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Flying the Hajj

JetDude

Just Happy To Be Here!
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Posts
167
Total Time
125+
Don't bring a ham sandwich in your lunchbox!
 

ATA For Now!

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 11, 2004
Posts
269
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9000
That's funny...

No "doggie bags" from the gally either....in fact, I guess the whole A/C will be booze free...
 

tyuwerty

Quit your whining!
Joined
Feb 1, 2004
Posts
451
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All depends on where you will be based for the duration.

Bring vitamin C, ehcinecea and anything else that helps stop a cold from coming on.Everyone usually ends up getting "Hajj Cough" which lasts for about 3-4 weeks.

Immodium is another safe item to bring, plan on some quality "reading time" in the john.
 

HoursHore

Medieval Warrior
Joined
Aug 3, 2002
Posts
558
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4000+
Make sure your fire extinguishers are charged. Heard a story of a few "cooking fires" being set.
 

C-150ETOPS

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2003
Posts
499
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Stop by Walmart and grab a copy of the movie "Gordy" out of the $5 DVD bin.

That toupee he wears will keep them in stitches for hours :D
 

tyuwerty

Quit your whining!
Joined
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Posts
451
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Most of the Hajj flights come into Jeddah at first and then near the end there is a big movement of pilgrims from Jeddah/Makkah to Medina. At the very end the pilgrims leave from Medina but mostly Jeddah. The actual Hajj is only 5 days long but the air travel starts weeks before and lasts for a week or two afterwards.

Jeddah is fairly efficient at low volumes of air traffic but they really get swamped during the Hajj. You will be dealing with air carriers from every part of the world and their original languages are everything but English. I give the controllers credit, they do a pretty decent job of keeping things safe.

They are under a lot of pressure and will occasionally be short with pilots if an error occurs. Best thing to do if there is a misunderstanding or a missed clearance is just apologize for the confusion and let it drop. The controllers don't have the time to be filing paperwork for minor violations. I hear it too many times where a western guy starts to argue with them and they end up filing violations for fairly minor stuff. (3 times just last week while I was flying).

Medina is a non-radar environment, so at the peak of the move you can plan on getting stacked for the approach. The weather during the night is fine and usually CAVOK. During the day, you will get extensive heating, moderate turbulence over the mountains, dust devils, and occasionally wind shear warnings. Saudia does not allow their FO's to land in Medina.

If you stay at THE hotel in Medina, there is only one for non-muslims, there is absolutely nothing to do. Medina is a restricted city and only muslims are allowed inside the city limits. The hotel is pretty nice, but again, NOTHING to do. They just got WIFI but it is a little pricey.

Jeddah has a lot of really nice 5 star hotels. You can go out to discover the old traditional shopping area (The Souk). The corniche (waterfront) is pretty decent experience, camel rides, lots of noise and people. If you have a few days off during the Hajj itself, there are western beaches to the north (Obhur). The girls can wear bikinis and relax a bit.

Don't believe all the hype about being dangerous. Keep an eye open like you would in any big stange city and you should be fine. If you are out walking with any of the girls from the crew, just use common sense and be respectful to their culture. Don't hold hands and no public displays of affection. The girls will have to wear the Abaya (black cloak/gown) but they don't have to cover their hair. Guys can wear shorts but usually you don't see people wearing them cut above the knee. Anything higher than the knee and they will think you are gay.

The people are friendly and will probably be curious and even ask you questions. They are just trying to be friendly. The shop keepers need to be bargained with, if you don't bargain they will just think you are stupid. You can usually get them to come down 25-30%. They aren't like the ones in Egypt trying to rip you off. I find them to be pretty honest as a whole.

Be prepared to see extremes of wealth and poverty. People driving Hummers and Lambourginis while others work for $100 a month cleaning streets and watering flowers. Tipping is not the normal thing here. I still give 10-15% at a restaurant and I slip the hotel staff 5 Saudi Riyals ($1.33 USD) for just about everything. They will love you for it.

Hope that helps, I am sitting reserve and could have probably written a book. It is a very good experience to see another culture and I hope you enjoy it.
 

GlobeIII

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 4, 2005
Posts
63
Total Time
7k
If you hand out earplugs...make sure to explain and demonstrate. Experience from two occasions.

-Jordanian Soldiers returning from Afghanistan
-Iraqi voters being shuttled to voting sites

Both thought earplugs looked like(and apparently tasted-since they didn't spit them right out) CHEWING GUM!
 

tyuwerty

Quit your whining!
Joined
Feb 1, 2004
Posts
451
Total Time
12000+
I love the one liners from people that have never even flown in the region. Point in case, the smelliest flight I have ever been on was from the USA to the Dominican Republic. Some Flights flying deportees to Africa can be bad and some to Dhaka, Bangladesh also. But for the most part I have never really had a problem with flights in the middle east.

Then again, I am a smoker, so my senses have been dulled.
 

crj567

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Posts
2,052
I love the one liners from people that have never even flown in the region. Point in case, the smelliest flight I have ever been on was from the USA to the Dominican Republic. Some Flights flying deportees to Africa can be bad and some to Dhaka, Bangladesh also. But for the most part I have never really had a problem with flights in the middle east.

Then again, I am a smoker, so my senses have been dulled.

Your senses must have been dulled to have anything good to say about these clowns!
 

tyuwerty

Quit your whining!
Joined
Feb 1, 2004
Posts
451
Total Time
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Generalizations are nice crj, they keep things simple don't they? Kind of like Fox News.

When actually interacting and meeting people from other countries and cultures one on one at a personal level, I rarely find I meet anyone that I truly dislike. That can be said even if I completely disagree with many things inside their countries.

The vast majority of people in any country worldwide, worry about feeding their families and ensuring a better life for their kids. It is the small vocal minority that try and push their religion and whacko views on people. It is politicians, rulers and nut jobs that start wars, not the guy working for a living to feed his family.

As for generalizations, some of the worst acting, rude and arrogant passengers I have ever met where ones that flew out of White Plains, NY. But, that is just what I have experienced.
 

jws717

registered abuser
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Posts
572
Total Time
loads
Generalizations are nice crj, they keep things simple don't they? Kind of like Fox News.

When actually interacting and meeting people from other countries and cultures one on one at a personal level, I rarely find I meet anyone that I truly dislike. That can be said even if I completely disagree with many things inside their countries.

The vast majority of people in any country worldwide, worry about feeding their families and ensuring a better life for their kids. It is the small vocal minority that try and push their religion and whacko views on people. It is politicians, rulers and nut jobs that start wars, not the guy working for a living to feed his family.

As for generalizations, some of the worst acting, rude and arrogant passengers I have ever met where ones that flew out of White Plains, NY. But, that is just what I have experienced.

I could not agree more, i am always amazed how the media makes the rest of the world look like nut jobs. Then i walk around the street on the other side of the planet and everyone is warm and polite.

I wold also like to second the White Plains comment, what jerks!
 

Abernathy

Truthiness
Joined
Mar 4, 2008
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1,490
Total Time
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Your senses must have been dulled to have anything good to say about these clowns!

Interesting observation that I've had is that pilots who fly internationally and see much of the world are much more cultured, appreciative, understanding, and less stereotypical in general.

Then you meet ignorant rednecks like these and your whole perception of pilots changes again.
 

freightdogfred

Malcontent
Joined
Nov 16, 2002
Posts
990
Total Time
Mucho
A few handy Arabic phrases translated to English --

AKBAR KHALI-KILI HAFTIR LOFTAN.= Thank you for showing me your marvelous gun.

FEKR GABUL CARDAN DAVAT RAEH GUSH DIVAR.= I am delighted to accept your kind invitation to lie down on the floor with my arms above my head and my legs apart.

SHOMAEH FIKR TAMOMEH GEH GOFTEK BANDE.= I agree with everything you have ever said or thought in your life.

AUTO ARRAREGH DVATEMAN MAMO SEPAHEH-HAST.= It is exceptionally kind of you to allow me to travel in the trunk of your car.

FASHAL-EH TUPEHMAN NA DEGAT MANO GOFTAM CHEESHAYEH MOHEMA RAJEBEH KESHAVAREHMAN.= If you will do me the kindness of not harming my genital appendages I will gladly reciprocate by betraying my country in public.

KHREL JEPAHEH MANEH VA JAYEII AMRKAHEY.= I will tell you the names and addresses of many American spies travelling as reporters.

BALLI, BALLI, BALLI!= Whatever you say!

MATERNIER GHERMEZ AHLIEH, GORBAN.= The red blindfold would be lovely, excellency.

TIKEH NUNEH BA OB KHRELEH BEZORG VA KHRUBE GOYAST INO BERGERAM.= The water-soaked bread crumbs are delicious, thank you. I must have the recipe.

BA BODENEH SHEERELL TEEGZ.= Truly, I would rather be a hostage to your greatly esteemed self than to spend a fortnight upon the person of Cheryl Tiegs.
 
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