Emirates First-Class Flight Attendants Know Wine, Makeup — And You
If flight attendants are front-line defenders, Emirates first-class flight attendants are the airline's elite forces.
In Emirates' first-class suites, top-notch customer service is as much a part of the Emirates "wow factor" experience as innovations like the digital virtual windows. Joanna Collins, a Dubai-based British flight attendant, recently shared some of the rigorous demands required to qualify for "special ops" within the award-winning airline.
Every passenger has a dossier
Before each flight, the flight attendants review the customers who will be traveling on board, including any VIPs. The flight attendants learn their names and any relevant information, which is also accessible through on-board tablets. In-flight, the tablets are also used to record their food preferences, dietary requirements, any hobbies, their incoming and outbound destinations, and even whether or not the passengers will be tired on the next leg of their travels. The information is then passed along to the next crew.
Passengers occasionally make strange requests. "I did have a couple ask if they could use a crew cart to rock their baby to sleep", Collins said. "I told her that I would love to help, but it unfortunately wouldn’t fit our safety procedures."
First-class calls for serious foodie training
Emirates' first-class silver service dining calls for flight attendants to know in-depth about the cuisine and service they provide.
"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. We’re taught all the etiquette about cutlery and the different plates used for each course."
"When you’re serving things like Dom Perignon and Bordeaux, you need to have a thorough understanding of what you’re pouring. We need to know the difference between old world and new world wines, as well as champagnes, bourbons, whiskeys, and other spirits."
There's a dress, makeup, and jewelry code
First-class flight attendants may sport nude or light pink polish, or a French manicure. However, Emirates is very particular about the red associated with its brand, and red nail polish shades must fall within guidelines set by the Imaging and Grooming Department.
"An 'Emirates red' lipstick with lip liner is required," Collins said. "We like to use Mac’s Russian Red because it stays for a long time."
Eyeshadow must be either black or beige, and liquid eyeliner with the signature "flick" is recommended. Some flight attendants prefer a more natural look, while others opt for a bolder, creative look. The airline even offers makeup and skincare classes.
Hair must be pinned back either in a French twist or a bun, which can be dressed up with a red scrunchie. Pearl earrings, diamond or crystal studs, and simple watches are the only jewelry allowed.
The standard uniform is a skirt and jacket set paired with a white shirt, and topped off with a hat and scarf. Every crew member wears the same color except for the chief flight attendant, also known as a purser, who wears brown.
Flight attendants are required to wear heels in the airport and during the boarding process, but are allowed to change into red flats after take-off if they prefer. After take-off flight attendants also change into "service attire", swapping the standard uniform jacket for a vest.
Feature photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images