Wall Street Journal’s article on bad working conditions in Emirates Airline

This article doesn’t cover the worst issues and it covers only problems with cabin crew, when in reality EK has problems with all the departments and staff, but it still represents an important break through in revealing how much exactly Emirates Airline managers abuse and exploit their employees.

You can find the article here and this is its content:

Emirates Airline is fighting an unusual headwind: labor trouble.

In the U.S. and Europe, the Dubai-owned carrier, the world’s largest international airline by traffic, is fighting accusations by rivals that it benefits from unfair government subsidies. Back home in Dubai, however, it is engaged in a rare tussle with its own cabin-crew staff.

According to current and former staff, cabin-crew employees have been complaining internally about a host of issues, including accusations the airline is asking crew to work more hours and shortening layovers between connecting flights. In response, Emirates is hosting a series of unprecedented meetings where staff can air grievances directly to senior management. It also recently suspended a performance-evaluation system of cabin staff conducted after each flight that employees complained was too critical.

Labor trouble is a frequent headache for global carriers, where strikes and other job action can lead to disrupted service. But in Dubai, a semiautonomous monarchy that is part of the United Arab Emirates, strikes and unions are banned. Emirates has long been a demanding employer, especially for cabin-crew personnel, requiring rigorous training, including in etiquette and grooming.

An Emirates Airbus A380 flies above rooftops as it comes in to land at London’s Heathrow Airport. But cabin-crew staff also enjoy benefits not typical at many other airlines, including free accommodation and transportation to and from work. That has all helped keep a lid on open labor strife among its roughly 20,000 cabin-crew employees at least until now. The dissent comes as the airline is growing rapidly and trying to recruit aggressively to fill its cabins. Emirates carried 44.5 million passengers in its last financial year, and forecasts 70 million passengers by 2020.
It plans to hire 5,000 more cabin staff this year, to accommodate growth and attrition. That fast clip is straining current staff, according to some employees.
Flight attendants say they are having to work more shifts, with shorter layovers. First-class attendants, who typically work their way up to their postings in premium cabins, are being asked to work in economy to make up for shortages there, according to these employees. Many cabin-crew staff had some annual leave allocation deferred last year, they said.

Emirates said in a statement that it hasn’t shortened layover times, and any changes to staff routines are exceptions that comply with safety rules. Staff have to work in other cabins at times, the carrier said. Emirates didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment about deferred leave.

The company also declined to comment generally about cabin-crew complaints, and it declined to make executives available to comment for this article. Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the General Civil Aviation Authority, the U.A.E.’s airline regulator, said issues about airline labor conditions are a matter to be sorted out between staff and management.

The new gripe sessions announced earlier this year are one way Emirates is trying to manage the complaints. In an email in January to staff announcing the meeting, Terry Daly, Emirates’ senior vice president of service delivery, wrote he was aware that there are a number of subjects that are causing concern at the moment. He called the meetings “an opportunity to talk about these directly with me” according to a copy of the email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Emirates has held three sessions so far. The first meeting, held last month at Emirates’ Dubai headquarters, dragged on for double the scheduled two hours, according to three attendees. In a statement, Emirates said the forums last month were just one of many ways employees could communicate with management. “We have always encouraged open dialogue”, the carrier said.

Emirates Chief Executive Tim Clark has recently weighed in. Late last year, he started to send a quarterly update email to employees, soliciting feedback from staff. But he also warned about gossip mongering: “I am astonished by the range of colorful stories that sometimes do the rounds in our company”, he wrote in October. His advice, he continued, according to a copy of the email reviewed by the Journal, is to “keep well away from naysayers and gossips and focus instead on our ambition to be one of the most loved lifestyle brands”.

Write to Rory Jones at


14 responses to “Wall Street Journal’s article on bad working conditions in Emirates Airline

  • Anonymous

    I like who you tag in your posts, keep up the good work and dont stop!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Anonymous

    This company treats people like a dogs. They use very dirty language in the work place filthy language is used by the westerners and they get away. White people are like Gods. Shame on you! Emirates


  • tagha1

    Till now, I just can’t believe that a colleague was fired because of a comment on the blog….what a horrible stage that we’ve reached!!! You know what, If managers at EK namely the HR department wanted to resolve this, they could have reviewed and corrected the past but, seems that they are not going for that instead, they have put a new amendment to the “disciplinary” rules to fire the staff if found guilty of reading this blog…what a big excuse!! However, that proves to the whole world that whatever is written here, is correct and absolutely correct….and this is what would “ruin” the company…hiding the facts and never do anything to just change their strategy!!!

    The problem is, some HR managers cannot say no to other managers or line managers, they will fabricate and create a story hand in hand with (line) managers to terminate a staff just like this leaving the staff “wondering” and somewhat, believing the things that he didn’t do….and the worst part is, to who shall he/she talk to or complain to prove that he/she is innocent from what they claimed!!

    Part of HR job is to protect company rules and regulations and to protect the staff, if the HR is unjustifiable or prejudiced or even “putrefactive” what do you expect from that company!!! I have a good example of what am saying, how “inhuman” HR manager could be when he put his heads down to an “unprofessional” Line Manager to show his friendship and loyalty ignoring the facts and proofs that I put on his desk….but, who will doubt HR managers!!! You will read it very soon and be the judge however, I do apologize to “real” managers in this great company but, same have spoiled the name.

    Its good that our voices have reached the western media eventually, it could have been sorted out longtime before but, they insisted on ignoring the facts and here is the first step for us after many attempts.

    Dragana, I am so sorry to hear about our colleague…let her write down her story so people can judge on what is happening behind the scene.


  • Anonymous

    Send the reporter your stories…I’m sure there is more to tell


  • Anonymous

    better yet…send him your rosters and emails


  • Anonymous

    Emirates is flying International Terrortist Dawood Ibrahim from Dubai to Karachi and back. Indian News channels have reported that on 26th Feb EK 0602/03 they flew his wife and him. Dawood is an international Terrorist and responsible for many terror attacks in India 1193 Mumbai bomb blast that killed so many people. He is wanted for terrorism and international crime and illegal businesses and trade. Emirates does all these unlawful things and gets away. Indians should boycott this airline, neither work for it nor be any of its customer


  • Anonymous

    Dear Dragana,

    I’m happy you found your own happiness however I’ve been an Emirates crew for theast year and a half! Being a cabin crew is not easy…Not inly Emirates but airlines in general are crazy to work for. I made friends along my first months and never were depressed. I know that lots of people are however if you keep spending your days being sleepless in your house and try not to go out you’ll become so one day! With this I am not accusing you of being so, it’s just that I’ve been complaining about a lot without realizing how much I had. Yes you get tired, yes departures times are crazy but life as a crew is different because you HAVE to make an effort to try meet people and do something! I have lots FG1 friends that are happy because on their days off or after flights they do something like watersports or go out for clubbing or drinks,lunch, dinner trying not to stay home too much! I had been struggling with my flatmates because It was my first livingalone experience and yes sometimes I wanted to shoot them but I could have moved! Also management is not amazing, but I KNOW Hassan El Dimassi, he is one of the most amazing managers we have.



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