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Tag Archives: GCAA

Do not fly Emirates

In the light of recent suicide of one Emirates cabin crew, I got several emails about depression of cabin crew (I will publish some articles on that in the next few days). It seems to be much bigger problem than any of us suspect, though. And I believe that it is only a tip of an iceberg as I heard stories about alcohol and drug abuse among Emirates staff. This article is dedicated to all of the EK’s staff struggling to live and work in abnormal and stressful EK working conditions.  

I had several turning points in my life. My work with Emirates was the latest one. Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful that I have worked there and gained much experience and many friends. The only healthy way to survive this life is to see its best lights and to fight against its dark ones.

Of course, you can always, as most of the people, choose not to see the darkness and not to act on it, because you want to keep your job, or because you want to have a secure life, or because you want to be rich and powerful, or because you want to believe that you are better than others, or because you have to feed your family, or because you are afraid that darkness will overwhelm you.

World problems are not your problems specifically, but we are all part of those problems. We all have our part of responsibility in it. And if you are not happy, the only person to blame is you. Reality is yours to create it. There are no other people. Others have their own realities. Your reality is yours to make something of it and whatever you decide it to be, it will be. For sure. Just decide.

By my experience, the most usual thing that people do is denying their part of the responsibility. Emirates Airline managers made their realities by lying to themselves, They are not evil people per se.  At least most of them. They are not bad people per se. They just choose not to see. And when they do see, they are lying to themselves that they can’t do anything about it, that problem is bigger than them, that “This is Dubai” and that their hands are tied by local culture and laws. But they forget that they choose to be where they are and that those chosen positions influence thousands of lives. I guess the most painless way to live a life is by living it in oblivion and selfishness. Mr. Mattar, Senior Vice President of Airport Services, probably still thinks that his staff is happy and that they can have lunch for 2AED. Now he can go home and have a lunch for 200AED. But this is how lie works.

So, EK managers have no problem to post photos on Facebook from their expensive vacations, and photos of their houses and cars/motorcycles while people they are responsible for suffer. And don’t be naive – most of the people who are abused now if given a chance to become managers, would continue the circle of abuse. They convinced themselves that they earned it. Of course, people who don’t have feelings while abusing others are not happy or satisfied people. But system is made that way. Either adjust, keep quiet, keep your head down and believe in it (and be a manager or be abused for someone else’s profit – it’s all the same at the end of the day), either be an outcast, “crazy”, unfit and outlaw.

Of course, it takes a lot of strength to be an outcast. It often hurts. Mob will always attack you because you are the reminder how bad they are.

Why would, then, someone choose to be an outcast? By my opinion it’s the only way to a personal happiness. And I don’t think that an outcast has to live outside the system. I believe that outcast can be a manager in Emirates Airline. The common thing for all outcasts is that they don’t lie to themselves and they do the best they can to make their immediate surrounding a better place.

For example, an outcast EK manager would help a depressed staff to get a proper care. An outcast EK manager would smile to their staff, would appreciate their work with small rewards or even with words of appreciation only, they don’t cost. But EK managers don’t do this even if it doesn’t cost. Why? Because then they have to be honest to themselves and to admit their responsibility for someone else’s misery. They have to be aware of themselves and the consequences of their acts. And it hurts to know that you are the part of something that hurts so many people. And it hurts even more if you admit to yourself that you do it just for the money and personal gain. It hurts less to just tell yourself this is the way it goes and to go with the flow – convince yourself that you are better than others and be an arrogant bastard.

But you know what? Everything is forgiveable because you stop being a hypocrite the moment you admit that you are one.

For example, many people asked me if I would take the money for stop writing this blog. My answer was always: depends on my mood. If I am angry – no. If I am in need for money – yes. But you know what? I am not perfect. I am not a saint. But I would always tell you that I took the money to stop writing the blog and that my fight is over and that I did what was in my power and in my hands as a mortal human being to do. I think it’s honest. You can think that I betrayed my and your ideals and fight, but I TOLD YOU THE TRUTH. What’s more important: I TOLD THE TRUTH TO MYSELF. And I am not a hypocrite then. I did my best which is much more than someone else did (don’t worry, nobody offered me money. EK cherishes money more than their image. This was just an example based on my possible moral struggle).

So, no one has to change fundamentally and to be a better person in order for world to be a better place. You don’t have to change. You just have to tell the truth. To yourself first and then to others. It would be a good start. There is nothing wrong in admitting that you are wrong. You may even continue to do wrong, but don’t pretend it’s not wrong or that you are doing good. Have the courage to be an honest bastard, at least. And at least sometimes if not always.

Finally, we came to the title of this post. My fight “against” Emirates is not a fight against Emirates. “Do not fly Emirates” doesn’t mean a call to not fly with Emirates. Emirates is just a metaphor for lies and deceptions. And the whole world is established on deceptions and oblivion. EK managers are often comforting themselves with this fact: “it’s like this in every company”. I’ve heard this phrase so many times and whenever someone said it to me I knew that I am looking at the person who is walking the easier path of self deception. And I don’t mind people lying to themselves, I mind that they hurt others. This is why I started this blog and this is why I am still writing it. Do not fly Emirates means – do not lie to yourselves.

I got over my termination even before I was terminated. Maybe even before I was employed in EK. But Emirates Airline is the first company which gave me the profound knowledge on how every false system works. Most companies hide behind human and labour rights. Some of those rights are implemented and working, some of them are violated or even not implemented. But at least these rights stand as an ideal principle which is to be pursued by human rights activists and courts of law.

Emirates Airline (as a bunch of other companies all around the world as well) is the most outrageous lie I ever encountered to. And the most inhumane one. And besides the effects on my health (thyroid gland malfunction and disturbed peace of my mind) it left a deeper trail. It left a vision of future whose contributor I don’t want to be. I am taking my part of the responsibility in building that selfish, oblivious and inhumane future. I am not frustrated (at least not that much), I am not a rebel, I am not an anarchist (primarily). I just took the responsibility for my part of reality. And now when I am a hypocrite (and we all sometimes are) I can say it out loud and by doing so – clear myself of any further hypocrisy. That is what inner peace and happiness are for me.

Fight your fights people. Don’t be afraid to stand for yourselves. Love and respect yourselves. Forgive yourselves. Take the responsibility for your lives. Enjoy the ride. No one said it’s an easy ride, but if you overcome some difficult bumps I can promise that it won’t get less bumpy, but you will start to overcome the obstacles much easier. And then you will have the time to look around you and enjoy the ride.

Writing this blog is part of my ride.

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Emirates cabin crew fired for complaining to GCAA, ACAA and IATA?

According to this e-mail from one senior staff, Emirates Airline cabin crew complained to GCAA, ACAA and IATA on illegal layover length, fatigue and breach of safety rules and they got fired due to “inappropriate behavour”. Apparently, according to Emirates Airline managers, it’s inappropriate to contact international regulative organizations responsible for aviation safety and rules to complain on violation of those rules.

This is the e-mail that I have got today:

Hi Dragana,

i hope you are doing alright..
it took me sometime to find the courage to send this email to be honest im a bit afraid of loosing my job.
anyhow, here are some new stuff been going
i have xxx godforsaken flight to JFK during the snow storm where they had only 10 hours layover…. 4 of the crew xxx decided to make an official complaint to GCAA, ACAA & IATA , the e-mail was successfully sent , read and replied to… however, apparently emirates has it own people everywhere, somehow Mr. Terry received a copy of that e-mail ????

and as you know these days he is operating ” OPEN FORUM ” same one as Anoma did which led to your termination …. needless to say  its not going well as only about 400 crews decided to show up which made him say its an “isolated problem” ( because half of them are on leave and the other are operating, which he didn’t think of ) the point is he had a meeting with those 4 crews who sent the e-mail to GCAA and guess what happened after a long lecture about work ethics and bragging about how emirates is feeding them and their families , it ended up by 2 of them being terminated due ” inappropriate behavior “   how ironic… apparently this is the reason to termainte staff when you don’t have a reason, as for the other 2 crews since they didn’t use their company email to send the complaint they were blessed by a final written warning and … wait for it ….. leave balance forfeiting … swap freeze …. no access to company e-mail… WOOOW now the manager will send them email which they cant ready and they will be terminated ….
disregarding how unethical and a severe breach of company/uae labor laws which emirates is anyhow above it, they had to accept it because of their financial problems and their knowledge that they can’t get a better or same level job back in their countries … how sad…but true..
as we speak there is another open forum is going and i’ll send you the outcome when i get it.

as for EKAS
after Mr. walter promised to take EKAS to the new level… i can’t deny he did some improvements (THANKS TO YOU AND YOUR BLOG)
Mr. walter had several meetings with MASs and ASMs on how to make EKAS better ( for the company )
and the out come was ( as per some ASMs whom im close friend with )
1- all staff with more than 60 hours sickness are not entitled for grade.

2- verbal warning to be issued for staff who don’t comply with uniform and image standards…

3- sick reporting is now 5 hours before duty, any call after that will not be documented and staff will be marked absent ( great now i have to wake up 6 hours before my duty to see if im fit to work or not)

4- no more LOCAL LEAVES authorized by ASMs or MASs.
and yet more to come… im just waiting for walter to publish them ( i doubt it )

and hey .. do you remember that glorious day for emirates on 19 Dec where they had a record of passengers numbers ?
here is something for you about it, Mr. walter was so generous and gave all staffs who were working that day 25AED meal voucher BUT.. no time for the staff to eat, i was doing morning shift that day, and i witnessed staff who had 8-9 tasks on 10 hours shift, with a maximum break of 15 minutes ( time between gate to another) and when someone called RTC they bluntly informed the staff there is no break in your contract …..
staff were asked to perform all kind of tasks including remote departures/arrivals SAT and boarding.. and due to lack of staff that day many flights were without enough staff and some without Gate supervisors and i know some of the staff who had no GS on their flights got warnings because the flight was delayed….
how would you expect a staff who only got trained for boarding (BAMBAM) in 2 weeks to do a job that requires intensive system experience..
i can’t recall allllllll the incidents that happened with details , but you have my word, your blog will be my tongue.
eveyone (who is not a hypocrite or an ass kisser) is very proud of you and what you have achieved for us.

thank you for everything.

Email from a senior Emirates staff

Email from a senior Emirates staff


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 FlightAware.com. 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?”

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The painful truth behind the “glamorous cabin crew lifestyle” in Emirates Airline

Today’s main news about Emirates Airline is its refusal to be FIFA’s sponsor next year. As a reason for this we can find that “Emirates are reportedly ending the co-operation because of Fifa’s tainted image over corruption allegations”.

This news just made me laugh. One corrupted company is leaving another corrupted company and love is over once the corruption got into public. FIFA was not a saint organization before, occasional corruption allegations showed up here and there in media during past years. It seems that the newest one is going to backfire to FIFA’s head very hard so sponsors decided to leave the ship once it has sailed into public waters.

As I told you yesterday I’ve got many stories about employees’ experiences within Emirates Airline. This story of one cabin crew from Eastern Europe is just one of them. Many stories will follow.

Screenshot (84)

I joined emirates in 2012. As a 22 year old Eastern European who has a restless soul and funny thoughts about settling down, I was full of enthusiasm and excitement when I gave my resignation letter to the head master of the school where I was working at to leave for the glamorous trollydolly world in Dubai. I had seen all the possible recruitment videos, read all forums where I – subconsciously cut out all the parts where EK staff treatment was discussed-  and I couldn’t wait to turn new page, to leave my tiny salary and all-year-round shitty sky weather behind.

The sugar icing on top of the new glamour cake started to melt sooner than I ever expected. I can still recall, even after 27 months of serving chicken and beef and killing my brain and memory with numb obedience and no thinking, how a girl in an auditorium full of approx. 100 people,  was spotted during the induction week by a speech giving trainer. This girl violated a big no go rule. She was drinking water from the bottle! As all hundred heads turned onto this blushing face, it became clear that there is no messing around with what you have been told. This girl was being embarrassed and humiliated in front of a crowd and as I later learned, this is airlines management works.

A friend of mine had a one on her flight review because the perfumes in the lavatories didn’t face the right way. Another friend had the same mark because she has bending for the trays in the cart in an incorrect manner. One on my favourite ones was on a long flight where the senior overheard a colleague talking to passenger who was from the same city as her, about her family and childhood. One should not discuss personal things with passenger! Although it doesn’t say anywhere that you can’t, the power gets into peoples head and as rules and regulations change more often than day and night, seniors often take advantage of it. And crew cannot be bothered to fight for their rights because that would mean giving explanations in the office on your rare day off. For the same reasons, most of the seniors on board request the crew to do most of the cleaner’s job after landing. If there is a blanket left under the seat or sachet of sugar on top of the galley, it might get documented and senior must explain in writing why it happened and what is the learning point of this event.

There is a constant fear of reporting which is stimulated by the company. A lot of reporters are magically upgraded in their carrier. On e senior reporting another that economy class didn’t do towels on a six-and-a-half hour London flight where they didn’t sit down and eat not even for one minute and instead by the time they finished the first service they should have already started the next one. The crew travelling as passenger reporting his/hers colleagues for giving them a full bottle of water although we shouldn’t but for god’s sake, for your own colleague! The reason why the purses don’t even give a 10 longer brake in the crc even on an empty quiet flight is because they have been reported and even downgraded because of that.

Long flights are for me the worst. Especially the ones where EK is violating all the legal rest time regulations. The flight to JFK is aprox 13-14 hours. Reporting time for the crew is 2 hours before departure.  Given that the flight departs at 08.30, we need to report at 0630, take the bus – depending on the accommodation – at 0530 and wake up – again depending on the person – around 0430.   In JFK the immigration procedures and bus ride to the hotel takes around two to two and-a-half hours.   By that time most of us have been awake ca 20 hours. The ones with irregular sleeping patterns, probably way more. From the time we get to the hotel room, it’s usually 19-20 hours left until the wake up call. And the same long 24 hour shift can start again. Every one in this company knows that EK is paying fain for that in the US but its still cheaper for them than to provide us with one extra night of sleep and adjustment. The same flying time is applicable to Washington, Sao Paolo, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide. Two hour inflight rest in the A380 CRC where you can end up sleeping literally on the floor in the compartment which is located next to 4 toilets and main socializing area on this aircraft. It is rather impossible to have sleep when every two seconds there is a toilet flushing, many people talking, banging the door and what not. The same time ca 5 crew on the main deck have to attend to 429 peoples needs.

On one of my 15 hour flights, we had a 45 minute delay from Dubai. We reported to the duty around 8 AM, took off around 11AM, did a 15 hour flight, disembarked all 350 passengers, did our checks, cleaned blankets, headsets, sealed all containers etc, went through the immigration, sat on the bus. By the time we got to the hotel, it was around 9 PM local time whereas the wake up call is 7 PM the next evening.  So I went to bed immediately when I got to my room, slept nicely the whole night, woke up in the morning, trying to adjust to the time difference and jet lag. But what should I do in order to be able to take another nap before the wake up call in the evening? So by the time we take off the next evening at 11.30 PM, I have been awake for 15 hours already, the jet lag and time difference doesn’t’ allow me to sleep twice in 12 hour daylight time. We arrived to Dubai and I have been awake over 30 hours. How can be held responsible if god forbid we have to evacuate, be alert, sharp and take care of my own and 350 other peoples lives? I filled out fatigue report stating that this layover time needs to be increased or Emirates should never say that safety is their first priority. The answer that I received from Ted Green one month and four days was that increasing the layover time is simply not possible.

A friend of my friend is in final warning because she fainted in the briefing and needed to be offloaded from the flight. But if crew is forced to do the flights like my Sao Paulo maybe 3 times a month followed by couple e.g CMB, MLE, NBO, ATH or IST turnarounds which take around 15 hours of your day?

I think we don’t even want to go to the salary thing. We get paid from the moment the aircraft pushes back. The longest that I personally have been delayed onboard with customers is 5 hours, together with signing in its 7 hours. We did a full service on the ground. For free.

The two years that I’ve been in the company, the whole concept of swapping flights have been changed; every month there is some new regulation which doesn’t allow you to change pretty much anything on your roster. And the rules- as they say – come from GCAA which is surprisingly ruled by the same man as Emirates. The chairman of the government-owned airline, Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, is also president of the CAA and on the board of the GCAA.

This is something to give thought about.

I don’t even want to start with the image and uniform issues. Every single crew is just so tired of it and just can’t care anymore.  On my flight to LHR, the purser insisted to offload 6 people, because ones skirt was too long, the other ones too tight, the SFSs hair color was not correct, the SUPYs skirt was greased etc.  We are asked to remove the jackets during I&U checks so that the SFS could see if our bras have appropriate color.

There are many examples of people who got sick while on vacation in their hometown. This is not acceptable according to Emirates. Even if you have a doctor’s certificate not to fly because of let’s say an ear infection, you will still get ordered back to Dubai, or an absent and a warning most probably.  If you pop your ears and get permanent damage, you are not covered and treated on the insurance.  Because of this punishment culture, there is a tendency to refrain from calling sick after a vacation, and to actually operate ill.  You are mostly seen as a number and a chart which states your attendance.

Most of us are dream about a cabin crew job but in a different airline. People go to Europe and work for low cost airlines, where they have unions, laws and protection. In difference with our ground staff colleagues we get a nice pay at the end of the month and this is the one and only motivation for 95% of the crew. The rest enjoys the power, and in this two years I’ve actually seen about 5-10 people who do believe in Emirates and it’s way of taking care of their employees like in the middle ages.  One the Emirates big value is being empathetic, that’s how we as the faces of Emirates – the ground staff, the crew, the pilots, should be. Why doesn’t Emirates show us how it is done?