This is what it takes to become an Emirates first-class flight attendant, according to a current employee

Emirates‘Emirates likes to keep uniformity,’ Joanna Collins, a first-class flight attendant with Emirates, told Town & Country magazine.
  • An Emirates first-class flight attendant shared some secrets of the trade with Town & Country magazine.
  • She said there was rigorous training to progress from economy class to premium classes.
  • There are strict guidelines on makeup, hairstyles, and shoes, she said.
  • The Emirates first-class cabin crew knows a surprising amount about you before you even board the plane.

Emirates cabin crew members are among the most glamorous in the sky. Their pristine appearance – be it the signature red hat and matching lip, the bright smile, or the perfect eyeliner – is bound to make passengers feel as if they’re in good hands.

And according to a first-class flight attendant for the airline, they have had to do a bit to get there and must abide by strict rules, including wearing a certain shade of eye shadow and styling their bun correctly.

Joanna Collins, a Dubai-based Brit who has climbed through the Emirates ranks to work in the first-class cabin, told Town & Country magazine that to progress to premium class, you’ll have to get through “rigorous” training.

You’ll have to know your wines …

It might sound like fun, but you’ll need to have a solid grasp on fine wines and fizz before you cater to Emirates’ first-class passengers. According to Collins, this is by way of a wine education course.

“When you’re serving things like Dom Perignon and Bordeaux, you need to have a thorough understanding of what you’re pouring,” she told the magazine. “We need to know the difference between old-world and new-world wines, as well as Champagnes, bourbons, whiskeys, and other spirits.”

… and brush up on your ‘silver service’ dining etiquette

“In economy, there’s just one tray; in first class, we have ‘silver service’ dining, so appetizers, main courses, and desserts are all served at different times, and customers can ‘dine on demand’ whenever they want,” she said.

“We’re taught all the etiquette about cutlery and the different plates used for each course.”

You’ll have to learn how to do your makeup perfectly

Collins says you’ll have to abide by a set of guidelines on what’s appropriate aesthetically while flying.

“Emirates likes to keep uniformity,” she told the magazine. “Your nails can be nude, light pink, or you can have a French manicure. We also have different variations of red nail polish that are outlined by the Imaging and Grooming Department. An ‘Emirates red’ lipstick with lip liner is required.”

And there’s apparently one lipstick popular among the airline’s flight attendants.

“We like to use Mac’s Russian Red because it stays for a long time,” she said.

You’ll also want to master the perfect flick, as liquid eyeliner is “recommended,” while eye shadow can be black or beige, she said.

And there are rules on hairstyles.

“We can have a French twist or a bun with a red scrunchie; the red scrunchie is optional,” she said. “I usually make my bun with one of those ‘hair doughnuts.'”

Before first-class passengers have even boarded, you’ll have to do some homework

“We have a briefing and a team talk before each flight, where we’ll review the customers who are travelling with us, including any VIPs,” Collins told the magazine. “We get their names and have information about them stored in onboard tablets.”

You’ll then be expected to use this tablet to make notes throughout the flight about your VIP’s likes, dislikes, and dietary requirements, and the purpose of their trip, she said.

You can swap your shoes, but only after takeoff…

… and when parading through the airport, it’s heels on

“In the airport and during the boarding process we wear heels, but we can change into red flats after takeoff,” Collins said. “Some girls prefer not to, but I couldn’t be in heels for a 16-hour flight. After takeoff we switch to ‘service attire’ – we remove the jacket and add a waistcoat.”

She added that you can identify the head flight attendant, or the “purser,” by what they’re wearing.

“Our standard uniform is the skirt and white shirt with a jacket, hat, and scarf,” she said. “Every crew member dresses the same, except for the purser, who wears a brown colour.”

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