Crew Scheduling – “You are ID 9032……. It is a three day trip…… you have 32 hour layover time. And you are going to London!”
Me – “LOL shut up. You’re kidding!!”
Crew- “Why would I kid? Is this your first international Europe trip?”
Me- “Well duh! I would not be this excited. I thought I was on a ‘Do not call for Europe trips’ sticky note on all y’alls computer.”
Crew- “Well, I just thought I would make some new hires happy today. Pack your bags!”
And that was that. I probably should not have said, “Shut up” to the people that literally control my life 24/7 but, LONDON!!
I found out that it was going to be a working flight with all new hires and three others who graduated from my class!
We arrived at the international briefing room very excited to take off to LHR. Some of us forgetting we actually had to work the flight by thinking ahead to our time in the city.
Our flight was supposed to leave around 7:30 pm that night, but it ended up being delayed for over two hours due to major/minor/whatever is was maintenance issues. We actually taxied to the runway and then had to turn back around to come back to the gate. I thought, “Wow this is my first Europe assignment and it is going to get cancelled because it is too good to be true.” We eventually left the gate and we were off to London on a 6.5 hour flight.
Since I have the lowest seniority in all of the company, I always get stuck with the position no one wants. So ,where did I get placed? FIRST CLASS GALLEY. On a 767. Going international. First class galley and not any clue on where to begin because I had never worked that position before. So many compartments of storage, and food entrees, and appetizers, and snacks, and glasses, and drinks, and silverware, and just SO many steps to service. Only certain glasses can be used during certain services; And only certain wines can be used on the ground/not in the air and yada yada yada. I had never done that position before, so I knew it was going to not go so smoothly. Plus, international first class is way different then domestic. There are like 50 courses. Exaggerating, but it sure felt like it. I felt as if I was Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy. Running around like a chicken with my head chopped off. When all else fails, just serve the alcohol!!
The good news was our flight was very empty in economy. Not-so-thrilling news, everyone got upgraded to first class. Why why why!! God was truly testing me.
The galley did not go as smoothly at predicted, and thank goodness some volunteers came up from economy to help us. There was crap everywhere. BUT, all passengers got their meals and were very patient with us. I will just leave everything at that.
We finally made it to London and I was a hot mess. From doing that galley, and then my contacts being so dry that every time I blinked they would almost pop out. My body was telling me to go to bed ASAP. My body was telling me to lay comfortably in my warm king size bed and to nap for just a few hours to get my second wind. So, I did the opposite and DID NOT go to bed. I fought through it and went explorin’ the city.
A few of us ventured out into the beautiful city of London. We explored the city by doing the hop-on-hop-off bus tour that stopped at the most popular tourist destinations. Granted we were limited on time, we felt we would get our money’s worth by doing that. I had a seat by myself, so Matthew from Canada eh, working in finance, parked a seat next to me and tried to explain the foreign currency exchanges across Europe. Over my head!
One of our stops was Buckingham Palace. I was drawn to the gold architecture of the gates. Gold, my favorite color!! The flag was up, signifying that the queen was home. I am pretty sure I saw her waving at me from like window 1,139.
While we were walking around the city and sitting on the bus, it became quite apparent we were exhausted. It felt as if we were walking around in slow motion in the twilight zone. Our words started slurring and we caught ourselves with our mouths wide open with blank stares looking into the distance. We became slap happy. Our bursts of energy would come in spurts. Like when I saw homemade croissants filled with dark chocolate 😋
I also got sudden bursts of excitement when I heard British accents and well-dressed men. Swoon. The style there is so on point.
After the bus tour, we had this idea to find Abbey Road. I had this feeling I had to go in place of my Nanny (who is a Beatles maniac) to get a picture. We found it with the help of double decker busses and some very nice locals. Abbey Road was a very, very busy road. People would literally run across the street, pose, and then run back across. Then do it over again. We waited until traffic was not so traffic-y to get our picture! I walked where The Beatles walked 😍
We made our way back towards our downtown London hotel and stopped to eat at an authentic Italian restaurant. It. Was. Delicious. Served only fresh from the Italians!
By the time we made it back to the hotel, it was around 8:30 pm. Soooo… that meant I had been awake for over 37 hours, and a +5 hour time difference. We had no crew rest break going to LHR. I have no idea how I trucked it through the entire day. My body does not even know what time it is half the time that I am sure it does not even process jet lagged anymore. I think that is why I just keep moving on, because my body does not even understand me.
It was probably the best sleep I have had in a long time. I felt as if I got hit by an airplane and then ran right back over with the wheels rocking forward and back on my body. I slept over 14 hours and was refreshed to work the flight back to NY praying it would go smoother than the first time.
Our working flight home was way better. It was with all seniors, which made the service flow nicely. I was positioned in business first galley this time and learned so much more from the wise. They taught me the position better and I felt more comfortable working with seniors who had been there over 20 years. I got compliments at the end of the flight, so that made up for my lack of confidence considering my first galley experience was bad news bears. It was an 8 hour flight home, so we actually got a crew rest break. It made the flight way more bearable.
I had so much fun on my first working London trip; Even though it started off rough. We do so many flights to London a day that I hope I can make it back in the near future. Every flight is a new learning experience and it was beneficial to learn new positions. The people were so nice and welcoming. Hopefully I will get lucky and will be granted more international trips because my head is way too big now for those domestics. Just kidding. My luck may have run out. But really, sign me up for all the INT baby!