My Experience at an Emirates Cabin Crew Open Day

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Prologue

One year ago today, I attended my first Emirates Cabin Crew Open Day in Vancouver, Canada. I was looking for a career change, I wanted to travel, and I missed my multicultural/expat life. When I happened to see an ad in the 24 Newspaper, I saw it as a sign and prepared as much as I could for the Open Day (Lisa Single was a great help!), which took place over the Victoria Day long weekend. Here are some tips from my experience that I hope will help you on Open Day.

Things you should be aware of…

  • You are at least 21 years old (at the time of joining). Reason: you’re legal worldwide.
  • Have a minimum of a High School diploma (graduated gr. 12 or the highest level of secondary school).
  • You must speak and write English fluently.
    • If you speak another foreign language, they will assess your level. Do you know how to help passengers in case there’s an emergency? Will you be prepared to make an announcement in that language?
  • Do you have any permanent tattoos? If these are visible while in uniform, you won’t be taken in. In fact, we were told by the HR staff member that if you have any at all, however small or hidden, you will not be accepted. Don’t bother putting on heavy makeup to cover them up. There’s a sneaky test just after you pass the first round to see if you might have any tattoos or marks that would help the search crew identify your body in case of a crash. What it’s really trying to do is to see if you do have tattoos.
  • You don’t have to be a supermodel but you must be able to reach 212cm on tiptoes (no heels). You will, after all, need to help store luggage and even take down some items throughout your work ‘day’.
  • This is a top notch customer service job. So you better be positive and empathetic!
  • Be flexible as your work hours, weeks, days, months will vary. You might have to learn to be an early morning person or be willing to stay up very late.
  • This job will be physically demanding – so you’ll be encouraged to exercise. 🙂
  • Be emotionally stable. There are nasty customers in the world. Unfortunately, no one has time to comfort you when you’re 40,000ft in the air – so I was told.
  • Your new home base will be Dubai, U.A.E. Can you handle the heat? The cultural differences? Being away from home – from family, friends, significant others, beloved pets? Sharing a flat with a few other cabin crew members (same gender only)?
  • You must be willing to serve alcohol. If you have any religious/personal reasons for not serving alcohol, you won’t be accepted.
  • Be comfortable in water. Can you swim or at least doggy paddle? This is important as accidents can happen – God forbid – and part of the training as a cabin crew member will involve preparing for these possible emergencies.
  • Consequences: If you lie (or do not disclose information) about your tattoos or willingness to serve alcohol, you will not only be fired, you will have to reimburse Emirates for the flight they spent on bringing you to Dubai and for other costs (e.g. training). :S

Open Day

Tips:

  • Don’t book anything for the first day or two days of Open Day. The first day could be very short (it depends on the number of candidates and assessors) or it could be a long day.
  • DRESS as professionally as possible. Suggestions for ladies: hair in a bun, red lipstick, mascara / false lashes, heels (ballet flats are fine but your future job will require heels).
  • Smile! 🙂 No use fretting. Everyone’s rather nervous. Befriend the ones sitting next to you. Make a good impression and have fun.

Part 1a: Screening/Assessment

  • Watch intro videos of life as a cabin crew member, cabin crew training, and life in Dubai. Discussions & questions.
  • Be informed about the amazing benefits of being an Emirates cabin crew member: i.e. tax-free salary, accommodation, health benefits, etc. (I’ve compared a few other airlines and I have to say, Emirates offers the best benefits. Cabin crew members from other airlines have complained about how much more stressful their jobs are – e.g. not getting paid till takeoff, not being able to save enough, paying for the high rent in London.)
  • Hand in your CV with photo attached (could be a passport size photo or a normal photo of you smiling).
  • Reach test
  • Group Assessment

There are no right/wrong answers to the scenarios given. You’re assessed on: How well do you work as a team? How well do you listen? Be careful not to interrupt someone as he/she is speaking. If you’re on the quieter side, better muster your courage and say something!

– End of First Assessment –

Congratulations if you passed the first assessment! You will be given a handout of what you need to prepare (guideline of smiling photos of you in a casual setting and smiling passport photos; photocopy of your diploma, etc.). You will be asked to do a questionnaire at home and prepare for your scheduled interview.

Part 1b: Questionnaire

An online personality questionnaire that you’ll have to answer as quickly and honestly as possible at home.

Part 2: Final Interview

The questionnaire will help the assessors understand your personality. You’ll be asked more about why you behave or think a certain way. The assessor will do his/her best to write a shining review of you but you need to prove that you can do this job. You’ll be asked for examples of how you handled certain situations or customers in the past.

Hope for the best! If you’re accepted, you’re well on your way to being an Emirates Cabin Crew member! Congratulations! From this point forward, there will be more paperwork to prepare for your visa. Once in Dubai, you’ll be trained on all you need to know and do. I’ve been told that getting in is like getting into Harvard.

Epilogue

I was absolutely chuffed to pass the first assessment. I couldn’t believe it. The interview, on the other hand, was the most nerve-wrecking part. Prior to my interview, I prayed for a sign so that I would know whether or not this was to be the path I would take. Sometimes prayers can be answered in the strangest ways. During the interview, I was suddenly no longer in control of my emotions, cried (not due to nerves but memories), and that was the end of the interview. I was, however, encouraged to try again another time. In hindsight, I know it was meant to be. While travelling around the world might have been nice, I would be missing out on a lot in life (for instance, volunteering, attending weddings, etc.). Most importantly, it was a wake up call that I needed to work on dealing with my emotions: I need to learn not to let people’s words affect me.

Best of luck to all of you who are applying! Being rejected will be hard but you can always try again or find something different. It’s still a fun experience. 🙂

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