Advertisements

Tag Archives: Medical Insurance

The glamorous life of Emirates cabin crew: sleeping on the airport floor

This is an e-mail I’ve got a few days ago. I will let you draw the conclusion about safety, EK’s organizational culture and fatigue. I will also let you wonder where the pilot and co-pilot slept that night.

screenshot-404

Hello,

Thank you for your blog. Emiarets is a terrible companyy to work for.
Please, do not display my email address or my name…..
This is a picture of Emirates Airline Crew sleeping on the floor. The JFK airport was closed and the company asked us to leave our hotel and go to the airport anyway and wait on the airbridge until they open the airport…..
The fact was that the airport was closed because of the heavy snow and we had to wait on the floor for several hours, more than 6hours…… We could not even use the
emirates lounge at the jfk airport. They told us to wait at the airbridge.
.
.
dsc03598
Advertisements

Not so glamorous Emirates Airline lifestyle

I’ve read this article on Yahoo Lifestyle yesterday and wondered how far can a pursuit for the profit go? And does doing business these days means only flooding the media with stories which promote your desirable image? Does any CEO or business owner today thinks they can resolve their inner organizational and human resources problems with a few positive image articles on the internet? How long before managers figure out that they cannot beat the internet because it gives an equal power to everyone, including those whose voice managers don’t want to hear?

I am not glad to see that EK managers hadn’t learned much about running the long lasting business. They are still trying to mask the problems with the old “high class lifestyle” public discourse, while their company is falling apart from the inside.

Is it that human conscience is limited with its own mortality so much that managers simply don’t care what will happen after they go, or they simply don’t know how to think in future terms? Maybe combination of both, but, in the meantime, while EK is struggling with its limited managers whose only job is, it seems, to drink Costa coffee in the HQ Costa cafe and to make sure that internet gets its daily dose of “Emirates high class lifestyle” articles, this blog will publish not so glamorous stories about the real lifestyle inside Emirates Airline.

I’ve got this story as a comment on my blog and decided to publish it as an article because I had similar health issues while I was working in EK (without health insurance!). When your employer doesn’t care about your health, I guess you have to take care of yourself and the internet can be a good doctor in the world which recognizes only money for its supreme leader.

costa

 

“Dragna, I have been following your blog for about 2 years. I’ve resigned from EK in 2013.

I left because I felt we as crew were not treated fairly, there was no Support system we could rely on.
2012 I was diagnosed with a begnine tumor in my uterus, and after pleading with my manager to let me come home for the operation (because they wanted me to have the surgery in Dubai, and if so, I’m pretty sure I would have died,since I had complication during it), I was allowed one month for surgery and recovery.

Obviously it took more than one month, and while recovering I was stressing out, because I kept seeing flights being rostered, and, just because I hadn’t sent my doctor’s letter on time (I was at the hospital) stating that I was still in hospital and could not return.
There was no one in charge to contact directly (they were closed for Eid) and instead of being relaxed and advancing on my recovery, I was freaking out.

It was one of the most horrific experiences of my life.

Later I found out that the reason that tumor had developed was due to hormonal inbalance caused by lack of proper nutriton, rest and stress.
In conversation with at least 7 female crew, i found out that they too had had simililar problems, and had to have surgery.

My last year at Emirates I was A380 FG1, more than once I had to eat standing and while the service was going on. I would grab a bite everytime I enter the galley and chew before I took the next item of food to the customer. With On Demand service, breaks to eat are nearly impossible.

When I came back home for good, I had medical tests done and I was diagnosed with severe anaemia, not to mention that I fell into deep depression which I’m still battling with.

The good times of my EK experience were completely obscured by the many bad things that happened. Sad to say it.

Anonymous”

screenshot-413

eplane_050816-1


My story from Emirates Airline Hell

This is my story in brief that shows how Emirates Airline HR has dealt with it from dishonouring “their” agreement that was signed on the contract hoping that I would get some support in filing a legal case in a country other than UAE. Such influenced individuals or managers or even senior staff have distorted the Bright image of Emirates Airline by bullying, mobbing and even playing with the company rules to meet their needs supported by HR. I’ve tried to reach some decision makers since 2010 with a help from inside and outside the company in order to draw attention on their illegal actions as same become part of each day activities however, they reached managers before me and briefing them with wrong information!

I did my utmost during my life in EK by working hard as I have more than 17 awards and compliments from the company and passengers (many for my own projects) including EK highest accolade as I have received the Chairman Award from HH in 2005 for saving a life of a passenger after his heart had stopped during transit. I had registered “Exceptional” on my PM for 3 continuous years and I have a great relation with all staff including seniors that developed to friendship. I wasn’t given or called for any “disciplinary” meetings except a single Memo on March 12th 2008 when my line manager Mr Patrick D. has done a marvelous job in changing facts supported by his officer to send me a message that I should be loyal to him.

My ex-line manager Mr Patrick D. was a perfect example for violating the “HUMANITY” rules not only the company rules, I don’t know his previous experience but, all what I know that he had joined DNATA in 1991 as a “normal” staff and had moved the chain till he was selected as ASM for Doha station. At that time, EK was almost 10 years old and there were only certain numbers of staff as the possibility of getting promoted was higher than today. He was called back to Dubai after many complaints against his strategy of running the work at Doha station. Mr Patrick had worked hard on making friends especially with influenced managers as this was his only and last card to play with when facing problems. In Dubai, he wasn’t welcomed back to DNATA as it had enough from him so, he used his “only card” to be saved from a definite termination….he was attached with one of the best manager in EKAS hoping that he would change (including attitude and behavior) and begin a positive creative new life but, he was cunning like a fox!! He was transferred to the ramp and baggage area-EBRS under Mrs Anoma leadership based on the positive feedback from that manager. Mrs Anoma in turn had taken a good care in “rehabilitating” him as a manager, no wonder he is well known of “Anoma’s son” till this moment.

Mr Patrick was very smart in knowing staff not for their achievements but, who stands behind them, he used to take good care of the local staff and building a good friendly relations with them, he was supporting only his loyal staff and distributed them in every shift to know what was happening behind his back other than work issues, what they were thinking /talking about him, a detailed “briefing” would be prepared every day before he comes to work by his senior loyal staff that are called till this very moment “Patrick Boys”.

I wasn’t welcomed by him at EBRS department thinking that I would act as “Spy” as I was against his strategy at work, he used to brief everyone including the DVP that I didn’t want to join EBRS and I prefer to stay where I was at that time!!! He had worked on many things to make me just run away from the department briefing all that I wasn’t enjoying my work at EBRS and for that, I shouldn’t be believed of whatever I say!!

In my whole life at EBRS, neither me nor any one of my colleagues have learned anything from him, he never showed us how to solve or how to anticipate problems before they arise, he never asked or listened to staff on how we can improve EBRS services….all what he showed us was the “other side” of managers i.e. giving “unjustified” warnings and memos!! I just can’t forget when one day, he called me to his office and got amazed when I saw Ms H. Al A. (HR Manager) there, he began to create some stories from his imagination about me and that all staff including managers were complaining about me!! The worst part was, Ms H. HR was supporting his wrong claims and then she said “All expatriates are saying the same thing when they are in troubles, if they found a decent job at their own country, they wouldn’t be here!!” then I looked at her and said: “First, I am not in trouble; second, the HR has set a special protocol before reaching a Hearing “not like this”: third, what do you mean by Expatriates? Mr. Clark is expatriate, Mr. Morris Flanagan is expatriate, Mr. Dale Griffith is expatriate, the manager here (Patrick) is expatriate too….most of the expatriates are working hard to add more success to EK.” This was EK HR representative who supposed to investigate and support the staff but it seems, HR will put heads down for managers.

Patrick did not share any plan(s) with any staff asking them for optimum opinion in fact, he would ignore any “feedback” concerning ideas or projects as he would go for what is in his head or (of course) his seniors. For example, 7 years ago EBRS management have allocated luggage carousel for the premium passengers however, this turned out on the staff with different scenarios of harassments from passengers and Patrick didn’t show any interest to listen and/or reply on staff emails to enhance this service as one time he called me to say “You are a supervisor…just be a supervisor, we don’t want anything else from you…no ideas…no projects…this is a message from the DVP”!! EBRS had continued with the plan until it was stopped (with immediate effect) by Mr. Tim Clark When he called SVP Mr. M Mattar for that on September 2009!!

On an “opening” for a new post “EBRS Duty Officers-Grade 7” and just after the assessment, Patrick came out of the lounge to tell me to look for the grade in other department as they have already chosen the suitable staff even though, this was against the company rules as 2 more groups were coming after we finish our assessment besides, the interview still didn’t assign yet!!! He said, I am the Decision Maker here!!! And yes…managers can play up and down with the rules supported by HR.

I am not the only one who suffered from his “sadist games” there are a lot of staff who tasted his pain, many good staff had received rejection to their application for higher grades from him without a valid reason set as per HR or even just “destroy” their hopes by unjustified Warnings and memos.

Speaking about the “unjustified” warnings that Patrick used to give EBRS staff without notice as per the rules and regulations, once my shift manager Ms Lynelle Adkins had asked me something about my PM, she said “I didn’t know that you have a recent warning”, I said I don’t have a warning….it was a Memo longtime back and it is not in the system anymore!!, she turned the screen toward me and said look! There was a warning issued about a week ago by the Line Manager Patrick D…Amazingly, it was the same my old Memo text but, with current date!!! There is a protocol for issuing warnings set by HR so basically, he can put whatever on my system without discussing same with me as per the rules!! I was disappointed and couldn’t think anymore…I heard some strange voices but, I opened my eyes to find myself on the stretcher and rushed to Rashid Hospital by Airport Medical Team after I collapsed with sever seizure!!!

It was Friday Feb 26th 2010 I will remember that date for the rest of my life. Doctors had done CT scan but, they wanted to go for MRI as the checks were insufficient to determine the reason for the sever seizure anyways, hospital staff asked me to arrange initially 10,000 AED as my Governmental Health card, my EK health insurance even my “emergency” case didn’t save me from continuing my medical checks in a public hospital! I had to wait for many hours for EK to arrange the required money as every 10-15 minutes a nurse would come and ask me for the same however, after 6 hours of waiting, I had signed on the self discharge form and I left the hospital.

I couldn’t do the MRI scan in private hospitals that honor my EK insurance as I have to wait for EK to send them the approval form. During that period, I had another 3 seizure attacks that ended each time in a different hospital however, I had a meeting with Mr Ashley F. EKAS HR in order to submit a huge complaint against my manager Mr Patrick D. having my old memo dated March 12, 2008 to compare it with the recent warning on his system as it has the same text, Mr Ashley was so amazed and stupor that he was wondering how did he do that, he took a copy of the memo as he would investigate on that and delete this “unjustified” warning from my file at the same time, he asked for some time and not to tell anyone about this meeting and/or my complaint against Patrick! (Later, I found out that he was protecting Patrick!).

I met Ranjini from EK Medical Benefit Administration (MBA) to follow up as my life without treatment was described as “Unstable”, Ranjini informed me that EK Clinic approved my treatment 2 days ago. At the City Hospital I was examined by Dr Deep Al Kayed (MD, FAAN- US Board certified Neurologist and Clinical Neurophysiologist) however, he didn’t give me a clear definite answer whether it was Anteriovenos Malformation-AVM that caused the Tumor or something else as he said “Most of the AVMs take a quiet long time to be formed however, your case is different as the location (Left thalamic basal Ganglia),  the size of the tumor is very large 3.9 CM in its antero-posterior, 3.8CM in its height and 1.9 CM in its coronal dimension with high pressure on the surrounding structures and with a huge massive Edema that is compressing the cerebral nerves made me say that it was recently formed and maybe this explains why you didn’t suffer from it before”. The hospital suggested starting treatment as soon as possible to prevent further complications and possible death by a professional team in Jordan as doctors there have great experience in treating same. It is good to mention that I had bad scenarios trying to get a CD for my MRI as every staff I asked him, he would come back to me saying once, it is against the policy then, the machine was inoperative…etc!! I had to meet the duty manager for that who had confirmed to me that the hospital gives a CD copy to the patients without even asking however, after about 3 hours of negotiation, they gave me the CD but, I didn’t know that there was a bad story behind hiding it!

Emirates Airline “MBA” had approved my treatment outside UAE (in Jordan) based on the discharge report from the City Hospital, Dubai Hospital and Rashid Hospital. Ranjini had confirmed that the company insurance would be responsible for my treatment and my basic salary (at least) would be deposited in my bank account as usual till the end of my treatment as:

  • I had collapsed on duty and transferred to Rashid Hospital by Airport Medical Team.
  • MAS (Manager Airport Services) and ASM (Airport Services Manager) had filed an incident report.
  • EK Clinic/Doctors had approved my treatment in Jordan according to the medical reports from Rashid, Dubai and the City Hospital however, I wasn’t not invited to see anyone of them or at least, to be examined by EK Doctors.

I went with my colleague to another private Dr to have a second opinion of my MRI examination but, we were shocked when we found out that the City Hospital gave me just a BLANK CD!!  It couldn’t be by mistake as the hospital duty manager gave it to me after a big hassle. I went again there and I met a different duty manager and I made sure to take my own MRI CD after reviewing it, I heard it from there that my employer (HR) was against giving me the CD, I wrongly though because HR/insurance had paid my bill so, the hospital should take their permission first, I DIDN’T KNOW THEY WERE HIDING THAT MY BRAIN HAD BLEEDED (HEMORRAHAGE) AND DUE TO THIS, I WAS UNFIT TO FLY (you can google it) however, the HR wanted me to go home ASAP to close my case from Dubai side and be with HR manager Ashley F. only.

Since I was having some financial commitments with banks (personal loan +credit cards), I called their customer service advising them of the same and that I needed to seek treatment in Jordan as per the medical reports so, I have updated my contacts and my email address.

I was in touch with my employer most of the time as I used to send medical reports the minute I received them, doctors have described my case as critical, rare and serious that needs to be treated ASAP, complications might include another brain bleeding (haemorrhage) and/or stroke which may lead to death. Ashley called me many times offering me some “good offers” if I submitted my resignation as he would consider it as medical termination, he would send some extra “cash” which would help in my treatment as I was the first EKAS to be awarded the Chairman Award, he would authorize the treatment fees till recovery, he would speak and send the banks a letter of my medical termination so that they would activate their insurance to settle down my outstanding of my loan and cards and would follow up with them in order to give me my same outstanding/principle amount as per their insurance policy (Emirates NDB bank is doing that for my loan), he would call my company insurance 24 months basic salary as per contract, my belongings at my apartment at no cost and finally, he would get me back to EK when I finish my treatment however, I refused his offer in so many times.

The MBA had reimbursed my treatment only one time however; they used their own calculations and the sum was “much” less than what the receipts showed. I tried calling them many times after emailing them but, they didn’t reply…Even HR Ashley had ignored my emails after asking me to copy him on the emails. My own basic salary was stopped since May 2010 and in almost every email I send Ashley I used to put him in full picture regarding the heavy costs for my treatment that would stop if –at least-my salary and medical fees were not paid but, he was (some what) referring to this issue as a private issue and I should be responsible for it. I even tried to explain that I was covered by EK medical insurance and I passed the company medical test before I joined EK and all that has formed recently as per my medical reports but unfortunately, EK Clinic and/or HR had judged on that as it was formed since birth. Then why I wasn’t asked to be examined by EK doctors when I had collapsed with seizure on duty? I was on duty when that happened?

Ashley was trying to put a lot of pressure so that I would ask him for termination as once; he gave me 2 options either to send him my doctor contacts or to come to Dubai because EK doctors wanted to examine me to make sure that I am on the right track even though, I was sending my medical reports as soon as I get them and my treatment didn’t finish yet but, traveling to Dubai by plane was against any medical advice in fact, my doctors were amazed from my employer request as I had two recent brain embolizations and I was under condensed Physiotherapy and the worst part, I should pay for everything including my tickets, staying in Dubai…etc the minute I was saving every Dirham for my treatment after EK had stopped my insurance and my salary as authorized by MBA for the 3 above reasons. I sent Ashley my doctor contacts and I told him that I was in favor of coming to Dubai as per EK Doctors request and to finalize my salary and treatment issues with MBA.

A few weeks later, Ashley returned back asking me to come to Dubai as he fixed an appointment with Dr Diane Mclvor on May 30th 2011at 1130AM on his email, he said that EK Dr has called my Dr in Jordan however, it was still not sufficient detail to ascertain my fitness for continued employment!! This is absolutely WRONG because whoever called my doctor was inquiring about my medical progress only and my Dr informed that I was improving (with details) however, my doctors have advised to reconsider 12hours shift as it is hectic and unhealthy and they wrote this on their report that I had sent to HR.

On his email, Ashley wrote that he ran a quick check with immigration and found that a police case was filed by Mashreq Bank with a total sum of 9,500AED, he asked me to settle that amount before coming as police arrest could happen and would cause extreme stress for me!. First, the Immigration Department wouldn’t release some “secure” information to anyone unless he has a written authority from me as this is illegal second, police case was filed because my salary was stopped from being deposited in my account third, this is a private issue however, Ashley went there to file a case against me (Escaping from the employer case No. 372994) as he knew that I have some financial commitment with banks and therefore, the banks would do the same and exclude me from their insurance under “Medical Termination” or”Loss of job due sickness” scheme even getting the same outstanding after settling it. He made sure to answer any call from banks with “We don’t know where he is and we filed a case against him”. If Ashley had any sense of “humanity” its better to ask EK Clinic why EK doctors insisted (as per Ashley) to be examined in Dubai (rather than do it at their approved clinic for Jordan staff in Jordan) when EK Clinic had approved my treatment in Jordan without even seeing me and all the medical reports were sent to them up to date in terms of, what we have done and what is the next step in details. Doctors can’t jeopardize a human life by asking a patient with recent brain operations to fly to Dubai to be examined and they are not going to put me in a plane with a recent hemorrhage that was hidden from me and send me to Jordan for good…This is how EK-HR would do to protect managers and in my case, protecting themselves from being questioned or what they have done regarding my complaint!

I informed my doctors that I wanted to go to Dubai as they knew my company comes first however, on June 3rd 2011, my Dr sent me a report indicated that my Drs were not in favor of traveling by plane at this stage due to my recent brain operations, recent Haemorrhage and the Edema that is still exists till the moment as they didn’t want to hold any legal responsibility, however, they gave me that decision as I should consider Oxygen (extra bottle) onboard the flight if I decided to go as I MIGHT need it. I sent the report to Ashley as usual to prepare the MEDIF form and send it to EK Clinic then to reservation as I knew from before when I was Public Relation Officer that sick passengers with Oxygen bottle can travel but they have to inform EK prior and fill Medical Form (MEDIF) unfortunately, Ashley had taken this report as a reason to terminate my services even though, it is NOT a valid reason for termination set by company therefore, it is illegal! in fact, there is a legal question here of how could EK Dr wants me to travel to Dubai when I had recent brain operations and passed brain bleeding condition to fly to Dubai just to be examined by this Dr!

Once again, my doctors wrote this in their report so as not to hold any legal responsibility however, they didn’t say that I will be unable to perform my duties as what Ashley wrote in the Medical Termination and made the DVP signed on it!! I even made that clear on June 15th 2011 when Ashley called me to tell me his decision.

Ashley F. had done great job to make me suffer and taste different pains. Once My Drs thought of sharing my critical case (the blockage in the cerebral brain veins and my cerebral Edema which is still existed at almost the same volume before the operations) with the neurosurgeons and Drs from all over the world who were coming to attend a medical seminar , I have put Ashley in picture through my several calls regarding my appointment on Aug 5th 2011 since middle of June that was almost a month prior, he promised to follow up personally with staff to ensure I receive my OWN dues +EOS before the end of July. Unfortunately, during that period he left to BOM on vacation without leaving a simple hand over to his office staff to send my money eventually, I had to cancel my appointment on Aug 4th and wasted that great chance….Ashley said on the phone “I am also a human and I needed this vacation to work properly”!! But, probably he forgot that I needed MY money to live safely with no more pain!

Ashley F. had delayed sending my dues on purpose in many times, it took more than 100 days after my medical termination to calculate and send my dues!! I have to mention that Ashley did something to the calculation to my benefit as he changed half day to full day which added few hundred Dirhams to the total so as to tell whoever asked him that he did his best for me but, he excluded me from 2011 yearly bonus (11 weeks) and my company paid tickets even my EOS as he send it to Emirates NDB bank for my loan instead of sending them my medical termination but, he authorized my SRC tickets!!

The amazement of all and after my Medical Termination and after filing a case against me and after pushing banks to do the same and after making sure that banks had deprived me from their insurance by closing the outstanding and giving me the same outstanding that would be invested in my treatment and of course, after delaying my treatment many times he just…send me back my basic salary from June 2010 till June 12 2011 (still short in 1 month) as what first authorized by MBA before!! I got the chance to speak to EVP-HR Mr Abdulaziz Al Ali as he was waiting for my call but unfortunately, he got WRONG briefing from Ashley who –for sure- had briefed him that he did his utmost for my case. Mr Abdulaziz had thankfully authorized my Financial Year Profit as he said that same was authorized by HH The Chairman to all and every staff and no one can take it from you, he sent Ashley an email to send the FYP with immediate effect however, I took him about a month to receive it after calling him! During the call, Mr Abdulaziz said that “EK can’t give you back your salary as Ashley had briefed him why” when I asked him about my “Personal Accident & Life Insurance” for grade 6 (24 months basic salary) the contract that was given to me when promoted to grade 6!!

This is part of what happened and I still have all the conversation and reports saved but, no one took the initiative to investigate as all were depending on the HR briefing, even the head of EK HR was given wrong briefings!. I haven’t signed on any paper that certifies that I have received all my dues or all my rights even after sending my money actually, I can’t do that as I became disabled of 75% according to 3 medical committees that belongs to Ministry of Health in Jordan, my doctors said that I could be saved from this if my treatment and physiotherapy wasn’t interrupted. I am ready for any medical checks that would be required by the court, my doctors are also ready for a hearing and I hope to get a legal help.

I thank you.

Tagha1

*  The name of the author is known to the administrators of this blog.

My Medical Contract

My Termination Letter

My Medical Report 1

My Medical Report 2

Memo


Another story of depressed Emirates cabin crew

I am thankful to all the EK staff who had the strength and courage to describe their experience with depression while working for Emirates Airline. Common thing of all people with depression is that they think that they are alone and that nobody feels like they do. They are also pushed to believe that something is wrong with them, especially by EK managers.

Only one EK employee can truly understand another one as we all have been through the system which deliberately tries to make you feel worthless and brainwash you to ensure that you will remain obedient and scared and do more for less.

You are not alone and your reaction to circumstances in the company which abuses its employees in every possible way while giving no appreciation for your hard work is only normal. I can guarantee that most of EK staff experience some form of depression.

As an Human Resources professional I have to say that after reading all of your confessions and stories I am deeply disturbed and sometimes even surprised by the extent of managerial indifference to the problems of their employees.

I still wear my “I love Emirates” bag and my Emirates key-chain as I really do cherish my time spent in this company. But its management achieved unthinkable levels of inhumanity and lack of understanding that only satisfied staff can ensure future profit.

As I sometimes receive disturbing messages when I mention Dubai and UAE’s economy and future plans I will not do it this time but I would like to raise my doubts in benevolence of EK management. Everyone who has a little corporate experience and education can see that their actions really do bring profit in short terms (by cutting costs on the expense of their staff’s quality of life and working conditions), but in long terms they are destroying the company from the grounds.

Managerial structure of Emirates Airline is seriously damaged and it serves only to milk the Emirates cow and let it die in the desert. As local managers should be more concerned about their legacy, their education, experience and tolerant personal culture should help them reverse current power driven and arrogant organisational culture to more humane one. If western managers are mostly there because they couldn’t find jobs in their home countries and to take as much money as they can before leaving UAE, local managers should give up on fear culture and build new team work and mutual care culture. For the sake of their still truly great brand.

Crew's email.

Crew’s email.

Hi Dragana,

As I’ve explained to you before, my story is very similar to the one you posted recently, and no doubt to many anonymous crew remaining silent.

I moved to Dubai nearly two years ago with the same innocent hopes and foolish dreams most of us have former to becoming cabin crew. Previous work experience helped me decipher the false advertising, constant brainwashing, not to mention lying on open days and during training (quote: “We’re the best airline in the world, if we chose YOU it’s because you’re the best as well). How ironic.

I wasn’t displeased, even after seeing the candid environment of the UAE, being of a cheerful nature. However, the constant pressure of having to be ‘perfect’ while lacking the resources to do so, receiving absolutely no gratification for a job well done, soon got to me. You can add to that stress: loneliness, long hours, jet lag, and everything else previously mentioned on this blog that most crew know only too well.

In the end, I’m just an ordinary girl that didn’t look in alcohol, sex or humdrum friendships what Emirates refused to give me: respect. And was just left with her own shortfalls. I did my best every single day, tired myself out, but still the company was telling me via flight reviews that my best wasn’t enough, my fatigue wasn’t valid and my sick days should be justified. There’s only so much a person can give without burning the candle at both ends.

One day, I was doing a flight to Rome, and spent 5 hours trying to explain to my superiors why I didn’t constantly have a smile on my face. I felt close to tears, and the horrible weight of depression that had threatened to smolder me over the past months became overwhelming. I arrived in my room, collapsed and couldn’t get out of bed for that 24hr layover. (Which seemed so absurd to me.. I was in Italy! This was my dream!) I told the company I had food poisoning as a way to get out of doing the return flight, and as soon as I got back, seeked help with the Employee Assistance Program.

That’s when the endless appointments and useless explanations began. One person referred me to another, who referred me to someone else, and all the while they repeated the word ‘confidentiality’ which I didn’t trust. So I lied. No I’ve never felt like this before, no I don’t think I need any official help, I have no suicidal thoughts, I eat and sleep properly. The questions asked resembled more an interview than a genuine desire to help.

When the last therapist I saw suggested I needed to go back to my country to get some proper rest, he gave me a week off, but my manager had to approve my return home. Although he said I didn’t have to give reasons, she refused to see me that day (Monday) claiming she was ‘too busy’, made me wait until Wednesday before an appointment, not even consenting to pick up the phone (I called her five times that day and left numerous messages both with her secretary and on her email). She refused to call me back, and sent me a short email claiming once more that she was ‘too busy’. Two days later, after 45minutes delay, she invited me in a closed off room (not her cubicle) with no witnesses, where she promptly started harassing me for details, at first pretending to be conciliate, then using blackmail. Only an hour later, when it became clear I would yield no personal information, did she consent in letting me go, explaining her disappointment, and forcing me to promise I would return that Tuesday in much better shape (or else). Papers were signed to consolidate this agreement. I was desperate and signed, although I did of course read the papers which she tried to dismiss as ‘formal nonsense’, but  had little options. By then, it was too late to catch a flight, so in total I got to spend 3 days with my family. This was supposed to be enough to recover from the nervous breakdown I could sense I was having.

Prolonging my sick days proved to be a hassle, since my manager had all but warned me that if she did let me go home, it was because I had to promptly go back to work. She assured me lots of people managed to work even with personal issues, and although she had no idea what my dilemma was, it didn’t matter. The fact was, if I didn’t get over it, I was clearly too weak minded, and Emirates wouldn’t pay me to stay at home.

The pressure intended to make me feel guilty just outraged me enough to take my own sweet time in getting better.

Emirates clearly doesn’t know how to deal with real people with real problems. Their solution is to send them home. After receiving threats from my manager, and basically hearing her tell me I should resign, it only confirmed my belief that we are just a number. Not once in all these months when I visited the clinic did they ask me what my name was (except to confirm they had the right ‘staff number’). I don’t remember any of the secretaries ever saying ‘Hi, how are you’ to me either.

As for therapy, that was a wonderful joke. After filling out more interview-like questions, the Dubai Healthcare Clinic psychologist decided that I should be on antidepressants, which would result in another month at home (by then half my pay was going into the pockets of Emirates) and further complications, including the suspension of my GCAA license.

When I finally got it back, it reads in small print that I should visit a doctor once a month. Which is entertaining when I go into briefings before flights, have my documents checked and hear the SFS say “What’s that specification on your license?”. None of your business, that’s what.

It’s been a couple of months now. I never took the medication, and I haven’t seen a doctor since November. No one seems to care. The only person that checks up on me regularly is my manager to have reassurance that I am ‘back on track’ and will not ‘let her down again’ (her words, not mine).

Anyway, that’s the whole story. No doubt a lot of people have similar ones (if they haven’t been fired for being ‘weak’).

Thanks again for allowing us to speak up, your blog is truly inspirational,

Best wishes,

xxx


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.


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.


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.