How To Become Emirates Cabin Crew

Now I’ve had a lot of messages recently as we’ve once more opened recruitment so I thought I would write a post on it, that way whenever anyone asks I can give you all the best answer. I did all my recruitment three years ago, and I’m sure it’s changed since then, but there are a few tips and tricks I thought I’d share to help you attain your goal of being paid to travel the world. I was lucky with my recruitment, I applied once and secured the job. But don’t be deterred, if you don’t make it the first time send off an application again. I know many people who applied a few times! If you’re interested in my recruitment timeline, click here to read one of my first blog posts where I  talked about it.


Before you read on, make sure that you’re meeting ALL these requirements. Recruitment is strict and if you don’t meet these requirements you will be disregarded as there are one hundred other people who do meet the criteria.

  • At least 21 years of age at the time of joining
  • Arm reach of 212 cm while standing on tiptoes
  • Minimum height of 160 cm
  • High school graduate (Grade 12)
  • Fluency in English (written and spoken)
  • No visible tattoos while you’re in Emirates cabin crew uniform (cosmetic and bandage coverings aren’t allowed)
  • Can adapt to new people, new places and new situations
  • Physically fit for this demanding role with a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI)

1: Tailoring Your CV

Your CV is super important when applying for the role of cabin crew and should be tailored to reflect the role of crew on board. I am not saying to lie and say you have done this, that and the other but explain your previous roles briefly in a way that sound similar to daily crew life. If you were a waiter/waitress what were your tasks, did you have a role that was safety focused or were you the receptionist of your place of work where you were the first face seen and representing the brand? It’s all about the way you describe previous employment so that you don’t sound like you’ve had zero customer service experience. Being cabin crew is primarily about customer safety and security, however our day to day life involves making that passenger experience the best one yet.

Additionally, if you have lived/worked abroad, highlight this. You are going to be moving abroad to Dubai, leaving behind your family and friends and experiencing a whole new culture. If the recruiters can see that this is something you’ve done before they’ll have an idea that you’re more easily adaptable to new people and surroundings. Remember, only 4% of applicants get the job, so you’re trying to sell yourself and make you stand out, so that you can be one of that 4%. Furthermore, this is the first thing the recruiters may see of you if you’re applying online. Remember, you never get a second chance at a first impression.

2: Submitting The Right Photographs

These are also super important, it’s what the recruiters are gonna get their first impression of you and what you look like! You need to submit four pictures in total. 1 full length formal photo, 1 identical passport sized photos and 2 smart/sophisticated photos.

Formal Pictures
For these pictures you’re ideally wanting to make yourself look like Emirates Cabin Crew without actually wearing the uniform. They’re quite specific with what they want you to wear in these pictures so make sure you follow these guidelines down to a tee.

Female Male
Closed fitted jacket
Knee length skirt
High heels (closed toed / no ankle straps)
Skin colour stockings
No neck scarves, no jewellery
No glasses, no colour contact lenses
No watches
Closed jacket
Suit, shirt and tie
No piercings visible
No glasses
No colour contact lenses
No watches

For females, you’re now going to need to style yourself as an Emirates Crew Member. If this is the sort of thing you’d like me to do a post on let me know, but I’ll briefly go over our image and uniform in relation to the photo guidelines here.

They want your hair in a bun for the photograph. We have to wear our bun low so that the hat can sit on our head without being knocked out the way by your hair. Whether you choose to pull your hair all back or place it in a parting is completely up to you. But hair must be slick and no hairs out of place. Secure fringes with hairspray/pins whatever you see best. If you have hair that is shorter than your collar bone, make sure it is neatly styled (ie: Straightened) and clipped back away from your face. This is the only exception where you can have your hair down, if it physically cannot go back into a bun. Additionally, if you dye/colour your hair make sure you don’t have roots showing or  an obvious difference in colour. I used to dye my hair blonde and I’ve gone back brunette just for the ease with work and as it also costs a fortune to dye your hair blonde every six weeks in Dubai. If you can’t get to a salon etc, use some root touch up products to help mask the colour difference, but be aware this is something you’ll have to rectify when in Dubai. If you have ombre/balayage hair like myself, as long as there is no obvious colour difference between the top of your head and your bun this is fine. For example, make sure you can conceal the colour difference within the bun.

Next is onto the make up. A good coverage is required for work so get a good foundation to cover your face. Blush is recommended but not required. Mascara is a must and with this you can wear both or either eyeliner/eyeshadow. Eyeshadow colours must be neutral. In college we’re told “think Costa coffee” so a nice selection of browns are acceptable. I sometimes add a little sparkle into my eyeshadow if I’m feeling overly expressive that day. Eyeliner can be worn both on the top and bottom of your lid. Bronzer and highlight are always a good thing, it brings out the best in your face and adds to that all important smile. And most of all, the red lipstick. Find a colour that is true to your skin tone. What looks good on me might not look as good and vice versa. We’re recommended Ruby Woo by Mac and shade 1 in the Sephora Lip Stain. I’ve used both these but don’t rate them for flying. My favourites are Heartbreaker by Huda Beauty or the red lip by Rihanna’s collection Fenty.

For males, grooming must be impeccable and you HAVE to be clean shaven. You cannot have a beard at work, so please prepare for daily shaving.

Tips for this as posted by the recruitment team are:

  • BIG happy smile (I cannot stress this enough)
  • Full length (the top of your head & your shoes must be visible)
  • Hands straight by side with both legs together. Stand up straight.
  • You must be directly facing the camera
  • Photo cannot be altered / photo shopped
  • Good lighting – no shadows
  • Sharp and in focus

Smart And Sophisticated Photos
Next up are your smart and sophisticated photos. These are to show what you look like more “naturally”. You will need 1x full length (standing, photo from head to toe) and 1x close up (standing, photo from head to waist) casual photos. Your attire and surroundings should be conservative and reflect your professional image. You must be standing up, straight, facing the camera, hands flat by your side with you hair behind the ears and shoulders.

Things to remember, Emirates is a muslim airline so clothing and image must be conservative. Shoulders must be covered and so must knees. For my images I sent off, I had a long sleeved top with black jeans and white converse. Whether this would be acceptable now, I’m unsure. Maybe a more smart shoe would be better now and they also do not want long sleeved shirts anymore. For this image I would straighten/curl hair and then tuck behind the ears so you can show your face off better. Ensure your make up is nice and neat, how you would do yours everyday. Red lipstick is NOT needed here, so remove this, they want to see you with and without this. Remember this picture is to only contain you. No group shots that you’ve taken from Facebook. Take this picture specifically for Emirates.

3: Assessment Day (Invitation Only)

When I was going through recruitment they also had open days, which anyone could show up to which were more of a CV/photo drop and so the recruiters could have more of a face to a name and link this up with your online application. Due to this excessive volume of applications, they now just do invite only assessment days which is where your interview process will seriously begin.

I am not going to lie, the recruitment process is intense, but so is this job! So it’s all in good preparation. I cannot comment on current recruitment as its over three years since I’ve done it, but I will talk about what I went through. Who knows, they might still follow a similar format.

Throughout the day was different stages with different group based tasks. One included being given a completely random item and in your group discussing and presenting how you could use this on board, we were given a sock.

As we progressed through the day, after each task we were given a short 10/15 minute break before we would come back and see if our name was still on the door. If it was, you were through to the next task, if not, your journey was over.

For those whose first language wasn’t English, they were given a language exam to which they had to be competent. So if English isn’t your first language, make sure you’re able to speak, read and write to a decent level.

At the end of the day, we were told we had been successful and would be back within a couple of days to do the final interview which was one on one and entirely question based.

4: Final Interview

Be prepared to answer questions about everything you have ever experienced in a customer service based experience. You will be asked to give examples of when you have done certain things in past jobs, how you are able to adapt to new cultures and work with people of all different backgrounds, nationalities and cultures. They want to know that you’re going to be able to blend in well at work and not be caught up in work conflict or causing them. Each day you will go to work with new people you have never met before with people from all over the world. This might be just be a quick 45 minute flight to Muscat where you barely have a chance to even remember peoples names, or it could be an eight day multisector trip to China where you’ll know everyones name and  also their life story. There’s no routine with this job or “work colleagues” so the recruiters want to dig this out of you, where you have done this or something similar before.

Remember it’s okay to take a few seconds to think about the question, don’t rush straight into it without thinking about it. This is where you’ll go wrong and go off on a tangent. Breathe, and dazzle them with the experience you’ve got to share and don’t forget to let that personality of yours shine through. We have five service personalities: Personal, Thorough, Considerate, Pioneering, Cosmopolitan. Let this be seen, its what they want to see at work!

5: The Golden Call

After all this, you’ll be waiting for that all important golden call. You’ll be told that you’ve been successful and when your date of joining will be, if that is suitable for you. For me I was called 3rd July and joined 25th September. So there was a long time in between. You still have a lot to do in between this time. Dental, medical, visas, passport etc. You’ll be given your accommodation, your flights that you’ll be joining on and you’ll be able to start finding people you’re going to be joining with and getting excited together. There is a Facebook group called Emirates Joining Formalities In Progress for information and to find other people in your boat/date of joining. So, if you’re wanting to find like minded people, send a join request.

Pros And Cons

I’m going to be honest with you all now. This job is amazing, and a lot of the time you see everyone posting the amazing perks of our job on #EmiratesCabinCrew and there are a LOT of perks to post about but with highs there comes lows and you need to be aware of this before you uproot your life and move to the Middle East.


Pros Cons
  • Tax free income
  • Layover allowance in the local currency
  • 90% discount on Emirates tickets (standby)
  • 50% discount on Emirates tickets (confirmed)
  • Other airline discounts
  • Free accommodation including bills
  • Travel the world for free
  • Free uniform laundering
  • Free transport to and from work
  • One free return ticket a year
  • Option to bid for flights that you want on your next months roster
  • 30 days annual leave a year
  • Discount card available to use at countless destinations in Dubai and worldwide
  • Ability to swap flights with colleagues
  • Free food/drinks at work
  • Either 4 or 5 star hotels on layovers
  • You meet new people, experience different cultures, and even pick up many words from different languages.
  • You have a lot of free time. You can get 5 days off in a row and use this to holiday/visit home and this doesn’t come from your annual leave.
  • Large disposable income so it is easy to save (however you will not in the first year/first contract…)
  • Profit share
  • Medical covered
  • Worldwide travel insurance whilst on layovers
  • We don’t do specific routes we are all worldwide. So one week you could be in Brazil, the next in China. You can explore all routes on the Emirates network.
  • No routine. Waking up at all times of the day/night.
  • Missing out on events, Christmas, birthdays etc. You can’t get to everything.
  • You will feel more tired than you have ever in your life. Jet lag is REAL.
  • You will gain weight whether you like it or not. It takes a while before you find out what does and doesn’t work for you.
  • You don’t always get what you bid for.
  • You will have to do a months reserve around once a year.
  • Work can be challenging, being stuck inside a metal tube for 16 hours with difficult people can get tricky. Patience is a virtue.
  • You will have to do things that are not so glamorous. Ever had someone be sick on you?
  • Home sickness

As you can see there are way more advantages than disadvantages, but each job comes with its highs and lows. Can you tell me one job that doesn’t have at least one down side? But as my Mum says, you’ve got to have the bad days to appreciate the good. Otherwise nothing would ever be good. Right, Mandz?

I can’t recommend applying enough. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I only wanted to come for one year to eighteen months, and I’ve just signed another three year contract. If you’re thinking about it, or are worried take that leap. If its home sickness you’re worried about you can always bid for your home destination (if we fly close by or it isn’t a turn around) and get those home comforts. It’s a great job and I’m still yet to feel that “eugh I’m going to work” feeling three years in. I’m 65 countries in now and still counting, before this job I’d only been to 13 countries. I was so untravelled, and now I have this strong desire to visit somewhere new all the time.

I hope this post helps those who are currently applying or thinking about it. I’ve been as honest as possible with you, and if there’s anything else you want me to write on, let me know! Would a Q&A be something you’re interested in? How to get ready for work? A working day timeline? If you’re wanting to know what a day entails, read here, as I’ve already written on that. Just let me know!


Here’s the link for those wanting to apply:

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Myra North says:

    well Jess ,having just read ,how to become Emirates cabin crew , you have just sold it to me !! your detailed account of job descripton , is a credit to you .. our lovely grand-daughter you tons xxxx


  2. Seyma says:

    Hi Jessica! First of all, it’s literally the greatest blog ever!!! So informative and addictive. Now i have a few questions, i want to apply for the job and i have the experience thanks to a local airline company in my country, but i have a big concern that i have psoriasis and have scars on my legs, however as far as i see everyone seems to wear skirts as uniforms and i wonder if i can wear trousers to cover my scars, so is it compulsory to wear skirts at flights?


    1. Hey Seyma, so glad you like my blog, that means so much to me to hear. The skirt is mandatory, only our pursers have the option to wear trousers. However, you are wearing stockings so if your stockings are thick enough/have a high denier then you shouldn’t be able to see any scaring you may be concerned about. Hope this helps, and good luck! ☺️


  3. Seyma says:

    Oh and my other question.. 🤦🏻‍♀️ I don’t know if it’s rude to ask this but did you get paid during the training?


    1. Yes you do get paid during training ☺️


    2. Seyma says:

      Thank you so much for your answers Jessica you are the best!! Take care 🤗


  4. Emilia Gonzales says:

    What a thorough explanation! Well written. Just have a couple of questions. Since you almost served for 3 years, will you be promoted automatically to the Business/First class? Also, if you could explain briefly each of the service personalities or share a link that explains(Personal, Thorough, Considerate, Pioneering, Cosmopolitan), that would be nice. Hope, someday I could bump into you in one of your planes. Happy flying


  5. Roger Millman says:

    Hi Jessica, what’s up? Great info for the crew wannabes. I shared it with some of my friends. One thing, I noticed is Emirates is going the extra mile to recruit meticulously gorgeous, good-looking girls sometimes even overlooking the height and arm length measurements. Case in point: While, on my flight from Dubai to Chicago, I noticed this young cabin crew girl. She looked like 18 or 19, just fresh out of high school. She was gorgeous with large, brown eyes and looked like indeed a doll. She was short maybe 5’1″ or 5’2″ and couldn’t reach the top luggage compartment. She requested a couple of passengers to help with. The guys jumped on immediately and helped her out. She responded to them with a killer smile and made their day. Of course, I’m not complaining. It was a sight to the sore eyes tired of seeing 40/50 yr old cabin crew in United/American/Delta airlines. Being an Emirates Cabin crew is a privilege and you gotta earn your stripes. Again, thanks for sharing some great tips. xx


    1. Hi Roger,
      Minimum age is 21 and there’s only a couple of years between that and 19 so it’s easy that you may think our crew look younger, it’s nice to look youthful. Also in regards to height our crew can be 5”1/5”2 as long as they have the required arm reach. Reaching passenger bags isn’t a requirement for the job, just our emergency equipment. Glad you enjoy flying Emirates ☺️


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