Cabin Crew Profiles - Petra
Welcome to another edition of Cabin Crew Profiles, where we bring you behind curtain and introduce you to some of the characters that dedicate their lives to making us safe and comfortable in the skies. Today we are sitting at The Sum of Us, an Australian style café diner in Sheikh Zayed Road with Petra, a Dubai based Flight Attendant from the Czech Republic.
ECC: Hi Petra, thank you for joining us today in this great location.
Petra: You’re welcome, this is actually one of my favourite cafes in Dubai so it’s good to share it with you.
ECC: So we know you are good at selecting good locations, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Petra: Sure, I am from a small town in the north Czech Republic called Litomerice, I spent my whole childhood there and finished my High School education there. I never went to college or university and never had any interest in studying more than I needed to. I just wanted to start my life straight away!
ECC: What did you do when you finished High school? Did you have a plan?
Petra: I took 3 months off after I finished school as I had had enough, I really enjoyed my English lessons at school and I wanted to become fluent in the language. I always knew that I wanted to be a flight attendant but I was aware that I had to take things step by step. I signed up to an au pair agency in Czechia and ended up being assigned to a family in Vermont, USA. Which was lucky for me as I love skiing and I knew Vermont was one of the places in the States to Ski. This was back in 2009.
ECC: That must have been a big change, did you find it difficult to adjust?
Petra: This was my first time abroad so I had to adjust to things very quickly. I also think that this was the best way to learn the language as I had to look after small kids who don’t really speak properly, it forces you to listen and pay attention a lot. They also gave me a lot of responsibilities from my first day. The family I was assigned to gave me a lot of independence which meant that I had to arrange most things for myself. Being pushed out of my comfort zone really helped me grow as a person. I loved the USA so much that I spent an extra year in California, this time with a different family. Overall I spent 2 years in the USA.
ECC: So why did you pick the USA? A lot of people go England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland as they are closer to Czechia.
Petra: I was obsessed with the USA, I love movies and I was so curious to experience all these things that I had seen in my favourite movies.
ECC: What was your first impression of the USA, did it match your expectations?
Petra: I remember meeting my agent at the airport and meeting other girls of different nationalities, that was my first exposure to diverse groups of nationalities. I also remember leaving the airport and feeling the rush, everything being so busy, the highways were so big compared to back home!
ECC: What were the main things that you learned during your stay in the USA?
Petra: Sometimes I feel like my education started in the USA, I learned so much more about life during my time abroad than during my previous 18 years back in Czechia. I learned to handle myself in both formal and informal situations in a different language and more importantly, I had become fluent in English, that had been the original reason for my trip but I ended up learning a lot more about life than I expected to.
ECC: Good! But now your time is up and you fly back home from the USA. What happened next?
Petra: I started looking for jobs in aviation during my last few months in the USA, I was interested in working for European based airlines. At the time I started looking at airlines like Travel Service and Ryan Air but I aspired to join British Airways. I hadn’t heard of Emirates at the time. I had friends who told me about Emirates and convinced me to apply. At the time, you could go straight into an open day and this is what I did.
ECC: So how did the process go?
Petra: After attending the Open day I was invited back to the assessment day and finally the final interview. The whole process took around 3 days. I didn’t find the assessments too difficult as I was confident in my speaking and writing skills but I was nervous during my final interview as it was my first ever interview. I received my golden call around Christmas 2011, 4 to 5 weeks after completing my assessment. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to start my new life. It felt great, I was 21 and about to start my new career. I joined the company in March 2012, so I had three months at home before I flew to Dubai.
ECC: So what were your first impressions of living in Dubai?
Petra: After taking my flight to Dubai, I was driven to my accommodation, it was late in the evening so I went straight to sleep. The next morning, I woke up and I really needed some WiFi to contact my family and tell them I had arrived and that I was safe. I couldn’t find it in my apartment so I knocked on my neighbour’s door. My neighbour, who was Brazilian, opened the door, invited me to have coffee with him, shared his WiFi with me and showed me where I was on the map. I got the impression that everyone was very welcoming and friendly. I was also lucky to have a fellow Czech as a roommate who had also recently started so she was a big help. I loved the city though but I couldn’t believe how diverse the city was.
ECC: How about Dubai, what do you like about living in Dubai?
Petra: I love a lot of things about Dubai, the weather is great between October and March, not too hot, not too cold, just right for you to be able to do things outside like going to the beach and going to pool parties. I also enjoy keeping fit in Dubai and it is a city that has a lot of gyms and access to a large number of activities.
ECC: Was the job what you expected it to be?
Petra: I love my job; it has allowed me to travel to so many places both for work and pleasure.
ECC: What are your favourite Emirates destinations?
Petra: Any Island destinations, a package of Mauritius and Seychelles would be my dream destination. Simply because we have no beaches back in Czechia. It’s so different from anything we have back home. As I mentioned before, I love going back to the USA, specially the West Coast flights, particularly Seattle. I love the vibe there, it’s the home of Starbucks, it has nice climate, it isn’t too hot or too cold, I am a big fan of Twilight and of course, it’s the home of Boeing. I would also add Perth in Australia to the list, it’s a really chilled out place to be.
ECC: Speaking to you, it really sounds like you love your job. What have you learned in your time flying that is often overlooked?
Petra: I quickly learned that you have to be patient with people, because people react differently to the same things. You need to be able to adapt to situations and be flexible with your approach. Respecting people’s individual beliefs and culture is crucial as well.
On another note you need to be aware that your lifestyle will change beyond what you can imagine. Being a flight attendant means that you will be travelling a lot, visiting a lot of cool locations and being awake when others are sleeping. You need to be ready to miss out on things you want to do because you have a flight 12-hour flight the following morning and you need to be fresh and ready to operate. If you can adapt to all of these things, you will do well in this business.
ECC: Any final tips?
Petra: I believe preparation is key, if we go back to the beginning of my story, I spent 2 years in the USA for the purpose of improving my English. This was definitely one of the things that got me selected by Emirates in my first attempt. It gave me the confidence to be myself throughout the process and more importantly, it made my induction training much simpler once I arrived in Dubai. ECC: Thank you so much for your time Petra, we hope to speak to you soon!
Petra: I was happy to speak to you, thank you very much.
Do you want to join us in the skies? Being prepared for the role is now more important that it has ever been, with several decades of experience within our team, we are well equipped with the knowledge you need to maximise your chances of getting hired. Whether you are a first time joiner or simply want to polish your skills or join the world of private aviation, check out our services page here to see how our bespoke products can help you on your journey to become the best flight attendant you can be. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with information on our workshops, blogs and our online community. We hope to hear from you soon, until then be safe and we look forward to you joining us in the skies!