Monday, June 24, 2013

Nawal and Emirates Airlines

Nawal flies with Emirates Airlines

In 1987, Nawal Al Suwaidi, 32, became the first Emirati woman to join Emirates' cabin crew aged just 18 - an appointment that generated a flurry of media interviews. Fourteen years on, she has been promoted to cabin service director. Unmarried, she enjoys flying too much to accept a desk job, let alone an alternative career.

“When I was younger, it was my dream to fly. I loved aircrafts, and thought they were so beautiful. My family knew that I always had this career in mind; when I told my mother, she said yes - when you grow up. Then, when Emirates launched, it was a great chance for me. I was very proud to be the first Emirati woman. When I started, Emirates only had turn-around flights that returned the same day. Then, gradually, I started 24-hour stopovers in London and things grew from there.

“I used to wear the abaya, but not any more. We were never asked to cover our hair. I don't think that would work with the uniform. These days, the abaya is not so important for us - the main thing is that, even when wearing western clothes, you should be covered in a proper way.

The worst thing about flying is timing; you get up in the night, there is no routine - you eat different things at different times. You might have steak at 6am because it's dinner time in Singapore. You cannot always be with people you want to be with; sometimes during festivals - Eid, or Christmas - you have to work, and won't be back for several days. You miss people.

“I'm not married; if I was it would definitely be harder. It is possible to do this job and to be married, but you would have to be organised. There are so few Emirati women in this industry because of tradition, culture, family pressure and their future plans. Having a family has priority over having a job.

“The best thing about the job is that you are paid well, and the facilities are very good. The airline gives discounts on tickets, and at shopping centres. And we have the opportunity to meet people and see different places, so you learn about everything - people, culture, history; it's an education. Some of my friends are definitely jealous of my job - going everywhere and, best of all, the shopping. I'm not a shopaholic, but I love to go abroad and buy souvenirs.

“Grooming is not a problem: I think women should always look beautiful. After all, if you visit someone, or go to a party, you have to look good. It's part of the deal. It's about a balanced life, eating healthy food, getting enough rest and exercise. If you want to do it, there's time, though the big question, sometimes, is whether to go shopping or go to the gym! From time to time, I deal with emergencies - mostly health situations; people getting sick, or sometimes technical faults. I never faced a major emergency yet, alhamdulillah. Flying is safer than driving.

“When I started, I found it difficult to deal with people - especially different nationalities. I had only known my own people. But with experience, everything has changed. Now, I know people better and if there's a problem I can deal with it. It's about nationality, sometimes, or about the heat. Mostly, it's about human nature.
“Strange requests? Well, maybe phone numbers sometimes. That does happen. Often, men don't understand that being nice is doing your job; they think that being nice means that you like them. You just have to be clear: sorry, I'm really not interested. And I don't think that men really push themselves so much. They do understand. It's how you handle it that counts.

“This job has made me more confident: I know what I want. I have learned a lot about people, dealing with them every day. You have to be vigilant, travelling to different places; you learn not to put yourself in difficult situations. I would recommend it to other women definitely - it's a great education. I think you can continue this career after you're forty: if you don't have children, why not - as long as you're happy and healthy. If the right time comes, I will get married. But whether I give up or not depends on the circumstances - I haven't thought about it.

“The next step in my career would be as a trainer, or in the office, but I'm not ready to give up flying just yet. I just love being in the aircraft and being with different people. I still enjoy it, and hope to carry on until I'm not happy doing it any more. It's not as easy as it looks, or as glamorous. It's hard work being on your feet all the time - but I love it.”

Source: Arabian Woman

Madiha and Emirates Airlines

Madiha flies with Emirates Airlines

Madiha Al Ratekh, 28, from Dubai is the eldest of her father's ten children. Emirates has just five Emirati cabin crew. Madiha jokes that flying is a great way to meet a rich husband. However, she is determinedly single and lives at home with her family in Dubai when not flying around the world.

“This is my fourth year working for Emirates. When I applied for the job, I didn't tell my dad - but now, everything is OK. At first, of course, he said no - especially the first time that I flew abroad, away from my family. But now, I think he understands what I want. I have step-sisters and step-brothers, and they don't like it - but my mother doesn't say anything. Most Emirati girls work in banks. I always expected to work, and always wanted to fly - that was my dream! I didn't travel much when I was younger.

“In the beginning, when I started training, the biggest surprise was the new words they used. At school, we were taught the word ‘kitchen', but on the aircraft we call it a ‘galley'. At school, we learned the word ‘bathroom', but on the aircraft they call it a ‘toilet'. But I found the safety and evacuation training exciting and even if I quit this job, these skills will help me in life.

I can use them to help people. The job has developed my personality. My dad sometimes tells me that I'm really, really tough. He calls me ‘my boy' because I don't have an older brother. I think it's a compliment. I often deal with medical emergencies; I had a case last month on a flight to Tehran, with a passenger who was epileptic. At first, we thought we would need an emergency landing, but we handled the situation well. Everything was fine.

“I'm proud to do this job. It is hard work; it's not just about flying everywhere - it's about seeing different things. The length of a stopover depends on the number of flights to that destination. The maximum would be around 100 hours and the minimum around 60 hours, so our average stay in any one place is 80 hours. I am a shopper and Dubai is my favourite city. But I also love Paris - it has a special atmosphere. There is a large Arab community there, from Morocco and Algeria, and I always have time to look around.

“Doing this job, I don't think that I'll get married. I like flying alone. But at the same time, I don't like it when a man tells me, ‘where are you - I was waiting for you'. That's not right. If I did get married and have children, I don't know whether I would stop or continue. But I don't see myself flying when I'm forty or fifty. None of my friends at home have decided to fly. Many of them wish that they could, but it's still a ‘ question of culture and family. Independence comes with the job; I am more confident, and able to handle myself. My advice to other women is don't listen to anyone - just do it.”

  Source: Arabian Woman

Houda and Qatar Airways

Houda flies with Qatar Airways

Houda Toufik, 28, is from Rabat in Morocco. She left home at 19 to live in Jeddah, before joining Qatar Airways. One of six children, Houda's life is very different to that of her twin sister, who manages a florist's business. Engaged twice, Houda jokes that she is married to her career. She was recently promoted to cabin senior.

“I was a language student, but didn't get the marks to enter translators' school. I'm a very demanding girl - I cannot sit at a desk with a routine job, so my escape route was as a flight attendant. My parents didn't say anything: even though the training centre was quite expensive, they told me to go ahead.

“After finishing the course, I waited six months before Saudi Arabian Airways came to recruit girls. I was really happy, but it was hard to leave home and friends and to live so far away in Saudi Arabia. Jeddah is beautiful, but it was hard to adapt. In Morocco, you can wear what you want and talk to whoever you want. The compound in Jeddah had supermarkets, restaurants, a swimming pool, but we felt like prisoners. Every time we left, the check hostess would make sure that we were completely covered. We were not allowed to wear make-up, to attract attention. I kept ringing home and crying. My twin sister was sick with worry.

“I worked in Saudi for two and a half years, then returned to Morocco to get married. I resigned and went home - but it didn't work out (laughs). I returned to my training centre as a supervisor, then Qatar Airways came along. The best thing about the job is understanding so many kind of people, seeing different cultures, different places without paying a penny. You see someone, and you know what kind of a person they are, how to talk to them and how to get whatever you want from them. But you have to adapt to flying in the mornings or nights. You have to be relaxed even though you may be nervous or have problems; you have to leave it at home.

“We have medical checks every six months. You can suffer varicose veins, bad circulation, or ear infections. If you don't eat well, you get anaemic. The grooming department carries out spot checks, to make sure we are not too thin or overweight. If you are five to seven kilos over, they advise you. Or if you are too thin, they show you how to control your food and to eat.

“We are not allowed to wear diamonds; we may be serving passengers who cannot afford such jewellery, and that could be insulting. You have to look neutral, but you also have to look good.

“People sometimes drink too much. If someone drinks on the ground, they do not get drunk. If they are flying and drink, the pressure doubles the effect. It's the same with walking, if you walk 100 metres on the ground, above 35,000 metres the same distance is like 200 metres. Seriously, I would advise anyone flying to drink nothing except water. When it is hot, the blood circulates faster and people become more aggressive. Aggressive passengers happen every day. Sometimes, they are from connecting flights and are stressed through lack of sleep. But we try to cool them down.

“If I'm upset, I go to the galley and have a glass of water to calm down. I never shout, or say bad things, or turn my back. If you cannot calm yourself, you are lost. The question is whether you can deal with these situations, without hurting anyone or making that person feel bad. In terms of security, alhamdulillah, I was never in a bad situation. I never get scared flying, but later I can get scared. Sometimes I start crying when I'm back home and I hear about other airline crashes.

“On September 11, I was in Doha on a day off. I was watching CNN at the time. I saw the crash of the second plane into the twin towers live on air. I was shocked. I didn't think it was an attack, I thought it was a crash. I didn't know the full details of the first plane and the reporting was confusing. Even the reporter in New York was surprised.

“I am not afraid of flying after the events. Accidents can happen to anyone. It depends on your destiny. It does not mean that I will die if I fly. I have carried on as normal. I reassure them and tell funny stories to let them know it is okay. I talk about other things like days off rather than about the flights.

“I have handled many medical emergencies - a miscarriage, administering oxygen to people. On our Kathmandu flight, we often have cases of food poisoning after people eat strange local foods. We are trained not to panic. I feel like I've grown with Qatar Airways. In most airlines, you don't see the chief executive; in Qatar Airways, we see him all the time. There are no barriers of rules or protocol; it's relaxed.

“You have to like this job to do it. I left Qatar to get married. You guessed it (more laughter) - it didn't work out! I spent four months in the States, then called Qatar Airways. I went back, and even got promoted recently to cabin senior. That is so unusual, for any airline. Will I still fly when I'm 35 or 40? There's a Filipina stewardess who we call Mama Jo, who is 40 with six children. Now, she's a welfare officer, but her daughter is flying. Whenever we have problems, we go to our Mama Jo. She has 19 years' experience and she still looks like a baby.

“I'd like to be a welfare officer or an instructor - that's my goal. No husband, no children! Qatar Airways doesn't abandon its cabin crew. If you don't want to work in Doha, you can work in an agency office. I have family in Paris. With my certificates, I could open a travel agency, or a training centre. There are opportunities.

“My twin sister says she could never carry a tray and serve a person - she's like ‘no way!' We are completely different; I sacrifice myself to know things. She visited Doha for a month, but when I asked her to stay longer, she said ‘thank you very much but I want to go back'. However, if I had a daughter, I would not advise her to do this. If you see me in jeans, I am not Houda the lady. I walk like a soldier, talk like a soldier - lose my femininity, talk too seriously. My work has affected my personality. I have become very tough. It also affects your health. You can get back problems or foot problems, headaches or problems with your ears or eyes, or heart problems.

“But I love flying. When I took four months out, I couldn't stay on the ground; I had to fly. I haven't chosen this job for the money, or to see places - I love this job. And after nine years, I still can't stop, even though I sometimes get fed up. It's like a drug, and I need it every day! You see so many things - but there is a price to pay.”

Source: Arabian Woman


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

10 Questions with Anna the Etihad Cabin Crew

I asked my dear friend Anna who currently works for Etihad as a cabin crew some questions about her job as a cc with Etihad in purpose to share this with all of you guys too . She gladly answered few questions and i think its so fun to read what she had to say::: check it out:::::::::
ps: Anna is not in this picture above :-) 

Was it your dream to become a Etihad Cabin Crew?

Yes!!! when i was 15 years old my mom asked me what i wanted to work with when i grew older, i told her i wanted to become a flight attendant, although i never seriously went after this job until i was 28 years old or so.

Now scoring this job, was it how you expected it to be?

It was even better than i had expected it to be specially with Etihad compared to other example low cost airlines. It was even beyond and above of what i had wished for.

Where is your favorite destination of all the places you been to so far?

Of all the destinations i have flown to so far i have to say Bangkok was the best. Why? because of the amazing cheap shoppings, i always fly with empty suitcase and fly back with a full suitcase lol. I always have mani and pedi and massage there cause its so cheap. Everything is so cheap there, also i love how the culture is there, love going to temples and explore the city.

Was it difficult during the initial training?

Oh my god it was, for me anyway, i even failed few times and had to do exams again but i pushed through, i did my best. But i think if we focus and stay focused it will be ok. I dont like to study because i had studied enough in my days, thats why it was difficult for me lol to open a book again...a study book

How do you feel now scoring this amazing job many wish to have?

I was extremely proud of myself and still am, i feel this is the highest and the best job i could score in my entire life, but i know it can only go up from here  

Whats the negative part of this job according to you?

The stress and expectations the company/managers have on us, although its manageable but sometimes it can get too much

Whats the positive part of this job according to you?

The chance to grow in this company, travel, meet so many people, get to know new cultures, be independent and earn good money and have fun.

Can you tell us one of your crazy stories you had to experience being a cabin crew with Etihad?

I remember during one of my flights to Sidney, we had 2 medical emergencies onboard, a girl who fainted and another woman who had a panic attack and was running around wanted to open the doors on board. Than during this situation we had a drunk man who was bothering people onboard, oh my god, imagine all of this in 14hrs heheheheeh. It was too much to witness and deal with but we had the best team and together we handled it. This is a part of our job and we do what we can.  

How do you think of living in Abu Dhabi?

I absolutely love it, i love how modern the place is and the lifestyle we are living in. We can do everything here, its not that strict as people think it is from the outside....There is always something to do, and if i get bored we just go to Dubai, every place has its ups and downs and i feel Abu Dhabi have more ups. Its great, i wouldnt want to move back home, cause its more fun here.

Is there any tips you can give to people who wish to become a cc with Etihad?

Believe in yourselves, i know how difficult it can be to score this job, try to create your resume that fits for this job...and be smart with your resume ;-) Try to be professional and read as much info you can before you attend any assessment day. If you fail once or twice thats ok, do it again, me and my friends we all scored this job on our 3rd or 4th try, insane i know...but we tried and tried....

More informative info related to the cabin crew job here::: 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

10 Questions with a Etihad Cabin Crew

A while ago i asked a dear friend of mine few questions who is currently working as a cabin crew for Etihad. I was curious to see how it was like for my friend to work as a crew and i thought it would be fun for you guys to read the answers directly from someone who is working for Etihad as well. Would give you a picture of how it is, or get a idea or even reflect on things. This is only my friends personal experience/thoughts and idea...
also the picture i attached is not of my friend ,,i just found this on google :-) enjoy the reading and hopefully this can give you HOPE or simply not to GIVE UP.... :-)

Was it your dream to become a Etihad Cabin Crew?

No, it all happened by coincidence

Now scoring this job, was it how you expected it to be?

It is in a way what I expected it to be, but there are a lot of other things that you don't know or expect out of this job "positive and negative thing"

Where is your favorite destination of all the places you been to so far?

I can't chose one destination and call it my favorite , I believe every destination I went to has something special about it. that being said, I must say I'm in love with Australia

Was it difficult during the initial training?

I won't lie and say it was the easiest thing I've done but it is doable you just have to concentrate and do your homework

How do you feel now scoring this amazing job many wish to have?

I feel great, it is a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world and travel everywhere

Whats the negative part of this job according to you?

I would say the negative part of it is that you are not always available on special family occasions and it becomes a bit hard to keep in touch with people.

Whats the positive part of this job according to you?

There are a lot of positive things that comes with the job, good pay, a chance to travel to places you never thought you will go to and meeting a lot of amazing people and some "not so amazing" but it is still a nice experience to deal with all sorts of people.

Can you tell us one of your crazy stories you had to experience being a cabin crew with Etihad?

There are a lot of crazy stories, I believe that some people just go crazy when they're on board an aircraft so imagine a 14 hours flight with people out of their minds ! lol . One story I won't forget though is when a lovely guest decided to write a complain about me when I told him "politely and with a smile" to hold on a minute when he asked me for a glass of water.

How do you think of living in Abu Dhabi?

It is great, can be a bit boring to be honest but you won't get bored as you will be travelling most of the time.

Is there any tips you can give to people who wish to become a cc with Etihad?

BE POSITIVE !!! When you get your chance and become a cc with etihad you will meet a lot of negative people who hate the job and complain about everything. chose not to listen to complainers, surround yourself with positive people who chose to look at the bright side and remember ANY problem you may face especially on board could be solved with a smile and a positive attitude


More informative info related to the cabin crew job here:::