Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to get a job in Etihad Airways?

Many of you readers have asked me this question and now I will tell you how I got it.

1. Height.
First of all to be a flight attendant you need to fill some basic requirements weather you work in Finland or Emirates. There is a certain height requirement (that differs according to a company) but for Etihad you need to be able to reach a mark in 210 cm above with your hands. That's because you have to be able to open and close the hat racks that can be very high especially in Boeing aircrafts. And the bigger the plane is the higher and wider everything is.

2. Language skills.
When I first worked for TuiFly in Finland they needed all cabin crew to be able to speak finnish, swedish and english. The working language was swedish because we flew with crew from Sweden, so it was impossible for us to cope with only english. But english is the aviation language everywhere because the manuals and the commands are always in english. So you need to be able to understand it no matter where you fly. With Etihad the company language was of course english and all the other languages were an advantage for serving our customers.

3. Social skills.
This is a must and shouldn't need more explanation. Our job is to provide the best possible customer service and try our best to make the flight the best experience for the customer. It differs between companies what they expect you to do for them but if you work in the Gulf area prepare yourself to do basically what ever it takes.

4.  Coping with stress.
Flight attendant is a top class customer service provider who is also responsible in solving medical and other highly risky situations. You will face panicked customers, people vomiting, getting too drunk, fighting, trying to open the doors etc. So you need to have a load of patience and nerves that won't brake no matter what might happen.

5. No life.
If you'r a person who loves schedules and want's to know the life ahead then working in aviation is not your cup of tea. You will get your roster for the next month that tells you your flights and days off. But it also includes stand by days when you need to wait to get a phone call to be ready for a flight in one hour. And you never know if it's a 3 hour turnaround or a 13 hour long hall with 54 hour layover. So don't make any plans, you can't keep any. This also means having a normal social life with friends and boyfriends is sometimes quite hard. When they are off you are working. And remember that aviation doesn't recognize holidays like Easter, Christmas or your birthday.

There are some basic healt requirements as well of course and eye sight needs to be ok. Also the weight needs to be normal. Depending the company they also have different age limits. I should say that in Europe they hire people for long term and in Finnair they have flight attendants who have been working for the company for decades. But in Gulf area (companies like Etihad, Emirates, Gulf Air) they prefer young people with single status. They will use you for few years and that time you simply don't have the time or energy to even think of anything else. But eventually people want to marry and have families and then they'll quit and go back to their home countries.

Some asian companies have a very strict age policy, they'll fire you after you turn 30. Their policy is to have the most beautiful and young cabin crew to make their customers happy. And I think they've managed to do it. But for Etihad there's no official age limit, you only need to be single. It's actually in the contract. And by single they mean not married. In Islam you're not allowed to live with someone without being married so no boyfriends coming with you when signing the contract ;)

Here's the official qualifications for Etihad:

Qualifications:To qualify for the opportunity you will need to meet the following criteria:
- Minimum age 21 years
- Ability to swim at least 25m unaided in open water, without a flotation device
- Must be able to reach 210cms without shoes
- No tattoos that would be visible whilst wearing the Etihad uniform
- Medically fit to meet regulatory requirements.
- Empathetic with a positive attitude and a willingness to work in a multicultural environment
- Cabin Crew/Customer Service experience is an asset

Educated to a minimum level of accredited secondary education or equivalent.
Must have a high standard of English; verbal, written and comprehension.
Fluency in another language is always an advantage.

So how to apply for Etihad?

Well it's very easy. Everything's online so you can start the process immediately. Go to and there's a link "careers at Etihad". They have open cabin crew positions all the time so you can apply every time. But I just heard that they've recruited so much lately that all the training courses until the end of this year all full already! It means that if you get the contract you need to wait until they can assign you to a training before you can move to the UAE.

Be careful when filling the application. You need to tell them all the information and send all the documents, otherwise the process doesn't move anywhere. After that they will send you an email if you have passed this first stage and they will invite you to a recruiting day. There's an online list of all the available recruiting days they have all over the world and you can go to any of those.

I didn't want to wait for them to come to Finland (which they sometimes do) but took a day in Amsterdam. I had to pay the tickets and hotel by myself but I was thinking it was worth it. If I get the job I'll get the money back anyway and if not at least I've exceeded myself by going through a tough international recruiting process and gained a massive experience.

The interview

So i went to an interview and it was an experience. There was probably 100 girls seeking for the job. I had to bring all my employment and education certificates, passport pictures etc.

First task was the hight test. That was easy for me because I'm 172 cm. But there was one asian girl who was sent back home. Then the real tests started. We had our first group assignment where we were given different kind of difficult customer situations to solve in few seconds and there was a recruiter to observe us.

Second state was the english test. We had to complete a written test and complete it with high scores. Many girls were sent home. After that they called us all in one room and they gave us names who were proceeding to the final interview. It was a huge relief to hear my name and at that point I knew that I've got he job, I need to really screw the interview in order to mess my changes now.

The final interview was with one recruiter and she asked me more examples about how I've solved different situations in customer service. They look for a smiling, friendly, helpful people who can put their own pride to the back side when they meet difficult and demanding customers. And believe me that's what you'll get when working with over 120 different nationalities..

Also they want to make sure you are open minded and can handle the stress and you know what you're doing and where you're going. Not everyone find's their peace in such a different cultural environment. Some even leave in the middle of the 2 month long training. They realize it's not what they were expecting. It's not all glitz and glamour but hard work, short sleep, different manners, language, religion. And even the work it self it's not easy, it's really hard in many ways.

So if you get yourself through the final stage you can go happily home and wait for them to call you. If they send you an email it usually means you're not qualified or they need something from you, usually some documents are still missing. And when they call you they will ask you to sign the contract and tell them how fast you're able to move.

You'll get the contract to sign and the flight tickets few days before the flight. I was sent by Blue1 to Frankfurt and from there with Etihad to Abu Dhabi. And I have to say it was a memorable experience, they took such a good care of us on the flight.

After you pass

The contract is for 3 years and you'll have a 6 month probation. During that time you can leave but if you do you have to pay the expenses back to the company. It means the training, accommodation etc. But if you leave during the training they don't send you the bill. Anyway I think 6 months goes really fast and only after that you can truly know if you want to do it or not. Also after the probation you'll able to give discount tickets to your friends and families and have other benefits so it only get's better.

Oh i almost forgot! When you sign the contract and move to UAE they'll give you the visa, heath insurance, accommodation and allowance. But you need to pass the training and all the exams during it. If you fail they can determine you're contract and send you back. Also if you fail in the medical examinations they'll do the same. There they'll ask everything about your previous medical history and if you have suffered for example a migraine or depression even if that was10 years ago they will not hire you. Everything that can be seen as a risk for the company they will eliminate. So either be healthy or don't tell too much for them.

If I have the energy in the near future I could tell something about the training period as well. It's interesting because it's different from what I had here in Finland with TuiFly. Every company does things a little differently and even if you have been flying for a decade but when you change the company you need to do it all again. Every time.

If you've left with any questions feel free to send them to me. I'll try to give answers that help you to get there if you're interested :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

I'm home!

Last post I wrote was when I finished 1 year in Abu Dhabi. Since that truly amazing things has happened in my life in such a tempo I can hardly believe..! I hope to be able to tell you all about it in the future but now i can say that one chapter in my life has finished and something new and exciting is beginning :)

Some of you were asking about how to get to work with Etihad and I will write about that, don't worry :) But right now I have to write about what is going on in my life and how everything has changed ones again.

So.. last week I packed my stuff, took a flight and came to Finland. And contrary what I thought only few weeks ago I'm not going back to Abu Dhabi. Something happened there, nothing to do with the work although I was tired of it as you know. But I realized my future is not there and it's time to move on to new adventures.

My dear friend Petra took care of me and drove to the airport to make sure I'm safe <3

This is the last picture of us together.. I really hope to see you again soon!!! Hopefully somewhere in Europe this time ;)

So here I am. In the middle of the most beautiful summer where everything is completely opposite from UAE. Where the nature is so unbelievable green and lush, everything is clean, people friendly and air is so fresh and clean to breath.

I was writing earlier how I suffered from bronchitis and constant fever in AD. So eventually I found a doctor who told me what was wrong with me. Apparently I was getting allergic to the dust that's in the air everywhere. Even the locals are suffering from breathing difficulties and even asthma.. And for some reason my lungs can't handle the weather. I was never suspecting that the dry air could have such an effect. You can't even see the dust because it's so fine. But it's everywhere and the pilots know it too well. I heard that the sand is up until 3 kilometers and sometimes makes landing impossible.

So now when I'm breathing this cold but clean air I smile and feel happy!

Even when it's raining and the temperature is only + 13 I don't mind. Nature is so beautiful, it's like in a fairy tale, Hobbit land or something :) And I can finally breath.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memories from the past 12 months

1 year completed at the desert. I think it's time to look back and summon all the things happened.
I have to say it's been the most amazing year of my life! I have seen and experienced so much I could never get by living @ home in Finland.

Here's some of my favorite moments from the past 12 months:

- 27.5.2011 I packed my stuff and flew from Helsinki to Frankfurt and from there to Abu Dhabi. And it was also my first encounter with Etihad Airways service, what a luxury it felt.. :)

- Graduation 6 weeks later, getting the wings. And of course the graduation party with the whole batch @ the Yacht Club in Yas Island. We had an amazing italian dinner first at Cipriani and then we headed upstairs to one of the poshest night clubs in UAE - Allure. The whole night was payed for us and I got the first hand experience of the luxury and hospitality of this city.

- Desert safari. First experience and the last! ;) I was scared for my life the whole time, absolutely crazy! But amazing at the same time and I would recommend that for anyone coming here. The day ended with a belly dancer show and some shish smoking under the sky full with bright stars..

- First flight which I can never forget was Khartoum, Sudan. Unfortunately it was only a turnaround so not much to tell you about Sudan.

- First layover was Milan, Italy. It was a familiar city for me already but why I remember this flight was because I met one special girl from the crew and we became good friends. And also the amazing italian dinner in a small restaurant.. eating for 4 hours and finishing 2 bottles of italian red wine! But it was worth it, Ti Amo!

- First South-Africa flight on october. One of the most memorable experiences I've had this year happened here. We went to a Lion Park and I got to pet the small lion cubs! It was amazing and how incredible cute they were.. Unbelievable that I have actually touched a real lion!

- My first vacation was to New York. This city has been in my dreams since I was a small child. And it was truly great. What made this trip even more memorable was that I went there when the Occupy Wall Street had their biggest protests and I took part of that. I'm still so proud of myself for doing it :) So I saw the Times Square the first time when walking there with other protesters surrounded by the police and FBI..

- Places where I've had layovers during this year:

Sri Lanka

- 3 holidays. First was New York, second I spent in Dubai with my family. And third was in Morocco.

- Then UAE itself. I think I have seen probably more about the local culture and lifestyle than most. Mostly because I have been dating a local guy :) I have to say that people here look amazing, they are so well groomed and the way they carry themselves is almost royal. It makes people to respect them. I learned to love so many things in locals as well as in their culture.

But when you get to know them better you realize that they are pretty much like everyone else. They do everything that westerners do but only in private. They still have a huge respect for their families/parents so they don't want to insult them in public for example if they are drinking. So they have simply lavish, crazy parties where people get invitations and everyone knows each other. They can go to a private villa or farm where they have boa snakes, lions, cheetahs and tigers only for entertainment.

Or their love for fast cars and the more expensive and unique the better. For example when people here buy a Porche or Lamborgini they always customize the car. Every single one is unique with the owner's touch. Also the plates are customized and they can pay a fortune for getting the one they want.

I've experienced luxury and riches that are from the fairy tale 1000 and one Nights. Only difference is that it's all real.

But all this has also the down side that you can't miss when you come to the city. The poor workers from Asia are everywhere. Working in the constructions in 40 degrees heat, 6 days a week. They will see their families maybe ones a year if they're lucky. Some only every 2 years. We get to see them on our flights. I have done mostly Asian flights and I was first shocked to realize that we basically transport workers to and from UAE and other Gulf countries. But they are everywhere and you have to make an opinion about that. I have always been very interested and active in social matters. So I have tried to understand the both sides of the story.

Truth is that after I saw the slums in Bangladesh I realized how these people working in UAE are the lucky ones. At least they will have a steady job and they will earn enough to support their whole family back home. For us the salary is a joke of course but I can't compare it like that, I'm coming from a highly developed country and I also have 16 years of studies behind me. So of course I will earn much more. But for them most of the Bangladeshi people "work" in the slums where they collect garbage and sell it or as a taxi drivers. So every single morning they don't know if there's any work for that day. And when they will get sick there's no insurance to treat them. And there's no housing provided. They have absolutely nothing. So they send family members to work here and that will give the family some kind of hope for a better future. I've learned that things are not that simple what you first think.

This has been an amazing year, something to remember for the rest of my life. I didn't came here for the work but for the culture. And I wanted to experience living abroad and find out how it feels like. Also to learn something about myself and to widen the understanding about other cultures.

I think I have accomplished that quite well. I have got even more I could have ever dreamed of. It feels unbelievable that it's been only 1 year, feels like a whole lifespan.

I'm also very grateful to be able to say I have learned more nglish and especially to speak it more fluently. It was hard at first, to speak and think in english all the time and I had no finnish speaking friends here. But after few months it became natural and nowadays I even think in english about half the time. And I've got an amazing finnish friend as well with whom to talk with and it feels very liberating from time to time.

So as a conclusion I have to say this year hasn't been always easy, I've had many frustrating moments, many sick leaves. But that is nothing comparing to what I have learned living here. I've seen and experienced so much i can't even describe. There are many things in this culture I would love to bring back to Finland, some values and laws that i have seen to be very good. At the same time I have learned to appreciate my own culture, my language, finnish people who are straight and loyal and our nature with fresh air.

You simply can't get this with money. You have to experience it your self. Take a leap and see where life takes you. If there's anyone thinking about being a flight attendant or moving abroad I can warmly recommend you to do so! You'll never regret going and doing, but you will if you don't.

"Life is an adventure"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Abu Dhabi in Timelapse

3 days left and then I can celebrate 1 year anniversary living in Abu Dhabi. Most of the people have never been here or even know much about this capital. Dubai is the better known brother because of it's enormous marketing efforts. Of course those insanely huge building projects and artificial islands makes it quite easy ;)

But I am Abu Dhabi citizen and I truly love living here. City is growing and it's more humble by attitude. At the same time this city is one of the richest in the world and people here can have 5 Rolls Roy's in front of their villa's. Believe me, I've seen that.

This is a year old video that made a huge hit and I think on top of being absolutely beautiful and touching it also shows the character of this city that's never sleeping and constantly growing and evolving.


Such an inspirational travelers

I have to share this video with you! It's inspirational and puts you think what could I do in my everyday life to help people I meet. These travelers are showing the today's Good Samaritan spirit that we all should act out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I heart Germany

 I hade my first flight after the sick leave to Munich. I've been to Germany many times before, driving through the country and had family holidays there. But mostly in the north so the Bayern isn't that familiar with me. But I was lucky to visit there at the beginning of the summer when the nature is so beautiful and green. After flying only to Asia for the last 6 months it felt so refreshing to smell the fresh european air and see the German lifestyle that's so completely different from Abu Dhabi.

I love the old architecture in Munich, all the buildings are so beautiful and well maintained. And there's parks everywhere and people jogging and bicycling and having a very healthy lifestyle. And the markets sell organic fresh products and the food prices are much lower than in northern Europe. It doesn't make any sense that the living standard in Germany is so high, they get a good salary, pay a lot of taxes of course as well but housing, food and cars are so much cheaper than any other highly developed countries in Europe. 

Living in Finland is extremely expensive, it's like having the same kind of living standard than in Germany but finns have to pay double for food and housing. It takes most of your salary so there's no way you can spend it to other expenses or to save. I love the German way and I could easily live there one day, especially in the south :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Heating up

I've been on a sick leave. Again. I just recovered from bronchitis 5 weeks ago and now it hit me again but this time it was worse. One day I woke up with 39,5 C and the fever went up to 40 degrees. That starts to be critical and no able to eat and drink I went very weak. Then the cough started and I knew it's in the lungs again..

So after all the tests and almost fainting at the hospital corridors they told me what I knew already, it's bronchitis again and an infection in the lungs. I got the strongest antibiotics but still after 9 days I'm not well.

This work is very hard for the health. I have done 6 layovers in Asia last month and breathing that filthy aircraft air filled with bacterias everywhere my health just doesn't take it. And after all the antibiotics my resistant is almost zero tolerance. So I'm actually freaking out going back to work because I simply can't take any he alt issues anymore, my body is so weak.

Yesterday I went to the beach early morning to get some sun and vitamins. It was great to swim after so many months and it felt good to stay outside after such a long time. But I also got burned because antibiotics makes my skin very sensitive for sun.

There's something good as well. Last sunday I got an email that the company will move all of us to a new building. And I will move actually in few days so I have been packing the whole day. It feels crazy how much stuff yu can collect in only 1 year! And it's not only clothes ;) So in sunday I will be living in a new house and thank God it's still in the city. I don't know yet how it looks inside but from outside it's beautiful and new and they even have a swimming pool and a gym! So I think I will enjoy living there much more than here. I will post some pictures ones I have settled down there.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Les Bains de Marrakech

In my trip to Morocco I visited the traditional Moroccan Bath, Hammam. It was the best thing I did in my holiday. The experience was amazing and the Spa itself so luxurious. It was in a traditional Riad and the decoration was very traditional and so incredible beautiful. 

Les Bains de Marrakech offers variety of different traditional Moroccan spa and bath rituals. I took the traditional Moroccan Bath and it was my first time experience. 

First I was taken to a steam room where a girl washed me with a natural soap. Then I was left there for a 15 minutes to soak in steam and relax. After I was completely wet and relaxed she started to scrub my body with the natural black soap. I was amazed how much dead skin was removed! It is really effective and also very good for blood circulation because the washer scrubs your body with a harsh washing glove and it almost hurts. But you feel completely pure and fresh, like a newborn after that.

I'm from a country where we have a strong sauna culture. It has the same idea of purity and cleaning. But Moroccan bath is different, the heat is not that high and it's more about the steam which is so good for the breathing as well. 

After the treatment they oiled my body with a natural Argan oil which is very famous and expensive pure moroccan oil. Then I was taken to a relaxing room to lye down and they gave me some Moroccan tea and biscuits. I was so relaxed that I falled asleep and finally they came to wake me up. 

This place was like an oasis in the middle of a dirty, noisy city. And ever sense I have tried to find something similar from Abu Dhabi but still haven't had luck finding.

This style is something I could easily take in my next home. Especially the moroccan lamps that create a soft and tranquil light. 

 Soft fabrics dividing the spaces and creating a peaceful atmosphere. Soft earthly colors and arabic decorations.

I just love this design!

Just check their website for the best design pictures and read about the traditional moroccan hammam and bath treatments!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kuala Lumpur

The famous Petronas Towers

I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with KL. I was expecting it to be more like Singapore which was one of my favorite cities so far. But KL felt like a small ugly sister and outdated. It has famous landmarks, the Petronas towers but which city doesn't have sky scrapers nowadays? The shopping was quite bad, all the clothes were too short for me or the design was for locals with lot's of patterns and screaming colors. 

I headed for the China town because usually that's the area where all the hassle is. And it was like any other china town you can find. Full with small shops selling fake brand products, chinese medicine shops and street food.

 I found this lovely Tea Shop at the china town. They had amazing variety of different
 tea from China and all the products were packed in very beautiful cans and pouches. I had to buy few different teas for home.

These street food stalls were everywhere, this one is next to China Town in a busy shopping area.

My chinese breakfast @ food court 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Back to work

Holidays are gone and it's time to do some work again. I just came back from Bangkok and I'm having a breakfast downstairs at Costa Coffee = my unofficial living room. I sit here for hours, sipping a huge mug of latte, reading the local newspapers, chatting with the staff and surfing in internet. That's my way of relaxing from a tough day at work.

Outside temperatures have started to climb and today it's already +37 and it's still rising. So anybody who needs some warmth and sun to recover from the winter just head your paths to UAE ;) I'm heading for the beach!

Monday, April 2, 2012

I found my dream home

I found this property when I was looking the home markets in Abu Dhabi. Most of the properties on sale are quite dull, built fast with big revenues in sight but lacking the atmosphere and personal touch that makes it feel like home.

But when I saw this project, Nurai Island homes, I was stunned! This design is exactly what I love! It's ultramodern, lots of open space, big windows, privacy and the ocean just on your doorstep. And in Abu Dhabi you will get the sunlight, warm weather and beautiful deep green colour of the ocean 12 months a year.

The architects are from New York, a design house called Studio Dror. The island villas actually consist 3 different house types which are all built either next to or on top of the ocean. My favorite is the one that is all glass built and is standing in the poles on the water. I have always loved ocean, the open space and light. In this house you can get it all!

My only obstacle in getting this dream home is the price.. this On Water Villa cost about 4-5 M euro.. So at the moment it's only a dream.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fairytales of Arabian Nights

I'm on a holiday. Almost 2 weeks off. And I had bought a ticket to Buenos Aires to go to South-America for the first time ever. But when the vacation came closer I started to feel unsure about my plans. To be honest I didn't have the feeling to travel again, to pack the bags, find my way to a hotel, to see the city sightseeings. Especially when I do that as my work, I always go out from the hotel to look at the city and trying to get a grip about the local life.

Just before the vacation started I also got sick. Lying in a bed for a week and running to doctors and finally getting the antibiotics for bronchitis.. And I got so bored and depressed. And I didn't want to go anywhere. I was missing a home. Somewhere to belong to. Which I don't have anymore. But I really want to have it. I am so tired of traveling, living in a shared apartment like a teenager. Even many people sees my life a exciting and adventures which it is in a way. But I need something more.

So why am I now in Marrakech? I arrived yesterday after traveling first 9 hours from Abu Dhabi to Casablanca and then checking in again for Air Maroc flight to Marrakech. And I arrived to this personalized funny little "riad" where I have a Marilyn Monroe room. People here and the hotel staff are extremely friendly and helpful. As arabs usually are from my experience, very good hosts.  I have never been in Marocco and for my love for arabian culture I decided to change my plans and fly here to experience the real arabian nights and fairy tales. Marrakech is a place for fairy tales to come true. And I need mine to come to reality. So I'm looking for the inspiration :)

But staying in Abu Dhabi, being sick and having too much time to think is never a good option for me. I need some action, otherwise I feel my life has stopped. I get bored. And depressed. I need to experience this life. But I know that most of all I need to build my life all over again. I am a very traditional girl who loves her family and home, who loves to be a wife and take care of the house. Sounds boring but that's the reality. And I am repeating myself but I am fed up with this loneliness and rootlessness. I need to change my life but I don't know when it will happen. I am waiting God to show me.

Marrakech is a truly arabian and magical city with a long history and traditions. It excites my mind and soul with the narrow streets, sellers yelling at the streets trying to catch a bargain, busy chaotic roads with cars, bikes and donkeys.. This is life to it's fullest. It's not organized. At least that's how it looks like when you first take a look at it. But when you spend some time observing you realize everything has it's place and order.

That's a life in a microscopic scale. So many times our lives seems so chaotic, like you'r not going anywhere or you'r just floating. But when you look back the time you realize how everything that has happened has had it's own meaning to build your unique story. Every life has a purpose and everyone has a different story to tell. And mine is only beginning.