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Emirates Cabin Crew: Morale Has Never Been Lower

Cabin crew members for Emirates once called the airline “amazing.” But one flight attendant says that the glamour has faded, and claims of living tax-free in a “luxury apartment” never came to fruition, leaving her to commiserate with her coworkers about what life looks like outside of the Dubai-based carrier.

One Emirates flight attendant is accusing the carrier of lying to her about working and living conditions, while sharing allegations of difficulty managing employees inside the company. The blog Paddle Your Own Kanoo published the story of a flight attendant who claims the airline is no longer the carrier she once longed to join.

The cabin crew member, going by the pseudonym “Agnieszka,” told the blog she was once excited to join the airline on promises of living in a “luxury apartment” in Dubai, while flying for one of the world’s premier airlines. When she was accepted for training, she left her European home to live in Dubai and take on the role that so many women vied for.

The “luxury apartments” turned out to be specially built tower apartments for Emirates’ crew members in the deserts, miles away from the downtown and beachfront. She told the blog that medical insurance plans force attendants to pay 30 percent of their own hospital bills, which can be exorbitantly high. If flyers take too many sick days, they can also see their pay grounded: Agnieszka claims that taking 15 days of sick leave results in a 50 percent pay cut.

What about flying accommodations? The anonymous flight attendant claimed that remodeled A380 aircraft no longer holds bunk room, leaving crew members to rest in jumpseats with only a curtain for privacy. Cabin Service Attendants, who take care of the shower spas on the Airbus A380 and are often often promised a future promotion to full service flight attendant, are allegedly paid a salary of $368 monthly with a low hourly flying rate.

Agnieszka tells the blog that while morale is low, flight attendants have no avenues of recourse. With no union, she claims flight attendants can get punished or even fired for speaking out against their bosses. Furthermore, she told the blog that she feels like she has “no freedom,” claiming the airline installs up to 18 surveillance cameras on their A380 aircraft to spy on employees. While she calls her previous memories “amazing,” she said there is little optimism things will improve.

This is not the first time Emirates has faced bad publicity over their alleged human resources policy. In 2014, a HuffPo interview revealed Emirates’ beauty standards, which were called into question. Emirates has not publicly responded to the flight attendant’s allegations.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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Lordhak January 20, 2018

It is just sad to see Emirates heading that way. They used to be my favourite airlines back in early 2000’s and I used to make my routes longer just to fly with them in all their lovely cabins but then I moved to Dubai couple of years ago and their service was just getting worse. 2 years ago I just used all my miles with them on a first class ticket just so that I never use them again but in emergency. I then decided to give them lately another try on a long haul flight and it was a terrible decision. The flight attendents especially last two years are mostly rude, they need to teach them how to say at least to reply for thank you or to say please. Maybe they are depressed but you can still be kind! Check in staff even worse. They want you now to pay for any extra kilo you have. The SYSTEM don’t allow it anymore to be flexible well all other airlines are and will use them. Imagine I had 2 bags allowance but decided to check in one and it had 4 kilos more. Yes 27 kg and they wanted me to pay almost 86 USD for it and I am a silver member even with them. Had to throw some stuff out and carry a bit extra in my hand bag. And then heard 3 friends with similar stories. It is just sad and I hope they change back to what they use to represent of real luxury even in economy!

Azureas January 18, 2018

I never fly on such airlines for those reasons. I strongly prefer giving money to good European airlines (not low cost as well). Even more expensive if they care about their employees, they care about their customers.

markupolo January 18, 2018

Hello everyone. My name is Marcio Pampolini and I don't feel ashamed to actually tell you more about EK standards. I worked with them for 3 years (as a crew) and when my time was UP and I decided to leave I needed to fly with BA to scape the bullying culture of Emirates on a early morning flight departing DXB for LHR and not telling anyone of my decision, leaving my flying documents, uniform, clothes, suitcases in the flat where I shared with two more Crew members. Emirates would take even your "underwear" to pay for what they should offer you as part of the "contract"... like accommodation, laundry ,transport from/to the airport towards a payment for what they describe as "costs of hiring" No wonder they are always recruiting in Europe,South America,Australia etc; the number of crew who just resign or leave the company monthly is huge, they can't even coup with the demand in hiring new crew members. They play with the dreams of a lot of young people using an aggressive campaign is not just for new crew or pilots ,is for new flying routes and therefore tying to push out any other "flying competitors". EK would give you a recommendation letter after your years of dedicated hard work with them. To "win" PAX and their trust they use a cheap "approach" by offering plenty of food/drinks and and amenities to everyone even taking pictures of newly wed couples and children to show that the company was friendly.I haven't set foot on any EK airplane since my departure and don't intend that anytime soon. Pilots flying Airplanes while drunk and taking drugs while abroad was a daily thing and not mentioning the "orgies" in hotels rooms and other places during the layovers. This lady (crew) is a "heroin" to start this kind of conversation on this forum. Cabin crew were not allowed to rest on long hall flights ,not even close their eyes during the flight. The last rows of seats were "dedicated" for a quick rest after the service and constantly they spread the fear of eminent "accident" during any flight, landing or taking off to keep us awake. Dubai is no longer that "jewel of the Middle East" There are several other airlines available out there, some VERY DECENT respecting the rights of those who they employ and paying decent salaries and paying taxes where they are based. Have safe flights everyone.

Bretteee January 17, 2018

The Ethihad crews did not look too happy. They were east European, Asian and North African. They seemed over worked.

PayItForward January 16, 2018

Not commenting about the working environment for the Emirates crew but the linked article is much more informative and clearer. The selective summarized version here is misleading. E.g. FT Article- What about flying accommodations? The anonymous flight attendant claimed that remodeled A380 aircraft no longer holds bunk room, leaving crew members to rest in jumpseats with only a curtain for privacy. (Implies all flight crew members) Linked Article- If they didn’t already feel like second-class citizens then a new policy for crew rest on ultra-long-haul flights should make it clear. According to Agnieszka, Emirates reconfigured their new A380’s with less room in the crew rest compartment as before – as a result, there’s no room for CSA’s to rest in a bunk. Instead, they have to sit on a jumpseat with a curtain closed. (Applies to CSA on ultra-long-haul flights) Also, the context of the FT article seems to imply that the work conditions had been all bad and employees tricked and lied to from the get-go but the context of the original article speaks of past good times with bad changes in recent times.