As I flight attendant I have ticket discounts and last month I decided to visit the United States. I decided to fly with Qatar Airways from Sofia to NYC, JFK airport via Doha. I had to travel with my mom and as soon as we got at the airport, at the check in we were told it will be much better to travel the next day. There weren’t any available seats on the flight from Doha to New York and we would have to wait 7 hours at the airport to catch the next flight. Yes, flight attendants do have big ticket discounts, but very often these tickets are on standby, which means all other passengers who pay the full price of the ticket have bigger priority than cabin crews on full flights! Surprise!
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We actually left on the next day as we were advised to do so. The flight to Doha wasn’t a full flight and we were seated at the best seats – next to the emergency exits where there’s enough space for your legs. The food was pretty nice and the flight attendants were really polite and kind. The flight was about 4 hours and a half on A320 aircraft. When we arrived at Doha, Hamad International Airport we had one hour and a half till our connection flight to NYC. Of course there were no seats available and we had to wait 7 hours more. That’s where our nightmare started. We were already nervous, because we didn’t manage to leave the day before and now we were about to miss our next flight!
However, if you have to spend some time in Hamad Internatonal Airport and you’re asking yourself what to do, you can check my article TIME WELL SPENT. As it was almost midnight we tried to get some sleep, which was almost impossible as we were freezing, because of the airconditioning and second – my mom and I were very worried, because we weren’t so sure if we could get on the next flight! If we had to miss this flight too, we had to go back to Sofia and loose our tickets, because without visa you’re not allowed to stay more than 24hours at the airport in Doha. The number of the staff who were also on standby for our flight, was increasing hour by hour and my mom was about to experience a nervous breakdown. 20minutes before take off we still didn’t know if we could get on the plane. Finally as we were desperately sitting nearby the “Customer service” counter trying not to fell asleep, we heard a boy calling our names to give our boarding passes and everyone from the queue started yelling at the him (God bless that guy)! We grabbed our boarding passes and started running to the gate.
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We had to go through a serious security check first, where we had to take everything from our bags, take our shoes off, belts off and almost everything… At last we got on board of B777 and of course my mom and I weren’t seated next to each other, but that was not a problem anymore. We took the last two available seats, can you imagine?! At least we were already on our way to the USA… The flight was around 14hours, first we had breakfast on board, chips and fruit after that, a little snack and finally dinner. The meal at economy class was even better than the food we serve in our airline to business class passengers. I still remember the taste of a specific arabic spice in the food that I really enjoyed! I know how annoying it is someone pressing the call button for more drinks, that is why I waited for the next service with the beverages. I asked the stewardess for a glass of red wine and a glass of orange juice. She looked at me with annoyance and poured me half a glass of juice and wine. That wasn’t very nice of her…I also get pissed-off when passengers ask me for glass of red wine, a beer, some orange juice and a cup of coffee…and a coke, but asking for two drinks at the same time is not such a big deal! My seat-back television screen blocked and I had to press 5 times the call button…and ask two different flight attendants to reset it. After 20minutes they finally did. Anyways the flight was nice, I had plenty of time to eat, have enough sleep and watch 3 movies. Sweet! You can find some useful tips for long flights in my articles 10 WAYS TO FALL ASLEEP ON A PLANE , FIT TO FLY , 10 technological toys for comfortable flight
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After 28hours of travel we finally arrived at JFK airport! There was a nice Indian family next to me, very kind middle aged man with his wife. We talked too much about living in the USA during the flight, so I wished them all the best and rushed out of the plane. First we had to give finger prints before getting our stuff…As I was watching everyone taking their baggage from the luggage carousel for too long, I started realising something was wrong. I had to wait 15minutes for the official of Qatar Airways to aks her what was going on! She was thinking all the time our luggage will come out from the nowhere and did almost nothing to help us…after hour an a half a more competent guy from Qatar Airways told us our baggages were not lost and they will be sent on the next day from Doha. Well, at least the luggage wasn’t lost, because we had very expensive gifts for our friends from the US and so we recieved our suitcases after 3 days! So when you have transoceanic flights ALWAYS put some spare clothes, underwear and tooth brush in your hand luggage! We arrived without anything that’s why the same day of our arrival we had to go to T.J Maxx to get pyjamas, underwear, socks and some clothes! Oh dear, it was such a nightmare.
Thank God we didn’t have the same bad experience on our way to Sofia from NYC…Everything was fine, except that it was harder for me to cope with the jet lag. More about how to beat the jet lag you can learn from my article JET LAG ACTION PLAN.