Sunday, April 10, 2011

Month of Blah

March roster. The dreaded reserve month rolled around. I didn't mind that I'd be on reserve for one month; I figured it'd be fun to be surprised about where I'd be flying to and maybe to get a flight to Sydney (like most of my friends) or to be assigned to fly somewhere new.

No such luck!! I'd finished February with a nice Bangkok trip, and then I waited expectantly to be assigned a flight- any flight. The days went by without any calls, and I was surprised, but just figured that it was the start of the month & not many people were calling in sick yet. Towards the end of the month is when people usually start deciding they're too run down to go to work or can't rally as much as they can at the start to go to work with say, something minor going on.

I had a couple of home standbys, and I was ready with suitcase (almost) packed and uniform ironed & hung up. (I wasn't sure how much notice I'd get if I was called for a flight). I needn't have worried- I still didn't get any calls. Must be a slow month, I figured.

Finally, on the 11th, I was assigned an airport standby. I knew there were several flights short of crew, so on arriving at the standby lounge at the airport I fully expected to either be pre-assigned a flight or to receive one shortly. A London Heathrow departed with another girl on it. The time crawled by. I wasn't feeling too good that day as I'd had a fight with a friend the day before; that wiped out any chance of sleeping in the quiet room until they called me. Finally, I saw the standby officer on the phone. He was mentioning JFK (New York) and kept looking at me. I was kind of tired for such a long flight but the hours would be good. He saw me looking at him, got off the phone then told me they weren't using me for that flight either, even though it was only an hour or less until departure time. They called someone in from home standby. No flight for me!!

I went home & crashed out, exhausted from the tension of waiting and going so long without working. I was starting to worry about not having a good pay next month, but there was nothing I could do about it. One more home standby followed and again without a call. That night, around assignment time at 6pm, my roster changed to - finally - give me a flight. Manchester. It wasn't the best but it'd do. I hadn't been to the UK in ages.

It ended up being a good trip, which deserves a little post of its own, and soon enough I was back in Dubai, waiting to see what woud be next. I had some days off, then some more standby, followed by a New York that appeared a day in advance on my line. Thank goodness, good hours!! Even though that flight has a bit of a reputation, I was glad to get more work. That trip also has a post in the works, so I won't go into too much detail here, but it was fun!

Back again to Dubai, my body clock screwed up by arriving at night, therefore making me unable to sleep which sent me into about a week of being up all night and sleeping all day. Mushroom shift, I call it- only out at night ;P

I waited for the inevitable end-of-month rush, filling my time by reading, cleaning house, sitting at the pool trying not to get burnt, and other things like that. Had the odd outing with friends when I was released from home standby 'prison' (chained to the phone, lol) and yet... no flights. It was excruciatingly boring, especially when all my friends were going to Hong Kong (with a layover) Bangkok or even the long Sydney Auckland trip. I was dying to go back to Oz, and started to get really homesick.

People were flaking on plans made & friends were popping up on Facebook in photos of fun nights out, days at the beach and other fun things, all while not replying to my messages or saying they were 'too busy'. One of two people were reliable but I really got a glimpse of just how flaky life in Dubai can be... the saving spots were a nice dinner with my new Dubai friends Tai & Robert (yummy food as always; I was sent home with dessert carefully wrapped by Tai) and the few little explorations I made into new parts of Dubai I hadn't seen before. And some good books! I finalyl found a copy of Impossiblecat's book here and devoured it in about 2 days (thoughts on that later)

Roster day was agonisingly slow; it was 2 days late and as always, Facebook was full of people asking if anyone had their roster yet. I was anxious to see what I'd be doing in April, hoping against hope I'd have a busy month and maybe a flight to Australia in the mix. Finally, on the 28th, the roster came. Three flights. I got three flights for the whole month!! I'm bracing myself now for the inevitable two months of really low pay packets. I'm a little bit worried; I'll barely make enough to send home to cover my car loan & other bills, but there's no use worrying about that. Hopefully I can pick up more work in May. Fingers crossed!

April had me going once to London & twice to NY. I was hoping for a Hong Kong trip as it's the last month we'll be doing the direct flight, but I didn't get one. Quite disappointing as people in my group were getting two or three each for the last 2 months, even off reserve. I spent hours on the swap system, trying for a Sydney, but either people or were unwilling or illegal to swap. The standby day inserted in front of about half the Sydney trips was really messing with my ability to get a trip - we can't swap standbys, don't ask me why!! I somehow found a guy to swap with, but he ended up having no US visa, so the swap was invalid. I guess I'm just not meant to go to Sydney this month.

Finally, someone wanted to swap my New York for a Hong Kong layover trip. It was a really hard decision, as I'd lose hours, but eventually I decided that I took this job to see new places & I should seize the chance to go to HKG while it was there. I was going to be poor next month anyway, it didn't really matter how much... :P

So, that ends the Month of Blah that was!!! I know it sounds like a lot of complaining, and normally time off would be great... but I wanted to work ;) We'll see what the May roster brings...


  1. Arrggh! Someone's taken your working karma :(

    I definitely shouldn't be complaining about my job: we have some terms like ED and Relief which are a bit variable, but you're guaranteed 40 hours a week.

    Hope you're ok the next two months! I know what it feels like when your pay takes a dive (I really notice when I'm not getting rostered overtime!)

  2. Gah- turns out that HKG is continuing for another month. D'oh!!!

    yeah my last airline pay guaranteed me 80hours per month whether I worked or not so that was nice, the least I ever did was about 85 though

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