UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE) is favoured by most cabin crew for the openness of the place and the fact that it is much closer to the European lifestyle, with certain limitations.
Dubai is a very cosmopolite city while Abu Dhabi is the green city of the dessert.
The dress code is still observed and expatriates are expected to wear conservative clothing whenever visiting malls or being anywhere in public places. Many expatriates dress quite comfortably though (ladies in short shorts/skirts, spaghetti straps, etc.), especially during the hot months of summer, and that rarely (if ever) raises any criticism from the local citizens.
The cost of living is much higher than Qatar (1 AED – 3.67 USD) and there are many options for extracurricular activities so cabin crew based here end up with minimum or no savings, especially in the first months of their employment.
You can skydive, surf or stand-up paddle, swim with the dolphins, go for a desert safari or a hot air balloon ride, take a dinner cruise around the Dubai creek, enjoy a panoramic view of Dubai from the top of the world’s tallest building, ski, have a hot drink in the ice bar or indulge in the Saturday brunches that everybody loves and looks forward to every single week.
If you want to head out to the neighbouring emirates, everything is within (maximum) 3 hour drives. Abu Dhabi (1.5 hr drive from Dubai) is quieter than Dubai yet more vibrant than Doha and home to the world’s fastest rollercoaster (by Ferrari), the impressive Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the Yas Island, hosting countless cultural and social events throughout the year.
In Al Ain (part of Abu Dhabi) you will find a very unique (in the region) artificial surf pool where you can take surfing lessons or enjoy perfect waves on demand.
If you’re happy to take a 1.5 hour drive towards Oman, you will come across natural cold springs that are quite a surprise in what everybody believes to be the middle of the desert.
Ok, the list can go on but you get the drift…
To make everything even better, cabin crew tend to get generous discounts in different outlets (restaurants, shops, beach clubs, etc.) just by presenting their cabin crew ID card.
There are many public beaches that are highly popular for among western families, particularly during the weekends.
Alcohol purchase from specialised stores for home consume is much easier here, in comparison with Qatar, however you still need a licence for it and there is a monthly quota on how much you can purchase.
You can’t find alcohol to buy from the supermarket, however there are many international chain supermarkets (e.g. Waitrose or Spinneys) that host a designated area with exclusive pork products.
Nightlife is very active and you can find a party place for every taste while in Dubai.
Women can drive in the UAE and many nationals (men or women) having valid driving licences in their home countries can obtain an Emirati driving licence without having to go for a test. You can find out if you are among those nationalities here
The UAE is a very animated place, with plenty of social and cultural events going on throughout the year.