and Public Holidays, having strange meal times, and tiredness. The one thing I would have to say that I overlooked was how isolating it could be, especially for someone who isn’t from the area. Since we work with a different team each flight, it’s difficult to build a solid relationship with someone, and when you do really get on well with someone, they end up being a commuter from miles away. Another thing that makes it hard is our rosters are unusual, and sometimes finding the time to meet up for a drink and a chat can be quite hard to achieve. You really do have to make an effort to make time for those that you really do get along with, and some months if just not possible. Another thing I didn’t realise was now expensive tights were to keep replacing. However, I do wake up, go to work, and lay down at night genuinely a happy person. I love going to work, I love that I’ll be somewhere different, even on a there and back, I love how I’ll meet someone new, and I’m glad I took that final chance in  myself.

Receiving a much coveted Golden Ticket from a Gold Card Holder!

I have my roster for August and it’s rather exciting as I will be ticking off two new countries, and heading back to the city where it all began. Chicago.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for following this amazing journey! It means a lot to me! I have added a few of my best moments down below for you to look at. For more pictures, go and follow my Instagram @thatjetsetgirl!

Victoria x

Taking the fun route down The Great Wall of China
Feeding Fiona the Giraffe
Tho is one of my ALL time favourite photos. Playing with the baby tigers!
Shopping in Chicago! There’s a running joke that the Sephora bag is part of our uniform since we LOVE it there!
Venezia! Italy is my favourite place on Earth!
My beloved Australia! It was a pleasure to be back there!