Flight attendants at Emirates have it fairly good – Some would say really good. A tax-free salary, concessionary travel tickets, health cover and discounts across Dubai are just some of the benefits Cabin Crew enjoy. They even get free company provided accommodation.
But a new rule change has left some of Emirates longest serving Cabin Crew a lot worse off. If you happen to be flying First Class with Emirates in the coming weeks and months you might want to be extra nice to your Flight Attendant and Purser.
Here’s what’s happened:
The senior Cabin Crew serving First Class passengers are some of Emirates most loyal flight attendants. They’ve doggedly worked their way up the ranks in what is an extremely hierarchical airline. Emirates only wants the best and most experienced Cabin Crew working in the First Class cabin. To become a Purser – the most senior member of Cabin Crew – it takes yet more loyalty and hard work.
In return, Emirates has given its Senior Cabin Crew the best. They’ve enjoyed a privileged life with their own fully furnished and private apartments – paid for by the airline. More junior Emirates staff have to share flats in company provided accommodation. There’s normally 2-3 people in each apartment, with blocks of flats spread across the city.
It’s an expensive perk – rent and utility bills are fully paid and most sites have an onsite swimming pool or gym. As Emirates starts to tighten its belt, the company provided accommodation has already gone under the finance teams microscope.
Some staff have already been moved out of expensive, centrally located apartments to custom built blocks on the edges of the city. Now, Emirates is going one step further.
Senior Cabin Crew, who have been with the company for 10-15 years, have been informed that they’ll too have to move into shared accommodation. And they even have to pay for the move.
It’s taken staff by surprise – some of whom have lived on their own for at least 5 years. And of course, they’ll be giving up their downtown addresses to join their junior counterparts closer to the desert.
Whether it’s a deal breaker remains to be seen. Emirates still offers one of the most generous pay packages in the industry. But while living in a flatshare isn’t unheard of in your twenties, it isn’t so desirable as you move into your thirties and forties.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.