Alexandra Cosoff hasn’t paid for accommodation for the past 10 years after joining Emirates as a flight attendant and living in Dubai.
The 33-year-old from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland is currently a cabin supervisor after climbing her way to the top where she gets to enjoy the perks of her “generous benefit package”.
“Our accommodation is provided and salary is tax free – and not just that, we have a lot of other things taken care of like transport, laundry, we have full medical and dental coverage,” Alexandra told news.com.au while on a stopover in London.
“We are very well looked after.”
With most things provided and taken care of, Alexandra has been able to save a lot of her salary which the higher up in ranks you are, the more your package is increased.
For example, for a new joiner, the basic salary a month is 4430 Emirati Dirham (AED) – about $A1800.
But on top of that they get AED 63.75 ($A26) an hour, for 80 to 100 fly hours worked with meal allowances for night stops are credited to the salary in arrears the following month.
On average it’s upwards of $A5000 a month for economy grade, but cabin crew receive more salary and benefits as they progress through the grades.
Alexandra, who earns more given her role, said compared to working in Australia where a big chunk of your salary goes on rent and bills, working for the UAE airline she’s able to save most of her income and spend on things such as travelling the world – something she does often.
“What was very attractive to me was also not paying tax on top of my salary,” she said.
“I live in my own apartment. You can either get company-provided accommodation or opt for accommodation allowance.”
Emirates confirmed that cabin crew can choose to receive an accommodation allowance should they opt-out of the accommodation provided.
Alexandra, a former makeup artist, said her job has allowed her to live a “dream life”.
“I have been so lucky. I’ve had the most amazing time,” she told news.com.au.
“After I joined, I started in economy class for one and half years, before I got promoted to business class and the business promotions events team.
“I got to work on the A380s on-board lounge, something I really enjoyed and the promotions team really opened my world to global events.
“I got to stand on Rod Laver Area and present awards to wining tennis players in 2016 and in the same year I was on The Ellen Show (with other crew) where we gave an entire audience free tickets to Dubai.”
Alexandra also worked on first class before securing a role as the airline’s cabin crew Adviser.
She graduated with a marketing and public relations degree in Brisbane but said she always wanted to work in the aviation industry.
“Ever since I was a young girl I wanted to be a flight attendant,” she said. “I remember seeing Emirates cabin crew on TV with their red hats and striking red lipstick and thinking, ‘Wow they’re so beautiful, I want to do that.’”
Alexandra said the training is quite intense and goes for just under eight weeks.
“It’s such rigorous training but you will keep that with you for life – it gives you cultural awareness, how to maintain calm and composure and once you have all those skills no one can take that away from you,” she said.
There’s seven steps to it from safety and emergency, medical training, security training, hospitality, uniform presentation and service learning.
When it comes to presentation, cabin crew aren’t allowed to have visible tattoos, females’ hair must be neatly tied back, they must wear heels and at least have minimal makeup on – including the airline’s signature red lip.
“I was a makeup artist before I worked for Emirates so I found it quite easy – you eventually get it down to a fine art,” the 33-year-old said.
“From waking up, to out the door I can do my hair and makeup in 15 minutes.”
Cabin crew also learn basic Arabic as part of their training, something Alexandra has been able to benefit from while living in Dubai which she described it as an “exciting” city, with plenty to do and see.
“I adapted to Dubai immediately. It’s such an expat-friendly place,” she said.
“It’s a very vibrant place and I have seen it grow so much over the years.
“Its really set itself up as a tourist destination from its safaris, beautiful beaches and lots of amazing restaurants and food from all over the world.”
Working for the airline has been a “dream come true” and she recommends anyone interested in becoming a flight attendant to “just apply”.
“I have learned so much about the world, other cultures and also myself – and best of all you make amazing friends along the way,” she said.
The 33-year-old said the job has allowed her to live a lifestyle she once only dreamt of.
“If it’s something you’re thinking about doing, 100 per cent apply and give it a try. For me it’s been such an amazing opportunity and experience.”
Emirates’s next open day will be held at the Holiday Inn, Perth City Centre, on May 26.