Layover Life: Harare, Zimbabwe

This month I finally got to go to Africa! I’ve never been, so you can imagine how excited I was. Emirates flies to Harare, Zimbabwe on the Boeing 377, and we stop at Lusaka, Zambia on the way (two flights in one day). It’s a long shift, but the destination is beautiful and totally worth the hours in the sky.

I had a really great crew, and after we settled into our hotel in Harare, Zimbabwe, some of us went to dinner together. I really like it when we are able to do this, but it doesn’t always happen for a number of reasons. Usually Cabin Crew like to use their layover to rest, and I really don’t blame them! But, being young and adventurous, I always try to get out and about when I can on layovers.

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We were able to get within metres of the animals, but they’re still wild so touching them is prohibited.

This time around, I was able to convince some of Cabin Crew to join me on the Mukuvisi Woodland Horse Riding safari tour. I always do my research first when it comes to reserves and animals living in captivity- and the wildlife here is well taken care of. The animals roam free on a huge plot of land and tourists are prohibited from touching them.

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Lesson from a giraffe: Aim high, stand tall, keep your feet on the ground with your head above it all.

Giraffes are my favourite animals, and I can’t describe to you how happy I was when I got to sit on horseback within metres of them. They are the most gentle of all creatures and walk with such beauty and grace. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there!

This was one of my favourite layovers by far. There was one point on the tour where all of us went quiet, and all you could hear was silence and tranquility. It’s moments like this that make me realize how fortunate I am. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to travel the world!

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Africa wasn’t as hot as Dubai, believe it or not! Leggings and a poncho were the perfect combo for this adventure.

If you go: The safari tour was a lot of fun. It was $33 USD and lasted for about two hours.

Next stop: Mahé, Seychelles

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleTO

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company. For the safety and security of Emirates staff, the name of the resort Cabin Crew stay at has been withheld.

Graduation Day!

Today is the day I’ve been waiting for ever since I accepted my position with Emirates- Graduation Day! This means that I have successfully completed my probationary period with the airline and am now officially Cabin Crew.

The past six months have been quite the adventure. In November, I made the life-changing decision to follow my heart and move to the business hub of the Middle East- Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

In doing so, I gained some new friends, lost a few friends, learned some hard lessons and have travelled to several countries I never thought I’d ever step foot in. Despite the whirlwind of emotion I experienced, I wouldn’t change a thing!

Life is too short to live with regrets. Although I often wonder what my life would be like if I were back home in Toronto, Ontario, I keep telling myself that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes you must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you. Right now, at this moment, I’m supposed to be here.

Adventure awaits, and I couldn’t be happier.

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Smiling on the balcony of Emirates Aviation College holding the portfolio assignment I completed as a part of our probationary period.

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleTO

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company.

 

May Roster

After a 3 week hiatus from the sky, I am back and ready to travel the world again!

This month I will be returning to Toronto, Canada for my annual leave, which is why I am only rostered for a few flights.

All of these destinations are new to me, so you can imagine how excited I am!

  • Harare, Zimbabwe
  • London, England
  • Mahé, Seychelles
  • Muscat, Oman (turnaround)
  • Beirut, Lebanon (turnaround)

Hope you’ll stay tuned, because I will be writing about each of my layovers! 🙂

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleTO

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company.

Back to school…!

Hello again!

The next three days I will be attending Emirates Aviation College for a Service Assessment. Should everything go well, I will complete my probationary period with Emirates and graduate on Thursday, April 28th!

These assessment days give Cabin Crew the chance to show management how they’ve grown and developed since they first started flying. It also allows Emirates to evaluate their service delivery (based on the following competencies: customer service orientation, teamwork, organizing for results and professionalism) to ensure Emirates service standards and procedures are being followed correctly onboard.

During this period, Cabin Crew are required to present a portfolio (containing tasks they were asked to complete over the past few months) to their seniors, participate in a series of group activities and write several tests to prove their competency.

Every GR2 Cabin Crew member [GR2=Economy Class] must complete this three day assessment prior to the end of their probation period in order to become official Cabin Crew with Emirates. As difficult as this all may sound, Cabin Crew have been flying for a while at this point in time. Everything will come naturally!

Things are going well for me so far, but I am really looking forward to walking across that stage on Thursday.

I’ll let you guys know how that goes!

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A small look at my portfolio. Cabin Crew are not required to be this creative- I just really enjoy arts and crafts!

Next Stop: Harare, Zimbabwe

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleTO

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company.

 

Where I’ve been: a much needed update

Hey guys!

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. This is because I haven’t been flying.

I’ve said this before, but being a flight attendant is difficult. We often work at night, travel across time zones, and experience jet lag. As a result, we have to be super conscious of our health.

Remember to always take care of yourself, but also, surround yourself with people who can take care of you too. Your support system is everything, and I can’t thank my friends and Emirates family enough for the love they’ve shown me these past two weeks alone.

I have no doubt that I will be flying again soon, but I have had to take some time off for a bit. Hope you’ll still stick around!

Much love,

Kelsey

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleTO

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company.

Layover Life: Hong Kong, China

I’ve only been to Asia twice, so when I saw Hong Kong on my roster this month I was thrilled! The city is known for its skyline and natural harbour, and is one of the world’s most densely populated metropolises.

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My flight arrived in Hong Kong fairly late in the evening on a Friday night, so the first thing the crew decided to do was head to the hotel bar. Our Captain was celebrating his birthday, which gave us the perfect excuse to go out for a night on the town.

There are plenty of clubs in Hong Kong, but we decided to head to Central Soho to a place called Drop. It was recommended to us by other crew, and ended up being a lot of fun. The venue was classy and had a cool, laid back vibe. The music ranged from nu-jazz, garage and classic house, and the crowd was fairly young. Needless to say, we had a good night!

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The next morning, we hopped on the tram and ventured to one of the cities most renown tourist locations- The Peak. It is the highest point on Hong Kong Island. Although it was foggy and we couldn’t see the city in it’s entirety, the view we did get was still gorgeous. On a good day, you would normally be able to see skyscrapers, Victoria Harbour and the green hills of the New Territories. Unfortunately, the only view we got was some rolling hills. Oh well!

Following this, we ventured to the Man Mo Temple– a Taoist temple in downtown Hong Kong. Built in 1847, it is said to be the oldest temple in the city. Visitors are able to purchase incense, light them and place them where they’d like in the temple. It was a cool experience.

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If you go: The Peak is always busy, but I don’t recommend going on a Saturday like we did. Fortunately we went early enough that we missed the massive line-up (around 9:30AM), but I’m pretty sure we got lucky. I also wouldn’t recommend going on a foggy day like we did!

With regards to the temple, I wouldn’t recommend it to those who do not like smoke. There are a lot of incense burning throughout it, and it sticks to your clothing.

Next Stop: Amman, Jordan (turnaround) then back to New York!

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleTO

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company. For the safety and security of Emirates staff, the name of the resort Cabin Crew stay at has been withheld.

April Roster!

It’s my favourite time of the month- rosters are out! In April, I will be flying to:

  • Hong Kong, China
  • Amman, Jordan (turnaround)
  • Johannesburg, South Africa (x2)
  • New York, United States

This month is particularly exciting for me, because I will also be completing my probationary period with Emirates. This means that I will have been with the airline for 6 months and have officially completed my training as Emirates Cabin Crew.

I’m looking forward to sharing these adventures with you!

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleTO

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company.

Layover Life: New York City!

Ahhh, New York City! There’s so much to do here that I had a hard time deciding where I was going to go. Thankfully a friend of mine came to the Big Apple to meet me, so I didn’t have to make decisions on my own!

My layover was cut short due to the weather coming out of Dubai, but we still managed to visit Central Park, Times Square and two restaurants: Hard Rock Cafe and Tavern on the Green.

We arrived in NYC at about 7:00pm, and the first thing on my mind upon checking into our hotel was food (of course). With our hotel located a few blocks away from Times Square, we decided to venture that way for dinner. I have been to New York City before, so I knew exactly where I wanted to eat- Hard Rock Cafe. I love this chain, and want to visit each location across the globe. Why? The atmosphere, the staff, the food and the experience they provide their customers. I also LOVE rock music and the displays they have in their restaurants.

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Checking out Times Square!

Following dinner, we proceeded to walk around Times Square. Times Square is a major commercial intersection and neighborhood, brightly adorned with billboards and advertisements. It is one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections as it is constantly bustling with people.

There are tons of touristy shops in the Square that are worth checking out, as well as your typical branded stores. Considering that the DXB-JFK flight averages about 13 hours in duration, after all of this excitement we called it a night.

As soon as we woke up the next day, we ventured to Central Park. It was also a few blocks from our hotel. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States. Established in 1857 on 778 acres of land, it is also one of the most filmed locations in the world.

We were hoping to find a nice restaurant to have brunch, and we weren’t disappointed when we stumbled upon Tavern on the Green.  According to the restaurant’s website, it was originally designed by Calvert Vaux and built in 1870 to house the sheep that grazed in the park’s Sheep Meadow. It has been serving visitors since 1934 and centres its menu around local, seasonal ingredients. The food was delicious, and the venue itself was gorgeous. Take a look:

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How good does our brunch at Tavern on the Green look!? Eggs benedict, scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms and toast, complete with a mimosa and sparkling peach beverage.

Following brunch, we continued to walk around the park. There were musical performances, street vendors and lots of people out and about taking advantage of the beautiful day.

I’m really looking forward to flying back to NYC this week.

If you go: Definitely visit Times Square at night. It is beautifully lit and doesn’t have the same effect during the day. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from there too, but they’re all fairly pricy. Be prepared for that!

If you go to Central Park, brunch at Tavern on the Green is highly recommended. It is pricy too, but the experience is worth it. If you choose to dine there, you should make a reservation because it can get busy. You can also check out the menu before you’re like me and are hesitant to try something new!

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Walking the streets of New York City!

Next Up: New York, again! I recently spent a week off in Dubai and had a short layover in Chennai, India which I will be writing about shortly. Stay tuned!

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleTO

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company. For the safety and security of Emirates staff, the name of the resort Cabin Crew stay at has been withheld.

Hotel hacks every flight attendant should know about

Prior to becoming Cabin Crew, I didn’t travel very often. Two months into flying and I’m still struggling to pack less and travel light! Despite this, there are a few hotel hacks that I’ve caught onto and thought that they would be worth sharing. Whether you’re currently crew, becoming crew or are even a frequent traveller, here are some things you should take note of:

1. Hotel reward programs are your best friend.

Depending on your airline (if you’re a flight attendant) and the hotel you’re staying at, you may be eligible for some sort of reward program. Usually, airlines book rooms on behalf of their crew using the same chain internationally. If this chain happens to have a reward program that you qualify for, you could start racking up those travel points quite quickly!

While travelling, I was introduced to Marriott Rewards. It was free, and comes with complementary internet service at every Marriott Hotel worldwide. Flight attendants are able to transfer the points accumulated by their airline to this reward card free of charge. Those points can be used to redeem free nights and other rewards.

2. Use those complimentary items!

Hotels generally give guests complementary items such as shampoo, shower caps, soap, slippers…the list goes on. Take it, or leave it, but keep in mind they are free of charge. Saving money as a flight attendant can be a hard thing to do and cutting costs where you can helps. I personally save these items and bring them to a shelter when I collect a large amount. The truth is, a lot of the time these items will be thrown out if not used.

So, what should you do with those items that aren’t able to be donated?

  • Shower caps: Believe it or not, but they act as great bags to keep your dirty shoes or smaller laundry (such as undergarments) in before you put them into your suitcase. If you’re Emirates Cabin Crew, it’s the perfect carrying case for your little red hat!
  • Notepads and pens: When you’re a flight attendant, your pens and notepads tend disappear out of nowhere. When you’re taking orders or information from customers on a flight, you need to right it down no matter how busy the flight is. When on layovers, I always grab them from my room. They’re also super handy to carry with you in general.
  • Tea and coffee: As Cabin Crew, we are able to help ourselves to beverages on the aircraft, but they can get old with time. It’s always nice to be able to try something new, so I tend to grab a few complementary bags of tea and coffee from my room to save for the flight home.

3. If it’s not free, there is a good chance it’s discounted.

Being a flight attendant has it’s perks, and discounts at local tourist attractions and restaurants are usually one of them. When you’re constantly travelling the world, it’s hard to save money. I always make an effort to go out of my way to visit places that are the most affordable. Hotel concierges are usually able to give Cabin Crew a rundown of where to go, but it never hurts to call around/ask the places you are visiting directly if they are able to offer you a special price for their services.

If you’re a frequent flyer, sometimes airlines will have discounts at certain restaurants and businesses too. If not, I always recommend trying “deal finder” websites like Groupon. They often offer deals and coupons for restaurants, spas, hotels, shopping vouchers and things to do.

4. Staying in during your layover? Don’t pay for those movies!

As a flight attendant, you are usually offered free or discounted wifi at the hotel you stay at. If your TV has an HDMI input (which most do), then you can stream video online from your computer, tablet, or phone. You could do this without the TV, but why not make use of it if it’s there?

If your internet isn’t free, it’s most likely better for you to purchase an internet package instead of a single movie. At least that’s been the case in my experience, anyway!

5. Use the “do not disturb” sign.

When you’re travelling, you have almost every form of I.D. imaginable on you, and probably some valuables too. As a result, I always keep my “do not disturb” sign outside my door for the length of my trip. This is to ensure that no one knows if I’m in my room or not. Having my valuables stolen out of my hotel room is actually a huge fear of mine and this helps to put my mind at ease.

6. Don’t use the “clean room” sign, unless you NEED to.

The ‘clean room’ sign not only tells housekeeping that you would like your room cleaned, but it also tells every else in the hotel that you’re not in the room. If you do need your room cleaned, make sure you use the safe.

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What hotel hacks are you aware of? Let me know, and I might add it to the list!

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleTO

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company.

Layover Life: Madrid, Spain

Hola! This week I had the pleasure of visiting Madrid, Spain. A lot of Cabin Crew bid for this destination, so I was really surprised to see it on my roster this month!

After speaking to a few Cabin Crew on board our flight to Madrid, a few of us decided that we were going to go out and explore the city together. There is a lot to do in Madrid, so we headed downtown right away to try and see as much as we could within the 24 hours that we had.

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Entering Plaza Mayor

We hopped on the Metro and went to Puerta del Sol or “Gate of the Sun,” first- one of the top places to visit in the city. This is because it is the location of the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, which are considered to be a symbol of Madrid. Casa de Correos, (the city’s governmental headquarters) and Kilometer Zero (a plaque showing the point where the measuring of the national highway system begins) are also there too, so the area is constantly bustling with people.

From Puerta del Sol, we ventured to Plaza Mayor a few blocks away where we had lunch. The plaza dates back to 1619 and was used to host bullfights. The structures in the plaza are a sight to see, most decorated with frescoes (a mural painting technique). There is also a statue of Philip III on horseback in the middle of it, as well as several restaurants and tourist shops around the plaza.

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Plaza Mayor

We decided to grab lunch at Don Calamar (I swear that’s what it was called, but I can’t find it online anywhere to link you guys), which was recommended to by Cabin Crew. There, we enjoyed some authentic spanish tapas and some sangria before going to Mercado de San Miguel (The Market of San Miguel) and grabbing some churros!

Lastly, we ventured to Palacio Real (Madrid’s Royal Palace). Built in 1764, the palace served as the royal residence beginning with Carlos III. We didn’t go inside, but 50 of the structure’s rooms are open to the public. We also walked around the Plaza de Oriente (a beautiful plaza containing 20 sculptures of Spanish kings) and the Campo del Moro Gardens which are all in the same area.

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Plaza de Oriente

If you go to Madrid, you’ll notice that a lot of the tourist attractions are close to one another. I highly recommend visiting all of the above places- it only took us a few hours to walk around and everything was stunningly beautiful.

Next Stop: Mumbai, India (turnaround). Then off to New York City!

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleTO

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company. For the safety and security of Emirates staff, the name of the resort Cabin Crew stay at has been withheld.