After 5 years as Cabin Crew: nothing is hard if you have your wings

Lili worked for 5 years as Cabin Crew for Etihad Airways. She left the company when she was pregnant with her first child, but she has flying deep in her blood. For her “nothing is hard for those who got their wings”. Lili is brave, she followed her dream and started working for Etihad Airways in 2008, when there weren’t so many information about this company in the Middle East.

I was so excited to hear her story as it radiates passion and dedication. Nevertheless, Lili is a beautiful soul, a former amazing cabin crew.

How did you start flying? Tell us about your first encounter with aviation

Dear Anca, through this interview I hope to inspire young people to fly, to chase their dreams and do things with passion. I got to fly because that was my faith. I didn’t choose this job, this job chose me. I never thought that one day I will do this or that I will arrive that far, I think I didn’t allow myself dreaming so far. But then I got my wings and I learned to fly. I simply applied to all the jobs I thought were interesting, even for those abroad and one day I woke up with a phone call from a recruiting agency who offered me the possibility to attend an interview with an airline company from UAE. (I hadn’t even heard of this country.) Normally, I would have ignored such an invitation, because I was called to go in another city to attend the interview. I was 27 years old and I wanted to leave the country, to see how the world is. I succeeded the second time, therefore in august 2008 I arrived in Abu Dhabi. It was a whole different world, at first it was hard to accommodate with such high temperatures, but I had the luck to know someone from my hometown who made the accomodation easier. We are still very good friends till this day, and she is my connection with UAE and with the job among the clouds. I had 2 months of intensive training. We had courses till the afternoon, we arrived home at midnight and the next day we woke up in the morning to study and at 11 am we were going again back to the academy. It seemed liked my dreem job fit me like a glove. And it was exactly like that. I graduated with high grades at Safety and it was my strong point along my career

You worked 5 years for Etihad Airways. How was your first flight? Where did you fly?

The first flight was extremely difficult, I was supposed to be an Observer during the flight, but I had to work exactly the same as the others in order to satisfy all the passengers requests, it was a very interesting experience for me. The flight was full, on a small airplane (A320). I must say that even before knowing about this job, I was passionate about the shows on National Geographic related to airplanes (Aircraft Investigations, Disasters in air). There may be a destiny, right?

How was a day for an Etihad Airways flight attendant?

A flying day was a real ritual, because it meant the same make-up, the same hair style, same uniform and a Briefing before each flight. After this, you will walk proudly with the whole crew under the starring eyes of the passengers. The flights were mostly tiring, but everything was fine as long as the crew knew how to communicate and work in a team.  If this didn’t happen, the flight would be a failure, but each flight is a lesson. This job/world taught me to be grateful (for the fact that I was born in Romania and I had the chance to have an education, for the fact that I knew 4 seasons, and so on.), I learned to be the best, to be patient, to respect different cultures, to accept that we are all what we are.

Tell us a funny story of one of your flights.

Hmm, there were so many. I remember on the second flight as an Observer when my colleagues along with the Captain tried to prank me. Ah, a whole flight laughed when the copilot forgot to deactivate “PA” (public announcement) and all the passengers heard their private conversation after landing.

Have you ever encountered an emergency situation? How did you react?

Fortunate, I haven’t had serious incidents in my 5 years as Cabin Crew. I once had a gentleman who fell in a deep sleep and his wife thought he died. In this kind of situations most important it is to remain calm, to talk with your passengers and to ask the help of your colleagues. In general, I am a strong person, I don’t panic and I manage to deal calmly with this kind of situations and to be useful when needed.

Which was one of the great satisfactions that this job offered you?

Seeing happy people: that hand shake when they left the airplane, that “thank you” in their language, the joy of offering a smile. And not least, the joy of seeing and living for a short period of time in all those places I had the privilege to arrive to.

What will be the disadvantages of this job?

Oh, the minuses…yes, they are plenty. Seen from outside, it is a wonderful job, and nobody knows what it truly means. It involves a lot of physical work, not only mentally, it is about working long hours, taking care of people, washing toilets if necessary, cleaning vomit and the list goes on. The idea is that from the moment you arrived in the airplane till landing, the airplane is your home, and from the moment the doors are closed till opening you are there for anything that the passengers need and trust me a lot can happen: babies can be born, people could die, accidents can happen, and so on.

Do you miss flying? How is your life now? What plans you have in the future?

Yes, I miss it, even if I don’t have time to think about it and my baby girl is offering me all the joy and satisfaction I need. I was still working for Etihad Airways when I got pregnant (I had a long distance relationship with my husband, he was in Romania, and Lia happened on one of our escapades in Istanbul). I flew for 2 more months with her in my belly and my last flight was the longest one. What can I say? It was an amazing experience, I will always say that, I am glad I had this opportunity. If I had another age when I left,  I would have arrived far… I left from a FJ position (First and Business Class Attendant), and I was about to become Cabin Senior, but I didn’t had the opportunity. I have a tattoo “Alis Grave nil” (Nothing is hard for those who have their wings)

Best regards,

Lili.

Prepare yourself for the upcoming interviews with the big airline companies. Attend one of our How to be Cabin Crew courses and make a step  towards your dream. Details and registration here.

Three major airlines, one single flight attendant: Antonia’s story

Antonia Talianu is one of the flight attendants who amazed us with their life stories. Now 32, she is a graduate of the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, at University of Bucharest. Seven years have passed since Antonia went to Middle East to make a dream come true. Although it sounds like a cliché, she always wished to fly. At the early age of 15, she got a job that could allow her to travel, doing it whenever possible. Antonia told us how life as a flight attendant gave her freedom in many ways, from the way of thinking to the financial leeway. In a few months, she will become a mother, accomplishing her dream of having her own family too.

Oman Air, Etihad Airways, and Emirates Airline – an impressive chain of Gulf carriers for which you have worked. How did you find out about the interviews and how were they conducted?

To be sincere, at that time, you could gain access to more information only after getting hired by a Gulf airline. Unlike now, when there are so many forums, Facebook pages, or even personal development and professional counseling programs. I have found out about Oman Air from a job offers website. After applying, I was invited to a hotel, together with other 500 girls. It was the first time Oman Air was coming to Romania. The interview process took three days, and with each day passing, we were fewer and fewer. Eventually, 20 girls were chosen, but it was only me and a girl from Piteşti who had the courage to embark to Oman.

For Etihad Airways I’ve applied while I was already flying for Oman Air. I wanted a change, to really see the world, as Etihad Airways had many more destinations. The interview was quite difficult. I flew 45 minutes from Oman to Abu Dhabi. When I arrived at the Etihad head office, I noticed there were not more than 1000 girls who had come for the Assessment Day from all over the world. We started talking and I had around me there girls coming from America, Australia and even Venezuela. Some of them looked like real supermodels. The interview wasn’t different from that of Oman Air. It was a tough selection, lasting one day. We had no time to waste, but only to stay focused. At six o’clock that evening, we were 20 girls and boys waiting for the face-to-face interview. After that, I returned to Muscat, back to my work. In two weeks, I received my visa through an email, together with my air ticket.

Emirates, I have to admit, was my last attempt to live in the Middle East. As a First and Business Class Lounge Supervisor, I wasn’t flying anymore. They contacted me after finding my profile on a website, so that it wasn’t necessary for me to apply. At first I thought it was a joke made by my friends from Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways being the only airline offering low-fare tickets not only for family, but also for friends. What followed was a Skype interview. After two days, they invited me to a face-to-face interview, sending me an air ticket, the visa and the hotel reservation. Out of the ten Romanian women coming in Dubai for the interview, I was the only one successful. After two weeks, I moved into a studio and started the training.

How long did you work for each airline and how were you promoted?

Oman Air is the airline of my soul. It was there where I have learned everything about culture, religion, mentality and behaviour. I have lived there for three and a half years. But I can honestly say it was thanks to Etihad that I become more mature. They are stricter, but also more respectful. I have been working there for one year and a half. Lastly, Emirates seemed incredibly relaxing to me; I was a different person then, more mature and with some experience behind. Besides, I used to work four days and have the next four days for rest.

At that time, Oman Air didn’t have its own system of promotion. After three tiring months of turnaround flights on a Boeing 737, I have shifted to Airbus 330, which meant flights to Europe and layovers, finally. It was the period when Oman Air was purchasing bigger airplanes, starting its flights to Europe.

Etihad Airways is an airline that cares for your personal development. So after six months, I applied and received the Cabin Senior role, being in charge of the whole Economy Class. My wide experience with Oman surely had a say on it.

In case of Emirates, it is not easy to get promoted, being a ground employee, even already a supervisor. In order to reach the next level, you must speak Arabic. Although I speak, write and read in five different languages, it did not make any difference.

For which one of the airlines did you most enjoy working and why?

I have most enjoyed working for Oman Air, as I had the chance to acquire everything step-by-step. The Omani people are extraordinarily friendly. That is why I have stayed there for three and a half years, starting from the Economy Class and after three months progressing to the premium classes. Wage differences weren’t too big between classes, but this was my opportunity to deal and interact with high society and royalty.

What was your favourite destination and why?

My favourite destination will always be London. I like to call this city “the country with all countries”. In my opinion, like any other big city, London makes it possible for you to experience different cultures, nationalities and various foods. I have long been fascinated by London. From Etihad I received the chance to visit it very often, through the monthly flight schedule which is built on your level of speaking a certain language.

What were your day off activities while living in Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai?

In Muscat you don’t have many possibilities, except clubbing and exploring Oman. I have been hiking, visited oases, slept in a Bedouin tent in the peaceful desert and also found a family, with whom I still keep in touch, even now, after seven years. As for Abu Dhabi, there is a beach and entertainment everywhere; moreover, your cabin crew ID card lets you join all of the clubs and exclusive parties in town. About Dubai, I could say it was made for partying; but, as I had already experienced it, I preferred instead going to the beach or escaping everywhere around the globe for four days.

How would you describe your flight attendant experience at Oman Air?

My experience at Oman Air gave me the confidence I needed to get through all the interviews. I have always felt confident in my knowledge gained there, as well as in my life experience. My advice to both my friends and others who just look at my photos will always be to leave for the Middle East. What you learn there compares to nothing. Some of my happiest moments were those when I was taking by the hand a passenger afraid of flying, saved a life on board, and made someone smile through a small gesture. I could also improvise a vegan menu for someone who couldn’t have meal. I consider it the only possible way to resist tiredness and time zone changes.

Why did you give up flying?

There comes a time in life when you realize you want something else. Personally, I gave up flying because I was dreaming to have my own family and I didn’t want to lose any time. I have seen the world and spent all of my holidays in America, exploring each state one by one. My passport is out of blank pages for visa stamps. I had the opportunity to live an extraordinary life, filled with experiences and lots of things to learn.

How did you feel during your last flight?

This question makes me smile. My first and last flight had been both to Beirut. My colleagues used to nickname me “Dubai – Beirut”, which represented Oman Air’s longest flight; I was flying there at least four or five times a month. So I ended my flight attendant career with a last flight from Abu Dhabi to Beirut. They called me while I was at my base, in home standby, packing to come back home to Romania. I was on call until the very last moment.

How’s life in London, now that you are done with aviation?

Life is what you make it. In London, you have freedom and opportunities to do whatever you want. I don’t work in the aviation field anymore, but as an assistant building manager in an office building, I still get to meet pleasant people of many nationalities. The difference is not so significant, except now I am always on the ground, working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and having my weekend free.

You can prepare for the upcoming interviews by attending our two day intensive training in Rome. Find more information about the course here. 

Interview process at Etihad Airways

One of our How to be Cabin Crew students who managed to reach the final interview and now is a happy Flight Attendant for Etihad Airways, told us how the recruitment day passed, step by step, and how she interacted with the recruiters the entire day.

Stages of Etihad Airways interview

The interview from Etihad Airways was one of the pleasant one’s from those at which I participated till now( I participated at Qatar Airways and Emirates interview) and I do not say this only because I managed to reach the final interview, but because the recruiters were extremely nice. They were 5 recruiters, 4 women, including a Romanian, named Valentina, and a French guy, Nicholas all dressed in Etihad Airways uniform (they were so ravishing). We were around 150 candidates present at the Assessment Day!

The day started the same as at Qatar Airways and Emirates interviews, we gave out our CV with the passport photo and they asked us one or two questions. I gave my CV to the French interviewer and he asked me what I am working at the moment, if I like what I am doing and why I have chosen Etihad Airways. Then next the reach test followed, touching the 210 cm limit, and I passed with no problems. We gathered all around and after all of us passed through the first task, the recruiters told us how the day will go.

The first task (or the second one, if you take in account the CV drop) was the English test, multiple choice, very easy from my perspective. Then followed the task where we received a question and we had to answer to it, probably they wanted to test our spontaneity. My question was very easily: What superpower would you like to have?. Nice, right? Other examples are: If you were a president what law would you change? or With which feminine character in history would you want to have dinner?. After the questions, they put us a movie to watch, about the town and the company, presented by Valentina and Nicholas. They were very funny, made jokes, asked questions, and of course, responded to our curiosities.

Next there was a break around 40 minutes and then followed by the first eliminations. They called some names, mine was among them and they asked us to take our stuff and to leave the room. We were the successful ones. I think after the eliminations we remained around 50. The next step was the group task, where we were divided into groups of 6 persons and each group had a supervisor, different from the one who asked us questions at the first task, so each candidate managed to be evaluated by all the recruiters. At this task, was the best moment to put in practice what I studied at How to be Cabin Crew course, I put in practice the recommended steps and that was how I successfully passed it. For the final interview, we remained only 30 persons, 12 had to take the interview the same day and the rest were scheduled the next day, me as well. I chose to have the interview the next day because I was extremely tired.

About the final interview, I don’t know what to say. Discussing with other girls I noticed that I was the only one with almost no working experience, this thing got me discouraged. Probably, I was the youngest one from the group. The interview duration was short, like 10 minutes. They asked me typical questions at which, probably, everybody responded almost the same: What it’s your opinion about the fact that you have to share an apartment with the other girls or what is your opinion about being relocated? The recruiters were very nice, one of them, I think her name was Elizabeth, wrote what I was saying, and Nicholas asked me questions.

In conclusion, everything worked smoothly over all, but I think that you need also a lot of luck to be a cabin crew. It matters much what is your mood that they, to detach yourself from everything, and never let yourself down if you are rejected.

Good luck, hope to see you among the clouds!

You can prepare for the upcoming interviews by attending our two day intensive training in Rome. Find more informations about the course here.

Etihad Airways recruitment dates

Etihad Airways recruitment consists of CV drops and invite only  assessments.

A CV Drop Assessment is available to anyone who meets the criteria. An invitation to attend is not necessary. The locations, dates and details of our CV Drops are kept up to date on Etihad Airways website. They are also advertised through social media and other career websites. Should you meet the criteria, you may be required to stay for the whole day or asked to return the next day to attend a full Assessment Day.

An Invite Only Assessment is an invitation-only event for selected candidates who have been invited after an initial meeting at a CV Drop or have recieved an invitation after appling online.

Etihad Airways cabin crew recruitment for April

LONDON
20 April – Invite Only Assessment Day

ATHENS
20 April – CV Drop
Venue: Radisson Blu Park Hotel, Leof. Alexandras 10, Athens 106 82, Greece
Time: 0800-1800
21 April – Invite Only Assessment Day

LONDON
20 April – Invite Only Assessment Day

ABU DHABI
21 April – Invite Only Assessment Day

AMMAN
28 April – CV Drop
Venue: Amman Airport Hotel, Queen Alia Airport St A867, Amman 11104, Jordan
Time: 1400-1800
29 April – Invite Only Assessment Day

ABU DHABI
29 April – Invite Only Assessment Day

You can apply for this positions here.

WHAT IS AN ASSESSMENT DAY?

An Assessment Day is a very complex process. It can last one or two days, and has many levels you need to pass through in order to reach the final interview. After each level, there is an elimination round. The ground rule is: succeed and go further in the process; fail and go home. Read more

etihad crew

Etihad Airways cabin crew recruitment for May

BOMBAY
4 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

BOMBAY
5 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

BUCHAREST
11 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

ABU DHABI
13 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

KIEV
18 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

TUNIS
18 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

ABU DHABI
20 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

ROME
24 May – CV Drop
Venue: NH Roma Leonardo Da Vinci Hotel
Time: 1400-1900
25 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

AMMAN
26 May – CV Drop
Venue: Crowne Plaza, 6th Circle, Amman, Jordan.
Time: 1300-1800
27 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

ABU DHABI
27 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

BOLOGNA
27 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

FLORENCE
28 May – Invite Only Assessment Day

You can apply for this positions here.

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