This is a list of 11 worries I compiled from all the questions and emails I get on a daily basis from my readers.
Some of these questions and worries may be things that are in the mind of the vast majority of people, while some others may be something you are considering for the first time as you are reading this article. As with every worry, it all comes down to confidence and how we each perceive ourselves.
The age requirement published by the airlines only covers the minimum age. You must be at least 18 years old for the application to be considered valid. This is considered the age of majority in the Middle East.
What about the upper age limit?
In some countries where recruitment agencies handle the pre-screening, an upper age limit is published. In many countries, this is an illegal requirement. I have readers who worry they are too old at 25, 32 or 38. They all ask “what age is too old?” This has nothing to do with their actual date of birth, but more with how they perceive this matter and more importantly how they perceive themselves. If you think that being older means you have more experience and maturity, this question doesn’t even pop into your mind. If however, you think of this job strictly from the “looks” perspective, you might start worrying.
So let me ask you this:
Where are you in your life? Are you trying to reinvent yourself? Are you planning to completely change your career path? Would this be a reasonable plan if you were aiming at a different industry?
What if you worked all your life in IT and now you want to become an interior designer? Or you are a florist who wants to be a civil engineer? What are the odds? Extend the same thinking process to the cabin crew career.
For the airlines in the Middle East, you do have a chance to be hired as a cabin crew in your late 20s, early 30s, late 30s and even early 40s. During the interview, you have to demonstrate the ability to deliver extraordinary customer service, willingness to learn and wisdom to know when to apply your skills and talents. But the most pressing issues for the airlines when considering older candidates are:
How will you be able to cope with the reality that your in-flight manager is probably younger than you? Would you resist or contribute?
Are you physically able to cope with the long hours, irregular schedule and demanding conditions? Would you continue to be in good health or become a medical insurance liability?
How would it feel for you to have a flatmate with the energy, hobbies, and passions of a 21-year-old? Would you have conflicts, ask to be moved and constantly complain or get along together?
These are valid issues and any employer wants to take all precautions to minimize probabilities of complications for their staff later on.
2. Weight and height
You must be at least 160cm to apply and the vertical arm reach must be 212cm without shoes.
The minimum requirement is only a vertical arm reach of 210cm which needs to be achieved without shoes. No height requirement is published.
When applying online with Qatar Airways, the question of your height being at least 157.5cm comes up, however, it is not published as a minimum height rule. The vertical arm reach must be 212cm on tiptoes.
All three airlines use BMI to calculate a normal proportion of weight and height. As long as your BMI falls within the normal ranges, you will be fine.
Click here to calculate your BMI.
This topic comes up a lot and it is masked by very specific questions related to the body parts which make the person feel less secure: teeth, hair, skin, etc.
The question everybody wants to ask is: “Do I have to look like a supermodel to get this job?” But actually, the underlying question is “Am I good enough?”
To answer specific questions:
Teeth – Your teeth must be clean, cavity free and your smile pleasant. Dental perfection is not a requirement. Crowns and implants are allowed as long as the visible ones look natural. Braces are not allowed. Visible gold teeth and dental tattoos are not permitted. You smile must be pleasant and this is the only requirement.
Hair – Any length of hair is acceptable if you can style it neatly and business-like for the interview.
Braids and weaves are allowed but they must be neatly styled and properly kept.
The grooming regulations are different for each airline and you will learn about them once you are there, but for the interview, these are the expectations.
For men, a completely bald head is not acceptable as a choice of hairstyle. If you have a medical condition that causes you to lose hair, that is fine, otherwise, it must be neatly cut and styled. Facial hair is not accepted.
Skin – For any medical issues related to your skin such as excessive dryness, acne, redness, you must first seek a specialist’s opinion. Makeup can do wonders at covering up what needs to be covered up, but porcelain skin is once again, not one of the minimum requirements.
Wherever you are in the world, if your passport allows you to travel freely to all the airline destinations (with or without visas), you have a chance to be hired.
Interviews, however, are not organized in all countries. The decision for the airline to recruit in a certain country is dictated by the following factors:
Current number of cabin crew from the country
All airlines pride themselves on the diversity of their crew. If there are large numbers of cabin crew from your country already employed with the airline, it will be less likely for them to look to add even more crew from that location.
Each airline aims to have at least one native language speaker for each destination they fly to. If a new destination is launched to let’s say Finland, they will be looking to hire cabin crew able to speak Finnish.
General level of English
Some countries have large numbers of people studying and speaking English fluently. This makes the location more likely to be visited for interviews.
So if your country is not visited often, or at all, here are your options:
Emirates – You can apply online for an invitation-only assessment day, and with the same invitation you can participate in any recruitment event around the world or travel to an Open Day event in another country. All the expenses should be supported by you.
Etihad – You can apply online. You will be asked your preferred interview location. If you are willing to travel, you can apply for an invitation for any of the locations where the airline is conducting recruitment events.
Qatar Airways – The airline organizes mostly CV drop off events and Open days where it is not compulsory you pre-register online or obtain an invitation. You must be willing and able to travel to these locations at your own cost.
5. Medical Issues
There is a long list of medical conditions which might prevent candidates from successfully passing the medical test. Once again, each airline is different, but the common sense rule is:
-you must be free of any transmittable disease and
-whatever condition you have, it must not interfere with your daily life.
I know this is a broad description, but it pretty much covers the basics.
For example, if you have chronic back pain, it interferes with your daily life and it will affect your job performance. Severe motion sickness is once again an example of a condition not accepted by the airlines.
This part of the article should not be used as an example or medical advice. You must discuss your health concerns with a qualified aviation doctor.
6. Tattoos and Piercings
Tattoos have become very common, however, body art is not appreciated in this industry. If you want to be a flight attendant, you must be ink free in the following areas of your body: arms, legs, neck, face. If you are considering laser treatment to remove your tattoos, you should not be hoping the recruiters will see what a great potential you have and then start pursuing the removal once you are hired.
You should not participate in an interview before your tattoo is fully removed.
The only visible piercings allowed are ear piercings (one in each ear) and earrings for ladies. No piercings and jewelry wearing for men are permitted.
If you have piercings in your nose, lip or eyebrows and there is no visible hole when you remove the jewelry, then it is all fine. You must be willing to remove the jewelry from your facial piercings.
If your ears are not pierced, you should not pierce them to get the job. It is not required.
7. Scars and Birthmarks
Scars can be from chicken-pox marks, stitches, cuts or burns.
If you have any marks on your face, neck, arms or legs, you need to see if they can be concealed with make-up, masked by hair or hid under pantyhose.
If you can do that, the scars should not be a problem.
If you are a man, then you only have to worry about your face and neck, as the uniform consists of a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Man is not allowed to put on make-up while wearing the uniform, so the standards are more rigid here.
Scars can fade in time with laser treatments or by using ointments such as BioOil.
Small birthmarks are fine. Larger or darker ones must not be visible while wearing the uniform.
The only language requirement is fluency in English. If you are able to converse in any other language, it is a great advantage. This is the case especially if the airlines operate flights to destinations where the language is used.
You are not required to speak Arabic, however, if you do, it is considered an advantage.
9. Marital status and kids
This is another hot topic. There are many rumors and preconceptions regarding this and it mostly has to do with the contract that is being offered. It is called a single status contract because the benefits offered by the airline, such as free accommodation and transport, medical insurance, life insurance, annual leave ticket and much more are being offered only to you, the employee. Your spouse or children are not part of this contract, hence they can’t live in the company provided accommodation or have life insurance paid by the airline.
This, however, doesn’t mean you will not be hired if you have a spouse or children. It only means that if you want your spouse and children to relocate as well, you will be responsible for all the arrangements that need to be done. Applying for housing allowance and sponsoring their residence visa might not be possible in the first 6 months of probation.
Being married shouldn’t interfere with how you perform at your work, regardless which work that is.
10. Previous Experience
You do not need to have any previous experience in an airline or any previous work experience at all.
Customer service experience is considered an advantage because during the interview you will be able to provide answers and demonstrate that you already practiced some of the skills required for the job.
You can be hired straight out of school, in which case the interview questions will be focused on your experience with colleagues at school, exam pressure, professors or conflict management.
11. Flight Attendant Certificate
To become a qualified flight attendant for any of the airlines in the Middle East, you must be trained in their own aviation academies and pass all the required the exams to obtain a Flight Attendant License from the local Civil Aviation Authority.
A flight attendant license obtained in your country is not required and it can’t be considered a valid document to operate flights in another country.
Don’t waste your resources on private cabin crew courses. Unless the course will teach you how to be successful at the interview with the specific airline you want to work for, it will not be relevant information.