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  • Kristin Sorenson

The 6-Day International

Not your typical work week

I’m often asked how many days I work a week. The answer always varies depending on which trip I’m given. Over this, I have no control, but I do have semi-control over which days I’m not working. Per the FAA, we have to have 1 day off every 7 days. It’s rough being at the mercy of Crew Scheduling for 6 days at a time (during which they can call you at ANY hour), but during the summer months out of Dulles, there exist two trips that would behoove one to make him or herself available for 6 days: the 6-Day London, and the 6-Day Dublin.

I’ve been “good” (meaning on-call and available to be called in to fly) for 6 consecutive days before and have not been assigned either of these. But this time, I finally got one. I got back home after 6 days OFF (#PerksOfTheJob) and checked my schedule for the following day. Assignment: 6 day Dublin. YES!

The 6-Day Dublin

To the non-flight attendant, a "6-Day Dublin" sounds like you get to go to Dublin for 6 days, doesn't it? While that's far from the case, you do get some time there. Keep reading.

Trip Timeline: Day 1/6

Friday, Day 1:

Report time wasn’t until 2045, so I made sure to sleep in nice and late. I lazed about my day, mentally preparing myself for the fact that I wouldn’t be sleeping until the next evening. It’s like in college when you wake up knowing you have to pull an all-nighter, and that’s all you can think about. I packed my bags for the 6 days gone, prepped some food, wandered aimlessly through the grocery store (had to feed myself at least three meals before this flight) and then returned home to do some laundry, shower, and nap before I had to leave.

A note about eating and timing: I’m always eating. And it can get tricky before long flights before this because I had breakfast, lunch, and dinner all at home before I left for the airport at 1945. I leave for the airport an hour before I have to be there, get to the plane an hour before it’s scheduled to depart, and on long flights like this, won’t eat again for another 2-3 hours later. We do get crew meals on these transatlantic flights, but most of us bring our own food.

Anyway, here’s the basic timeline for the start of this trip:

1945- leave the house for the airport

2100- arrive at the gate, wait for delayed aircraft to arrive; meet the crew

2222- plane takes off

IAD-DUB: flight time 6 hours 15 minutes

—————FLY ALL NIGHT—————

1030 local time- arrive in Dublin!

Day 2/6

Saturday, Day 2:

We got to the hotel around 1100, ate breakfast as a crew, changed, and headed straight out! #TeamNoSleep. It's rare that the whole crew hangs out together, especially after having worked a redeye like this, but we had a great group and were all down to make the most of our layover.

We hopped on the train and made our way to a little beach town called Malahide. Dublin was going through its hottest days apparently ever, so we were ready to enjoy. “Hot” there though is a chill 72-75F, so I was freezing (naturally) in my T-shirt dress. On the beach. The clouds eventually passed and it did become nice and warm later though.

In this adorable little town, we stopped at a wonderful bakery and grocery for some snacks to munch on at the beach. We all sat together for hours just chatting and enjoying the day. Us three girls did pass out and take naps, while the guys stayed awake and continued visiting.

Michael Bublé happened to be in town that night, and we could hear him from our hotel. It was so wonderful. We had dinner as a crew again and listened to him sing before we had to go to bed. The sun doesn’t go all the way down until 2230 in Dublin in the summer, so while it was tough staying awake, it just felt wrong to sleep on a light sky.

Day 3/6

Sunday: Day 3

One of the biggest perks of this Dublin trip is the hotel breakfast. I’m always taking pictures of it and sending it to everyone, just to make you jealous. ;) My normal layover breakfast is a packet of instant oatmeal and hotel room coffee, so this truly is a treat.

If this were a regular 3-day trip, we would have flown back to base (IAD) and been done that day. But because it's the 6-day, we flew in a "W" pattern and flew instead into Chicago for our middle-of-the-trip layover.

DUB- ORD flight time: 7 hours, 43 minutes

We got to Chicago and rolled into our hotel downtown around 1600, just in time for me to trek down for Mass at Holy Name Cathedral. Man, it was a magnificent day to be on the Magnificent Mile.

I wanted to check out a grocery store near our hotel, so plugged that into my GPS and then proceeded to walk myself through Millennial Park, back to the river walk and finally succumbing to Chipotle at 10 pm. Guess who “headed west” and never found the store. Anyone else get super miffed at GPS directions?

Day 4/6

Monday: Day 4

Time to go back to Dublin! I slept in again, till about 11, and it was another beautiful day in Chicago so I went for another walk. This time I went all the way down to Oak Street Beach and back. I stopped at Trader Joe’s for some food for the day (again, NEVER FOUND THE DARN STORE) and headed back to the hotel for another nap before the night’s flight. Back across the Atlantic!

Day 5/6

Tuesday: Day 5

We landed in Dublin about 1100, went to the hotel, and passed straight out. The flight over really had me shot. I slept for a solid 4 hours before joining the crew downstairs to go out this time. Note: at this point, we've been away from home for 4 days, and have only slept 2 nights. It was nap time.

The particular hotel we stay at has this candle at the front desk that smells WONDERFUL, and I wanted it. So, I made it my mission to go out and get it. I asked the front desk where I could find it, and they told me to go to Brown Thomas on Grafton Street.

The cab dropped us off in the Temple Bar district at 1948. Brown Thomas closed at 2000. One of my crew members, Lauren, -ran- with me to find this store. If you’re not familiar, the Temple Bar district is full of narrow cobblestoned streets- not easy to run on. So we were laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation but arrived at 1955! This store was BOUGIE. I walked in and snaked my way through three floors of Prada, Gucci, Marc Jacobs before I finally found the home goods section. I quickly spotted the candle and grabbed the smallest one (19 Euro...omg) and ran to check out. Then, all of the cashiers were closed so we had to find one that was open. We did and then scurried out as quickly as we had come in. It was then 2004. Mission accomplished.

Lauren and I are at a quirky vegan restaurant nearby where I had butternut squash goulash and apple almond cake. These Dublin trips really involve a lot of food.

Day 6/6:

Wednesday: Day 6

Dublin is great for lots of reasons. Top two are 1) the hotel breakfast and 2) US PRE-CLEARANCE! Instead of deplaning back in Dulles and then having to wait in line to clear customs after working the trip, you just shoot through pre-clearance right at the airport in Dublin. It’s the best. You just arrive and deplane at a gate back in IAD and you’re good to go HOME! #ByeFelicia

Trip Stats

Days working: 6

Flights: 4

Hours IN THE AIR (not counting time spent on the plane on the ground): 31

Nights sleeping: 3

Naps: 3

Hours in Chicago: 28

Hours in Dublin: 48

Euros spent on candle: 19

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