Houston, We Have Liftoff!

18 Feb

In January I was finally rostered a new destination – Houston!

Since I’ve upgraded to working in business class I’ve been solely on the A380, and with only around 30 destinations it’s easy to get rostered the same places each month. Houston only switched over to the 380 at the beginning of December so I was excited to be going somewhere new!

The flight is I believe the longest we have (along with Dallas) and clocks in at over 16 hours! That’s a very long time to be on a plane – not counting the hour or so before that we’re preparing everything onboard!

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On most US flights the route takes us over the North Pole, and the view is always incredible. I’ll never get sick of seeing beautiful snowy peaks and sunrises and sunsets.

The flight itself was a tough one. A full cabin with lots of demanding passengers, wanting to eat everything and anything we had onboard, meant that we didn’t stop for the entire time. We do get a break in our CRC (crew rest compartment; tiny bunk beds enclosed in a tight space in the back of the economy cabin) but what with babies crying, people talking loudly and toilets flushing constantly, it’s hard to get much rest even with earplugs and eyeshades!

I always wonder just how many steps I walk on these never-ending US flights!

We landed into IAH late afternoon, and even after being awake for hours and hours, most of us managed to make it down for dinner. Luckily we didn’t have to walk too far and although it was Saturday night I was far too exhausted to stay for more than one glass of wine!

The next morning we had arranged to meet bright and early to explore NASA, which is located not too far from our hotel. By the time everyone showed up we’d been hanging around for nearly 2 hours and at a total of 10 people, were 6 more than originally planned! Nevertheless, we booked 2 big hire cars and off we went.

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Thanks to our GPS we arrived in less than half an hour without getting lost, and the first thing we spotted were these babies!

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The Rocket Park is at the entrance to the Space Centre.

We drove on through to the main area and soon spotted this:IMG_9399

A Boeing 747 with a Space Shuttle on top!

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Apparently some time this year the Space Shuttle will be made into an attraction and you’ll actually be able to go inside. Shame it wasn’t open yet!

We headed on inside, where there are loads of different attractions to visit.

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A lot of the attractions are interactive as well which was great! They were all done so well and really really interesting.

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The entrance ticket also includes a little train ride which takes you to the mission control room, where the actual missions are controlled from.

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It also takes you to see the Saturn V rocket, which is the most powerful rocket ever built and operated. At over 36 stories tall, it’s hard to portray just how huge it is! It’s also one of only 3 left in existence.

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It’s so big it was impossible to get it all in one picture!

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All around the edges of the room were lots of placards with information about all of the space missions and the astronauts who’d been on them. It was so informative and we spent a long time walking around and reading all about it.

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Once back in the main centre we watched a few short films all about life in space, living on the International Space Station and that kind of thing. We also got the chance to see the cockpit from one of the of flights into space! You couldn’t quite sit inside the cockpit though which would have been fun!

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We actually spent most of the day at the Space Centre, as there was so much to do and see there. I’m so glad we managed to make it and I’m happy I got to see a new destination as well 🙂

The next day our wake up call wasn’t until early afternoon, so there was time for a typical American breakfast before a trip to the mall. I tried biscuits and gravy (for any of my English readers, not what you’re thinking!) which is a Southern speciality! A kind of scone-like savoury cake/biscuit, with “gravy” which was a white sauce, nothing like you’d have on a roast dinner!

I may also have splurged a little bit on a new handbag at Michael Kors whilst at the mall…thankfully Houston has such a thing as “tax returns” 😉

The flight back to Dubai was a breeze compared to the way over. Less than half full in business class, our passengers had dinner and slept all the way through til breakfast, so we had plenty of time to chat over cups of tea in the galley. A selfie or 10 may have also been taken, however I won’t be sharing those on here 😉

The crew was one of the best I’ve had in a long time, and we honestly had the most fun on the flight. All in all, a great trip!

P.s. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more updates on what’s happening in my life and where I am in the world!

P.p.s. As much as I love receiving comments on here, and I do try and reply to everyone, please stop asking about my salary! It’s not particularly polite to ask somebody you’ve never met how much they earn. With a little research online it’s not hard to find information regarding pay.

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11 Responses to “Houston, We Have Liftoff!”

  1. putt747 February 18, 2015 at 06:34 #

    Did schedule my first “EK” first class flight from IAH, but jump on LAX-DXB when I found some available seats… pretty pumped about my first “F” EK journey next month! Sorry that you had to deal with demanding passengers, and do you notice cultural difference among passengers on your routes across world? I bet you would say yes, and any examples will be awesome 😀 Happy Flying!

    • The Dubai Diaries March 3, 2015 at 11:04 #

      Ah awesome, I hope you enjoy the first class experience! You’ll have to let me know how it was 🙂 Yes there are plenty of cultural differences, however I don’t want to give any specific examples as it may come across the wrong way 🙂

  2. sofiadeblas February 18, 2015 at 12:05 #

    Hi Rachel! Another great post! I have a question about your rosters since you have started working in business class. Are you going to work just in the A380? No more B777 for you? As both fleets have three classes, I thought that was possible to work in both of them.
    Thanks a lot! Regards from Spain,
    XOXO

    • The Dubai Diaries March 3, 2015 at 11:07 #

      Well technically I am still qualified to work on the 777, however since more crew are needed in business class on the A380 (8, as opposed to only 3 on the 777) I’m rostered mainly on the 380 now! Sad times, because most of our newer destinations that I haven’t yet visited are on the 777 😦

  3. Anonymous February 18, 2015 at 13:28 #

    how much rest do you get on a 16 hour flight? 🙂

  4. Olga February 18, 2015 at 15:31 #

    Yes it does have tax refund but only in particular malls such as Galleria and Premium Outlets!!! 🙂 Galleria mall is the most popular one, it is all the brands but it is very expensive, so skip it!
    I love shopping in Houston!! 🙂 My favourite place is Premium Outlets. You can go online, register as VIP client and it will give you bunch of coupons and every month you will get a coupon book for most of the stores ( more than 200 :))) these coupons give you additional discount for already existing ones. Just make sure you print them in advance, you will need to give them in store. You will be in heaven if you get there on veteran day or any other national holiday!! You can get 70-90% discounts in stores of your favourite brands!!! :)))))
    I believe Premium outlets are all over America.
    Here is a link for you – next time fly to USA, choose a particular city and outlet mall and you be super happy!!! :))
    https://www.premiumoutlets.com/vip/index.asp

    • The Dubai Diaries March 3, 2015 at 11:09 #

      Thanks for the tips! I actually went to Galleria mall as it’s not too far from our hotel. I found it to be relatively cheap, especially the shops that we also have in Dubai (Zara, etc) were reasonably priced! I’ll have to check out this one next time I’m heading to the US! 🙂

  5. Anonymous February 19, 2015 at 07:55 #

    Hey Rachel! I finally heard that im joining EK in April this year, so what best to do some research than in CC blogs! You´ve done a pretty good job, since you take us all readers with you in your trips haha.
    A couple of months are still to go, but so much is to be done though, so i have no idea what to take to DXB with me, if extra money is required and so on. What do you think?
    Thanks in advance!

  6. deleted February 19, 2015 at 12:44 #

    Big question, how on earth do you all stop your makeup from staining your white hat scarf since it sits around your face!? I’ve always wondered how you keep it clean haha

  7. Zarine Mohideen February 20, 2015 at 00:07 #

    I just flew on the A380 from Dubai to SFO and as always it was tiring! I always wonder how much rest the air hostesses get on these flights because they always seem so perfect, no hair out of place! But good question about the makeup ^ I’ve always wondered that too!

    Safe travels Rachel! I fly Emirates to Dubai almost every year so maybe I will get to meet you!

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