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Tag Archives: Kevin Griffiths SVP Cabin Crew

Story of an Emirates cabin crew who found another airline job

Hi Dragana!

Just thought I would share with you my Emirates experiences to use or not use as you wish!
I joined EK in January 2012 and was assigned a room in the now non existent Hamad Lootah Building. After one week (when I learned how to log in to our lovely portal) I saw an email from Accommodation stating that I had to move by the end of that week to a vacant apartment in Al Nahda in a new building, or into a vacant room.
Imagine you’ve just unpacked, you’re stressed, at Training College with a bunch of “seniors” speaking to you each day like you are a retarded onion…and you have to move, again!
Whatever, it’s just teething problems.
After two months, I had just started flying and all of a sudden my appendix burst on a flight back from Doha. Luckily my senior there was a caring, professional adult and took me immediately to the clinic on landing which happened to be closed.
There was however one doctor working late who took one look at me and took me straight to hospital where I received emergency (life saving) surgery. She stayed there with me and also contacted management on my behalf.
When I came out of hospital after a week, there was only one more week covered by a sick note. Towards the end of that week, that AWFUL telephone rang in my apartment and it was my manager Hassan el Dimassi. His first question to me was “when do you expect to be back at work?”. Nice.
I had a prolonged recovery which took almost three months. I was petrified I would be fired but I couldn’t work, and I was frightened I wouldn’t be able to do my job properly after three months off. I developed  sleeping problems.
Despite Doctor’s notes, I still had to go to Attendance Management meetings where I met Michelle Dmello for the first time. An awful woman who doesn’t care about people in the slightest. I had to have a disciplinary hearing with my new manager, AM, and HR immediately after a TRV turnaround. Thankfully my Doctor insisted on being present and she spoke on my behalf as I spent most of the meeting in tears.
During the time I had been off, I used up the statutory sick pay. After this, you stop receiving your basic salary. One month, my payslip read -500 AED. I owed EK money for being unable to work. My stress and anxiety levels increased.
Two months later, although back flying, my sleeping was terrible and all the initial signs of depression began to show. Things finally came to a head when my ex committed suicide back in my home country. I spiralled into a severe depression and could barely get out of bed. I lost a lot of weight and weighed only 46kg. I could hardly make a cup of tea, let alone serve 310 pax in economy on a day flight to Glasgow. I was signed off sick from work again, but this only increased my problems as I had these sick days deducted from my salary again.
I went to EAP and saw their head of Psychology, a local lady who was terrible at her job. Hard enough to talk about anyway, she said of my ex’s suicide “We treat people with much worse problems than you dear, inshallah your sleeping will be fine.” A great, supportive response to just another staff number who can’t sleep.
Eventually I saw another psychologist in EK, without who I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. She was nothing short of amazing. Emirates DO have the staff who genuinely care about others, but they are few and far between.
I returned to work but never managed my sleeping problems and still went to work with that awful anxiety and suffered panic attacks at least once a week. I won’t go into detail with all the Image & Uniform stuff and all the ridiculous other things you have to deal with at work with seniors and management but I never fully enjoyed my time at Emirates after this.
I met Michelle Dmello once more after I developed food poisoning in Brisbane and had to stay downroute. I had called sick too many times over the year; reasons for which she had in front of her. So, I began with the obvious which is “how do I come to work when I am so weak I can barely get myself to a bathroom every five minutes?”
She told me that FOOD POISONING IS AVOIDABLE.
Well you heard it here first. That thing that people just love to get on purpose and spend three days in agony on a drip in a hospital is avoidable. She’s a joke. When I said something to this effect in the “meeting”, she told me I had an attitude problem and needed to be careful what I said. Fear/reporting/blahblah.
You and so many others are right when you say that this fear and reporting culture results in an unhappy, unhealthy workforce. I have now moved to another airline where sadly a lot of the “office culture” remains the same but the conditions of my contract far outweigh those of Emirates and overall I am much happier….and I can sleep like a normal human being again!
Cabin crew's email

Cabin crew’s email

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Confession of one depressed Emirates cabin crew

One female Emirates cabin crew committed suicide a few days ago in Emirates accommodation. Out of respect towards her and her family we will not write about her case and the reasons why she did it, but here is a story of another former cabin crew which perfectly explains how depressed EK cabin crew are and how nobody takes proper care of them except few individuals from medical profession who often don’t follow company’s rules in order to help their patients. 
This girl was being forced to resign due to her condition. This is her confession on how she went through that and how she fought her way through cruel and inhumane system. 

Hi Dragana,

I’ll try to make it not too long but detailed enough for people to know what happens behind Emirate’s “welfare”.
First of all, Emirates employees don’t have access to a private health insurance being subdue to company’s clinic and their General Practicioners. If you need to see a specialist you have to go to the one they refer you to, wether you like it or not. If it’s not working and you’d like to see another doctor, well, good luck with that.

I joined Emirates when I was 21 and I had little on my pockets but was full of dreams and determination. Not even 1 year in the company I started to feel down. The things that annoyed me a little in the beginning started to add up quickly and became major issues. I also soon found out that an abnormal number of the staff is severely depressed and/or alcoholic. With the lifestyle provided by the poor work conditions in this airline it is really not surprising.

I started to feel empty and sad the whole time and tired, really tired. I was oversleeping and overeating and my whole body system was going downhill and I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. I was in a sleeping-and-going-to-work cycle, I spent almost my entire spare time sleeping and sometimes I even took sleeping tablet merely cuz I didn’t see the point in staying up. I went to see a doctor at EK clinic and he immediatly recognized that I was depressed and suggested me to see a shrink. I was prescribed antidepressants which takes you out of the roster for a while – long enough to break any changes of an upgrade because you acquire too many sick days. It was a long going back and forth to the clinc, to the shrink: change of medication, sick leave, theraphy.
At this point I don’t think it is necessary to detail how I felt. Depression is too easy to judge but only who has been through it knows what it feels like.

It is important to stress that nothing goes confidential in the airline and that suicide is ilegal in the country. When you join Emirates you are to state if you had depression before. I ticked the box that said I didn’t. In fact I have never been diagnosed with depression even though I did mention to my shrink that I have felt similar to that before. Of course he mentioned that in his report and of course Emirates knew about it.
I must say this very one doctor that left EK clinic for feeling his hand were tied the whole time – and therefore I will preserve his identification – called me and warned me that they would push me to resign, he asked me to come to the clinic before opening hours because, of course, all appointments were taken. Early in the morning he showed me an e-mail he received from the doctor responsible for the clinic saying that I lied about having depression and that they don’t take cabin crew with history of depression. They were trying to get me to confess that I lied about a pre-existing condition and by doing so they could terminate my contract.
Dr A (as I’ll refer to him from now on) was a kind soul, a good doctor and he couldn’t diggest Emirate’s policy of neglecting proper medical care to its employees. He wrote to the doctor atesting that I have not being diagnosed with depression before and that I was seing a psychiatrist that said I was responding to the treatment. Not being thoroughly convinced, the doctor in charge demanded that I saw an aviation psychiatrist in Abu Dhabi and I would have to pay the consultation from own pocket and so the transportation. I am ever so grateful to Miss Mirjana who work for the Employee Assistance Program – she used to be cabin crew and she knew what it is likely; mostly likely she knew what she could report from what you told her. Mirjana drove me with her own car without taking any money from me all the way to Abu Dhabi and back, she accompanied me to the doctor and she offered me therapy sessions with her which definetly have helped. If I haven’t came across her and Doctor A I honestly don’t think I would have managed to overcome Emirates trying to force me to resign.

There is much about depression that goes unmentioned in this company. The reason I concluded they don’t accept people with history of depression is because they know the already huge number of depressive crew who are put out of the roster, who resign or who suicide and they can’t afford to have people with feelings and problems, they want robots or happy-sappy 21 years young who believe it is a great place to be. They undercover all story of suicide. I would like to see statistics and facts about Emirates employees who have been through depression and the ones who lost the battle against it while in Emirates.

One of the times I discussed possible treatments after a few pills that didn’t result in positive effetcs I was seriously recommended to undergo ECT and that Emirates would not pay for it and mostly likely not keep me in the job. I won’t go into the controversials of ECT, I just want to highlight I was recommended to go through it on my own: the company that was suposed to spounsor me was leaving me to my own lucky not caring about my conditions to afford something like that, to find another job, wether I could go back to where I come from or not  and nonethless for my health.

I do give Dragana the permission and encouragement to make my story public. “Truth is a daughter of time” and Emirates Airline labour practices must be known.

Crew's email.

Crew’s email.


True life of an Emirates Flight Attendant – anonymous report from EK cabin crew

This article excerpt is taken from another popular website. I guess that truth really is a daughter of time.

By:

When it comes to ME3 flight attendants, there's a lot of fear and sadness beneath those red hats and behind those gleaming smiles
When it comes to ME3 flight attendants, there’s a lot of fear and sadness beneath those red hats and behind those gleaming smiles.

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The real story behind those flight attendants’ strained smiles is one of fatigue, gross mistreatment, abhorrent living standards, deception, mistrust, and even alcoholism, depression and suicide.

Those girls in little hats serving you onboard your ME3 flight fly almost twice as much as their counterparts at European carriers. Some U.S. airlines allow their crews to fly high hours, but they have rules in place for work and rest that are largely ignored by the ME3. Fly in from Manchester at 7 a.m. and go back out to Perth at 2 a.m. the next morning? This type of schedule is par for the course at the ME3, yet would be illegal in the U.S. or Europe.

This is just a part of the article. Read the whole story, along with the readers’ comments, here: http://thepointsguy.com/2015/01/insider-series-true-life-of-an-emirates-flight-attendant/#ixzz3R2rcLspb

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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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2000 Emirates flight attendants resigned in September this year?

I remember my little chat with HR manager Mr.Maktoom Mohd. Hassan after the Open forum for ground staff (when he also told me that I am “finished”). When I asked him to tell us his opinion on huge resignation rate in Emirates Airline (specifically in Airport Services) he told my friend and me that staff turnover in Emirates Airline is “usual for every big company”.

DSVP of Airport Services Mr.Mohammed Mattar, on the other hand, admitted that he is short of staff. “I don’t have enough staff so I am forcing you to come to work” he said. I guess that this logic is very simple and makes managing of huge department very easy. I was hoping, though, that managers don’t use this logic on cabin crew, since there is more to gamble with on board by forcing tired staff to fly, than when you force people to come and seat at the counters for hours without a break.

There are couple of ways to force cabin crew to work more. One is to make them fly more than certain, prescribed by law and healthy, number of hours per month and another one is to make their layovers very short. Both are illegal and both are used by Emirates Airline as ways of compensating a serious lack of trained flight attendants.

My former colleagues boarding agents (still working) tell me that there is a visible lack of cabin crew, that flights are delayed because of it and there is even a widespread story that two flights were recently cancelled due to this lack of flight crew.

I have received several e-mails from members of EK cabin crew recently, mentioning some of the reasons why they resign in number that even endangers safe flying and operation, but one information left me speechless. One of those e-mails claims that 2000 flight attendants left the company just in September this year.

Whenever I read people’s stories and decide whether to publish them or not, I always wonder about their motives to write to me and their perception of reality. In this case, even if this number is not plausible, it proves the devastated state of flight crew morale. And who would like to fly with indifferent, tired and unhappy crew?

Of course, nobody from EK management cares about staff’s morale. Nobody thinks it’s important. Managers have huge salaries and bonuses and they keep themselves motivated. Flight crew, ground staff and passengers are there to ensure their bonuses. Once these managers are done with Emirates Airline they will return to their western homes. They will never consider themselves responsible for their employees’ misery and devastation of company’s image, they will never think that somebody is lying sick somewhere because of their exploit policies, they will never remember all those people who came to contribute to “making the history” and who became history instead.

Here are just some of the problems of cabin crew in Emirates Airline.

  1. “Lousy shoes that cause many industrial injuries that the company tries not to accept blame for. A cheap quality uniform that doesn’t wear or wash well. Staff have to buy replacements for parts of the uniform. Yes, they have to buy new shoes or wear them for one year exactly before they can get new ones for free of charge.”
  2. “There is a staff shortage as many experienced crew left and sometimes managers put resignation processing on hold as they can’t process them quick enough. Resignations run around 250 plus staffs a month. Now going to over 350.”
  3. “Some crew is doing over 120 hours a month flying and are exhausted and falling sick regularly. Some fly sick as they are told no upgrade if they are sick.”
  4. “They opened a walk in clinic in HQ which is full and crew waits for hours after a flight to be seen. Before cabin crew could self certify sickness for up to seven days. Now they are bringing new system to make crew come to see the nurse every two days so they can’t recover properly and just go to work like machines.”
  5. “If crew is even 1 minute late they get into serious problems and marked absent. But if plane and flight is delayed they are expected to work for nothing.”
  6. “Cabin crew is bullied, exploit, tired and fatigued.”
  7. More on cabin crew’s problems here.

Here is one particularly interesting e-mail from one cabin crew:

Cabin crew's e-mail. 2000 crew resigned in September.

Cabin crew’s e-mail. 2000 crew resigned in September.

they have reduced some allowances (like 120 eur to 90eur in Nice which I think is stollen a lot if mobey for 24hrs). I think way bigger problem are the illegal short layovers where ek pays fines rather than giving the crew longer stopover time but this is another topic. Oh, and there’s waaaaaay more crew resigning than 250 per month.  Only in sept it was around 2000.
Can I pls add one thing. Im currently in the xxx and I have some very new girls on my flight who haven’t finished their 6month probation yet. They told me they get weighed now before the start of the training, after the training, before getting a uniform AND after probation on their graduation day.  When i joined 2012 theree was no scales whatsoever.I think this says a lot about the values of this company. Some of the newbys look anorectic to me. They cannot close any overhead locker and god forbid I have no clue how would these 21year old 178cm and  48kg girls evacuate 500ppl in 90 sec with jammed doors, injured pax, heavy equipment etc
For ek its all about image and not evaluation of real situations. Everyones fatigued, scared and demotivated.i truely dont know when was the last time I saw someone who is happy with ek as an employer. People have to know how this system is rottening!!!
All the best Dragana,

And if someone has to say something in Emirates Airline’s defence, I would politely ask them to explain first the fact that Kevin Griffiths, Senior Vice President of Cabin Crew was demoted recently with a serious remuneration cut.

Before you continue to question everything that is said here, please explain first why some high levelled EK Human Resources managers were fired recently without a chance to even clean their desks before exiting the company?

Please explain why you didn’t publish results of the survey on employees’ satisfaction yet as you have promised?

Mr. Abdulaziz's (Head of EK HR) promise to publish result of a long gone survey on employees' satisfaction

Mr. Abdulaziz’s (Head of EK HR) promise to publish the results of a long gone survey on employees’ satisfaction

Dear managers, you can not keep denying things written on this blog and yet keep the reasons for firing and demoting big name managers as a secret. Something is obviously very wrong as people on this blog are pointing out for 4 months now.

But be careful in your answers though as you must write your comments online in the way your company has instructed you recently. I guess many managers do not follow these rules in their every day work (respecting people, differences and cultures), therefore they do not feel obliged to follow them online. And I guess that threats became usual and desirable way of making employees behave like managers want them to behave, so remember those of you, regular employees who want to write an honest comment here: you are tracked and observed by your company when writing online (at least this is how this first “rule” tries to scare you):

Mr.Jon Conway's (DSVP-UAE Airport Operations) instruction on how to behave online

Mr.Jon Conway’s (DSVP-UAE Airport Operations) instruction on how to behave online

I guess we just need time to see how much exactly is current Emirates staff turnover “usual” for big companies.

Happy New Year.