We chatted with a flight attendant on Emirates Airline, often considered the best in the world, to find out the craziest requests made by passengers, how she keeps up her appearance and positive attitude while flying everywhere from Dubai to Zimbabwe, and more.

Is today Tuesday?

flight attendant emiratesCourtesy Emirates Airline

Crisscrossing the globe isn’t all glamorous, says Lauren Guilfoyle, a flight attendant with Emirates for nearly three-and-a-half years. The most challenging part of being a flight attendant, she says, is fitting in sleep. “One flight could take off at 9 a.m., so you sleep during the night. However, your next flight on another day could take off at midnight, so you have to try to sleep by 5 p.m. the night before.” Another challenge is all the time changes. “You could have a flight to LAX [in Los Angeles] and be in a 12-hour time difference from Dubai, and then a few days later you can be on the other side of the world with a completely opposite time difference! From two hours to 12 hours, time zones really affect your body.”

Flight attendants covet first class, too

emirates seatsCourtesy Emirates Airline

It costs passengers some serious cash to make that jump, and it turns out that it isn’t much easier for an Emirates’ crew member to score that upgrade to business or first class, either. “It takes about two to three years to move up between premium cabins,” shares Guilfoyle. “Some crew stand out more by giving a little more of a personal touch. If a supervisor notices a crew member making a special effort, she or he can write an email to the crew member’s manager and point out what they have done.”

Sommelier with wings

emirates planes terminalCourtesy Emirates Airline

“To work in the premium cabins, we are required to take a wine education course, since the selection is quite different in First Class over Economy,” Guilfoyle shares. “When we’re serving selections from Dom Perignon and Bordeaux, we need to have a thorough understanding of what we’re pouring: old vs. new world wines, champagnes, bourbons, whiskeys, and other spirits.” These are some of the coolest airplane features you had no idea existed.