No joke: Emirates 'stewardess' stands on top of Burj Khalifa in viral ad

PHOTO: YouTube/Emirates

Insane? Sure. Stunning? Absolutely.

Emirates' recent advertisement has left viewers agog at the spectacle of seeing a stewardess stand precariously at the top of Dubai's Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world at 828 metres.

The ad, uploaded on the airline's YouTube channel on Aug 5, showed a close up of a woman clad in the Emirates uniform against a blue-sky background. Alright, nothing unusual there.

Through a series of placards, a la the iconic scene in the movie Love Actually, she makes an announcement about the United Arab Emirates being moved to the amber list countries for the UK. This basically means travellers from the UAE are now allowed into the UK, but will still have to fulfil requirements such as undergoing Covid-19 tests and quarantine (for those who are not fully vaccinated).

"Moving the UAE to the UK's Amber list has made us feel on top of the world," the cards read, ending with the tagline, "Fly Emirates, fly better".

But the focal point of the ad is probably what happens next — the camera zooms out quickly from where she's standing to reveal that the flight attendant is actually perched precariously on top of the Burj Khalifa, with a sprawling cityscape at her feet.

Just watching the short 33-second video is enough to give us the chills, and we're not even afraid of heights. Based on the video comments, it seems many viewers were equally wowed, with the clip garnering more than 3.4 million views as of writing.

Then just four days later, Emirates released a second video on Aug 9, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the video was made. The video appeared to be a response to speculation that the video could have been made with a green screen or using CGI. "Real or fake? A lot of you have asked this question and we're here to answer it," the video caption read.

And yes, the minute-long clip showed the training and preparation required for the shoot, and mentioned how the crew had to climb for over an hour from the 160th floor to reach the skyscraper's pinnacle — which includes a 244m spire.

In the comments, many viewers commended the main talent in the video for her bravery, with one declaring that she should get a "much-needed pay raise and bonus".

While the ad certainly isn't fake, it turns out the 'stewardess' in the video isn't actually an Emirates flight attendant.

According to Travel Daily, American stuntwoman Nicole Smith-Ludvik was who they called in to pull off the audacious feat. 

Smith-Ludvik is no stranger to daredevilish stunts. One video which she posted on her Instagram page showed the avid skydiver dropping from an aerobatic glider as it performs a 360-turn.

The yoga instructor also shared her exhilarating experience in filming the ad for Emirates. 

"This is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing and exciting stunts I've ever done," she wrote, along with an accompanying video of the ad.

To one follower who commented that she looked as if the video was filmed "in your bedroom", Smith-Ludvik simply replied: "I was in my element up there!"

candicecai@asiaone.com