Naila’s journey: from Emirates flight attendant to Starbucks barista
Unlike her colleagues, Naila Hosni never dreamed of working as a flight attendant. Having a university degree in marketing, Naila initially planned to become an interior design consultant. However, it seems that fate has led her to the aisle of the wide-body commercial jet. After visiting an airline’s recruitment open day without any intentions to get a job, Naila was captivated by the presentation. Two weeks later, she attended another event ‒ this time determined to get the job.
“I didn't have any plans to become a flight attendant at first but Emirates was doing a recruitment open day in Paris, my home city. [...] I couldn't imagine being a flight attendant before, but afterwards I realized that it was something that was meant for me,” Naila Began remembers. A few weeks after the recruitment day, she got the famous “golden” Emirates call inviting her to join the airline. And here Naila’s life has changed completely.
Soon after, she moved to the airline’s base in Dubai where she had spent two years embarking on endless journeys to exotic destinations and enjoying cultural diversity. However, the adventure ended abruptly.
“I lived [in Dubai] for two years and it was incredible. I really enjoyed the interaction with people. That connection among the flight crew and with passengers was incredible. I was discovering new places and new cultures every day. Even though I have already been to a particular country before, every time it is a new journey for me and I miss that feeling. I would say [I have been to] over 20 different destinations across the globe. It was an amazing life experience,” Naila said.
When the Covid pandemic started devastating the aviation industry, Naila got laid off from the airline and she says she was more than shocked after hearing the news. The former flight attendant was desperately looking for a job in other industries in Dubai but her attempts were vain due to the increased numbers of unemployed people at the time.
“The funny story is [that my career] started in Paris and the last flight I had was for Paris. It was already weird on the way back, going to Dubai, while we were operating the flight with very few people in the plane. I didn't realize it was my last flight at that time,” Naila shared her memories.
“I was so shocked after losing the job! I was asking myself Why me? Why not somebody else? what am I going to do? At the same time, I figured out that everything makes sense. Maybe it was meant to be this way.”
While noticing that the situation with the employment opportunities in Dubai was not changing, the flight attendant took on the backup plan and moved back to her home city where she was hoping to start her studies with a perspective to become a pastry chef. However, when the flight attendant returned home, she realised she had missed the deadline of submitting applications to the university. So she found a job in Geneva as a barista for Starbucks.
“In my current job as a barista, I love making someone happy by giving them the best beverage I can make. I'm on a probation period and I don't think my coffee is better than baristas who have been working there for five years. But I‘m always learning, improving myself, becoming better every day. And, the same as on the airplane, I love the interaction with customers. Lots of people are coming to Switzerland, speaking English and some of them have an accent like I used to hear in flight when I was a flight attendant ‒ I really like that.”
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