14 December, 2008

The life of an Emirates Air flight attendant

Wall Street Journal:
26-year-old Spaniard and Emirates airline flight attendant, reached into her pocket for a tube of bright red lipstick.

"I retouch it every 15 minutes," she said. "Otherwise, my supervisor will remind me."

The global economic slump is just now touching the glittering shores of the oil-rich Persian Gulf. But when it comes to the 10,000 flight attendants working for Emirates, the government-owned airline here, Dubai isn't cutting any corners.
...
The airline is a demanding employer, flight attendants say. Tough rules are enforced, including some that would be deemed discriminatory in the West, such as weight requirements and a no-pregnancy policy for unwed women.
...
Emirates' rules require attendants to politely accept a business card or phone number if it's proffered by a passenger. (The airline doesn't require the attendants to call or give out their own numbers, unless they want to.)
...
Ms. Masillamani recalled a recent party at a room in the 21st Century, on Dubai's neon-lighted main strip. Female crew members danced in bikinis while young men sprayed champagne.

At night, flight attendants flock to Zinc, a throbbing night club tucked into the ground floor of the Crowne Plaza hotel here. Male attendants, hair gelled in spikes and sporting tight-fitting designer shirts, earrings and leather necklaces, order pitchers of vodka mixes. The manager of the club estimates up to 70% of its revenue comes from Emirates' crew.

"It's so much fun, like being on a dreamy vacation. They take care of us here," said Jane Park, a 24-year-old from Korea, dressed in a tiny black dress and stiletto heels as she greeted her friends and colleagues.

There are limits. Despite its tolerant attitude toward foreigners, Dubai still harbors a conservative Muslim culture. If a single female attendant shows up pregnant, she's fired. Openly gay male attendants need not apply.
Read it all.

13 comments:

Kyle said...

It's called, kick-in the Carpe-Diem syndrome to one's hokey glamorous lifestyle.

There's a major downside (to this job) that these boys & girls shove on the back burner every time they party hard or get on a short or long haul flight. It's called neurological disorder(s) (seizures, insomnia & more) all induced by a disturbed sleep pattern owed to topsy-turvy shuttling in different time zones.

Reality bites eventually but by then it's a tad bit too late for reverse gear!

Anonymous said...

Poor Jane Park - I don't think she will remain with Emirates for long after this article has done the rounds within the airline. Let's hope they changed her name to protect the innocent...

BuJassem said...

Stereotypes in so many words....

Now if they offered "counseling & therapy" to openly gay males then that would warrant a Wall-Street-Journal article.

Zaffar said...

I read the complete article on WSJ and wonder if the policy to even describe undergarments is correct. I say so because, if airline defines what color and type of fitting the underwear should be then they must have also instructed them all to wear black color bra always or a dark color. The color of the shirt is even lighter than the skirt or trouser but the bra underneath is almost always black or a dark color which is even visible with closed eyes. Is it only me, who may many say now "a pervert", or others have noticed this too.

Anonymous said...

The way the article was cut I believed for an instant that dancing in bikini while being sprayed with champagne was part of Emirates Airline rules & regulation.. :)

Zaffar said...

I read the complete article on WSJ and wonder if the policy to even describe undergarments is correct. I say so because, if airline defines what color and type of fitting the underwear should be then they must have also instructed them all to wear black color bra always or a dark color. The color of the shirt is even lighter than the skirt or trouser but the bra underneath is almost always black or a dark color which is even visible with closed eyes. Is it only me, who may many say now "a pervert”, or others have noticed this too.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

so the girls are on the pill, and the guys are in the closet. nice.

Bridget Jones said...

Bridget will sound dumb, but somehow she never realised "business card" exchanges happened during the actual flights! She's always assumed people meet flight attendants on the ground/in bars and stuff. I mean, outside work. As I say, she can be dumb at times ha!

halfmanhalfbeer said...

The incessant lipstick retouching is presumably the reason that the service is so awful; too busy preening to attend to their customers needs.

HMHB

kanoo said...

Emirates ? It's all about marketing and advertising.
Remove the glossy MKG campaigns and what do you get ?
Mainly asian flight attendants with a fish brain. Nearly always late departure. Overbooked aircrafts & crap seats. Safety, hoping they don't compromise. Never-ending fully described service when everybody wants to sleep. Anglo-saxon ( meaning UK ) management style & entertainment.
And, last but not least, such an arrogance to their customers and employees.
I don't care about your service or your lipstick, I don't care about your too many ( bought ? ) awards or airbus 380, I just want to depart on TIME and SLEEP !

Anonymous said...

I have several friends who used to work as Cabin crew with Emirates. None of them have felt they can stay to work their 3-year contract. They are often subject of bullying; can be called in for 'displinaries' for no valid/fair reason. There is NO career ladder due to ecoomic cutbacks. You have no employments, no right to representation, can even be 'sent home' at any time. They are due to take on staff from India - nothing racist about this - but suspect they will pay them less. Staff morale is so LOW it is bound to reflect in their service to passengers and the airlines will get more and more bad reviews.

Anonymous said...

Hi yea I have read about this with Emirates and have found that you can be fired for absolutely anything! Lipstick retouching (sad to say) is more important than the job onboard with passengers and British-accented colleagues with SFS or Purser status will almost certainly make up some nonsense about you so that you get a bad review after your flight (it gets sent to your cabin crew manager) and possibly verbal warning (that starts you off on a written warning then finally termination).

Anonymous said...

The job has a shelf-life... Do it for a year, see the World, experience Dubai and then get out. You are a commodity and nothing else to Emirates. All they care about is making money. There are hundreds of enthusiastic wannabes waiting to take your place and Emirates has no interest in you, your health or your welfare if you don't tick all their boxes all of the time!

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