How safe is it to fly with Emirates – testimony of one cabin crew

After many recent plane crashes safe flying has become a regular topic in media. Not without a reason.

This is just a first article in series of articles about illegal and safety endangering practices in Emirates Airline (EK). Since the safety problem in EK is so big, it requires many inputs from cabin crew and pilots, which I am lucky to get on a regular basis so that I can make a full picture of safety deterioration in Emirates in past few years.

According to pilots and cabin crew, flying with Emirates Airline is less safe than it used to be. One could ask why is that? Answer is simple: greed, money and management’s incapability to deal with the growth of the company.

As usual, I have no intention to advise anyone not to work or not to fly with EK. Instead, my intention is to leave a trace about the fact that employees of Emirates Airline were worried about their safety and the safety of the passengers even before any serious accident occurred (and let’s hope it will never occur).

It is very easy to blame the flight crew for errors in flying the plane. Media will always assume that crew was well rested, well paid and motivated to work. Especially when they write about Emirates Airline, because there is a false public image about working conditions in EK.

Well, EK flight crew is exhausted with short layovers, unpaid extra working hours, working more than legal flying hours, lack of leave and vacation, inability to report sick or fatigued without being suspected of lying about it and new questionable procedures of authorities which make easier for all of this to become legal.

These articles have the purpose to warn on flight crew’s exhaustion and incapability to fly the planes safely due to fatigue, lack of motivation and weariness issues.

First input about onboard safety is coming from cabin crew. Service delivery department in Emirates Airline is in chaos right now. Thousands of cabin crew are resigning and there is not enough crew to operate the flights, so some flights are delayed. At the same time, management has no answer on this shortage of staff than to make more pressure and make it harder for crew to report sick, forcing them to fly even if they are fatigued and to make them do couple of turnovers per day or have illegally short layovers. The same thing is happening with EK pilots.

The next two quotations are from persons who sent me their inputs on cabin crew’s opinion on onboard safety.

Concerned email

Concerned email

“I just wanted to tell you about something I heard today…. There was a flight today that departed at 5pm to NY and Cuz of delays caused by bad weather the crew will have 10 hours layover after God knows how many hours flight… And u know that those 10 hours will become 7 or even less Cuz of the time lost with transportation from airport to hotel, etc. I heard from a “friend of a friend” that some are planning to send a complain to  GCAA.
I wish u could investigate more and post it on your blog.
I’m glad I could help with some info.”

I have checked this info with EK cabin crew and this is what I’ve got:

Input from cabin crew about illegal layover.

Input from cabin crew about illegal layover.

“Dear Dragana,

I do know actually. The layover was 15 hrs, whereas in JFK the journey from the airport to the hotel on an normal snow-free day takes approx 1 hour and we get the wake up call the next day 3, 5 hrs before departure. A simple calculation will show, that the crew had 10 hours rest after nearly 15 hour flight (17 hour duty). I will include a screenshot of trip details of the particular flight for you.

Complaining to GCAA makes no sense as we all know that H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoom is the chairman of Emirates Group AND a chairman and board member of GCAA. This flight is most probably “legal”, because the official rest time is over 11 hours.

The only option I see, is to give these pieces of information to international media or to question this legality from FAA. Although the rumor says, EK paid a fine for this action…

I personally find it outrageously irresponsible from EK to endanger and play around with the safety of 500 passengers and 30 crew, only to prove their ability to disrespect and ignore all the advices and forecasts from the US.

On this day some 1,400 commercial flights were canceled, according to American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and US Airways were among many airlines that announced winter-weather waivers. Most will allow passengers flying to or through the Northeast to make one itinerary change without paying a change fee. The companies  carrying out these 1’400 flights found the necessary assets in their budgets in order to comply with safe practices in aviation. But EK is willing to possibly loose 530 people,  to operate with totally fatigued crew who cannot be held responsible for any unsafe decision, who’s reaction to possible hazards like fire, smoke or disruptive passenger are at their lowest, just so that they won’t loose money and wouldn’t have to deal with a problem –  where to book these 500 people if all the flight to JFK are always oversold?

Would love to hear managements comment on that!”

Layover duration in the EK system.

Layover duration in the EK system.

It is such a shame that morally corrupted managers managed to damage such a big company so much in such a short period of time. Or as one pilot said it on one website for professional pilots:

“Perhaps someone can provide some examples of situations where pushing things – people or machines – to the absolute limit, had a happy ending?”



13 responses to “How safe is it to fly with Emirates – testimony of one cabin crew

  • Sodwee

    Those snow / fog related delays are a common recurrence among flight crew & cabin crew and deeply affect morale, fatigue, and general safety/security awareness of operating staff. You did post a previous article about a delay and crew having to rest on the jetway in the plain sight of passengers in NYC.

    I, for one, already experienced similar attitude from EK in regards to the safe operating of a given flight in those exceptional weather conditions. But again, they didn’t give a flying crap about the warnings and sent us anyway, always putting the company image first. Knowing full and well we’d be either up to the limits of safe flying and or completely illegal.

    I operated a flight back from Osaka – KIX (where I took that picture of my legs in the air remember Dragana ??!) we were forced to operate the flight back, and raising your opinion wasn’t an option obviously. In the end we clocked close to 32hrs in full uniform. from wake-up/pick-up to finally being released in Dubai – DXB and traveling home (TECOM) by bus (add 45 minutes on a good day each way°. You can imagine the state I was in. Not to mention it was my Bday that day. And also receiving a bronze NAJM award (50AED+) instead of being paid the actual time we HAD TO SPEND in the aircraft.

    Anyway that’s just my input. Goes to show once again, of how irresponsible Emirates Airline is when it comes down to operating flight within REASON and safety guidelines. Let alone FAA or GCAA regulations. Which we all know is biased from the top down.

    Ben. Ex-emirates cabin crew staff number : 390064 biatches. come get me !

    Liked by 2 people

  • abi24

    Sodwee….so good to hear from someone who has had thier fair share of experience of these awful working conditions that Emirates deems to be the “best”. It was your blog that first made me want to become EK crew years ago!! i finally headed to what i thought was my dream job not long ago, however as it seems with most people i left with a bitter taste in my mouth after not long at all. Sad that a job that could be so wonderful an experience is ruined by such bad management. I must point out that i personally feel that the cabin crew training is not safety friendly at all! its far too rushed and almost feels as though the trainers are under such an immense amount of pressure to get everyone through training as quickly as possible that they are so stressed that they dont teach you everything correctly, they very often contradict their colleagues on procedures and therefore it all gets confusing. Some of the crew who are training do an excellent job and are very suited to a training environment and have all the right traits….for example, encouraging,energetic,motivated,patient, outgoing and generally interested in helping you learn and doing it a friendly yet professional manner. However there are a few trainers who are not suited to the role at all as their traits and un professionalism are frankly in my opinion a scandal for such a large airline who are always boasting they are the “best”. They are sexist and very egotistic and rather tacky with endless sexual innuendos that are rather boring yet uncomfortable to listen to.

    The other major new problem i feel for crew at EK is the new procedure for calling sick….why? who..and why again!! were the words i was thinking when i first learnt of this.
    One of the main reasons i left the company was due to this ridiculous beauracratic nonsense.
    Why would a company so large want their staff to travel on crew buses to the clinic when they are sick and risk infecting all those other crew going on flights just to end up sitting in a waiting room for 2hours to be then seen and asked 3 questions and then given a card outlining how to clean your hands properly to prevent sickness!! (true story btw). It defies logic and anyone who says different has no logic. Sad that they treat peope this way, especially after they make it so difficult to get the job in the first place only for it to eventually lead to disappointment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sodwee

      Hello Abi,

      First good to hear you read the blog years ago. Second, I’m so sorry to have made you want to become a crew with EK. I had no idea at the time and was a little naive, ignorant (youth makes you do stupid things) and under pressure (maybe because of the blog…) to say the least.

      Yah! Had my fair share of the EK treatment in every possible way : mentally and physically it was draining and started to cause serious health risks. So now I like to inform cabin crew wanabees of the current issues and state of the airline… and mainly what they actually sign up for.

      And finally that newly implement sickness procedures is bonkers and another blatant truth that EK MGMT does not care… I was speechless when I heard about that.

      Ben AKA Airboy, signing out.


  • Superman

    i can’t wait to resign! 5 years for me! I’m on Anti-depressants like many crew. Mentally and physically drained! I can’t do this anymore! Flying is always been my dream since I was a kid. But I should’ve chosen another airline. All those cabin crew managers are not even worth talking about. It’s like watching that movie the island! Everyone is a robot there! Can’t wait to leave before I kill myself or something!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Anonymous

    If u want to resign don’t blog about it just do it!!!


  • Superman

    Anonymous I’m not just blogging about it. I will and soon. Just saving some more money! That’s all. Just wanted to express my feelings to colleagues and ex colleagues.

    Liked by 1 person

  • abi24

    sodwee ( Ben 🙂 aka airboy) no need to apologise for making want to become ek crew, im glad i tried it and i learnt alot of things and lots of great people (that was the best part) :). It was just sad it wasnt to be for me,like so many others. I might try for another airline however its hard to choose as so many get a bad rep for all different things….low salary, bad working conditions…does anyone know of an airline that they have experience working with that are a good company with fair management? whats the word on tbe street about Etihad…? another emirates….surely not :(.


    • admindragana

      Abi, all jobs and companies have their upsides and downsides. Aviation industry is highly competitive, therefore no airline is perfect. Yet, there are (mostly European) airlines where you are at least treated like a part of the team and you have a union protection.

      This blog exists because I find it extremely immoral and illegal to lure people to come and work in EK, and then violate their contracts, treat them like cattle and kick them out when they can’t work anymore, while Emirates is above the law in the country where unions and strikes are forbidden.

      Emirates has the public image of a good employer, while the reality is a pure horror.


  • abi24

    Superman….so sorry to hear things are that bad for you. As many others have commented, you need to get out if thats the level of stress you have got to. Five years…wow i can only imagine the things you have went through with EK in that time. Good luck for the future. would you still like like to fly or has ek been enough?


  • xyz

    To the fatigue and tiredness: I called in sick recently and said I haven’t slept in a week since my US trip. Nurse at the certification unit diagnosed me with a common cold, advised 2 days at home, olbas oil, panadol, fruit and vegetables. No comment.


  • Barbara scott (@babs_allen1)

    This is very scary, my family are flying back from Australia soon
    And I’m at the moment looking into my flight to Aus
    Last year I noticed cabin crew seemed vey stressed and not as attentive
    As other airlines



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