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Tag Archives: Service Delivery

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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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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Open forums for Cabin Crew

Seems that Mr.Terry Daly (Divisional Senior Vice President Service Delivery) has finally acknowledged the problems that his department has. Since Emirates Airline managers always try to “resolve” their problems by using force and pressure first, I am not surprised that Mr.Daly introduced new sickness certification process without any discussion with his staff or possibility for receiving crew’s feedback on his unpopular decisions.

According to some unofficial data around 1000 crew called sick two days ago which is enormous number for already suffering Service Delivery department. This fact, along with huge turnover rate, drop in service delivery quality, lack of crew and crew’s writings on the Internet may forced Mr.Terry to try and find a different solution besides the unpopular benefit cuts. Mr.Daly promised to organize some Open forums for cabin crew where they will discuss problems and issues.

Mr.Terry Daly's call for Open forums

Mr.Terry Daly’s call for Open forums

Now, these open forums were already organized in EKAS (Airport Service) department without much success (anyway, Ms.Anoma was moved to another position soon after the forums). The absence of success is only normal when your managers think that their participation at Open forum is an act of good will and that they are there to “help” their employees. No open forum ever will resolve any departmental issue until EK managers start to comprehend that they are not there to “help” (which was Ms.Anoma Manuel‘s vision on forums’ purposes) but to work together with their team and, actually, help themselves. Managers are not there to help, but to do their job and make decent working conditions for all.

While Ms.Anoma Manuel’s Open forum turned out to be a farce which resulted with my service termination as she couldn’t handle honest and desperate questions in any other way than to punish me for asking them, I hope that Mr.Terry Daly will have more intellect and reason than Ms.Anoma to hear what his staff has to say without firing them.

I know that it is hard to achieve Ms.Anoma Manuel’s levels of mismanagement, bullying and incompetence, therefore I truly hope that Mr.Terry Daly will use these Open forums to really show some care for his staff and to deal with burning issues with success. This blog started with Ms.Anoma’s incapability to lead her department. Let’s hope that it will all end there and that nobody will have to go through things I have been through with Ms.Anoma as my manager.

Good luck to Mr.Terry Daly at his Open forums.

And just to remember how the “Open forum” looked like in EKAS department: 

 

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