Meet two of Singapore's Emirates cabin crew

BI_pub

Jan 26, 2017

Being part of Emirates’ cabin crew is surely one of the most coveted positions in the skies. Each year, over 200,000 hopefuls from all over the world apply for a position with the airline. But of those, only 5,500 are chosen to be part of the elite team.

On board, these passionate and driven individuals are the epitome of courtesy and professionalism; constantly on high alert as they provide a smooth and safe flight for all on board. But when off duty, these cabin attendants certainly know how to let loose.

As Emirates’ home base is Dubai, the crew spends quite some time in the city; knows it inside-out and loves it like it’s their second home. We spoke to seasoned flight attendants Rena Rau and Gregoire De Drouas to learn more about Dubai through their eyes. They’ve dished some cool tips about Dubai so if you’re planning a trip to the city soon, check out what they have to say!

Emirates cabin crew - Rena Rau

Rena Rau, 29

Living in Dubai has widened my horizons and gave me the opportunity to discover that my choices in life are endless and beyond.

Emirates Cabin Crew - Gregoire De Drouas

Gregoire De Drouas, 25

Being based in Dubai allows you to polish your lenses through which you view the world. You become more humbled as a citizen of the world as you meet people of different backgrounds.
1. Why should Singaporeans make a trip to Dubai at least once in their lives?

Rena: We love food. Dubai is the best place for a foodie adventure – you can indulge in so many cuisines from every corner of the world.

Gregoire: This urban desert oasis has a lot of diversity to offer.  Similar to Singapore, Dubai has evolved into a financial and commercial hub, allowing the city to thrive with people of different backgrounds, making it a hotpot of diverse cultures.

2. What’s your favourite eatery in Dubai?

Rena: Bu Qtair fish restaurant. It is the whole experience of dining there with so many cultures coming together for a single dish.

Gregoire: I’m still figuring this one out! However I found good, local Emirati cuisine at the Al Fanar. It was a good introduction to the preparation of local dishes with a variety of meats. You immediately notice that there are mostly locals at the restaurant, and not just tourists!

3. Favourite hang out spot?

Rena: During the summer months, it would be the Mall of the Emirates. Everyone knows the Dubai Mall, but MOE has the world’s largest indoor ski park. Where else in the world can you do that?

During the winter months, it would be the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. It has amazing views both in the day and at night

Gregoire: The Kite beach – I love laying on the soft sand and watching people enjoy the sun. When you look up into the distance, you will notice the skyline comprising of skyscrapers and the landmark Burj Al Arab hotel, which makes you wonder if you are by the beach, in the desert, or in the heart of the city.

4. Where in Dubai would you recommend to get that unique Arabic experience?

Rena: Taking an abra across the Dubai creek to the souks, and also have a traditional Emirati breakfast or lunch at the nearby Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.

Gregoire: Make your way to the Gold and Spice souks. Cross over to the Dubai creek and rent your own Abra (traditional, wooden boat) for an hour (for approximately AED120) which brings you along the Dubai creek, where foreign trade first entered Dubai more than a century ago; or just opt for the other option of paying 1 AED and cross over to the historic Bur Dubai area.

5. In your opinion, where is the most beautiful/Instagrammable spot in Dubai?

Rena: The beautiful sunset in the desert. That’s something we won’t get to see in Singapore.

Gregoire: Definitely it would be a picture of or from the Burj Khalifa. You can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Dubai from the viewing deck of the Burj Khalifa. From the Dubai Mall, you can capture the Burj Khalifa in the day when the sun shines on it or in the evening when the building illuminates with shimmering light.

6. Suggest one activity each for both families and singles.

Rena: A desert safari tour would be fun for families.

Brunch on a Friday, uniquely Dubai, is a must for singles to experience in Dubai. I would recommend Saffron in Atlantis The Palm.

Gregoire: Dubai is home to some of the largest theme parks! I’m sure families with children will really enjoy fun rides and the joyful atmosphere. The world’s largest indoor theme park, the IMG Worlds of Adventure recently opened with a series of rides based on iconic MARVEL superhero favorites including Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and The Avengers as well as characters from the Cartoon Network!

Singles/couples/ travelling in a group may rent a yacht departing at 4pm from the Dubai Marina which lasts for 4 hours to enjoy seeing Dubai from a different angle. The boat brings you out by the Palm Islands and the Jumerah beach front allowing you to have a picture perfect moment when the sun sets and you have the Burj Al Arab in the backdrop.

7. State one fun fact about Dubai that Singaporeans might not be aware of.

Rena: Only about 15% of Dubai’s population are locals. The rest are expatriates.

Gregoire: Dubai’s economy relies very little on oil revenue (only 5 %) and rather its main industries are in aviation, tourism, real estate, and financial services.

8. What’s the best way to get around in Dubai?

Rena: Driving because renting a car is affordable and you can even drive luxury cars that you will dream to own in Singapore.

Gregoire: By the modern metro services or by taxi.

9. What is your recommended length of duration for travellers to Dubai?

Rena: I think five days would be appropriate, to see the city at a leisurely pace.

Gregoire: If you are game for an action-packed itinerary, you can see and do a lot in just three days – perfect for a long weekend getaway.

10. During your days off in Dubai, which part of the city do you explore with your fellow cabin crew?

Rena: Quiet places like the Al Qudra Lakes, a cluster of manmade lakes – home to hundreds of exotic birds; and a short drive a little away from the lakes, you will find dozens of perfect desert camping spots accessible to non-4WDs.

Gregoire: The different entertainment venues: restaurants, beaches, nightclubs, or even renting a car and discovering our neighboring Emirates such as Abu Dhabi or Ras Al Khaimah

11. What is the one thing you’d like to do in Dubai that you haven’t?

Rena: Skydiving over The Palm.

Gregoire: Skydiving or the sea plane tour.

12. One advice to travellers to Dubai.

Rena: Prepare enough money for the endless shopping and entertainment.

Gregoire: Come with an open mind and a pair of sunglasses!

13. What is one common misconception about Dubai you’d like to debunk?

Rena: Dubai is safe and very modern. It is not a desert with only camels on the roads.

Gregoire: That everyone is forced to dress conservatively. While this is a general rule of thumb out of respect of local laws and customs, when you are at the beach or by the pool you are allowed to be in your swimsuits, or you can wear more casual clothes when going to the malls.

14. In one word, describe the life of an Emirates cabin crew member.

Rena: FUN!

Gregoire: Eye-opening

15. How amazing is it to see the world through Dubai? Has it changed your perception of life in general?

Rena: Dubai has exposed me to many different cultures and religions. It is a truly cosmopolitan city that you will not find anywhere else in the world, and I have travelled a lot! Living in Dubai has widened my horizons and gave me the opportunity to discover that my choices in life are endless and beyond.

There is always a good and bad side to everything but I have learnt to embrace it especially after living here for 5 years. I have also seen and heard stories of people from all walks of life and it made me learn to not take things for granted and to respect and appreciate the little luxuries that we receive here in Dubai. Not everything in life is about glitz and glamour, if you take a step back, you will realize what truly matters. And Dubai has opened my eyes to that.

Gregoire:
Being based in Dubai allows you to polish your lenses through which you view the world. It makes you more culturally aware due to the mix of people and the cultures they bring along. Dubai is a fast moving city and ever-changing. You become more humbled as a citizen of the world as you meet people of different backgrounds. You also realize that the population is bound by its unique diversity. Whatever the reason may be for moving to Dubai, all of us here embrace our host city to enjoy all that it has to offer – and it truly has a lot to offer.