There’s No Smoke Without Fire

We’re preparing for the most extreme emergency cases onboard and fighting fire is definitely one of them. I didn’t actually realise a shocking amount of people still try, sometimes succeeding, to smoke a cigarette on board an aircraft. To me that’s a crazy thought, smoke, fire, plane. Not exactly elements that go well together when you’re travelling at 35,000 feet. Nevertheless it happens, so we’ve got to prepare for it.

What I love about training is everything we learn we actually get to physically practice. I’m a creative and I learn through experience and through physical activities. In an exam I won’t refer back to a book, I’ll replay what I actually practiced. Obviously not everyone learns like this but that’s completely fine because during training there’s a mixture of learning techniques.

The whole class put on their boiler suits and paraded down to the fire fighting room where we faced real fires. Yes, if I’m being completely honest they could’ve been extinguished on demand but nevertheless they were completely real.

During the drill we had to shout the command “I need back-up” to indicate to other members of crew we had identified a fire and we needed help fighting it. For some reason everyone laughed at my northern accent when I said the word ‘back-up’. It wasn’t until then I realised me accent isn’t actually normal to others, and I say things weird too. I got stick for it all day, me and my northern accent. It’s actually nice to work with people from all over the world because you realise we’re all a bit weird to one another.

Nicola x

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When You See It In The Movies

Last week we spent five days learning about what to do in an emergency situation, then we headed to Festival City Mall to spend our night off in the cinemas, watching a film based on an emergency ditching. True commitment right there. In ‘none aviation’ terminology ditching means to land an aircraft in water (it’s all brand new to me). Moving on, ‘Sully’ is a film based on true events about a pilot working for US Airways, who made the decision to ditch an aircraft into the Hudson River, in New York. I don’t know if I found it so much more interesting because I’m learning about aviation, or if it genuinely is an incredible film? Nevertheless I really enjoyed it and to think that it actually happened, and everyone involved survived, amazes me (this isn’t a spoiler, but common knowledge). I can easily be convinced into watching, or reading anything based on a true story.

Spending the night at the cinemas made me feel right at home, it’s one of my favourite things to do on my days off. Afterwards we took a taxi to the Irish Village for a well deserved bottle of wine. Nothing too crazy, constantly reminding ourselves we’re in the middle of SEP and to keep our eye on the ball. Unfortunately there’s been a couple of members of cabin crew who are in training and have failed exams, this has resulted in being moved back a batch to re-sit them. It must be so difficult knowing you’re not going to start flying with all your new friends, the people you started this journey with. But knowing this has really pushed me into trying my best and putting in extra hours of hard work. I don’t want to get left behind.

There’s a three hour time difference here from the UK and it’s starting to take its toll. It doesn’t sound like much but through the week I have to go to bed so early and at this point my friends and family are busy and it’s just an inconvenient time. If it’s like this now, it worries me how difficult it will be when I start flying. But I think it’s important to make an extra effort to keep in touch with people from home, no matter how difficult time zones make it. Eventually these are the people you return to.

When I got home I had the longest chat with my mum, it was so nice to talk about normal things and hear how everyone at home is getting on. Right now, I don’t know when I’ll next be able to go home. So for now it’s just telephone calls and the phenomenal world of social media which makes it ever so easy to stay in touch.  

Nicola x

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“It’s not all chicken or beef and red lipstick”

I have a new found respect for cabin crew, it is unbelievable how much information they need to learn and adopt in the working environment. Week one of the ‘dreaded SEP’ (Safety and Emergency Procedures), you hear about it from the beginning but it’s difficult to actually imagine the level of difficulty it acquires.

Trust me I somehow managed to complete a degree but this is intense, there’s so much information to accumulate in such a short space of time. Although I have to admit, I’m finding the information interesting and engaging which makes the 3.30am gets up a little easier. I don’t even need to shut my curtains because I’m awake before the sun rises. It seems abnormal to be able to start functioning at such an early hour, but that’s within the culture and I suppose the job.

I’ve flown on planes hundreds of times but some of the procedures we’ve been taught just never crossed my mind. I suppose I never used to take too much notice of why cabin crew did certain things. It’s a shame some people have a certain perception of cabin crew and associate the profession with a lack of knowledge or ability to do something which may require a wider skill set. 

It’s early days yet but there’s so much practical and theoretical examinations to come and I’ve heard your social life goes out the window, sleep is a luxury, and safety and emergency procedures becomes your life. I’m yet to find out I guess.

Nicola x

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Dancing Like Fountains

So with the first week complete it was definitely time to pop a bottle, eat some good food, socialise with some like minded people and get a sweat on the dance floor. So thats exactly what I did.

Obviously new to the area it was pot luck picking out a restaurant, but somewhere overlooking one of the biggest attractions in the world seemed like a good idea. We opted for a pan-Asian restaurant called Karma Kafé which was excellent. I couldn’t fault the food, drink or service and especially not the terrace we sat on straining our necks to look up at the Burj Khalifa because it’s literally huge (well obviously, it is the tallest building in the world). The terrace over looked a magnificent fountain display where the water ‘danced’ in time to the music, it was incredible.

Our weekend starts on a Thursday and Thursday night is ladies night so we hit Crystal which is a nightclub situated at the top of a pyramid shaped hotel. It was so good to finally just let our hair down and see everyone else in normal clothes. It felt like such a familiar atmosphere, almost like I could’ve left at the end of the night and walked onto the streets of Manchester.

Nicola x

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Hello Tomorrow

One week in and I feel like I have gone back in time to when I started uni and I’ve just completed freshers week. Except swap the 5am drunken mishaps to 5am wake-up calls and shots of vodka and tequila for uncountable amounts of coffee. I’ve got this feeling where home is like a distant memory and it’s like I’ve been here forever.

I’ve been eased into my new career but next week is when things get serious. Intense training begins, so i’m getting ready for two weeks of masses amounts of revision, exams, the lot. I suppose it is just like being back at uni. I’m ready to get stuck in and see what cabin crew life is all about and if serving ‘chicken or beef’ really is the extent of it.

Nicola x

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Making A Statement In Russian Red

One of the first and most apparent aspects of the cabin crew’s uniform people tend to notice is their immaculately, intense, bold red lip. It’s an iconic statement and will forever make women look and feel glamorous. I chose both my liner and lipstick from MAC. The liner is called BRICK and the lipstick I chose is called RUSSIAN RED. I highly recommend both of these products as I have spoken to various women of all different skin tones who also have the same products. RUSSIAN RED seems to be able to compliment a variety of skin tones effortlessly. In addition to this I have found both products last all day and the liner really helps to create a strong, clean and precise look.

Nicola x

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Adopt A New Culture..

I spent months dreading the moment when I’d lay on my bed with no one to talk to and all that was left to do was sleep. But honestly, it wasn’t that bad. It was unusual that I felt quite at home living with a stranger amongst foreign surroundings. But I felt a sense of relief, after almost 9 months since I applied to be a cabin crew member I was finally here.

Al Nahda > Union > Al Ghurair Centre

The only way I can describe the heat out here, is when you go to dry your hands at a hand dryer. Imagine that constant warmth on your hands.. now imagine that feeling everywhere. I’ve never sweat so much doing absolutely nothing. Nevertheless a trip to the mall was in order, an opportunity to be independent and see what was close by. So myself and my new roommate hit the metro.

As I was standing at the platform I noticed posters warning men that particular carriages are designated for women and children only and a Dh100 (which is around £20) fine would take effect immediately. This baffled me! For what reason? I couldn’t even believe these kind of rules still existed. Little to my knowledge, after some careful research I discovered authorities put the law in place to protect women’s privacy during their daily commute. During busy periods the metro carriages can become overcrowded, the law has been put in place so during these times so women feel comfortable and their culture is respected. However, an article by The National UAE, from 2015, reported that almost 100 men were fined daily on the metros in Dubai. This suggests although the law is in place unfortunately not all men are respecting it.

TOP METRO TIPS

-Misbehaving acts such as putting feet of seats and eating and drinking in areas where it is not allowed will result in a Dh100 fine.

-Using an expired or invalid card, spitting, littering or performing any other act which would compromise the cleanliness of the metro will result in a Dh200 fine.

-Passengers sleeping in passenger shelters will receive a Dh300 fine.

-The usage of a counterfeit card will cost passengers Dh500.

Other larger fines involve carrying hazardous weapons or vandalising the metro. Hopefully anyone with any sense wouldn’t commit any of these offences in order to respect Dubai’s law and culture.   

Nicola x