Dubai: Romanian expat Ecaterina Dmitrenco, 24, is a natural polyglot, was scouting for opportunities in the airline industry. She came across an Etihad video and fell in love with the cabin crew uniform.
It was as simple as that.
Her career was all mapped out. Today, a year out into her dream career, she’s living every bit of it in reality.
“It was my dream to become a cabin crew as I always loved travelling, exploring new countries, meeting different people," said Dmitrenco, who said the job fits with her dream perfectly.
"It brings together all the aspects of my dream into this one job. One year into my work, I could not agree more. I simply love my job,” added Dmitrenco, who was born and raised in Italy.
She was studying in a Milan university when she was picked up by Etihad for the flight attendant role.
“The universe had different plans for me. I was enrolled at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano in Milan where I was studying International Relations with Chinese and Russian languages. When I was selected, I quickly gave all my exams. Now I just have to give up my graduation thesis which I plan to do at the end of the year. Once I do that – I will receive my graduation certificate.”
Dmitrenco speaks seven languages – English, Romanian, Italian, French, Spanish Russian and Mandarin.
“It is definitely a boon to know several international languages as a flight attendant,” she said. “We meet people from different parts of the world and knowing as many languages helps break barriers with our passengers. We are able to effectively communicate with our passengers.”
She recalled: “In 2022, Etihad had open applications for assessments in Italy and I decided to send my CV. Later, I was invited to the assessment day. My assessment was a great experience. I remember the day very well. I was very nervous but extremely excited as I spent many months preparing and studying about the job. I couldn’t be happier when I received the good news that I was selected to become an Etihad cabin crew. It was an exciting new journey and life in Abu Dhabi.”
How she landed the job
“There are different steps involved with respect to the recruitment process. First, we have a group interview with where we were tested for our interaction with people. I got through this and was taken in for the final interview. This is a one-on-one interview with Etihad’s hiring team. I shared my personal history. It is a time to get to know the cabin crew and their personality,” said Dmitrenco.
She added: “In this job, English is a pre-requisite and rightfully so. The minimum height requisite for a cabin crew is 161 cm. This is the standard height requisite as they should be able to help passengers load their cabin luggage into the overhead storages.”
Preparing for a flight
Dmitrenco said she likes to start preparing for her flight at least four hours before departure. “I like to eat a home-cooked meal before my flight. It takes an hour from my home to the Crew briefing centre. So I like to factor that time in as well. I like to do my make up at leisure as. So keeping all this in mind I start preparations four hours prior.”
Dmitrenco said crew luggage depends on the flight they are scheduled in for.
“If there is a layover involved then I carry an extra luggage to keep my clothes. The main luggage goes whether it is a short or long haul flight. In the main luggage, I carry a spare pair of flat shoes. The women cabin crew wear a pair of heels to the airport. Once inside the flight, we change into a flat pair of shoes. It is a practical and right thing to wear on flight. I carry a make-up set in the main luggage as well to touch up in-flight.”
‘Elegance’ in uniform
Dmitrenco loves her uniform and takes pride wearing it to work. “The gloves are really very special. It gives a very elegant look. I want to add a little bit about our head gear. It is word to the side and sits about a centimetre above the right eye-brow. This adds to the elegance of the entire gear.”
“The whole year literally has flown by in more sense than one. I have seen so many beautiful cities and countries around the world. It is one of the biggest take-a-ways of being a flight attendant.”
Dmitrenco said: “We get sufficient rest and breaks in between working hours. The longest lay-over I have experienced has been at Seychelles where we stayed for 60 hours before taking a return flight.
“It was spectacular. I fell in love with Seychelles. Singapore is another place I love to visit. Asia has always lured me. I love Asian cultures, food. So a trip to an Asian country is always a welcome.”
Journey so far
“I could not be in a better job right now. I feel extremely grateful for the chance I have been given because I know many people dream for a job like this. I have learned a lot in the past year meeting so many people of different cultures. I have come to understand about human behaviour more than before. Personal interactions are so critical and I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn. Going forward, I hope to grow at Etihad and serve in the business and first class. It is my new dream.”