Here's your guide to getting a job as a flight attendant and what it's like being one in the UAE.
27 August 2013| Last updated on 22 May 2017
If you have dreamed of seeing the world but don’t know where to start, a career as a flight attendant might be just the thing that you are looking for. As an air hostess you get to travel to many different destinations, experience luxury hotels, learn about culture and see the world, and you earn a salary in the process.
It is a different ball game when you are a flight attendant in the gulf region as opposed to working as one in your home country so here are some tips on applying for the job, what to expect in the interview, the move to the UAE and life as one of the trolley dollies gracing the isles of an Airbus.
Applying for the job
This is an easy yet time consuming task as each airline has its own type of application and it is not just a matter of attaching your CV. You are expected to write all the aspects of your previous experience and education for each airline that you send an application to. Luckily that’s where the difficulty in the application process ends.
Each airline’s application form is in the careers section of the airlines website. Applying is as easy as clicking on the correct link. It may help to check a list of where the next scheduled interviews are so that you are prepared for the time that the interviewers come to your city. If you live in the UAE, Emirates and Etihad airlines have monthly interviews whereas the interview schedules of the cities outside the UAE are a little more erratic and depend on the profile of the cabin crew that the companies are looking for at that particular time. Have a full length and a passport photograph ready to upload onto the applications page as your look is very important in the airline industry and when sending your CV to any UAE based company in general.
The interview process
The interview process is a long and arduous one as it can go on for a period of three days. There are a few important things to note before going in for your interview. The first is your look; please wear exactly what is specified in your interview invitation letter, and have your hair put up neatly. Wear make-up to the interview, make sure that you have a nice shade of lipstick on and keep you attire presentable throughout the process. Make sure that your nails are manicured and that your shoes are not scuffed. If you are not presentable you may be turned away at the door before entering the interview.
Many candidates will be interviewed at the same time as you, in my interview we started off as a large group of approximately 150 hopefuls. At the end there were 7 girls left standing, and we were all lucky enough to get hired. If how you look is number one on the list of things that the interviewer considers, how you act comes a close second. You are always being watched, not only when you speak or are spoken to but your interactions with the other candidates, whether you smile and if you help each other during tasks. The tasks that you are given do not only test whether you can get them done but also if you are a team player, always remember that the word listen has the same letters as the word silent. Listening to the other candidates is just as important as giving your own opinion.
As much as the interview is a competition, it is not a race to the top. It is more of a relay where you have to rely on the other candidates to guarantee your success. You have to let your personality shine through without being too brash and excessive, and do not let the length of the whole procedure stress you out. Just remain cool calm and collected and ensure your success.
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Once you get the job
Once you get through the final interview DO NOT RESIGN FROM YOUR JOB. Nothing is certain until you have the contract with the offer of employment sitting happily in your inbox. Once you get the offer you will also receive a joining date and an air ticket to come to the UAE, unless you are already a resident here. Depending on the airline you might also be asked to have some of your own vaccinations and blood tests done. The cost of these is usually not reimbursed. When it comes time to pack, do not be fooled by what you have heard of Dubai’s scorching heat, bring some warmer clothes. It is true that Dubai has a warm climate but it is only really hot during the summer months, it can get a little chilly in the evenings in winter and the air conditioning is always set to freezing in most indoor areas.
The best thing about the job of a flight attendant is the perks. Here are some things that you can look forward to; airline crew get fabulous discounts from car hire, to restaurants, clothing shops and beauticians. They even get a discount at the supermarket. The airline gives you an unlimited amount of discounted tickets so when you find yourself with a few days off you can take off to Oman of Sri Lanka for a few days and see what different countries have to offer.
When you are sent on layovers, only the best hotels will do and you will be spoilt in 4 or 5 star hotels. Some of the hotels may be a way out of the city center but you can always take a taxi or public transport. The biggest perk of all is that you can be lucky enough to travel to two or three countries in a week and truly see the world.
Living in Dubai
Moving here can be daunting especially because of the cultural differences in the Middle East, compared with other places around the world. The airlines will offer a shared accommodation or a housing allowance depending on the airline that you choose to work for.
The commercial airlines tend to put air hostesses in shared accommodation. This means that you will be placed in a building that is designated for airline crew, you will have one or two flat mates but the accommodations are quite spacious and lovely. It is normal for you to share a two or three bedroom flat with one or two other flight attendants respectively and it is policy that each girl has the use of her own bathroom facilities. The kitchen and living area and maid’s room (if there is one) are common areas to be used by all in the apartment.
The one downside of this kind of accommodation is that you do not get to choose who you will live with and adapting to the system will make your life a lot easier than fighting it.
The major airlines also have their own gym and swimming pool facilities in the crew buildings and exercise is encouraged. Many people that join the airlines here tend to gain between 5 and 10 kilograms in the first six months so starting a fitness routine from the very beginning is a great idea if you do not want to fall into the majority.
As soon as you move to the Emirates you will be sent to training college between five and six days a week. This makes the adjustment to the new country so much easier and you meet people who are just like you and new to the Emirates. Take this opportunity to get comfortable with the surroundings, people, climate and culture of the United Arab Emirates.
Once you adjust living in the Middle East is a lot of fun, there are wonderful restaurants to explore with different cuisines from the world over. You can take a trip to the desert and even go camping, hire a yacht with your friends to take you around the islands. You can do yoga on the beach or go skydiving. There is minimal crime here and people do not worry every day about getting mugged or worse, it truly is one of the best places to live, and when you feel like you have a tiny bit of cabin fever, you will get sent on a wonderful flight to an exotic destination.