The Reality of Flying

As much as I love to keep my blog positive and only post about the fun things I get up to either in Dubai or on my layovers, the reality is that I don’t actually spend every layover out and about, exploring the city or surrounding areas.

And that’s perfectly ok! I think I would be totally burned out if I never rested and made sure to get a proper night’s sleep or spend some of my layovers just lounging in bed.

I would love to keep you all believing that this is the most glamorous job in the world, but that isn’t always the case I’m afraid! Now, of course we all know that sometimes it really is amazing – breakfast in Dubai, lunch in Milan, and dinner in New York. But on other days, the reality hits you and I don’t want to portray a false illusion here.



One of the main things that every crew has to deal with is the constant tiredness. You get back from a flight at 6am, coming home well after the sun has risen. Yet you’ve worked the entire night serving your passengers and trying to keep yourself awake, so it’s only right that you feel utterly exhausted! On these days it’s perfectly normal to sleep all day and wake up at dinner time, feeling guilty that you’ve “wasted” the entire day. I know for people who don’t fly it can seem strange to be able to sleep all day, but every cabin crew will understand that it’s perfectly normal.

Sometimes you can be rostered a string of flights in a row, with no real days off in-between. These are the killers, as you barely have time to do anything in-between flights, and have to prioritise sleep over everything else.



Another harsh reality of the job is the loneliness you can often feel. You’re flying with 25 other crew every time – how could you possibly be lonely? The truth is it can be hard to see your friends, with conflicting rosters you have to plan well in advance just to be able to catch up over a quick lunch. Even living together can mean you don’t see each other as much as you want – one person could be coming and the other going within a few hours.

Even with all of the technology in the world – you could be 10.000km apart and in complete opposite time zones to your loved ones, which can make you feel incredibly lonely at times. You could even go days without speaking to anyone other than the supermarket cashier or saying hello to the security guards in your building!



Believe me when I say, I really don’t spend every layover going out sightseeing, eating in lovely restaurants and exploring the world. Sometimes you don’t click with the other crew, or they all have different plans to what you fancy doing. So you decide to stay in, relax, and treat yourself to some room service.

Yet when you realise that there is still a whole afternoon ahead of you with absolutely nothing planned…it can be so boring! I sometimes wish I’d made more of an effort to go out with the crew, but I know that everyone has different plans and it can end up with all of you walking round for hours not really deciding where to go or what to do.

Not only on layovers, but sometimes when I’m home in Dubai the boredom strikes. I know, I know, there are so many things to do here! But as I mentioned above, it can be hard fitting things in when everyone has different rosters. As much as I could easily go out and do things by myself, it’s always much more fun with someone else.



Lastly, the jet-lag. In a way this ties in with the other things I’ve mentioned above, especially the tiredness. As glamorous as it can be to be in Hong Kong one day, Sydney the next, and San Francisco the week after, sometimes your body just can’t cope.

When I have short-ish flights (i.e. around 7 hours or less) I never really struggle with jet-lag, as it’s not usually a huge time difference from Dubai so I adjust pretty quickly. Most of our layovers are 24 hours, so it doesn’t give you enough time to feel the difference too much.

However, when you fly to places that are a long flight away, or are lucky enough to have a 48 hour layover, you really start to notice the difference.

Recently I was in San Fran, and by 4pm I was already struggling to keep my eyes open. I tried to push myself to stay awake and adjust to the local time, but it’s really hard when your body is 8 hours ahead! On the other hand, I’d be wide awake and ready for breakfast by 4 or 5am. Not ideal! Of course, once I was back in Dubai it was the opposite, and I could have slept until dinner time if I hadn’t forced myself out of bed.


With all of this being said, I do absolutely love my job and wouldn’t trade it in for the world. And that is precisely why I don’t post about every layover, because the reality is that I don’t spend every layover out and about exploring or sightseeing!

Sometimes you just need to rest, relax, get on that wifi and treat yourself to a delicious plate of pasta from room service. I hope I haven’t disheartened anyone reading this who is thinking about applying for the job as cabin crew, please don’t be discouraged because it honestly is the best job in the world and I would 100% without a doubt say go for it!

So there we have it, a little bit of reality in an otherwise glamorous lifestyle!

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P.s. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter for more day-to-day updates of where I am in the world! 🙂


  1. Cuni Candrika
    June 5, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    I like this post, and all your post about “a day in life”. Soo real! Please make more posts like this 🙂

  2. January 11, 2017 / 9:37 am

    Absolutely not! It inspire me even more, because it’s the reality. Thank you for this, I hope someday I’m gonna post like this and inspiring others as well.

    • thedubaidiaries
      January 12, 2017 / 7:02 pm

      Thanks so much for reading, glad you enjoyed this post! 🙂

  3. annimarian
    November 12, 2016 / 5:49 pm

    I feel you! I am a flight attendant as well and I know that people only want to see the glamorous side of our job although there is so much more to it!

    Greetings from Finland 🙂

    • thedubaidiaries
      November 16, 2016 / 5:57 pm

      You’re right Anni, it’s not always just a glamorous job! Hope you enjoyed Dubai 🙂 The lights you saw were for Diwali, not Christmas – they were on pretty much every balcony around where I live! xx

  4. Lisa
    November 10, 2016 / 2:53 am

    No you’re absolutely right! Being a flight attendant is exhausting and you need to rest. If you’ve seen Hong Kong 5x, you don’t need to worry about feeling like you’re missing out. Rest is so important

    • thedubaidiaries
      November 16, 2016 / 5:55 pm

      Thanks for reading Lisa. Luckily one of my best friends lives in HKG so I can chill with her when I’m there later this month! xx

  5. Alina
    November 9, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    I respect you even more now, thanks for being thoughtful and honest I loved your post 🙂 i always admire your positivity and realism

    • thedubaidiaries
      November 16, 2016 / 5:54 pm

      Thank you Alina! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  6. Nadia
    November 9, 2016 / 11:58 am

    I enjoyed this post so much! As with every job you fall in love with and life in general, there are challenges…but I’d “enjoy” these challenges if my dreams are coming true in the process a.k.a EK Cabin Crew…

    See you in the sky!

    and thank you so much Rachel 🙂

    Sending you love from Cape Town, ZA

    • thedubaidiaries
      November 16, 2016 / 5:54 pm

      Thanks Nadia, glad you enjoyed reading it! 🙂 I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! xx

  7. Anara
    November 9, 2016 / 11:06 am

    Hi, Rachel! I am currently a ground staff for Emirates in GRU, I am waiting for an internal vacancy as cabin crew to open so I can apply for it.
    I came across your blog when I first started thinking about applying for cabin crew, almost a year ago (I’ve been working for Emirates for two years now), and every post I read here just makes me more and more anxious for my chance to fly, maybe even with you haha.
    This was honestly the best post ever because you showed that despite all the difficulties this is still the best job in the world and once again you just made me more anxious!
    Look me up next time you’re in GRU and thank you so much for inspiring me!

    • thedubaidiaries
      November 16, 2016 / 5:53 pm

      Hi Anara! Thanks for reading, I’m so glad you enjoy my blog! 🙂 Fingers crossed the internal vacancies will open up soon so you can apply as cabin crew 🙂 xx

  8. November 9, 2016 / 2:47 am

    You made it sound real. I have always admired the cabin crew on any flight. I do love reading your posts.

    • thedubaidiaries
      November 16, 2016 / 5:50 pm

      Thanks Kerry, glad you enjoyed reading this post! 🙂

  9. Mich
    November 9, 2016 / 2:25 am

    Wow! Lovely post. I know, even though you listed the downsides to the job, I enjoyed it much. I like the fact that you always try to rest whenever possible. Thank you for posting!

    • thedubaidiaries
      November 16, 2016 / 5:50 pm

      Thanks Mich, I’m glad you enjoyed reading it 🙂

  10. November 8, 2016 / 10:48 pm

    Wow, I think this is the best post so far! Thank you for your honesty 🙂

    • thedubaidiaries
      November 16, 2016 / 5:49 pm

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed reading it 🙂

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