A to Z : Joining Emirates Cabin Crew
I’ve decided to add some insight on why I left Emirates so that hearsay, rumors or blatant lies do not circulate amongst wannabe crew and cabin crew alike. Also because, Emirates Airline is apparently taking liberties and using my name as an example not to follow for use of social networks, general use of internet and sharing work related information practices.
Let me put things straight here.
Contrary to popular belief, Airboy (aka Sodwee, aka Ben) has long left the position of Cabin Crew for Emirates Airline. In fact its coming close to 3 years since I left Dubai, UAE and moved back to Paris, France.
Why you must ask…
Well I fell pretty ill (fever, cold sweat and multiple other symptoms) during a layover in Shanghai, China. Took the unforgivable liberty to operate the return leg and avoid hassle with crew complement / scheduling and the consequences the contrary would of caused. Not to mention the bad record you start having upon returning to base with my line manager.
Got myself checked at the EK clinic, came out of there 4 minutes later with a few panadol tablets and with the confirmation I was “fit to fly” when I knew I clearly wasn’t.
So I called sick for the next flight. And again, and again.
I already had quite a itchy relationship with my manager for simply being a ‘travel blogger’ even when I wasn’t “putting Emirates, Dubai or the Sheikh in a bad light” – as I was told one early morning after security/customs checkpoint at crew departures.
So I’m pretty sure she jumped (or was forced to, not quite sure…) on the opportunity of my sickness record going down the road to push every button possible to get me sidelined. She eventually managed to get me so worked up that I finally couldn’t cope with the stress. Having me do red-eyes, back2backs and deliberately scheduling appointments with her sorry self to look at attendance statistics on her computer screen, the “welfare” department or various other activities like “talks” for costly “meals on wheels” with a nutrition specialist (who’s a crew himself might I add)… While I was supposed to rest, have a day off and heal that nasty virus. Nope, she saw fit I was in EGHQ at the break of dawn doing all of that… Needless to say I was in pretty ugly state at the end, friends and colleagues have witnessed and can attest.
Anyways, it went on. Got a few absents, more sick days and my general health was worsening. I had abnormal movements starting to appear in limbs, to the point where serving myself an orange juice was increasingly difficult, was gradually feeling more and more tired, non-stop and really couldn’t fly. I asked for some time off, emergency leave, even offering to take the remaining leave I had to try and treat the condition I was in. She had none of it and couldn’t see past her own interest : GET A PROMOTION.
I was admitted to the American Hospital in Dubai after a turnaround flight to Nairobi, Kenya that didn’t go as planned. Was close to fainting point, couldn’t see clear, and my right arm, right leg and head were all over the place, I was shaking and had to deadhead back. Was finally in hospital, but not before being questioned, FBI style that ghastly morning. I was cornered in a dark debriefing room (interrogation cubicle more like) with three seniors to answer to : The acting Duty Officer, my Purser and my SFS. “Did you take any substances ? Do you have substances on you ? Why are you flying like that ?” and many other questions shot my way… I was pale white and in desperate need of some sleep. It was hell. Couldn’t think straight.
I had to call sick from my hospital bed, each and every day as ordered by that daft woman : my manager. She turned sour that day when she got the news of me being in hospital. And forever since, remained the same un-phased robot behind her desk on the dreaded 3rd floor open space of Emirates Group Headquarters.
Needless to mention, the Dubai healthcare being what it is, even with a premium insurance and what not, wouldn’t cover the costs of an extended stay there. So came the time to make a decision. Stay in Dubai, face a huge ass bill for medical “care”, face the wrath of my Cabin Crew Manager, and face the possibility of being handed not one, not two but three warnings, thus putting my sorry-self on the firing line or simply resign, get free, quality treatment in France and above all, some much needed rest, TLC and attention from the Parentals ??
Well, the answer is quick to figure out. I RESIGNED. Much to my CCM’s surprise (or lack of in fact). I simply walked in her 3rd floor open space cubicle, overlooking the runways of DXB airport one morning, in shorts, classy t-shirt, flip-flops and iPod screwed on loud (you’re usually not allowed to dress that way, but that day and for the sake of my despair I did, I truly couldn’t be arsed)… She started with the attendance statistics scenario… My eyes rolled and stopped her right through.
“I’m here to resign” did I say. Without a flick on an eye-lid, nor a word, she got up, went over to her assistant, mumbled a few words and came back with the Letter of Resignation, copied twice. I read, signed both, and walked off the same way I came in. The less I saw of her, the better I felt.
I felt such a relief. But knew I only had two weeks to get the fuck out of there. So I did after being forced to hand over my passport for a week instead of the usual 2 days. I wonder why, still (*sigh*).
Ever wondered what my manager became ?? SHE GOT PROMOTED, and now acts as a Cabin Crew Manager for Senior Flight Stewardesses. How surprising !
Anyways. I’m here, in France now, with a treatment for this apparently rare condition…
To cut things short. DO NOT BELIEVE IN WHAT THEY CAN POSSIBLY SAY IN TRAINING ABOUT CREW BEING FIRED OVER BLOGGING, ESPECIALLY NOT THE AIRBOY STORY. IT STINKS, IT’S BULLSHIT…
Many have asked how to join the company as Cabin Crew, many questions. I’ll try my best to answer them in ONE post. I’ll try to give a detailed chronology of how you could get a job working for Emirates, but that is only based on my experience so far. There’s probably other ways to join but I’ll go for the most common one, the one that applies to any wannabees out there. I’ll also try to design some sort of chart to be even clearer.
Ok, the first questions you ask yourself BEFORE joining ANY airline company, targeting a Cabin Crew/flight attendant job are :
- Is it really want I want to be doing ?
- Am I afraid of staying up 20 hours straight with make-up, shoes and customers to please in an aircraft ?
- Will I be OK with moving to a foreign country (Dubai UAE, for example) or not ?
- Being on the move 24/7, christmas, NYE, Holiday periods bothers me ?
- Does a strict/standard driven atmosphere bores you already ?
- Wearing a uniform is a burden ?
- SMILE 24/7 doesn’t suit you ?
There’s a lot more to add, but if the answers to those few questions is negative, then I think you should reconsider your objective. Otherwise you can move on and read the rest !
- You like working in a team ?
- You like meeting new people every day ?
- You like moving around ?
- You like the customer service industry ?
- You like satisfying others might it be colleagues or customers ?
- You like learning new cultures ?
- You speak TWO languages ?
Those aren’t the only questions but if the answer is yes to all of those, then you have the kind of profile airline companies are looking for.
Ok, so we’ve been through the first screening, or “self-screening”. Many screenings are to come in the future of your application with Emirates. The next step is to apply for an Open Day/Assessment Day with the airline. Those Open Days are regurlarly held in major cities where Fly Emirates operates. Held around twice a year depending on the country, this can vary and I won’t be able to give you any information towards that. I went to the Open Day in Paris last year and I will base this breakdown on the stages I’ve been through. I think it’s the same procedure everywhere with little differences.
Little Break ? Here’s what my flat looked liked :
Now that you’re ok with the pros & cons of being a flight attendant / Stewardess / Cabin Crew you can start applying online.
Go to http://www.emiratesgroupcareers.com and look for the box in which a link is named “Register your interest here if there are no suitable vacancies”. Read the whole pages, they will give you basic information on working with them, living in Dubai etc etc. You’ll also have to comply with those requirements :
- Minimum age 21 years at the time of application.
- Minimum arm reach of 212 cms (on tip toes), which will enable you to reach emergency equipment on all aircraft types.
- Educated to at least high school standard.
- Medically fit to meet aircrew requirements.
- Fluent in written and spoken English (fluency in another language is an asset).
- Previous experience in the service/hospitality industry is an advantage.
- Finally, you will be the sort of person who has the natural ability to provide excellent service within a team environment.
Then click the given link (Click “register”), and you’ll be taken to the online application form… You’ll have to create a Cabin Crew Application that they’ll refer to until you are actually successful to join. Fill in every single thing they ask (red star next to a field means it is required information). It will take you quite some time. Never close the window until you’ve completed the whole form or you’re information won’t be saved.
After you’ve completed the form you’ll receive a automatic confirmation email with your reference number, password and what have you… The waiting begins here. Hold on because Emirates will take your patience to the limits, and that is just the beginning. If you fit in what they are looking for they will send you an invitation to a Open/Assessment Day nearest to your home (mine was Paris). You’ll be given a date, time & place. Usually a conference center or hotel with conference rooms near a international airport.
For the Open Day you will need to bring along with you :
- Updated CV (Curriculum Vitae) > Now, on the CV, make it clear and un-cluttered, if you’ve had any previous customer service experience then this is a very good idea to have at the top of your resume. Remember, if you haven’t got any previous customer service experience it is not a problem, you’ll probably strike them with something else ! If they think they can train you in customer service they WILL DO IT !
- 6 Passport Size Photographs > business attire, neatly groomed, looking gorgeous, no scarfs, light make-up for women, non for men ! and most importantly SMILE (even french citizens should smile on those Passport photos). A genuine smile will make the difference when your file is in that pile.
- 2 Full Sized (10×15 cm) Photographs in Business Attire > Suit, white shirt, tie and shoes for men / Knee length skirt or dress with skin coloured stockings (no scarf) for women. Those photographs will be presented a round table of judges back in Dubai as per the recruitment officer I had, so keep SMILING, give the best of you !
- 2 casual Full Sized (10×15 cm) Photographs > those photos must be of you in a natural setting, casually dressed, not smoking nor drinking. Alone is best, if you haven’t got any alone, then ones where the recruitment officer can recognize you.
- Photocopy of your Passport
- Photocopies of School Certificates
- PENS and I’m not joking.
That’s all you’ll need to bring. Get ready for those days, as they’ll be testing your patience, nerves and your will of becoming a Cabin Crew.
Landing in CDG (Paris) + Kartoum (Soudan) turn around :
2 or 3 days before the actual day, gather everything you need in a safe place, so you don’t have to run around and search for that piece of paper. Get your hair cut if needed. You’ll also need to know where you’ll be going on the day, where the hotel is situated, how long it takes to get there etc etc. You don’t want to arrive late ot not at all after all this prep !
On the day. Wake nice and early. EAT EAT EAT your breakfast ! Have a hella good shower, don’t forget to bring nibbles/sandwich with you and a bottle of any kind of soft you want : you’ll thank me later. Get ready for a very long day. Then jet off to the given location. I suggest you get there 30-45 minutes earlier (say 8.30 am) in order to get in line with the first attendees. You’ll then be in the first group and will be able to leave earlier that day…etc…
If you haven’t had your coffee yet, it’s time. Mind you 4 star hotels aren’t cheap, and that’s where the Open Day will be held. You’ll notice when you have that expensive coffee that you’re not the only one attending the Open Day. Many people tend to show up, like the day I was there, 215 showed up. That is why you need to get in early. Get to know the people around you, make contact. Stay polite though. They will be the only people you’ll see for the next three days if you’re successfull in every stage (I’m gonna break them down in the next paragraph), and possibly some of them will become your colleagues in Dubai !
The Day begins at 9.00 am sharp :
- They will call everyone in the conference room to drop CV/resume & photos. Remember as you’re doing that to smile and be polite, answer the recruitment officer looking in the eyes etc etc, give a good first impression. Be organised with your papers. Say thank you. Take a seat and wait till everyone as given theirs.
- The 2 recruitment officers will then give you an introduction to the company and on how the day will go on, show a video and then proceed to a first screening of your resume & height reach (212 cm on tip-toes without shoes). You will have approximately 2 minutes to convince them. She will call your number and will watch your allure as you walk to him/her. He/she will ask you a quick question on something that interests them in your CV, why you speak such and such language and maybe something about customer service. This is where your ability to speak english will be tested, your genuine smile will make the difference and your general attitude will strike. Take it easy, do not stress, there is no need at this point. Answer quickly, ask to repeat if you need to. Be short, specific and open. Keep looking at the person when he/she speaks, make sure she knows you’re listenning. Don’t over do it. Say thank you when she says she’s done with you. Go back to your seat. and then wait, and wait more… until the officers have finished screening everyone.
- Everyone will be invited to leave the room for the officer to pick out the successfull ones. You’ll then be all invited back in for the results. You’ll either get a “Congratulations, you have successfully passed this stage of the….” or a “We regret we cannot…”. This will be the procedure between each screening or assessment.
- The successfull ones will be invited back into the conference room for an other screening. This time depending on the number of applicants, you may be divided into two groups. They will invite you to fill in a PF16 or Personality Test. This is basically a test to sum up your personality (it has no impact on your success of the screening. You’ll then be invited to pass and english test. Now this test will be decisive. You’ll be given 45 minutes to complete it. It will be an understanding and essay type of test. Nothing too complicated, but requires quite a decent level in English to complete.
- You’ll then get the usual Congrats / Regrets procedure…
- If you’re successful you’ll be invited to the assessment groups. You’ll be given a group number in which you’ll have to evolve within a group discussion on a given topic/situation. The aim here is to see if you’re likely to develop and react well in a group/team. There’s no right or wrong answers, you only have to dose your contribution to the group in a good way, politely with confidence and without interupting your colleagues. Reacting to their opinions and balancing with your… Recap, recentre the discussion if necessary, you and your team will have to focus on the objective given by the recruitment officer. She will taken notes during the whole process and she will then ask if you have all agreed on the situation/topic and will invite you to wait outside while she takes a decision.
- You’ll go through the”congrats/regrets” part again.
- After that if you’re successfull, you’ll be invited the following days for a private 2-to-1 or one2one Final Interview with the recruitment officers where they will ask you multiple questions about previous work experience and hobbies etc etc. The usual basic interview. They will also put you into situations like “what was the worst customer you had to wait at your restaurant” for example.
- That is the last hurdle in the Open Day. More waiting is to come. You’ll be notified by email if you have not succeeded or by phone if you’ve passed.
By That time it’s nearly bed time or even more.
Once you get your Phone Call (4-6 weeks later) saying you successfully passed your final interview, she will send you details on the medical handbook you’ll have to provide prior to joining, the date you supposed to be flying in Dubai and the Contract. Yes because you’re not technically hired until you pass the medicals. So you’ll have quite an extensive list of medical stuff to do :
- HIV report
- Haemoglobin Count
- A Detailed Chest X Ray report about heart and lungs.
- Audiogram report & graph (graph is very important for approval of such)
- Cervical smear test report (for females only – if applicable)
- Dental certificate
- Vaccination certificate with the initial course date.
- Eye test: we require you to do an eye test whether you are wearing glasses/contact lenses or not
I spent around 350 euros to do all those, most of them will be refunded by French Social Security, but make sure you speak to your General Practician first. It took me around 5 full days to complete
You’ll have to scan and send those medicals via email as soon as you have completed them. And guess what, it’s not over ! You’ll also have to scan & send the signed contract, yours & your relatives passports, birth certificates.
After that you’ll get another call saying you passed the medicals and ready to join.
After receiving the Final Approval call, you’ll be notified by email of the date & time of you leaving flight to Dubai. Emirates wont cover the costs of transportation from your home to the designated ALD airport (ALD “annual leave destination”, the destination you’re entitled to for 1 annual free ticket). You’ll also have to scan and email your “Letter of acceptance of resignation” from your present employer or notify by email Emirates if you’re unemployed.
On joining Emirates (joining starts the day you leave for Dubai with e-Ticket & visa), you will have to give a list of documents listed below :
- Passport & Entry Permit (With date of arrival & stamp on it)
- Original Medical & Dental reports with X-rays
- 20 passport size photographs with blue background (polaroïd & digital not accepted)
- 4 photographs (size 3′x3.5′) without spectacles nor headgear (GCAA requirement)
- Original & one set of photocopies of educational/professional qualification certificates for verification purposes only
- Documentary evidence in English :
- Copies of Passport & Birth certificates from your parents, spouse, brothers and sisters or other benificiaries (if unable to submit those when joining you have the option to hand them in to the HR office within 3 months after joining).
Ladies and Gentlemen, Once your Final Approval has been sent to you, you’ll smell the end of “paper work madness / Scan & Email addiction” coming right at you ! This email came on the very last week (on the Tuesday, and supposed to fly out on the Friday). But it doesn’t all end here. You should send them your Letter Of Resignation from your employer (obviously, if you’re not employed, then notify by email). And generally a few days later you’ll get your e-Ticket and Visa. They will be sent by mail so keep a good eye on your inbox. Once that received you’ll have to confirm you have received them, a simple email will do fine.
This was A to Z Joining Emirates Cabin Crew. I will post more stories in a different posts from now on, because this one is getting long and very boring to read. Bookmark this blog for future reference ! I’m flying out on Friday 14th March 2008 and will be updating as much as possible from Dubai providing I can access internet !
Hope this will clarify (or not) your perception of the Open Day and what comes after…
PLEASE CHECK OUT THE FAQ that Melissa from Tampax Towers has for you, it has over 1200 answers to all sorts of questions about