Cabin crew problems: Sickness

Hello everybody,

This topic couldn’t been more relevant… instead of wandering on the streets of Venice and checking Murano islands (as I planned) I am in my Dubai bedroom, getting back to life after being as sick as hell. So what did happen? I woke up in time, had my breakfast (orange juice, cherry and some Arabic bread), I went to work, checked in, I had the document + image & uniform check, I answered the safe talk, so I sat down to the table and I was ready for the rest of the briefing. Suddenly I started to feel myself sick. First I thought I might be only hungry as I didn’t have much food, but it became worse and I didn’t have another choice, I raised my hand and asked permission to go to the restroom. The purser stared at me and didn’t say anything, so I quickly told her I didn’t feel well. When I stood up and left the room, everyone was silent and I could feel all eyes on me. I was desperately looking for a toilet, I even had to cover my mouth, because I started gagging. Thanks God I found a restroom in time, locked myself in a toilet and started vomiting. When I finished I felt myself better however it was visible on my appearance that something was wrong.

My hair went messy, I had tears in my eyes, lost half of my lipstick, but I tried to compose myself as much as possible. As soon as I entered the briefing room, the purser came to me full of concerned and asked about my well being. I said I was okay, and of course I said I didn’t vomit. We were ready to go to the bus bay and people were keep asking me how I felt. On the escalator, going down to the minus level where the buses stop, I knew I was far from being okay, so I approached the purser and told her I started to feel sick again. She was so kind and concerned, she took me back to the first floor, escorted me to the toilet and told me she would talk to the duty controller. First I couldn’t vomit, but then it came again… a lot :(. It was so so bad, vomiting is the worst sickness ever, always makes me cry and miserable. I was washing my face when another purser entered, I told her not to use to toilet as I just vomited and she was very helpful as well.

So I went to the duty controller and I could hardly talk, I lost all my energy, I was completely broken. The man in charge told me they offloaded me, so he filled a paper for me and escorted to a custom officer who was quite rude to me. My attendant gave him the offload paper and the officer moved his head towards me and asked “this one”? No comment… whatever, I didn’t even have energy to get offended or anything. They instructed me to go to the crew service center, but of course I ended up in a toilet, having my third throw up. From the crew service center they sent me to the clinic where I could hardly talk to the receptionist. I couldn’t tell her my staff number, I felt so bad, I could hardly walk or move. I asked her to get the nurses check me before the others (there were a lot of people in the waiting room), then I took a seat somewhere. They were keep calling people and none of them was me, so I went back to the lady who guaranteed me I would be the next one. As soon as I sat back, I stood up straight away and run to the toilet but I couldn’t hold it until the toilet bowl. I threw up on the corridor of the rest room, and when a Korean girl came in (I was already cleaning myself) she got so shocked and I asked her to call someone to help me. A nurse came in and saw me trying to clean up my mess so she yelled at me to stop, a house keeper would do that. I felt myself very vulnerable and pathetic, I started crying while the nurse tried to console me. Thanks God they eventually called my name and the nurse asked me if there was any chance to be pregnant. To be honest it came into my mind as well before, although I didn’t see much chance for the thing and I was not worried at all. We quickly did an urine test but obviously the result was negative. They gave me medications and sick note and they also advised me to write to my manager as I was marked as “absent”. I wanted to go home by taxi so I went to the second floor to withdraw some cash when the sickness came back. There were two girls in the closest toilet (both in front of the mirror) so I warned them about what’s gonna happen and advised them to leave. One of them didn’t even look at me, she just left, the other girl said it was okay and asked me if I wanted some water. I only said something like “I am fine”, then I disappeared in the toilet. This girl was helpful as well, she said maybe I should have gone back to the clinic but all I wanted is to get back home as soon as possible. Eventually I decided to take the bus as I only had to wait 10 minutes. I asked paper bags from Costa coffee – just in case if you know what I mean – and the girl who was there waiting for her coffee said I looked very bad and sick. Well, after 5 times of throwing up within 1,5 hours, I couldn’t be an “Emirates ambassador” anymore. I survived the bus ride, however when I opened the front door of my apartments, I throw all the bags in the living room and run into my bathroom for “one more turn”. I literally had no energy at all, left all my bags in the middle of my bedroom, my jacket on the chair, I just got undressed and went to the bed straight away. I didn’t even remove my make up and I didn’t wash my teeth as I did not even felt bad taste anymore. About an hour later I had my last throw up and I felt myself strong enough to brush my teeth. After one more hour of rest I heard my flatmate was back so I went to the living room to meet her and I told her what just happened. She was so sweet, she got me coke and plain croissant from the small supermarket shop next to out building. I felt myself better to drink and eat a bit, I unpacked my stuff, and now I am in bed again.

Earlier before I got a phone call and I had to explain what happened to me. It has been my fourth sick note so unfortunately I got an “attendance e-mail” but it still doesn’t mean anything serious. As far as I know only 5 sick leave is acceptable per year so now I feel myself really in trouble. Actually nothing very serious happens if you have more, it would only affect your salary and probably the future upgrade as well. However my sick notes will be deleted from the system after one year of my DOJ which is 3,5 more months. Hopefully all will be good.

Being a cabin crew is apparently very demanding for the health.  We are in a constant danger of getting food poisoning, get infected from dirty hotel bathrooms and toilets, sleeping with bed bugs, being fatigue and jet lagged and so on. The list is never ending and it is very serious. Some people are lucky, they never really get sick and they don’t even work out and they don’t care much about their diet. But me, I regularly work out, I try to eat as healthy as possible but it is still me who gets sick all the time :(. This post is already quite long but let me quickly share with you my “medical history”.

First sick note

I had the first case after one month of flying when I came back from my long multisector. I got urinary infection, which means I could hardly leave the toilet and I had pain as well. I was supposed to have airport standby, but I decided to call sick, as I was pretty sure I couldn’t have operated any flights. The interesting thing is that eventually they didn’t find anything in my urine. The sick leave lasted only for a day + I got a rest day (you always get it after being sick) and on the third day I already got a short Doha flight but I was fine already so it was okay. I even got e-mail from the probationary crew team, this is the normal procedure.

Second sick note

It happened in July, I got cold during my Nairobi safari, as I was constantly leaning out of the car, getting so much wind in my face. After my Nairobi flight I spent 5 days at home (in Hungary) and I started to have the symptoms of flu after 3 days. On the last day I had light fever (only like 37 Celsius degree) and started to feel myself sick. On the flight back to Dubai I became very sick, I was constantly cold, I had pain everywhere and I felt I had fever. When I came back I bought some stuff in the pharmacy so I found out I had 38,5 degrees. I had one day off after but on the following day I was supposed to have Durban flight. I went to the clinic so they gave me my second sick leave which lasted for 4 days. On the fifth morning I was getting ready for my Nairobi layover but I was still coughing a lot, I was clearly unwell so I extended my sickness. In the clinic I was seen not only by a nurse but by a doctor as well but unfortunately she was not the best one. I am against of medications and antibiotics, but I wish she gave me a good one! I just got some more average stuff, syrups and sprays but the whole treatment was not specific at all. Felt like she had a list of medications for cold and flu and she just picked few for me. Obviously I didn’t get much better.

Third sick note

I managed to do my Seychelles flight, followed by two turnarounds. For a few days I had chest pain on my right hand side, under my breast and I told it one of the cabin supervisors on my second turnarounds. She advised me to go to the clinic because I should not take my health granted. Next day was an off day so I did what she said, specially because the pain became very severe and sharp. After a nurse checked me, I also got a doctor who was much better than the previous one. He said it could be muscle pain due to coughing but it could also been infection. He said most probably I will be on antibiotics cure, so he gave me two days of sick leave, even tough I asked him not to do. Then he sent me to a nearby hospital to get x-ray. It was a private hospital, I was totally impressed as the health care in Hungary is very backward and miserable. I had a wonderful young doctor who seemed to be very concerned and helpful. I had an x-ray test but they didn’t find anything so eventually I got a CT done. The result was much more clear, they saw I had some infection indeed. I got antibiotics and other medications but this time I was relieved. I took the first dose and I got much better within few hours, the pain became less severe. I was only concerned abut the second sick leave within a month. To be hones I felt angry of the first doctor in the clinic as she didn’t take my case seriously enough and she didn’t give me right medications. If I got antibiotics from her, I wouldn’t have got the infection in my chest so I wouldn’t have had the third sick leave.
And you know what is “funny” as well? The chest pain came back, but at least it is not severe. I have my leave very soon so I will go to a private hospital in Hungary, I know they will be able to tell me what my real problem is.

So that’s it basically… it is very hard for me to adjust to this lifestyle, I am really worried about my health. I feel myself very sad, I missed one of the most amazing destinations today, I’ve got absent, I’ve got sick note and I can’t really do anything against it. I mean what should I do? People get sick and we can’t fly like this.

So as you see the cabin crew life is not that much fancy and glamorous as most people believe :(.




15 thoughts on “Cabin crew problems: Sickness

  1. Get well soon dear. Don’t be sad and stay positive. If you feel that the cabin crew life doesn’t matches your healthy lifestyle, just quit it. To me, health is number one in life. Its a priority. Even if it means to quit my dream job..
    Again, get well soon and stay warm 💙


    1. I believe I only need some time to adjust. For many people it takes longer than for others, so I am positive about the future, I know it gets better soon :). I have too much plans to give up this job so easily :D.


      1. I applied for both. Qatar and Etihad. Sadly, none of them are having assessment days in Lebanon :(.
        Anyway, I am still positive that i will get the job one day. ^_^
        Heard about the Crash today at Dubai’s airport. Hope you are fin?


  2. Aw you poor thing!!
    That’s horrible. I hate being sick, especially when it comes to taking time off work. I always get the feeling that the work place doesn’t believe me or that I’m ‘faking it’ or something. Even when I have a sick note!!
    At the end of the day, like people have said, your health is the most important thing.
    I hope your body starts to build up it’s immunity soon!


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