The Middle East is a booming private aviation region due to the important role the area plays in the global economy. Dubai, a prominent city in United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), has a growing demand for Corporate Flight Attendants. Since U.A.E. may be a tempting place to move to in order to further one’s career in private aviation, we got a closer look at the country from Celina Pombar, a Corporate Flight Attendant based out of Dubai.
After about three years as a Commercial Flight Attendant, Celina made a career change almost two years ago into private aviation. She has experience with Gulfstreams, Globals, A318s, Hawkers and Falcons. She completed her initial training at FlightSafety International in Savannah, Georgia and just had her last recurrent training in April 2014. Before becoming a flight attendant, Celina attended college and received a Business Administration Degree. Since she is based in the Middle East, she has attended the Dubai Airshow and Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) tradeshows.
Before diving into the details about her experiences in U.A.E., we got to know a bit more about some of Celina’s favorite things. Out of all of her travels, her favorite location so far has been Mexico. Celina says this is because “it is a colorful country with people always eager to show you the real Mexico, not the one shown in the news or the image you get when you visit to Cancun. Mexico is a magical, cosmopolitan and eclectic place with so much to offer!” Since Mexico is her favorite destination and she is Mexican, it was no surprise to learn that Mexican food is her favorite type of cuisine. “As a good Mexican I love tacos or any kind, but especially ‘tacos al pastor,’ a dish developed in Mexico that consists of pork marinated with dried chili peppers, spices and pineapple. This is cooked in a vertical rotisserie called a ‘trompo.’”
Celina shared with us some of her favorite foods in U.A.E., including her “absolute favorite Arabic dish is hummus (mashed chickpeas with tahini, olive oil, lemon, salt and garlic); I especially love it accompanied with freshly made Arabic bread. I confess, I love sweets, and my favorite desserts would be ‘kanafeh’ (a cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar syrup) and ‘Umm Ali’ (an Egyptian version of bread pudding).” Aside from Arabic food, her favorite restaurant in Dubai is “Sumo, because they have affordable prices for their sushi.”
For someone visiting the United Arab Emirates for the first time, Celina says that the country “U.A.E. is a very open-minded place, but be respectful toward the rules. While you are allowed to wear the clothes you would anywhere else in the world, don’t exceed to the point of showing off too much.” While discussing the best time to visit, she recommends that it is best to “stick to the cooler months. During the summer, temperatures rise to about 50 C (122 F) with very high humidity. It may sound bearable, but trust me; it is not fun to go on a desert safari in those conditions!” Celina suggests a visit to the “Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. While the Burj Khalifa is impressive for its height, the Mosque’s architecture will surely make your mouth drop!” Another pro tip from Celina to make a first visit go smoothly is to “remember that in this region the weekend is Friday and Saturday. Attending Friday brunch is a must in many of the hotels across U.A.E.”
Being a Corporate Flight Attendant is a demanding career that Celina says takes “adaptability, responsibility and cultural awareness” in order to be successful. When it comes to in-flight catering, she has found that the biggest challenge is the “limited space. Some aircrafts have very little space for the catering, and if you have a high load and a long flight ahead, things can get complicated.” With such a unique work environment, it is obvious that creativity comes into play, as well. Celina left us with some sage advice for anyone considering a career as a Corporate Flight Attendant, she says “don´t take ‘no’ for an answer. Getting a job as Corporate Flight Attendant is not very easy, but never give up!”
The next time you are in U.A.E., or need a flight attendant who speaks Spanish and English, contact Celina Pombar at email@example.com.
This article is part of a series of interviews we are conducting with contract cabin crew members; individuals who are not employed by Air Culinaire Worldwide. If you would like to be considered for an interview, which is posted on our blog and all of our social media accounts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.