Working as a cabin crew member for a major commercial airline in the Gulf region provides plenty of contact with passengers as well as opportunities to travel. Depending on the airline, requirements differ for cabin crew members who aim to share responsibility for the safety and passenger comfort onboard. 

While competency to show impeccable customer service skills remains probably one of the most important skills that a flight attendant should have, there are more requirements for the applicant who aims to dedicate their entire professional life ensuring that the passenger is safe and pleased onboard. AeroTime investigates how requirements for a cabin crew position differ across the most popular Gulf-based air carriers.

Why do airlines apply a minimum height requirement?

The Dubai-based airline Emirates applies a minimum limit for applicants' age, height, and education. According to the company‘s rules, a cabin crew member working on any of Emirates aircraft should be at least 21 years old on the day of joining the company while his height has to meet a minimum height requirement of 160 centimeters. The reason a minimum height requirement is applied is that a cabin crew member must be able to reach the safety equipment placed in the overhead compartments in order to carry out emergency procedures. As for Emirates policy, a cabin crew member’s arms must reach 212 centimeters while standing on tiptoes. 

As for other physical appearance requests, Emirates has a strict policy of non-visible tattoos. In other words, a cabin crew member might have tattoos, but they must not be evident for a passenger while an employee wears the airline‘s uniform. Concealing the tattoo with cosmetic or bandage covering is also forbidden by the company. 

Unlike the majority of air carriers operating in Europe, Emirates also applies strict rules for cabin crew weight. As it is described in the cabin crew criteria list, the flight attendant demanding a role in the airline must have a “healthy” Body Mass Index (BMI), otherwise, an applicant would lose all chances to join the company.

As Emirates customers are mainly foreign speakers, the flight attendants are only required to show fluent English skills, both in written and spoken form, without the necessity of being a multilingual employee. The airline‘s main request in terms of staff‘s education is for an employee to have a High school diploma. The airline also requires its employees to have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to adapt to constantly changing customers, new places, and situations on board. 

One of the top competitors of Emirates, Qatar Airways, has similar essential requests for its cabin crew. The Doha-based air carrier asks candidates to be a minimum of 21 years old, have at least a High School diploma, and great skills in the English language. Since both air carriers operate similar fleets, including Airbus A320 Family jets as well as Airbus A330s, A380s, and Boeing 777 wide-body aircraft, flight attendants must also be able to reach a minimum of 212 centimeters height while on tiptoes. As both of the competitors operate long-haul routes, the companies request their cabin crew members to have a good level of personal health and fitness as well as to be able to swim 25 meters, which is crucial in a ditching situation [the controlled emergency landing on water - ed. note].

Another Emirates competitor, the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, has a slightly stricter policy for cabin crew appearance and education. While the age and physical requirements are the same, it also outlines that a cabin crew must have a strong sense of cultural awareness as well as fluency in another language aside from English. 

The Gulf carriers, where only female cabin crew members are welcomed

Other Gulf-based air carriers such as Kuwait Airways, Oman Air, as well as Bahrain-based Gulf Air, stand out for their strict age and gender-related limits, applied for applicants aiming to get into the cabin crewmember position. 

For instance, the flight attendants of Kuwait Airways must not be younger than 20 years old. The maximum age of a male applicant at the time of joining the airline must not exceed 35 years old. As for female cabin crew members, they should not be older than 34 years old, otherwise, they would not be accepted by the air carrier.

Regarding physical requirements, the male cabin crew members of Kuwait Airways must be at least 167 centimeters tall and “weight proportionate to their height,” while the minimum height for female flight attendants is set to 160 centimeters with the same weight requirements as for male employees.

Even stricter criteria are applied for flight attendants in Oman Air. Though the national air carrier of Oman accepts all nationality cabin crew members, the airline prefers hiring female cabin crew members than males. The candidates for a position are asked to have a slightly smaller minimum height of 157 centimeters. The cabin crew members are required to have a two-year college diploma or a Secondary School certificate from any locally recognized institute or university. Oman Air also prefers cabin crew members who are able to provide Arabic language or any other international language knowledge in addition to a high level of English language skills.

Bahrain’s Gulf Air, as well as Oman Air, also offer vacancies in the cabin crew member position for female candidates only.However, unlike the other airlines listed before, Gulf Air prioritizes cabin crew with prior experience in the service industry.