ITW / The Flying Kiwi a.k.a. Mat
This is our second interview of a Cabin Crew based in Dub-Dub. And today we have a Kiwi blogger to ask questions to !! Mister is from New Zealand and has been working with Emirates long enough to analyze every single passenger profile within 3 seconds. He updates his blog with witty, well written and hilarious entries, be sure to check out his travel rants and suscribe to the feed. The Flying Kiwi works in First Class on the A380, the new Jumbo Jet.
We found out about the Flying Kiwi as we were searching for even more information on Emirates. As the corporate website only gives just a few pieces of information, the crew/employee blogs are the direction to take if you need some in depth gossip about the company you’re going to work for. So here goes, we thank Mat for his time and kindness for answering those questions and we hope you like it !
Airboy : Hi there Mat, how are you doing today ? No doors to man in the next few minutes cause I have a few questions for ya. Let me introduce you. You’re a blogger amongst the lucky A380 fleet here in Dub-Dub. You’ve recently graduated and now fully operational on the new Big Mamma that Emirates has just introduced. As I’ve said you’re a blogger and the proud Daddy of The Flying Kiwi… Tell us more about you apart from the fact that you were born on the same day as I !
Mat : Ah yes, September Babies we are. I hail from the bottom of the world, New Zealand, Christchurch to be exact. Lord of the Rings Country. Growing up I had no interest in becoming a Flight Attendant, being that I used to be Ground Staff for an airline in NZL I had a typically narrow-minded view on what Cabin Crew are all about. I knew however that when Virgin Blue began recruiting in my country back in 2003 for the launch of their new International Airline, Pacific Blue, I HAD to work for them. Jobs as Cabin Crew were advertised first, and so I applied, and was selected as the one of the 50 ‘Launch Crew’ and have never looked back. This chapter of my life is perhaps the happiest and most rewarding.
A : Ok, let’s carry on, you have a blog called The Flying Kiwi upon the internetz and it’s getting quite a fair amount of readers… Why did you start writting, any particular aim or is just for fun ?
M : When I moved to Dubai to work for Emirates I used to send a mass-email to my nearest and dearest back home which used to become so long-winded and packed FULL of the adventures I had been on. I decided to launch The Flying Kiwi primarily for these people back there, as a less obtrusive way for them to read about these adventures, in their own time, and not just when I forced an email upon them. I never actually intended to have the global readership that I now have. It is very strange that people in every corner of the world are actually interested in what I am upto, but it now also means that I have to be a bit more selective in what I write about.
A : Right, what is like to be on the biggest pressurized tube in the world ? Any advice for our passengers as what to NOT DO onboard ?
M : The A380… Well, for me, working upstairs in the First Class cabin absolutely has its advantages. When you are up there, you have no concept that there is an entire ‘other plane’ below you with 399 hungry Economy Class customers ringing their callbells. For me, I have 14 people dining the flight away, which makes things very nice. What not to do? If I were a passenger, I wouldn’t bash and knock myself against the walls of the main-deck installed CRC (crew rest compatment). It gets us very upset as we try and sleep inside it. It is about as soundproof as a tin-can in a hail storm
A : Ahah. I’ve read that you digg windmills big time, what so special about them ? When did your relationship with them start ?
M : Look, I can appreciate a good windmill, can’t we all. I wouldnt say it is much of a romantic relationship, but sure, as they say, when in Holland, do as the Hollandese (??) do! So if that means a love for windmills then I am there.
A : I had a few issues with them, but that’s for later. Ok now down to business. As part of the A380 fleet you were one of the lucky few to get a new uniform to parade about in CBC, how does that feel ? What kind of looks do you get us in our beige potato bags and sky blue jackets ?
M : The new uniform is great. It feels so smart and much more professional and corporate than the beige and blue number I used to don. It is not so much the looks that we give to the old uniform wearers, its the looks that we get from them. The Cabin Crew are great, they look at us and 99% of the time have really positive things to say. Its the Flight Crew that seem to look us up and down, without saying much at all. I am yet to work out if that is a good thing or not!
A : Yeh I know, I’m jealous. Because you only get 2 flights a month, what the heck do you do in Dubai for the rest of time ?? I would like to know !
M : We are VERY fortunate at the moment to have just 2 or 3 flights in a month. Without wanting to disregard the other great crew we have working really hard on the mainfleet, we really need the downtime to recover after a journey on that superjumbo beast! As with the introduction of any new aircraft into a fleet, there are teething problems, and as all the world’s eyes are on us to deliver the best inflight product, we are, at times, close to tears on board as things arent working around us, as they should, while we try our best to hold it together, for the sake of the airline image and the customer experince. But once I have recovered after a duty, it is so nice to sleep. In my own bed. Luxury! It has also given me a chance to really get into the gym, socialise over a Tall Latte, and I am about to begin teaching myself Spanish. Fortunately, I have also had the chance to travel; Amsterdam and Hamburg in the last month.
A : Ok next question, you’re in the bus heading to the CBC for a flight bound for New York, you know you’ll have 400 hungry passengers by the time you board the plane, which track will your iPod Touch play ?
M : Thankfully I dont have to worry about 400 mouths, just 14, so my main thought is wondering whether I will remember my SEP knowledge! Yes, we only have one aircraft to remember now, but because it can be 2 to 3 weeks between flights, it means we have to refresh our memories more often! The ol’ iPod Touch has all sorts of music to get me going… It is about 0530am when I am on the bus heading to work for a New York so it has to be something motivating to make me want to be awake so early!
A : And if it was a flight to NZ on a A330-200 ?
M : I would be wondering, first of all, whether an A330-200 would make it all the way to New Zealand, but I would be getting in the mood with a bit of Kiwiana, maybe Welcome Home by Dave Dobbyn. The song that would make most expat Kiwi’s weep with homesickness for a month!
A : Tell us more about your hometown, can you describe the city for our readers ? The people, maybe tell us where to go while on Layover there !?? That would be fantastic.
M : Christchurch… The most English City outside of England. It can sometimes be a bit sleepy, but I think that is part of its charm. People are really welcoming and friendly, and this gives the most amazing lifestyle to grow up in. People have space, we have homes with huge sections to have gardens and back lawns. The Avon River flows through the central city and summer time in Hagley Park is unmatched with its never-ending free concerts and outdoor wine and food festivals. In 24hrs, on a layover, you would be a fool to miss out on a walk around the Botanical Gardens in Spring, New Regent Street with its chic cafes and boutiques. For late night antics, the restaurants on The Strip (Oxford Tce) turn into pumping nightclubs, but be warned, Christchurch folk tend to save their nocturnal ways for Thu, Fri & Sat nights only, and you wouldnt head to the clubs until 23:30 or later. Coffee and Bagels are a must at Yellow Rocket in Cathedral Square. Mmmm. I’m starting to salivate at the thought!
A : I come from Paaaaaarrrreeeee ! Have you ever been there ?
M : ONCE! I was so excited! I recruited one of the guys from my crew, a Danish guy, to show me the ropes. As we stay at the airport, we took the train into central Paris and explored so much we got back to the hotel 15min before the wakeup call. I was so exhausted, I ended up having to deadhead for the second half of the flight as I got really sick from the lack of energy! Whoops!
A : What did you like best apart from the cheese, the bread, the monuments, the shopping, and what have you…?
M : The culture on every street! It was winter, so I loved seeing everyone dressed up in their big coats. Eating lunch on the Champs Elysees was a highlight, despite having to mortgage my life away to afford it, it was one of those must-do things.
A : Tell us about the worst flight you have ever operated, be kind, loose the names for confidential reasons… !
M : Jeddah. I was unfortunate in my days as a Gr2 (economy class crew) to get one of these beauties at least once a month. For those of you in the know, trying to swap a JED is like winning the Powerball Jackpot, it doesnt happen. I may have used words I am not proud of, on several of those flights, but some people can be so incredibly unreasonable when it comes to finding a non-existant Chicken Biryani at 35,000ft.
A : If you had the liberty of choosing your door for a flight, which one would it be and why ?
M : If I was on the mainfleet, I would be taking not a door, but downgrading myself to Economy and selfishly using my seniority and getting myself the R5A position. The BEST position on the aircraft. Nowadays, on the A380, I wouldnt have a clue. I have only had 2 flights in the last 3 months, so I don’t know yet what each onboard position does!
A : I bet you had a crush on a Crew before, give us names !
M : 3 years ago I met my crush as we both sat as passengers on a Qantas flight in New Zealand. We are still together now and having moved to Dubai together we are having the time of our lives.
A : Back in Dubai now… What could you add to the city’s already thriving environment to make your life here much more enjoyable ? (for example, I could definately do with a french bakery at the bottom of the building instead of a Avis Rental Car boutique)…
M : More lanes on the roads! 6 lanes in each direction along Sheikh Zayed Rd just arent enough. I think a Driver Education campaign would go a long way to changing the traffic environment. A few less grey hairs would have sprouted!!
A : Ok, what do you think of our wonderful taxi drivers ? A one word sentence can do the trick…
M : Thank god I have my own car!
A : What is your favourite container in the AFT galley ? Tell me you luuuuuuuuuuve those Ginger Nuts !
M : It depends on whether we are talking about the Main Deck AFT Galley or the Upper Deck AFT Galley. Ginger Nuts? Since when do we have Ginger Nuts? I need to go down to Economy Class more often, we just have revolting Digestives up the front. I don’t need to be any more regular…
A : Did you ever get lost trying to find the FedEx counter in the headquarters ?
M : Ummm, can’t say I have… But with the lack of signage in that building, you could be forgiven for losing your way to the toilet!
A : No ! I would of guess so, I’m the only sad twat who looks for a FedEx counter on my days off… *sigh*. Do you miss your training college days ?
M : Not really… I am there so much these days anyway! The new college is SO much better than the old one. I certainly don’t miss the dungeon lunch room, nor the ‘Old College Smell’ – it would be in your clothes for weeks!!
A : We have potentially dangerous jobs up there at 35,000 feet, but on ground, have you ever feared for your life in Dubai ?
M : When the Brits issued their recent UAE terror threat, I will be honest, and tell you I registered myself with the Kiwi Consulate, just in case something happened to me!
A : Ok so I think we’ll wrap it up here, one last question. How did you find out about Airboy and his blog ?
M : I think you found me!!!?
A : Big up for answering all those questions ! Happy blogging !
Hey this was our second ITW and we thinks we’ll have some more coming your way very soon !
READ THE PREVIOUS INTERVIEW, CLICK HERE !