Lesson for today: NEVER have expectations on certain flights!!
So this morning I had a flight to Baghdad… didn’t really know what to expect but in the briefing room, the seniors told us that this is a good flight and there are several military men on these flights (aka eye candy) so we should be nice to them as they will be going back to work in Baghdad and some of them might look a bit stressed. Needless to say we all were a bit excited (as the economy crew were all girls!)
We took the bus to our Airbus 330-200 and started preparing the cabin. Soon the passangers started boarding and to our surprise it was anything BUT soldiers!! It looked like the aircraft has touched down in the middle of the dessert and we’re picking up nomads travelling through it!! (with all due respect of course, it just came as a bit of a shock to us, since we were expecting, tall…well built…clean cut…millitary men! )
The ladies (mostly very old women) were dressed in their black abayas and the strangest marks on their faces and hands, I guess it could be something like henna but it was navy blue in colour and not flattering at all, a bit scary to be honest. They also had lots of wrinkels and missing tooth (I’m trying to help you create a picture in your mind here). Of course they did not speak english and were grabbing on to me, whatever they could reach, my arm, back, butt, and dragged me into their direction to show their seat to them, very impatiently. As you can imagine it was chaos in the economy cabin! 4 crew members trying to get 200 passangers to their seats with a huge communication gap.
The men were mostly dressed in western clothing and made us feel, well, famous. Imagine handing out hot towels (not something I would consider glamorous) with 7 phones and cameras pointing in your direction…!! and it continued throughout the cabin during the whole flight! even when sitting on my jumpseat preparing for landing, I could see a guy trying to take a few more shots, crazy!!
Another thing that was quite unusual about this flight was that before take-off and before landing, the whole cabin was chanting together, I couldn’t really make out what they were saying but it was obviously religious. This hasn’t happened on any other middle eastern flight so I was quite freaked out at the beginning, trying to keep my face emotionless haha.
The flight was insanely busy, doing drinks (which were mostly mango juice and tea – as that is what they prefer, oh and lots of sugar!! even had to go get sugar from bussiness and first class! The flight was only 2hours and we didnt rest for one moment, even when we arrived in Baghdad we had to help cleaan the aircraft as their cleaning team consists of an amazing number of 4 cleaners!! wow… so I had a quick bite to eat inbetween and then we had to prepare for the return flight…
This time we had absolutely no expectations but were maybe prepared for the worst 🙂 As soon as the boarding started and I saw men entering with table-top hairstyles I was RELIEVED!! The flight back was a dream compared to the one there. There were some military men as well as local people but it all went well (with no chanting this time, although we will probably be seen on youtube shortly, do let me know when you spot me handing out towels all up in the interwebs, lol)
I am just thankful that I survived this experience, and to tell this little tale of Baghdad to you 🙂 ….and remember the lesson! never have expectations of a flight!!
I took these photos of Baghdad just to remind me of this interesting experience…