Careers: How to Become an Emirates Cabin Service Assistant

Want to work for Emirates? Follow these steps!

Reviewed by Hayley Ramsey

Person happy to be an Emirates cabin assistant

Emirates is the main airline of the Emirate of Dubai, and one of two national flag carriers in the UAE (the other being Etihad, based out of Abu Dhabi). Regarded as one of the best airlines in the world, Emirates is the largest airline in the Middle East, operating a fleet of over 250 aircraft (including the largest fleet of Airbus A380 “Superjumbos” in the world) that travels to 80 countries. 

The Emirates group is known for the high standards of service it offers customers, as well as for the lifestyle and perks it offers its crew, including the cabin service assistants. Despite its high standards, getting a job as an Emirates cabin service assistant has never been easier, as the global job market for aviation jobs is currently very tight. This article covers how to get a job as a cabin service assistant with Emirates, including the duties and responsibilities of the crew and the skills you need to possess — as well as the steps to take to join this career path.

What Emirates cabin service assistants do

There are three main parts to the Emirates cabin service assistant job. The first one is the most important, and this covers safety procedures before, during and after the flight. They need to ensure all safety equipment is working correctly and flag any issues where needed. You will be responsible for passengers’ safety during the flight and guiding them through the pre-flight safety check. Finally, you will be responsible for the evacuation of the aircraft in an emergency. 

Secondly, you are responsible for the aircraft’s readiness for passengers. This includes ensuring the galley is stocked with food and drink, checking the cabins are clean and well maintained, and the premium class lavatories and showers are stocked with toiletries. Although you will not be cooking food or cleaning the cabin, you need to liaise with the relevant teams to ensure this is happening. You will also check the passenger manifest to see who’s onboard and if they have any special requirements. 

Finally, you are responsible for the excellent customer service experience that Emirates promises its passengers. Cabin service, even in economy class, is deemed to be among the best available in any airline, and if you are looking after passengers in business class or first class, then the expectations are even higher. 

Here are the top six responsibilities of an Emirates cabin service assistant: 

  • Conducting safety checks in the cabin before, during and after the flight.
  • Coordinating emergency situations, such as evacuations or passenger disturbances.
  • Liaising with ground teams on cabin manifests and cleanliness. 
  • Looking after passengers and ensuring a consistently high level of service in accordance with Emirates’ standards.
  • Communicating with the flight deck on messages and information regarding the flight.
  • Serving food and beverages throughout the flight. 

What the job is like

Being a cabin service assistant can be a glamorous job with any airline, but if you work for Emirates, then you are based out of Dubai in accommodation paid for by the company. It’s a great chance to experience the Middle East while traveling and earning a good salary. Here’s a breakdown of what working with Emirates is like:

Work environment

As an Emirates cabin service assistant, you will live and work in Dubai, but much of your working time will be spent in an aircraft. Emirates is a long-haul airline, and flights can be anything up to around 17 hours, in the case of Dubai to Los Angeles. Away from the sky, you’ll need to participate in lots of training and will spend plenty of time at the Emirates Aviation Training College in Dubai. Because your downtime is spent in Emirates accommodation buildings around the city, you might also feel that you’re still at work, even when you’re not!

Work hours

The work hours for Emirates cabin service attendants can be intense. At times, on long-haul flights and changing between different trips, you might be awake for longer than 24 hours (though you will get time to rest and sleep on the aircraft). There will be little time to recover from jet lag. On average, you will be working around 80–100 hours a month, but this might vary wildly. For example, Emirates operates fewer flights during Ramadan, so expect fewer hours during this time and more either side. 

Occupational hazards

As is the case with any cabin crew job, stress and burnout can be two main occupational hazards. Emirates expects high standards from its attendants, and you will be expected to adhere to these, no matter how tough a day you are having. Working on an aircraft will also present outer hazards, such as the risk of falling luggage, slips, trips, and falls, and handling hot liquids. It’s also worth pointing out that female assistants need to wear (low) heels, which might take a little getting used to at first.

Job satisfaction

Emirates promote their cabin service assistant roles as “the best job in the world”. In terms of salary and benefits, Emirates is very competitive. The basic salary is no different from many other flight attendant roles, but when you consider that it is tax free, and you are living rent-free in Dubai while you earn it, you can save plenty of money.

Crew member accommodation is provided. If you’re an entry-level cabin service assistant, you might have to share an apartment with one or two other same-sex cabin crew, but first-class attendants often have their own apartment. Whatever the case, you will also benefit from free transportation, healthcare, gym, and a swimming pool. For these reasons, Emirates cabin service assistants are ranked as very satisfied, and also deem the role to be both fun and challenging. 

Job market

The job market has been struggling recently, as the travel industry rebounds after the COVID-19 travel shutdowns. Airlines all over the world are finding it difficult to find employees, and Emirates is no exception, having embarked on a global recruitment campaign back in Spring 2022. The role offers good career progression, with the chance to get started looking after economy class passengers and moving up through the premium economy, and business class cabins, culminating in first class and becoming either a trainer or lead cabin service assistant.


Emirates pays wages tax free in the local currency of Dubai, the UAE Dirham (AED). The average salary for an Emirates cabin service assistant is AED9,250 ($2,518) monthly. The entry level wage is AED4,430 ($1,206) per month and you will earn flying pay of AED 63.75 per hour. You can earn more than this by graduating to different cabin classes and taking on leadership and training roles, as well as through annual salary increases.

You are given free accommodation, but if you choose to live outside Emirates’ accommodation, you might be entitled to some living expenses. It’s important to check with your home country if you have to pay any tax on income earned in Dubai.

Essential skills and qualities

Emirates expects the very best from their cabin service assistants, and you will need to ensure that you have all the right skills and qualities needed for success in the role. Here is a list of the most important skills you will need:

  • Excellent verbal and visual communication skills: They need to be able to communicate effectively in all situations. They also need excellent presentation skills to make the right impression in front of passengers.
  • Dependability and reliability: Adhering to strict timetables and being on time for every shift is critical for every airline. If the flight crew isn’t ready, aircraft can arrive or depart destinations late, and the airline can be subject to large fines. 
  • Stress tolerance and crisis management: This skill is most important when dealing with emergencies, but also they must be able to act calmly and cope well when undertaking daily tasks. A key part of the Emirates service offering is service, and you must be able to carry this out even when tired or under pressure. 
  • Assertiveness: Cabin service assistants must be able to confidently tell passengers what to do in a variety of settings. Doing this in an emergency is critical, but getting unruly or disobedient passengers under control is important as well. 
  • Customer service skills: They need to understand the importance of five-star customer service, as well as how to respond to passenger complaints. 
  • Food and beverage service skills: At Emirates, the food and beverage offerings are comprehensive, especially in premium classes. They must be able to recommend beverages, open bottles of wine, and gracefully serve food to all passengers. The A380 fleet has bars on board, too!

Steps to become an Emirates cabin service assistant

The aviation world might be urgently needing cabin service assistants, but Emirates still requires a certain quality of candidate, as well as the right skills. This section takes you through how to successfully apply for the role. 

Step 1: Determine if it’s the right career for you

The first thing you need to consider is if your natural skills match what Emirates is looking for (use the above skills as a baseline for this). These are skills you must naturally enjoy using. You must also have an interest and passion for great customer service and looking after people: after all, this is a major part of your job! Finally, you must really enjoy traveling; this is a job that takes you literally all over the world!

If you are unsure what kind of career your passions, interests, and skills might lead to, then consider taking a career assessment, such as the one CareerHunter offers. This six-stage test matches your interests and skills to various careers and gives you recommendations on how to get started on your career journey

Step 2: Gain a high school diploma and hospitality experience

You will need to complete high school to fly with Emirates. The airline isn’t fussy on subjects, but focusing on maths and languages will be a good starting point (Emirates require English as a minimum but other languages are advantageous). 

You will also need hospitality experience. Consider working as a server or for an international hotel chain to gain a basic understanding of excellent customer service principles, and if possible, work in a five star or luxury setting, which is aligned to what will be expected of you with Emirates. 

Step 3: Take note of the minimum requirements

Like many airlines, Emirates has strict minimum requirements you need to completely fulfill before applying to the cabin service assistant role. The first one is qualification for a UAE visa. This is quite easy, as most countries have reciprocal visa arrangements. You will also need to be at least 160cm tall and be able to reach up to 212cm, have no visible tattoos while in uniform, be fluent in written and spoken English, have a high school education, and one year’s customer service experience. 

Step 4: Attend an Emirates recruitment event

Emirates hold recruitment events all over the world; the most recent listings are on their recruitment website. Even if you cannot make it to one of these events, you can apply for the role online and, should your application be considered, you will be emailed about an invite-only recruitment event instead. When you attend the recruitment event, ensure you are aware of the minimum requirements above, be well-prepared for the cabin crew interviews, and come neatly groomed and dressed in business attire. Ladies must wear heels.

Step 5: Complete Emirates’ training process

If you have been accepted as an Emirates cabin services assistant, then you will be enrolled in a seven-stage training process that takes place in Dubai and starts with an eight-day induction. You will then go through two weeks of safety and emergency procedure training, a week of medical training, two days of security training, uniform standards training, service personality training, then two weeks of customer service training. Only after this will you embark on four months of on-the-job training!

Final thoughts

Getting a job as a cabin service assistant with Emirates can be a wonderful experience. You will get to see the world, be based out of vibrant Dubai, and earn a tax-free salary. The airline places high expectations upon the shoulders of its cabin service attendants. You will be expected to offer the excellent service that this airline commands, always be on call and professional when in the air and cover a wide range of responsibilities. Provided you take note of the airline’s minimum requirements and focus on your training, becoming a star cabin service assistant for Emirates is an achievable career goal for many.

Are you interested in working for Emirates? Have you been through the interview process? Let us know in the comments about your experiences.


Originally published 21 November 2016.