View Full Version : DHL Air - Pilot sacked for "whistle blowing"

22nd Feb 2004, 23:08
I have just heard through the "Grapevine" that a First officer from DHL Air has been dismissed, for allegedly lodging a grievance against the company, citing the inadequate food and rest facilities at some of DHL's hubs, which the F/O states, is causing major fatigue amongst the aircrews.

If this is true then I can only sympathise with the F/O in question and wish him or her the best of luck.

I have always been of the firm belief that having proper nourishment is vital to flight safety, this is even more important during night operations.


23rd Feb 2004, 02:02
IF this is true, let's hope he is a member of a good professional association who can help save a fortune in legal fees to fight his case.

23rd Feb 2004, 03:58
He couldnt have been complaining about Copenhagen as the butties and fresh orange were bountiful unless you happened to stumble in after the Antonov guys.

Grub varied from base to base but I guess if you are on a decent wage, then a trip to Tescos for some rations before you fly might be a good move.

Rest was never a problem on the five sector Bari. Grabbing a swift 40 winks at Bergamo in the flight deck on the way round semed to surfice. Luxury!

Coop & Bear

23rd Feb 2004, 07:28
I hope the F/O in question is prepared to fight and I wish him the best of luck. It took a great deal of pressure on DHL to get the BRU Toolbox (Teabags and toilet rolls). If it wasn't for the maintenance chaps, there wouldn't even be drinking water on the aircraft. The trouble with the trip to Tescos is that on the 7th night out the remaining potnoodles in the suitcase are reduced to powder.
The Scandinavian stops are provided for because their ground personell will not accept this from DHL
To all you guys that get 'catering' this might all sound incredible in this day and age - but with DHL a few slot machines round the route is good enough.
Even TNT treat you better.

Flip Flop Flyer
23rd Feb 2004, 17:57
"The Scandinavian stops are provided for because their ground personell will not accept this from DHL"

I've read this one a couple of times, but am still puzzled as to what you are trying to say. Would you care to clarify please?

Personally I've got little in the way of sympathy for the viewpoints allegedly made by the F/O. However, firing someone for raising a point is a rather drastic measure to take. As far as I've been told, there is nothing in the contract that specifies crew meals must be provided, nor anything about the quantity or quality. Vending machines are the order of the day, and that goes for both flying and ground staff. If it's good enough for the chaps loading the aeroplanes, it's good enough for the guys flying them, IMHO.

23rd Feb 2004, 18:16
Vending machines? Do they carry them on board for the flight deck?

23rd Feb 2004, 20:09
Oh right thanks for that! No what i was getting at is as flight crew we don't have the luxury of slipping off to a vending machine, cafateria or other eating establishment when we feel hungry. More and more airlines are ditching crew food but at the same time putting more pressures on the crews by decreasing turnaround times. What you get is a long day with no food and no opportunity to get food unless you take it apon yourself to delay a flight and that will probably lead to you having all the time in the world to eat but no money to buy anything. Now while I appreciate that turnaround times at DHL may be somewhat longer than your average scheduled airline the fact remains that unless a scheduled meal break is put into the roster at a suitable place where decent food can be bought and not just vending machine crap then a crew meal should be provided for safety's sake.

A 5 course ala carte menu at most hotels wouldn't be covered by most airline expenses. Certainly not mine anyway! :{

Hårek den Hardbalne
23rd Feb 2004, 20:20
Flip, my friend,

Vending machines :{ I hope you`re not serious about this. Doing the kind of flights DHL, and other cargorats, are doing, does call for a better quality of food than even a three-star vending machine can supply. Next time you grab something from one of these machines, turn the plastic rapping around and read on the back side what you invite your system to digest :uhoh:

23rd Feb 2004, 21:05
If its good enough for the chaps loading the plane its good enough for the pilots....flip flop ,dear boy you have lost the plot.
Loadies do not have medicals to contend with every 6 months ..If you are happy liveing on T.V. dinners then thats up to you.I would like to reach retirement age to take advantage of that fantastic pension. Anyway. not sure where this rumour about the Fo being fired came from..Dhl pilots havent heard this one.so it can,t be true,the company is much more subtle than that.

23rd Feb 2004, 21:10
And who is Dhl-Air??

I know of Dhl the american-german courier company. And European Air Transport as they fly their old freight planes into my airport.

But Dhl-Air? . Are they the English/ex Hunting subcontractor? Like Atlantic Airlines do. Me thinks so. Or a crew leasing company? What planes have they got?

Flip Flop Flyer
23rd Feb 2004, 21:21
DHL Air UK Ltd. is an EMA based airline wholly owned by DHL Intl. operating a fleet of 22 757 freighters.


Your question has been answered on a different site.


Eating a sandwich now and then out of a vending machine will not cause you to flunk a medical. Eating solely out of a vending machine might. I trust you can see the difference.


There is plenty of time to sort out your catering prior to departure, and as you so rightly point out DHL turnaround times are quite a bit longer than pax operations normally are. So there'll be plenty of time to stock up on the catering at transit stops. That is, if you take the time to buy something to eat, rather than gossiping and subsequently posting unfounded rumours on this here board.

neil armstrong
23rd Feb 2004, 21:30
I'm glad that there is no full catering on our A/C ,i would never pass a medical again(because i would be a fat Bastard).
But most of the vending machines are cr@p ,only the BRU and EMA one's has sandwiches in it(the rest just has junk food).
CPH has free sandwiches and a nice rest area.
As with all jobs ,there is always room for inprovements!!


underread east
23rd Feb 2004, 21:32

DHL Air = 22 x B757-200SFs

All EMA based doing the parts of the DHL European network that EAT don't. Set up over 2 years ago and about 50% crewed by ACL guys with the rest directly employed. ACL no longer have any aircraft in the DHL network. There are a few contract aircraft from the likes of Atlantic and Swiftair, and the longer haul stuff by Gemini (to US) and Lufthansa (now going East and West), but the vast majority of the flying is done by the 2 in-house European carriers ie DHL Air and EAT.

ps DHL is no longer anything to do with US owners - wholly owned by Deutsche Post, indeed the US carrier that was DHL is now Astar (management buy-out) - following legal battles about DHL being "In a foreigner's control"

23rd Feb 2004, 22:41
thats sad...
However how many guys ho fly Cargo for smaller operators(like i did) sleep their 5 hours before the return flight(single ops)on the FBO meeting room floor in sleeping bags??beeing woken up by each of the other pilots wake up call/Alarm clock?

Hope it gets better in aviation on all levels,

Good luck to him!


24th Feb 2004, 02:08
We used to have crew meals in Air Bridge Carriers ( working for DHL, amongst others ) then, in 1992 or thereabouts, "due to austerity measures", along with the Christmas Party that year these were withdrawn never to re-appear. The long (continuing) saga of food was born and, in my opinion, will never be "sorted" by such an uncaring company as DHL continues to be.
They can do it if you really want to push it by refusing to do the next leg on charters but unless you are absolutely sure your case is watertight I wouldn't advise it.
The fact is ,though, you can survive without it as all the ex ABC,HCA & ACL crews will confirm.
Good luck with the sandwiches out of Vitoria though. Much time spent last year for 3 days hovering around the porcelain telephone after eating one that packed a punch.

24th Feb 2004, 06:47
Hey.......no one has mentioned the garage at EMA. Top scran and only a quick ride in the DHL crew bus. Bacon butties the lot.

In my experience, overall when you were out for 5 or 6 days on the routes, the grub you consumed overall (including the hotel scoff) was more than adequate.

If you are asleep all day, there was always time for a nice meal before you came to work and you arrived back to a hotel just in time for breakfast. Like Neil said......."Fat Bastard" if you are not careful.

How much grub can you consume on a night? If you need a snack then buy some fresh fruit each day.

Brews? Well I was the brew merchant on the 727 and no one went short.

You are trained professionals and hopefully being able to eat all by yourself is something one would hope is within your IQ.

Oh I almost forgot......Bergamo would bring you a pizza out from flightwatch if you radioed in. Now there is service!

Coop & fat bear

Gatwick Bugle
24th Feb 2004, 15:34
All this talk reminds me of the very miserable time I spent in Brussels. I remember pale faces around vending machines, the occasional biscuit in the "toolbox" and crew rooms that looked like second rate transport caffs, but without the bacon and eggs. Not forgetting the grinding 4 sector nights. They treat you like lorry drivers but without the possibility of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It makes charter flying look glamourous!

Flip Flop Flyer
24th Feb 2004, 16:11
They are treated far better than lorry drivers ;)

The purpose of DHL Air, or EAT, is to provide transport of packages. In other words, while airlines have a business plan founded on transporting passengers, DHL operate aircraft because it is the only way to get boxes from A to B fast enough. Trust you me, if there was a cheaper way to get a box from A to B as quick as flying it, it would be done.

Now the longest sector DHL Air pilots fly is around 3 hours. EAT do operate longer sectors with the Busses and the PF, but they are fully catered. If someone can not go for 3 hours without stuffing themselves, well, maybe a diet is in order?

24th Feb 2004, 16:46
If you don't have the common "dog" to either arrange a packed meal or eat before departure or on arrival !, then you should not be in this job !. If you happen to work for a full service outfit "where the sandwiches & coffee flow like wine" ,then lucky you !.I have heard much whinging over the years about "blood sugar " et al. The main problem is people are loathe to put a hand in their pocket !.
The majority of my colleagues ( on the whole & i include myself !), range from a little to grossly overweight.

Hotel Charlie
24th Feb 2004, 17:53
Stupid me! I thought it was about flight safety. The problem with aviation is that some of you guys and galls will do anything and accept anything as long as it is done to you in an "aluminum tube". Thats why the pilot profession is going to h... in a handbasket! Stand up for yourselves! Nobody but us can move the iron around!

underread east
24th Feb 2004, 19:33
A 4 sector night often does not provide you with sufficient time to hit the vending machines between flights, particularly if delays are incurred and your professionalism dictates that you endeavour to make up the time lost from the previous rotation(s).

It IS about flight safety. For me the vending machine is not particularly the issue - as mentioned earlier, the access to something more wholesome is what is required. I would not begrudge paying for this 'priveledge'.

25th Feb 2004, 04:52
Thanks for the accolade Wheelbarrow !. That said i think your front wheel needs a squirt of WD40, as i can hear it squeaking from here !. I stand by the entirety of my post ,no heroics just realism. Perhaps i'm from a different era but from where i sit (on what i concede is a fat arse !) the winds of change whistled through the industry a long time ago ! . I really find it difficult to believe that the majority of L/H,R/H or middle seaters are incapable of planning ahead on the victual front.

25th Feb 2004, 06:55
Barrow......Never been accused of licking up to the management before. I am all for the dont ask, dont get syndrome. But...
if you are spanner on the ground (and I speak from my Dan-Air Line days), I can't remember anyone rushing out with plates of sandwiches to some remote stand in the rain on a cold night on an engine change. Ok, compared to an office shiney, flying boxes in the middle of the night doesn't have the same amount of snack breaks but there are a lot of other low payed jobs out there whose workers thrive on home made butties to keep them going.

As for Flight Safety......Then if the CAA and their European counterparts thought it was an issue, then they would make it mandatory for airlines to provide food.

In the end I suppose you could force the issue by refusing to fly but then when your counterparts do without and still go, then you just look like a winger.

Wish I was twiddling the light knobs on the panel and sleeping in the seat again. Happy days. At least the bear stayed awake!

Coop and crew monitoring Bear

PS And you are a fine fellow too !

25th Feb 2004, 08:15
Well, this thread says it all. Any bright young kid thinking of becoming a pilot should read it.

Take a hint....dont do it! You could invest 000's of your own money in getting a license and hear the likes of Flip Flop telling your sorry ass to buy a sarnie and be grateful for a job.

If you can pass a CPL-IR and ATPL written, you can get REAL careeer to, one which leads to monetary reward, and self respect, plus you can sleep in your own bed at night and come home to your wife and kids. Its hard to put a value on that, but in my view its beyond price.

Or you can read this sort of thing and wonder where the whole industry is going. I have to say that any competent outsider would look at this and see it as pathetic. Truck drivers do get treated better: they have a mandatory tachograph for rest periods, without the labyrinthian CAP 371, and can pull into a decent cafe for a sarnie and a brew.

Saddest of all are the glee merchants who hop up at every opportunity and revel in the latest indignity heaped on a profession where lves are at stake, personal accountability is absolute and self-critical analysis in a brutal and on-going way are key to a safe and succesful career.

25th Feb 2004, 09:27
your right guys, removed that because it was whinging.got up too early!:ouch: