I’m doing my last bit of training before I can actually call myself a Cabin Crew member: the line training. This is where we actually go on the planes we’ll be working on and follow our future coworkers around while the line trainer berrates you with questions.
For me and the rest of the crew from our base, this is the first time we have seen the airplanes. Up until now, we were in the classroom with pictures being drawn for us and simulators that weren’t actually the aircraft, and a lot of imagination. Since the end of April we have only had pictures and an online virtual tour to base off of.
Because we work for an international airline, we were all flown from the States to Europe to work with the more qualified trainers. I spent a day in Gatwick before coming to Madrid where I’m waiting until my first flight on Monday.
Our schedules come out for the month roughly two weeks before the first of the month, so anywhere from the 14-16th of the month previous. Since my schedule did not get changed, I have known since around May 15 that I would be in Madrid for a little over a week and the hotel to stay at and all that fun stuff. So it was a real shock when I got to my hotel and they informed me that they had no idea who I was and there is no room for me at the hotel.
I have to applaud myself a little. I hadn’t slept the night before and landed in the sweltering 104 degree heat that is Madrid and wandered around for over an hour trying to find where my hotel shuttle was supposed to pick me up from (it stopped finally but drove off almost immediately…maybe because I wasn’t in uniform the driver thought I wasn’t there but he could’ve waited at least 30 seconds) before calling a taxi, to then hear this…and I didn’t start screaming or losing my temper. I must say I’m proud of myself.
I got put in another hotel maybe fifteen minutes away. This one is legit in the middle of bumblefuck nowhere! I’m right in between two highways so I can’t walk anywhere, so I’d have to take a taxi anywhere and who wants to do that?
I should be going back to the first hotel hopefully on Tuesday night after a 10-hour day doing a turnaround to Warsaw. My coworker’s boyfriend, who works for American, said if I really want to be bitch about it I can threaten to just sleep in the lobby and start getting into my pajamas if there’s any more issues. I like that level of pettiness.
At least at that hotel there is a little town around us with some shops, ATMs, food, and a park, so my last few days here I can walk around a little. It’s still far from the city center though. To get to any of the major attractions I’d have to take at least a sbway and a train to get there and it would take me a good hour or so. Maybe this weekend when I’m (hopefully) done with the training flights.
It’s a setback of course and quite an inconvenience to me, one that I can only hope is the worst of them. By looking at the other hotels we usually stay in on layovers, they look to be much closer to attarctions than this one. I get it, they want us close to the airport because we need to get back and forth, but it’s frustrating being in an amazing city full of culture and food and to not be able to get to any of them! Curse you spread out cities!
It’s different traveling for work than pleasure. If I came here on my own I would have booked a hostel that was in the city, near the train station and bars and museums I want to see. But because my job booked everything for me I’m basically at the mercy of someone else, which is extremely strange to me. But at the same time, if I had tried to check in without them, I could have been in even more trouble because I may have lost out on money trying to find another place to stay, instead of my job being able to take care of it. It’s a trade off of sorts.
It’s also better probably to be away from the center so I’m not tempted to leave and forego my studies. It would probably be bad if I showed up to my first flight hungover and not knowing the answers to any of the questions I am being asked because instead of knowing where all our emergency equipment is located I was locating the best place to eat paella. I’ll have two days after I finish, like I said, to explore before heading back to Boston. I’ll just have to be patient.
****In case you’re interested****
My training flights (all turnarounds):
The way it works is the first two days (four flights) are OFAM flights which just familiarize me with the aircraft, the service, and everyday procedures. Except for helping the other crew members with getting things ready, these flights are really just for observation purposes (including a take off and landing in the cockpit, which I am super excited for!)
The next two days are training flights. I’ll be watched as I perform most duties and then quizzed on my knowledge of everything. I will also have to do one flight where I perform the safety demo and another where I do the announcement. Hopefully my voice won’t be so shaky that people can’t understand me!
Finally, my last day will be my release. I’ll have to do everything while a supervisor watches and quizzes me more. If I mess anything up or don’t know an answer, I could fail. So no pressure!