What It Takes To Be A First Class Flight Attendant For Emirates

What It Takes To Be A First Class Flight Attendant For Emirates

Each year, more than
180,000 flights take off for Emirates airline, carrying
about 60 million passengers. And the people in charge of
all those travelers onboard? The 21,000 flight
attendants and pursers that make up
Emirates cabin crew. It’s a pretty sweet gig. Free housing in Dubai,
discounted tickets, and getting paid to
travel the world. But with long hours
and busy schedules, the job is not always as
glamorous as you’d think. Here’s what it’s like
to be a flight attendant for Emirates. Siti Nurazlin: My
name is Siti Nurazlin, and I am a first-class crew working for Emirates. Narrator: Like the
200,000 applicants a year, Siti had to meet the
airline’s qualifications. A minimum age
of 21 years old, a height of at least
5-foot-2, an arm reach of about
7 feet on tiptoes to reach those
overhead bins, fluency in English, at
least a high-school degree, and no visible tattoos
when in uniform. Just like every
other new hire, Siti started her
Emirates career at the bottom, in economy
on short-haul flights, and, through the years,
she’s worked her way up to first class. Today, she crews an average of nine long-haul
flights a month. Her schedule changes
every week, but she’s always on flights that last anywhere
from six to 16 hours. And for a lot of that
time, Siti is on her feet. She estimates
about 11 hours out of a 16-hour flight. Siti: The job could be quite
challenging physically, so we need to
maintain our physique and also be quite fit. Narrator: But, thankfully,
she’s not in heels the whole time. Siti: We do change our
uniform after takeoff, so we get to put
on our flats, because the high heels wouldn’t get really
comfortable in 16 hours. And we change
into our waistcoat. Narrator: Siti is also
required to look the part. Siti: Usually we keep
to a natural makeup. Like, eyeliner and
mascara usually is a must, and, you know, the Emirates
red lipstick definitely. Narrator: And just
like makeup, hairstyles, jewelry, and
nails are also pretty strict. As for jewelry, they can wear diamond
or pearl stud earrings, but no necklace. And their nails
have to be clean, with either a nude or red
polish or a French manicure. Now, these requirements are
for female flight attendants. Males have to be
clean-shaven and style their hair with minimal product. But there’s an added
level of responsibility for first-class
attendants like Siti. For starters, she knows
who the regular fliers are and what they like. Siti: We do have information
on our customers. So, on every flight, we
will observe the preferences and the likes and
dislikes of the customers so we get to write it
down for future flights. For example, like, pajama size
or their preferred drinks, so the more someone
flies with Emirates, the more we can cater to
their personal preference. Narrator: She’s
also required to have an expert
understanding of the entire
first-class menu. She knows options
for passengers with dietary restrictions, the perfect wine
pairing for dishes, and the tasting
notes of 60 cheeses. And since she’s typically
serving international travelers, Siti is a master
at communicating across different
backgrounds, but she’s not the only one. Like most of the cabin crew, Siti knows more
than one language. For her, it’s English
and Malay. But there are over
60 languages spoken across Emirates cabin crew and a staff of
140 nationalities. Now, onboard, Siti’s
duties are pretty standard. Do a safety check of the
plane before passengers board, provide food and drink
service during the flight, and go through the cabin
after everyone de-boards. But off the plane, the perks
of the job are substantial. Flight attendants
get a base pay depending on experience, with an hourly rate
stacked on top. Starting out, that equals
about $32,000 a year. Plus, they get free
housing in Dubai not far from the airport. They get 30 vacation days,
one free flight a year, and can nominate friends
and family for discounted tickets. Siti: The perks of this
job especially would be the concessionary tickets that we get,
and not just for me, but for my family
and friends as well. So I don’t really have
to travel on my own or travel with just
my crew friends; I can travel with my friends
who are not flying as well. Narrator: For the veteran
and first-class flight attendants, they even get to staff
events like the US Open or make special
appearances. But the best part? Layovers in 161
cities worldwide with accommodations
and meals covered. Siti: The best part of my
job is traveling, definitely. I’ve been to over 100
destinations with Emirates. I have never, and I don’t think
I would ever travel to all these exotic places
that we fly.


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