This whole lockdown has got me thinking and reflecting about my job and has really made me appreciate my life and realise how lucky I am. I am living my dream life, working for Emirates as a flight attendant and living in Dubai! There are so many great aspects to this job, so I thought I would highlight my top 10 and show you my favourite perks. Here goes…
1. The Travel Benefits and Discounted Fares
Travel, travel and more travel! The best part of the job is by far the travelling and it is the number one reason I applied as I wanted to travel the world and see as many countries as possible. I have been to so many incredible places with Emirates, I have to pinch myself every time I land in a new destination. Our rosters are so jam packed that on average, we visit between 5-7 countries every month. I have only been flying for a year and half, and the number of places I have visited already is unbelievable!
We also get fantastic discounts on flight tickets, not only for Emirates but other airlines too. I have been able to go to London, Paris, Venice and Milan on days off, paying next to nothing, as well as Mexico & Miami for FREE! (Yes, completely free). Last year, the company gave every employee a free flight ticket to anywhere in the world, so we used ours for our trip to Mexico! Pretty amazing.
I can also bring my family over to Dubai and bring them along on other trips as we get great discount for immediate family. My family have visited me several times in Dubai, and my mum has even come to Cape Town with me on a layover. I would love to do more of this in the future!!
2. Living in Dubai
Another huge perk of the job is living in Dubai and having company-provided accommodation. All Emirates Cabin Crew must be based in Dubai and shared accommodation is offered free of charge to everybody. Before joining Emirates, I had visited Dubai many times and I absolutely loved the city, therefore moving here was something so exciting for me. Our accommodation is beautiful and we have so many facilities such as a swimming pool, gym, laundry and mail services. You can see a full accommodation tour here.
Living in Dubai itself is also incredible. In the first year, I really made the most of my days off and visited every beach, waterpark, theme park and attraction possible! Soon after that I explored Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Hatta and Sharjah which are all just as beautiful as Dubai. I feel so incredibly lucky to live in such a modern, vibrant and interesting city.
3. The Office Views
Flying around the world means that we get to see some of the most beautiful views right from our ‘office’ window. I am sometimes so busy on a flight, that I barely have time to look out of the window, but when I do, I am always blown away at the views. We see mountains, sunsets, sunrises, lakes, oceans, wonders of the world and more! I am still dying to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights – I think it would be so special seeing it from the cockpit. Sadly, I can’t capture these views as we cannot use our phones on board but I will never forget some of the most stunning views I have seen.
4. Staying in Luxury Hotels
We are fortunate enough to stay in some of the best hotels around the world on our layovers which is amazing. After landing from a flight, the first thing you want to do is sleep, so Emirates make sure that they provide the most luxurious hotels that are clean and comfortable. Most of the hotels are also centrally located so they are great for exploring and sightseeing too.
Having done some travelling around Asia before Emirates, I was always staying in the cheapest hostels, sleeping in bunk beds and sharing a dorm room with 20 other people! Now working for Emirates, it feels like such a treat having my very own room in such a beautiful hotel.
5. Visiting Places I Wouldn’t Normally Go To
This is by far one of my favourite things about the job, and something that I appreciate so much. Working for Emirates, we are able to travel to so many diverse countries, and places that I would not typically visit myself or book a holiday to. Places like Bangladesh, Uganda, Taiwan, Texas, Chile – I would never have seen myself visiting there before Emirates and I feel so lucky that I have been there. These places have also turned out to be some of my favourite layovers. This job has given me so many opportunities and I have definitely made the most of them by going out, exploring and meeting the local people. One of the trips that stands out is Dhaka in Bangladesh. I went alone to visit a group of children living in the slums and it was one of the best days I have had, playing, drawing and interacting with the children.
6. Shopping Around The World
Another added luxury of the job is being able to do my shopping all over the world. Last December, I did all of my Christmas shopping in New York which has always been a dream of mine – plus, things are a lot cheaper in the US! Whenever I go to Europe, particularly the UK & Ireland, I do a massive shop in Primark as it is one of my favourite clothing stores and everything is so cheap. Then, for groceries, I have bought food all over – from fresh fruit in Kenya, to steak in Cape Town! We are so lucky that we get to go to all these places, and I definitely make the most of it by stocking up on clothes and food whilst I’m in different parts of the world.
7. Flexible Working Hours
Before joining Emirates, I was working in a typical office in London and my working hours were Monday to Friday, 9am – 5:30pm. I hated the structured routine and every day felt the same. Something I love about being a flight attendant is the flexible working hours and the ever-changing schedule. It is so much more exciting! We also get a lot more days off than most jobs. According to our contract, legally, we must have 8 days off a month, but we actually get a lot more than that. If our flight lands after 11:30pm into Dubai (which most of them do), the next day is still considered as a duty day so it is not recorded in the 8 days off – but it is a day off! We also get ‘rest days’ before a night flight so we have the whole day to ourselves, and again, this isn’t recorded as part of the 8 days.
Also, when we are on layovers, we normally get 24 hours rest which is another day off. Some trips are up to 4 days long so these are also days off but they are considered as a duty. We are very lucky that we have so much time on ground between flights to rest, as well as go out and explore.
8. Working With Colleagues From Around The World
Emirates hires crew from all over the world, which means I am constantly working with people from different nationalities and backgrounds, who speak a variety of different languages. I find this so interesting, and I always ask my colleagues about their home countries, and I try to learn words from their languages too. We rarely work with the same people twice as there are so many crew so we are always meeting new people. I have learnt so much about people from countries that I didn’t know much about before such as Kazakhstan, The Philippines, Malta, Algeria, to name but a few.
9. The Salary & Allowances
Typically, Cabin Crew jobs are not well known to have a good salary, however, here at Emirates, I think we have a pretty decent salary. Our pay is split into a basic salary, and flying hours. On average, we fly between 80-100 hours a month so we earn quite a bit on top of our basic salary. We normally earn between 9,000-10,000 AED per month, which in pounds is £2000. Considering we don’t have to pay any rent or bills, I think this is a very good salary and we can save a lot of it.
We are also really lucky as we get an allowance on every layover when we check into the hotel. The allowance is to cover our food for the entire stay, based on the cost of the room service at the hotel. We can actually save this allowance too, as it is normally more than we need.
10. Meeting New People
Some flights are 17 hours long, so I can spend a lot of time talking with passengers and getting to know them! On the long flights, passengers will get bored and come and sit in the galley with us chatting away for hours. It is so interesting getting to know them, and I have met so many different types of people, all with their own stories. Normally, you think people are travelling for either a holiday, or for business – but there are so many reasons, some happy, some sad – you hear it all.
I love when there are honeymoon couples on board, as I always try and do something special for them like bring over a cake and champagne. They are never expecting it, so seeing their faces light up is so lovely. We also have a lot of children travelling by themselves too (UM’s we call them), so I try and talk to them and take care of them as much as possible. There are so many different types of people on board and I really enjoy getting to know each and every one of them!
And there we have it, my top 10 favourite parts of being a flight attendant. There are so many more things I could write about, but I thought I would leave it at that. I absolutely love my job and I am beginning to really miss it. Hopefully it wont be too much longer until I am back up in the sky and waking up in a new city!
Thanks for reading.
Kerry May xo