Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sluggo's first trip as an International Purser - Flight Attendant

After 11yrs of flying the Domestic routes with my airline, I've finally been able hold the proffer to fly Internationally. Most airlines have the International and Domestic flying integrated with their flying, however at my airline, it's separate. So it was a great joy to learn that I held the proffer.

In going International, I had to do about 8hrs worth of online training to learn how the services were to be done vs. how they are done domestically. After doing the online training, I then had to go to our training center down in Dallas for a few days to learn the 'ditching' aspect of our Emergency Procedures. I was a fun few days, but very tough as well as we had to make sure how to inflate rafts, learn new commands to evacuate the passengers from the aircraft, and again touch on the service aspects on the long-haul flights.

After training, I transferred to my new base in Miami and started my first flying on July 2nd. It was a tough one, but a good one to start learning the aspects of what the differences are between domestic flying, and my new international flying. When I called our 'reserve' tape to learn of my fate, I learned that I would be working Miami to La Paz, Bolivia, sit for an hour, then fly over to Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

The flying time wasn't bad. It was less than 6hrs, and the service was a basic pre-plated lunch entree, along with a smoked salmon sandwich follow-on service about an hour prior to landing. It felt just like my old JFK-SFO trans-con flights that I use to do.

Amazingly, when we landed in La Paz, I learned that the elevation of the airport was at 13,000ft above sea level. This meant the pilots had to don oxygen masks on landing since we would be so high up. I learned that while on the ground, the local staff bring oxygen in case passengers felt ill or faint while we waited to be cleaned and fueled up for our next leg.

I felt fine, however, the First Officer said that he felt a little dizzy while walking up the jetbridge stairs from doing his walk-around. It was around that time that I realized that Bolivia was on the opposite side of the equator, and they were in their winter months. Sure enough, it had started snowing a little and even formed ice on the wings while we waited.

I was shocked to see how thorough the ground staff was in cleaning the aircraft, as well as do a security sweep of the aircraft. It really made me feel good that security was high on their priority as they took apart all the seat cushions, opened every cabinet and drawers, and checked all the passengers on the plane.

Was all the security checks were done and some new passengers were boarded, we were off to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It was only an hour flight, so we got there pretty fast. Just like other short flights domestically, there wasn't any service in Main Cabin, but we had a beverage service in First Class. Before we knew it, we were landing by 1am.

Finally got to the hotel around 2am. I was very amazed at how the electricity worked much like a few other hotels I've been to where you have to place your room key into a slot to power everything. I'm actually amazed that more hotels don't utilize this system as they could really save on electricity.

I was suppose to go to a few markets with my fellow crew members, but I didn't wake up until later than we had planned on meeting, besides, it was cloudy, damp, and very windy. I think the temp was around 45degrees F. (of course, the day after was sunny and 60)

I would have loved to gone to the local zoo, local market, or even have gotten a massage at the hotel, but I was extremely tired and kept it quiet. Another thing I was amazed at, the free wifi was faster than some hotels in the US where you have to pay for the service!

Our departure back to Miami was suppose to have been at 12:30am, but we were slightly delayed departing due to some weight and balance issues. Once the pilots figured out what was going on, we were on our way.

I figured that since it was going to be an all-nighter flight, I was expecting a light snack and a follow-on breakfast before landing.  Boy was I wrong! It ended up being a Full-on dinner where I had to plate all the entree's, along with a full ice cream sundae. Something that should have been reserved for dinner, not a late-night supper. The pre-arrival follow-on service was just breakfast breads and juices. The flying time was 6hrs 30mins. I wasn't tired at all since I rested all day, but the other crew members took their breaks (even though they technically weren't suppose to. LOL)

We finally landed in Miami and the flight was done. I had great crew members that helped me tremendously. I can't wait for my next long-haul flight.