Cabin Crew: A day in the life

10 Jul

4:50am: My alarm goes off relatively early this morning, and it takes a couple of snoozes before I manage to drag myself out of bed.

I do my hair and make-up and put on my uniform, and make sure to have some breakfast before I leave. I’ve made sure to pack my cabin bag (which has my waistcoat, oven gloves, crew pyjamas and cabin shoes as well as a few other bits and bobs) the night before so that’s completely ready to go,and my big suitcase just needs a few things thrown in at the last minute like my make-up and glasses.

5:55am: I’m already downstairs in the lobby of my apartment building when the crew bus pulls up. It takes about 15 minutes to get to work and I usually listen to some music and go over our “safe talk” questions on my iPad.

6:25am: The e-Gate (like passport control) for my flight to Amsterdam opens 2 hours before departure time, so I go through, check in and drop my bag off.

I’m flying on the A380 today, and as there’s so many of us the purser sends us a pre-flight email with our positions. I’ve been assigned door MR1, which is also the duty free operator. I go and collect the duty free pouch and make my way to the briefing room.

In the briefing room we have our documents checked (passport, flying license, vaccination booklet, etc) as well as grooming checks to make sure our uniform is up to standard. We then get asked a safe talk question, which could be anything to do with safety and emergency procedures, medical, aircraft specific, etc. The seniors introduce themselves and talk about their expectations for the flight, and the pilots also come in to say hello and give us some flight details.

Todays flight: Dubai to Amsterdam, 6 hours 30 minutes, flying at 40000 feet.

7:15am: We make our way onto the bus which takes us to the aircraft. Once we are all onboard we start preparing, so putting blankets and headphones on the seats and making sure everything is clean and ready. We also do our security search, and each person has their own area.

7:50am: Boarding clearance is given and the passengers start coming onboard. Luckily the flight is only half full so everyone is on pretty quickly and we have plenty of space in the hatracks for bags.

We then start our pre-departure duties, which include handing out hot towels, menus, and toys for any children. Once we’re ready to leave, the safety video is played and we arm our doors.

8:25am: We’ve secured the cabin and are in our jumpseats ready for take-off. Everybody is hoping for an on-time departure as it means no cutting into our layover time in Amsterdam!

Once we’ve taken off and the seatbelt sign goes off, we change into our cabin shoes and waistcoat and start preparing for the service. Our first service is breakfast, so we prepare the carts with all the drinks and heat the croissants up in the ovens. Any special meals that have been pre-ordered are handed out first, and then we take the carts into the cabin and serve the meals and drinks. It’s a relatively quick service, especially as we’re only half full.

After the service myself and the other duty free operator go and collect our carts. They are kept upstairs so we have to go up and then send them down in the lift. We have to count each drawer to make sure the correct amount of items are there, and once we’re done we go through the cabin.

11:00am: I pop into the cockpit to say hello to the pilots and have a little break from standing! It’s always nice to go in and get a nice view out of the windows and have a chat with the pilots.

11:30am: We start setting up the bars ready for the next service, lunch. We go through offering savoury biscuits and a drink first, then come the meals with the bars again. This service takes quite a bit longer but at least it keeps us busy!

2:00pm: Once we’ve finished the service and gone through the cabin collecting any bits of rubbish, someone else wants to buy some duty free. I quickly go and do the sale, and then it’s time to close the duty free carts.

Before we know it the captain is making his PA that we are starting our descent. This means for us it’s time toΒ change back into our jacket and high heels, and then we collect any blankets that have been used.

2:30pm: The seatbelt sign has been switched on, so we collect any used headphones and secure the cabin. We have to make sure everyone has their seatbelts fastened, seats upright, no bags or belongings in the cabin at the bulkheads or emergency exits, and make sure nobody is in the toilets.

Once we’ve made sure the cabin and galleys are fully secure, we go and sit in our jumpseats. It’s been a busy flight and my feet are aching!

3:10pm: Touchdown in Amsterdam! We are greeted with some typical European rain!

Once everybody is off the plane, we do our checks to make sure nobody has left anything behind, and collect any stray blankets and headphones. As soon as everyone is ready we go through to immigration, collect our bags and head to the hotel.

We arrange to meet at 5:30pm (actually 3:30pm, as we landed at 1:10pm Amsterdam time but everyone keeps their watches on Dubai time!) to go and explore Amsterdam!


I hope this post was interesting, I know it’s not my usual style of blog post but I’ve had a few requests to do a kind of “day in the life” post so I thought I’d give it a go! Feel free to leave a comment if you thought it was interesting or if there’s anything else you’d like to know! πŸ™‚


48 Responses to “Cabin Crew: A day in the life”

  1. Amanda Fridolf July 10, 2014 at 13:21 #

    Im moving to Dubai in two weeks and starts working as a part of the cabin crew. I was wondering about the “safe talk questions” can you giva an example of what kind of questions they might ask?

    / Amanda

    • Anonymous July 10, 2014 at 14:42 #


      i love this Post. hope you do more of “a day in the Life” post that are very informative as its my Dream to be a part of Emirates Cabin crew.

    • The Dubai Diaries July 20, 2014 at 21:40 #

      I can’t really give any concrete examples as most of them are company information, but you’ll be learning them all in training college! Good luck πŸ™‚

  2. Anonymous July 13, 2014 at 16:49 #

    I love posts like this, Rachel! Please do more of this as I am also looking forward to working for Emirates someday. Enjoy life!

  3. Anonymous July 13, 2014 at 19:38 #

    Really interesting and well written!
    I like your blog so much

  4. Pavel July 15, 2014 at 12:34 #

    Great post especially for wonnabees. I am one of these and i am taking the interview process saga on in the upcoming month. . . so its cool to take a look at you possible future working place. πŸ™‚ Awesome Blog.

  5. deleted July 17, 2014 at 11:32 #

    Yes! This is fantastic! So interesting thank you. Do you guys have your meals provided for you on board? Also what sort of ‘expectations’ do your seniors put on you for the flight?

    • The Dubai Diaries July 20, 2014 at 21:35 #

      Glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚ Yeah we get crew meals, although there are a few different choices they’re not much different from the passenger ones! It totally depends on the person, usually just the standard things like communication and teamwork πŸ™‚

  6. deleted July 17, 2014 at 11:33 #

    How much rest do you get on say a 12 hour flight or even a 6 hour one? It’s so cool you have crew pyjamas

    • The Dubai Diaries July 20, 2014 at 21:34 #

      On a 12 hour flight we’d get about 2,5 hours in the bunks…on a 6 hour flight no rest! Sometimes we don’t even get time to sit down and eat after we’ve finished serving! 😦

      • deleted July 21, 2014 at 11:41 #

        That’s hard work!! I heard you all have to remove your makeup and put a face mask on during rest time? Is that true? It must be tiring having to re apply makeup again

      • The Dubai Diaries July 21, 2014 at 11:47 #

        Nooo definitely not! You’d have to be crazy to do that haha! The only thing I do is take off my lipstick and if the rest is a bit longer sometimes I take out my contact lenses!

  7. Carrie July 17, 2014 at 12:01 #

    Loved it!! Read your blog all the time πŸ™‚ thank you.

  8. Ionny July 25, 2014 at 02:51 #

    As I am going through service training in EK now I can only rely on that so much! It seems so easy when you read but when it comes to practice it’s always another story haha

    • The Dubai Diaries July 26, 2014 at 19:45 #

      Trust me, once you’re onboard it will be a totally different story, haha! Enjoy training πŸ™‚

  9. Davey Matthews July 31, 2014 at 23:15 #

    Just discovered your blog yesterday and am completely addicted! Your life seems amazing! My mom is a flight attendant too and loves here job! I’ve also recently applied to some airlines as well(Including Emirates), I heard they get like 15,000 applications per month! How long did it take you to hear back? Also where are you from? I saw you speak German but your family members live all over the place haha!
    Oh by the way you should visit Poland, it’s my favorite country I’ve been to!
    P.S. Sorry you got food poisoning from here in Toronto haha usually the food is good here!

    • The Dubai Diaries August 1, 2014 at 11:44 #

      Hi! Glad you like my blog πŸ™‚ To be honest I can’t actually remember how long it took me to hear back, I went to an open day which turned into an assessment day as there were only about 50 people there, then after my final interview they contacted me 2 weeks later πŸ™‚
      I’m English born and bred haha but I lived in Austria with my family for 6 years (they’re still there now) and some of my family live in Australia!
      Poland is definitely on my to-visit list, along with loads more cities I still need to see!
      Haha yeah it wasn’t even like it was anything adventurous either – a bacon and egg sandwich was the culprit! πŸ˜€

  10. kerribangs August 4, 2014 at 22:14 #

    Hi Rachel,

    Your blog is so very addictive! I’ve applied a few tims, but been researching a lot, so hopefully next time!!

    I’ve not applied to any middle eastern airlines, as I live with someone, and can’t see how it would work. Have you come across anyone who has moved over with their partners (I know the boyfriend/ girlfriend laws). If I think it could work at all it would give it a chance, but I think I’m just dreaming!!

    You are so lucky πŸ™‚

    • The Dubai Diaries August 16, 2014 at 01:41 #

      Hi! Glad you like my blog πŸ™‚ I don’t think I’ve met people who have moved over at the same time as their partner, but I know lots of people make it work! Give it a go πŸ™‚

  11. ravi August 30, 2014 at 20:47 #

    Loved your blog!! Pls do more postings like this as v r more curious to know abt wat happens inside the metal tube!!! Btw did u get a chance to visit any Indian city till date?

    • The Dubai Diaries August 31, 2014 at 12:17 #

      Glad you enjoyed this one! I’ll try and do something similar again πŸ™‚ I’ve not had the chance yet, because the only place we fly where we stay overnight in India (Calcutta) is on the Airbus 330/340 which I don’t fly on! I’ve been to India and back without getting off the aircraft too many times to count, ha ha!

  12. Eileen September 19, 2014 at 12:36 #

    Hi Rachel: I love looking at the pictures of all the fascinating places you fly to, and tour during your layovers. My personal dream, and goal is to fly First Class with any airline who flies the A380-800. Have you flown on a Boeing 777? It is so wonderful to view your blog, and read how content you are with your work. I hope you get to see, and document many more places in your future.

  13. Sara September 27, 2014 at 17:46 #

    I loved the post! I just came across your blog, now I will probably catch up with everything you wrote cause I got the job too! I was put on hold though, cause I have to stay in Poland until December and they didn’t have training dates for that period yet… I can’t wait!

    • The Dubai Diaries October 4, 2014 at 12:32 #

      Glad you like my blog! Congratulations on getting the job!! πŸ™‚

  14. melissa latzel October 2, 2014 at 23:14 #

    Hi there! i just had my FI and am waiting for the GC. my question is: can i list my boyfriend as my cousin so he gets discount flight? and then can he come stay with me for like a week even if i go working? so 1 week he doesn’t have to leave at 1am ?? is this common for cabin crew to do and is it easy? i dont think i can take the job if my boyfriend can’t come stay with me… thanks πŸ™‚

    • The Dubai Diaries October 4, 2014 at 12:47 #

      Congrats on getting to the FI! πŸ™‚ No you can’t list him as your cousin for flights, but you can buy him “special tickets” which are discounted tickets for friends. But he can come and stay with you as your “cousin” for up to 60 days a year I think, as long as your flatmates don’t mind! πŸ™‚

      • melissa latzel October 4, 2014 at 12:58 #

        oh no i heard those special tickets aren’t much cheaper hehe.

  15. Sandra November 2, 2014 at 15:59 #

    I really like your blog! πŸ™‚

    I’m going to a recruitment event in this month and I’m so excited and I hope it’ll all go well! My dream is to be an Emirates Cabin Crew so my fingers are crossed! It’s really interesting to be reading your blog – and knowing all of this could happen to me someday soon also! (hopefully!) πŸ™‚

    Have a good day! And safe fligts always πŸ™‚


    • The Dubai Diaries November 4, 2014 at 22:32 #

      Good luck, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you! πŸ™‚

      • Sandra November 5, 2014 at 04:06 #

        Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

  16. ada January 22, 2015 at 21:10 #

    Loooove your blog! Hope to be a member of emirates soon !! πŸ™‚

  17. Anonymous January 26, 2015 at 02:12 #

    I loved ur post , but wanted to ask u about how promotions takes it place and does it has a gd future working as a cabin crew and i know that the salary is gd cz i applied to emirates here in my country !

    • The Dubai Diaries February 4, 2015 at 21:22 #

      Thanks for reading! Promotions depend on your attendance and seniority, so it could take a few years or more. The future is what you make of it!

  18. Anonymous January 26, 2015 at 02:14 #

    I loved ur post , but wanted to ask u about how promotions takes it place and does it has a gd future working as a cabin crew and i know that the salary is gd cz i applied to emirates here in my country !.

  19. Joyce May 4, 2015 at 16:12 #

    i so much love your posts rachael. you seem to enjoy your job. thank you and please post more for wanabees like me to check into. i admire emirates alot. enjoy your flights

  20. sujit May 24, 2015 at 16:12 #

    wow. nice work there. i am surprised to see an airhostess with a blog! good work.

    • The Dubai Diaries May 26, 2015 at 12:57 #

      Thank you! I think there are quite a few who have blogs, not sure how many still update them though πŸ™‚

  21. Emma Lubbi June 3, 2015 at 01:38 #

    Quick question, when moving to Dubai you’re allowed 50 kgs is there a limit on how many bags you can take?


    • The Dubai Diaries June 4, 2015 at 15:42 #

      Well seeing as I took 3 big suitcases, I don’t think so! πŸ˜€ I was actually 7kg over but I know quite a few girls who had to take out lots of stuff til they had exactly 50kg, so I guess it depends on who’s checking you in on the day as well! x

  22. Marek July 17, 2015 at 21:11 #

    Very interesting post! Thank you πŸ™‚

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