Monday, December 05, 2005

HKG-DXB-HKG

Well after a night in the market, I awake to find a slip of paper detailing a flight from Hong Kong to Dubai the company would like me to work today. Although my roster shows me off, I had a feeling it was coming as I was the only available First Officer. They just hadn't told me yet.

We make our way out to the airport (we have a car pick us up) and I find out it is my Captains very last flight. He is turning 65 the next day and is no longer legal to fly airliners. Of course that means its his leg to "fly" (take off and land) the aircraft and I was relegated to secondary duties, (paperwork, radio, ect...)

It was a great flight, we left on time to the minute and arrived 7 minutes early in Dubai.

Below is a picture I took. Congratulations Bob!!








The next afternoon there was a retirement party for Bob at the Hyatt in Dubai. I wanted to get the above pic printed and framed as a gift, but it was Friday AND the national holiday of UAE. It took almost 2 hrs just to find a place to print it. Eventually I was set with a frame and off to the party.

I was only able to attend for a couple of hours with my drinking limited to Diet Coke, but it was a great experience to get together with other pilots I flew with on occasion in a social setting.

A few hrs later it was back in the plane to Hong Kong. New Captain (but an old friend) and same Flight Engineer. We also had a dead heading FO travelling to HKG. He was new to the aircraft and super keen. When he inquired if it was ok if he flew and I sat (or slept in the bunk...........) I jumped at it!!!!! SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEET. Love new eager people!!!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

DAYs #2-#3 -#4-#5

After my short 9 and a half hour flight (come on, its not like going to Toronto and back, its not that far). I arrive in FRA.

My bag was on the belt within 10 minutes of the plane landing and I was at my hotel with study material 15 minutes after that. I had a lot of material to cover, so I got right to it and 3 hrs later went to bed for the night.

Day #3
The next day I had a class room session, followed by a 4 hr Sim block. As is usually the case, I had not met either other crew member (the Captain or Flight Engineer), nor the examiners. I actually prefer it this was as everyone tends to stick the S.O.P's.

I emerged 4 hrs later with a sweat soaked shirt and and signature and check next to the little box that says PASS.

Glad that's done. Feeling exhausted (and a little jetlagged) I go back to bed.
(Exciting stuff isn't ;)

Day #4

I manage to sleep till 9am FRA time, then have to gather my wordly good together back in the suitcase. I have a noon flight to Brussels on Lufthansa. Breaky of chocolate covered everything (this is Germany remember) , and off to the airport.

Check-in in was quick and painless, 1A in Business assigned and I am off to the LH Senator Lounge. The lounge itself is nice, but filled with Germans who are all smoking. I found it difficult to be in there even 2 minutes. I left and sought out the United Red Carpet Club. Non-smoking, quiet, nice..

The flight to BRU was on one of my favorite aircraft a BAE146. Air Canada stopped using them a few years back, so I am always pleased to find one overseas to travel on. Drinks, lunch, more drinks, and chocolate were all served during the 40 minute flight.

In BRU, I met up with the crew who would fly me to Dubai. My schedule has me dead heading on a company aircraft to HKG via Dubai.

Upfront the boys got the preflight of the aircraft done, while I preflighted the bunk. All our aircraft have 2 or 3 beds to sleep in. I was asleep before we took off and didn't wake up till the guys landed us in Dubai. My sleep was SOLID.

That crew got out in Dubai, while a new crew joined to take me the rest of the way. I was fairly well rested so I watched movies, read and served coffee to the guys up front.

Not too much longer the green waters of the South China Sea surrounded us and we descended once again in Fragrant Harbour (Hong Kong means fragrant harbour in Cantonese). I missed this place.


Quickly to my apartment, a quick shower and email check and I am off to the Temple Street Night Market and dinner at Wing Fat..

Dinner on the street sitting on buckets. Only in HKG!

Saturday night in Hong Kong. A week long retrospective Day #1


Ok. Its 610pm here. If I want to go out tonight I promised myself I would do this.

Too bad for you, as had I done this it would have been a very different read.."and thennnnssss I sayed toooo the cop go to............"

So lets avoid that!

So this is what a B747 pilot did this week since ending the mileage run.

Day #1: Last day of the mileage run (or at least the flight pass portion of it).
The only flight pass trip I have is from Vancouver to Calgary where my itinerary continues to Frankfurt on a separate ticket. I was required in FRA for recurrent Simulator (something we do ever 6 months)

4 days out I was able to confirm myself into 1A on the B767 to Calgary. Its a single seat in Business class (seating configuration 1-2-2). Sweet. The next leg to FRA was another story. My company only booked that ticket 2 days before. There was one Business Class seat showing available that won't be released till the day of departure at the gate.

Not looking good!!

The first flight is fine, the in charge FA is a Commercial pilot and we chatted a bit about his past job dropping parachutists in Southern Ontario. Arriving into Calgary, I make my way to the Maple Leaf Lounge and find a Concierge to harass about my upgrade.
Good News, there are now 2 seats open in Business and 1.5 hrs till flight time. Settling my self with a beverage (Jack and Diet Coke IIRC) I surf the net and fax Boarding passes into Aeroplan :)

I departed the lounge hopefully and made my way to the gate.
The crowds were lessening and I station my strategically so as to be able to access the agent at the podium when my name is called.....

Waiting.


Waiting.....

Ok Already...Finally I am the only guy in the boarding lounge and I began to sense something was asckew. I gathered up my things to enquire with the agent. "Ohhh Yes Mr.Tacchi, I saw your name on the top of the list, one second please."

Wait ... wait... "Hmm Sir, it seems Business is now full. The must have been some last minute passengers......"

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....F*ck F*ck F*ck...

"What I can do" she proffers "is give you all of row 15 (3 seats) to yourself."

Resigning myself to Economy (really not that bad on Air Canada), I thank her for the effort and board the plane.

As I approached my row, I could see some German was trying to poach my seat. I figured if I challenged him for a BP he would feign ignorance and move. He did. I had my row.

Unpacking my friends pillow , Ipod and book I settle myself in for the duration. Just then, the Gate agent approaches..."Mr Tacchi, good news those last two passengers in business cancelled their flight. Please move to row 2.

Speechless I gather my possessions, attempt to express my gratitude, and move. (I think I was out of there in about 1.5 seconds)


Rest of the flight was uneventful I watched Midnight Cowboy and Lawerence of Arabia on the DVD.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

For those who are interested,

Check back on Saturday Night. I will do a post on my Trip from Canada to Frankfurt to Dubai to Hong Kong to Dubai to Hong Kong. The life of a B747 pilot...

Marc