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Away from home and family


While we all strive for independence and finally leave the bedroom that still has traces of your babyhood, there will be times when what you miss most will be your mother's cooking or the non-ending chats with your friends. Most of the times you will make friends with your colleagues who are in the same training program as you. You will most likely find people from your country and be able to speak your native language and bond. But you will miss your home for a while. This normally happens until the first time you go back, time when you start referring to your new base as 'home'.


Also, by keeping in touch with your family and friends via emails, Skype or Facebook, you will still find meaningful time together.


2. Flexible ever-changing team and environment While this is also an advantage, it definitely has its disadvantages. When you meet and work with people that you like and get along with very well, you will want to continue seeing them at work every time you go. That is of course not possible. See the people you like outside work and maybe you will not gain a colleague, but you will get a friend.



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Flying puts quite a lot of stress on your body. You will need to pay extra attention to how you take care of yourself, from your skin, hydration, weight management (those yummy casseroles!), blood circulation and flu&cold prevention. You will quickly learn the secrets of staying in top notch shape and be at your best physical condition.




Some of your friends might understand that you can not attend their weekend party or birthday gathering because you have a night flight. Your partner might be open to the fact that you are gone 10 days at a time. At a certain point however, this will start weighing on you. You will want to be present, don't miss out important events and spend more time with your friends. This is perfectly normal and you should always do your best to make up for what you were missing by buying a coffee or a drink for your friend whose birthday you missed and spend the most time you can with your loved one.




This is a difficult one. Flights do not get cancelled on Christmas Eve, New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, Eid or Diwali. As hard as it sounds right now, you will sometimes have to go to work on December 31 at 10PM to operate that flight to Hong Kong. Your friends will be ready for party, your boyfriend or girlfriend will be crying because the only thing to kiss at midnight will be just a picture of you, but there is nothing you can do about it. In the aircraft you will wish people Happy New Year, at midnight local time over whichever country you fly over, the pilots will make a public announcement wishing everybody a Happy New Year and you will cheer in the galley with your colleagues over a glass of Ginger Ale, not because you particularly like the taste, but because it has the same color as champagne.


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From all the pitfalls of this amazing job, this is by far the most difficult to bear with.


Now that you learned the good, the bad and the ugly, you need to know that there are 7 conditions you must meet as prerequisites before starting your application:


1. You need to be fluent in English - speak, read and write.

2. You have graduated from high school (or hold a GED).

3. You are at least 21 years old.


4. You have a vertical arm reach of 212cm (or 210cm for Etihad Airways) - on your tip toes.

5. You have no visible tattoos while wearing the cabin crew uniform - short sleeve shirts, knee-length skirts.


6 . You are physically fit to meet the cabin crew requirements.


7. You are able to deliver excellent customer service.


If you decide this is a lifestyle for you, then let's talk about the future:



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Your prospect employer


Not all airlines are created equal. You will want to know not only who is hiring, but also what is the size of their fleet and human resources, prospects, plans for expansion and hiring, management style, route map and the name of the CEO. These issues will give you a better idea of what you might experience once you are in - not to mention that these topics might come up in your final interview. Companies want to know if you were interested enough in them to research at least the basics of the airline. You will find a short history ofeach airline in the pages that follow.


Middle East


There are a couple of big players on the middle-eastern market right now, all of them looking to expand their cabin crew numbers. They are the only ones for the true expat crew lifestyle. Once hired, they will be taking care of all the paperwork details, such as obtaining a residence visa and work permit, your flight attendant licenses and tests.


The only language requirement is English, any other language on top of that is considered an advantage.


These airlines create the highest standards of service and in-flight experience for their passengers and they set the bar quite high for the rest of the airlines in the world.


The average age of flight attendant is quite low, so if you are ambitious and stick around, there are high chances of promotion.


There is no government pension plan or maternity leave, however your income is tax free. Be smart and plan ahead for your future.




Airlines in Europe require that your have the right to live and work in the European Union, as well as fluency in the language of the airline, English and an advantage for speaking any other EU language.


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You will not be offered accommodation and transport as you are expected to already reside in that country, have a home and a car.


Obtaining a cabin crew license is sometimes your responsibility and in some countries is a prerequisite before applying for the job.


Being a flight attendant in Europe has enormous benefits, from maternity leave,early retirement and good pay.


United States


Airlines in United States require that your have the right to live and work in the US.

Fluency in English and sometimes Spanish is required. Considering the fragile economy, most american airlines cut down massively in their staff and in-flight service. On domestic routes the passengers may only get a drink and pay for an alcoholic beverage or snack. On most airlines, the passengers need to pay for everything from headsets to the in-flight entertainment system.


You will be expected to not only care for the passenger's safety, but also be a good sales person, make inventories of products and manage the on-board petty cash transactions. The average flight attendant age is quite high, so you need to wait longer to get promoted. A newbie usually starts flying domestic routes with possibilities of promotion to international flight attendant once you gain some experience.




While the residence visa and flying license might be taken care of by the airline, you will be expected to speak the language of the airline, English and other asian languages.


There are some competitive airlines in Asia such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Asiana or Hainan Airways.


The average age of the flight attendants is quite low, with some airlines hiring crew as young as 18 years old.



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In this book we will focus on the top 3 big players in the Middle East: Emirates Airlines (Dubai), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and Qatar Airways (Doha)



©Copyright Kara Grand - How to Become a Flight Attendant


Emirates Airlines




Based in Dubai, Emirates was founded in 1985 when Dubai was just a small city in the desert. Dubai Airport was mostly used by big airlines for a pit stop on their way to and from Asia and Australia. The airline was founded with backing from Dubai's Royal Family, whose Dubai Royal Air Wing provided the airline's two first aircraft. The start- up capital was $10 million, but apart from that, Emirates was required to operate independently.


First flight was EK600 Dubai-Karachi, on 25 October 1985. The airline became profitable within its first nine months and continued growing ever since.


By the 1994, Emirates was one of the fastest growing airlines with 15 aircraft connecting 32 destinations.


As of 2012, Emirates has a fleet of 178 aircraft connecting 122 destinations.


Emirates currently competes with British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, and others on the lucrative London-Sydney Kangaroo Route.


Chairman and CEO


His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum




• Emirates introduced an in-flight mobile phone service in 2008, becoming the first international carrier to do so.


• In the same year, Emirates took delivery of their first Airbus 380, and flew its first flight to New York.


• Emirates has diversified into related industries and sectors, including airport services, engineering, hospitality services, catering, and tour operator. Emirates has seven subsidiaries and its parent company has more than 50.


• 127 languages are spoken by Emirates employees.



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• Emirates has more ultra long-haul flights than any other carrier in the world.


• Current slogan: Fly Emirates. Hello tomorrow


• Previous slogans: Fly Emirates. Keep Discovering, Fly Emirates to over 100 destinations, Fly Emirates in 6 continents.


• The airline is the seventh-largest airline in the world in terms of international passengers carried, and the largest in the world in terms of scheduled international passenger-kilometers flown.



Total number of employees - 33634, out of which

Cabin Crew - 13277

Flight Deck Crew - 2845


* as of 2012

Weekly flights - 2300

Number of destinations - 122 (74 countries on 6 continents)

* as of 2012. New destinations are added each year


Airbus 330 - 25

Airbus 340 - 16

Airbus 380 - 27

Boeing 777 - 110

Total number of aircraft - 178 plus 206 on order

* as of 2012


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