Becoming a cabin crew is a dream for someone who desires to explore the world while getting paid to do it. This job gives endless opportunities to travel, come across various cultures, and meet new people every single day. It is not a job, it’s a lifestyle!
Normally, one may hear things like ‘It is a temporary job’ after which ‘there are no other career options to pursue’. If you have also heard something like that, then don’t worry at all because we are here to bust that myth. Here are the stories of four UAE flight attendants who started their new careers by jumping into the skills they learned while being a crew member.
Style the World!
Have you ever heard of stylist Kelly Lundberg from UAE? Well, UAE residents know her very well. She has set up a styling service ‘Style Me Divine’ in the Middle East 15 years back. What isn’t known to us is that she was a member of the Emirates cabin crew prior to being a fashionable businesswoman. With her experience being a stylist and a cabin crew member, she is now hosting a Brand You masterclass on Wednesday, free for all the members of the cabin crew.
Lundberg says, “I want to show people that you can transition from being a crew member and still have a nice life. It’s all about taking existing skills, learning something new, and building confidence. Especially if a person were to lose their job, it can be demotivating. I want to inspire them to do whatever they want and show them there is still hope.”
“The first is the personal presentation. Cabin crew is very good at presenting themselves, which can make them good in careers related to customer service. Then there’s communicating, problem-solving and negotiating, which makes them suitable for quite a few careers from retail to hospitality,” she says.
“It also takes a lot of courage to leave your home country and become cabin crew, just like starting a new business or venture takes a lot of courage.”
She advises the flight attendants who want to change their career that they need to find out what they are really good at. Every human being has a skill in them. Once they find their skill they can turn it into their hobby and later can see if that turns into their career.
“You are always your own personal brand,” she says. “A lot of times people equate their personal brand with their company’s brand, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Building a personal brand helps build a wider network and reach new clients.”
In order to aspire for new job opportunities, Lundberg suggests, “Check your social media pages, your LinkedIn account, ask people for references, offer to do work in the field, even if it’s not paying a lot, so you can keep busy and develop your skillset. You never know when you might meet the right contact.”
As stated earlier, cabin crew staffs are the people who get to visit a lot of places. Therefore, these people often become influencers. Filling up the Instagram profile with vivid travel blogs and pictures looks very aesthetic. Many don’t believe this but social media is also a platform for starting a career.
Nicoleta Buru, who earlier worked as a cabin crew with Emirates, is now a successful fashion blogger. She started blogging since she became a flight attendant. She quit her job and decided to make a new career by traveling around the world and blogging on social media.
“Being a member of the cabin crew taught me to communicate and, thanks to the blog, I developed a taste for fashion and beauty images. I enjoy photography, so I started doing online courses, learning new photography techniques, and when I posted pictures of my work, I got really good feedback,” she says.
A few years later, she started to try some changes. She wanted to work as a freelance photographer and she has been getting many tasks even during this pandemic and completing the look books for local designers and campaigns for make-up brands.
“The first few years are all about learning. Create that network,” she advises. “During my first few years, I was looking for any online courses and masterclasses I could find and I’m still learning new things in photography – it’s what keeps me going.”
“Focus on doing good work, stay active, and let people notice you. You don’t have to wait for a job to come to you, you can create your own job,” she says.
Why not become a Brand Manager?
Aviation jobs do not only make you the right fit for the aviation industry but also prepares you for the hospitality sector. As per Aneesh Jog, a former Etihad crew member suggests looking into similar jobs which may include the same practice.
“I know it’s tough right now, but it is going to also be one of the first fields to pick up – people will not stop eating out. It’s the kind of lifestyle we are all used to. People may be hesitant, but sooner or later, they will want to go back to restaurants and hotels,” he says.
Jog, who switched from the hospitality industry to work as a cabin crew in Etihad Airways returned to join the hospitality field as a restaurant brand manager last year. According to him even if you don’t have much experience in this field it just requires slight mental adjustment and behavioral changes. It could be tough but if you had a job that required traveling around the world, this is something you could adjust to, and once you get to experience new and better opportunities open up.
“From instructing people who have never flown before to dealing with the demands of celebrities in first class, you have to be a real people person to be a member of cabin crew”, says Laura Rooney.
“Good cabin crew staff naturally makes for good PR professionals,” she says. The last agency she worked at hired about 5-6 other cabin crew staff.
“As a member of the crew, you have to be friendly, adaptable, well-presented, articulate, and clever. You have to deal with high-pressure situations with a smile on your face. The careers are very much aligned.”
The Irish lawyer joined as a cabin crew in Emirates just after graduation and like many others planned to do it for one or two years but ended up completing 6 years in this role.