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Emirates Flight Attendants Live the Glamorous Life – So Long As They Don’t Get Fat

Posted in Airline News, Emirates AirlineNo comments

The global economic slump is just now touching the glittering shores of the oil-rich Persian Gulf. But when it comes to the 10,000 flight attendants who work for Emirates, Dubai’s government-owned luxury airline, no one is cutting corners.

While the aviation industry elsewhere is facing headwinds, this city-state of man-made island developments, luxury resorts and an indoor ski slope has put some of the glamor back into air travel, the Wall Street Journal’s Farnaz Fassihi reports.

Fassihi recounts the astounding perks — free living accommodations and transport to work, 50% discounts at local bars, restaurants and health clubs — and the remarkable drawbacks — smoking and eating in uniform are prohibited, and if an attendant gains too much weight, he or she is put on a diet — of working for the carrier.

Emirates’ routes — including nonstop flights to Los Angeles and São Paulo — beat the U.S. domestic circuit, where most young American attendants wind up. And Emirates puts its attendants up at luxury hotels and gives them generous per diem allowances while traveling.

“I would have to fly 30 years in the U.S. before I could travel like this,” says a bronzed Mr. Miller, lounging with a blonde colleague at the rooftop pool of one of Emirates’ high-rise apartment towers. “There is no comparison to what we get here,” he said.

Miller, who formerly worked for JetBlue and Southwest, says Emirates pays less than his previous employers, but says the perks made up for the lower pay.

But even including the perks, some FAs find the carrier’s policies somewhat restrictive.

“It’s a little stifling,” says a 25-year-old European female attendant, who asked not to be named. “We are human beings, not just a marketing tool.”

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