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Which Middle East Airline has best quality of life?

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Which Middle East Airline has best quality of life?

Old 2nd Dec 2012, 19:48
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tampa
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Which Middle East Airline has best quality of life?

Im a US A320 FO looking interested in flying overseas. Pay is important but MORE important is schedule (time off) and quality of life for my family.

I see mixed reviews about EK. I do like UAE. What are the choices?
WhyFlare is offline  
Old 2nd Dec 2012, 20:36
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EK is your only option. QR on the 320 is evil, the 'other' airline I hear is the same on the 320 but maybe slightly better than QR maybe because you won't be living in the hole that is Doha and Dubai is just down the road if you want it.

T&C's are better at EK, however what you'd have to be prepared for is that EK you'll be on long haul so your time with the family would be limited although I think on the 330 is a mix of night turns to the sub continent with the odd euro trip.

Either way, from applying to actually being recruited would be at least 6 months so plenty of time to think it over, you must visit the place though and try and talk to as many people in the ME as you can to get a TRUE picture of life out here because you are ultimately here for one reason and one reason only, to work!!

Good Luck.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 21:06
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What are the flight and duty time limitations at EK? Same as US? (8 hours flt and 16 hours duty) 30 hours in a 7 day period Etc.

Im getting the impression that EK flys the pilots hard. Not sure if this is true.

Currently I work 18 to 19 days a month.

Last edited by WhyFlare; 2nd Dec 2012 at 21:07.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 21:20
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EK would be the absolute first choice. Followed by the other big UAE carrier that cannot be named on this forum (for legal reasons). Qatar should be you last choice by a mile based on complete disrespect for the pilot group and screwed-up HR communication and training. Go for EK first.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 22:08
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I think you just need to read the post few threads down titled, "Reasons not to apply for Emirates airlines" to see just how hard you'll be worked.

My 2 cents - stay where you are.
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 05:19
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By far the best gig in the M.E. is Gulf Air on the Embraer! 22 average days of usefull time off with family a month since january and still great pay and 50 hrs a month flying. I'll miss it when I go to A320. But I heard the 320 scheduele ain't too bad for F/O's either!
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 06:59
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Try Gulf Air.The best.
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 07:05
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As a fellow US pilot looking at the expat world, the consensus seems to be that if you want QOL, you'll have to stay in the US. I don't think there are many expat jobs where you can regularly count on 16+ days off.
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 08:31
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QOL can be a bit of a problem in this part of the world. However, before being furloughed by United I spent some time in Macau on the 767...VivaMacau...absolute great bunch of guys to work with...lots of americans and canooks. It was a great deal...6 weeks on 3 weeks off, 6 weeks on 2 weeks off...and alternated throughout the year. We had 3 and 4 day layovers in Australia and the rest of the trips were not bad. Unfortunately, the business plan failed as a result of the financial meltdown...gambling was not on the short list of "have to do things"...except some mainland China folks, but we did not have permission to land in China. There is another company in Macau that flies the bus...AirMacau, but I believe the Brazilians have a tight grip on this one...might be worth looking into for you. Macau is not bad. My point...there are some good jobs but the problem is finding them.

I am currently at FlyDubai...on the 7378. Lot of people have a hard on about the company, but I don't think it is really bad. Then again, I will return to UAL at some point...I do see the light at the end of the tunnel so my perspective may be different than others...however, we do have one Alaska furlough that gave up his seniority number to remain at FD. I have to admit the schedule (not schedules..."pronounced-shed du els"... here because of the British and Aussie influence...they are called rosters) is terrible and do not see any relief in the future. Even though we are home after each flight (with few exceptions) the job is draining...10 hours of flying with take-offs at 10PM and returning as the sun rises are routine...2 days later you will have a 3/4 am show. Further, I have logged more combat time at this airline than all of my years as a fighter jock...Kabul, Damascus, Bastion, Kandahar etc. Most of the FOs I fly with are good guys with aspirations to move on to the big boys...EK and the other one in AbuDhabi...so that is telling...very little talk of Qatar though. As a sidebar, I recently flew with a local chap that told me about a conversation he had with said scheduler regarding the "heinous roster". He asked the guy why such a poor roster and was told we have only operated for 3 years as an airline and it takes time. And our local FO told him we built the tallest building in the world in 2 years...if you keep thinking like that you might get fired

I think FD may be accepting applications without time in type. There are those who see the company as a long term career...but then there are others....

AirArabia that is just down the road in one of the other Emirates. I believe you can live in Dubai. Heard good things about them.

You will not find anything close to the quality of life of a US legacy carrier in the middle east. There is no union. You are on your own without protection. You are at the mercy of the written rule which changes all of the time...not in your favor.

Good luck!
ualgrizz is offline  
Old 3rd Dec 2012, 11:51
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If you are looking for a command before adding another decade or so to your age you should be looking at those airlines down the road from Ek.

The Don
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 12:31
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I will return to UAL at some point...
So they can furlough you again....
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 12:35
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Go for the money, go for the adventure, go for the experience, go to fly the shiny jet even, but 900+ hours a year and 10 days off a month does not equate to quality of life
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 13:22
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So they can furlough you again....

A valid point...but the beauty of the middle east airlines is the pay...there is good with the bad. Should you elect to live a conservative lifestyle and invest well there is no need to be concerned...I could give a $hit if I get furloughed again...I am used to it.
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 15:23
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Good to see you're full of ambition, not to mention confidence
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 06:00
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Wow vfenext, such wisdom.

Have you walked a mile on girzz's shoes? If you are not familiar with what it is like to go through two furloughs after being promised during your new hire ceremony that "this will be the last job you will ever have" and "you have hit the lotto" only to be sold down the river by your union and airline, then you should back way the h3ll off.

I know grizz and also know he could care less about your snippy comments, but they offend me. He is plenty ambitious to have continually landed on his feet under duress. As furloughees, we have been tested and have proven we can come out on top, which is why his attitude may seem flippant to you. It is the opposite - confidence from being tested.

Randy Webb
UAL furloughee
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 06:09
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I would have thought the beauty of the Middle East airlines is the job security, especially to anybody who has been through a redundancy process. The pay isn't bad either but be in do doubt as far as your employer is concerned you are here to work. Quality of life doesn't come into it.

Do the job, don't mess up, take the money and save as much as you can. Then retire early to somewhere you really want to live. That is where the quality of life comes into it. I reckon that by working in the Middle East for 15-20 years I can retire 10 years earlier than I could if I'd stayed in Europe.
BigGeordie is offline  
Old 4th Dec 2012, 07:03
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Hey vfenext,

No job is ever safe. The UAL confidence comes from being part of professional brotherhood that has been an industry leader for a long long time. Do you like CRM? That's a UAL program.... No crew caused fatalities since 1978 at UAL. Lots of reason to be proud of even having the chance to be "furloughed" from UAL lol. If none of them inerest you, that's fine, just don't belittle a guy who has seen and lived through more than you will ever comprehend possible. Best of luck with your ambitions!
long-gonner is offline  
Old 4th Dec 2012, 07:14
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Living and flying outside of the US is great experience, but have a heart to heart with your wife/family first. If they are not 100% fully behind the endevour it will fail miserably. Once you accept the job offer and move to wherever, you will be forced to take out car loans, sign 12 month rental agreements if company housing is not provided, school fees, etc.... Basically make sure the wife understands its not a 3 months into it you can change your mind and just leave type of situation. flydubai has a 3 year training bond. Other UAE airlines have something similar. As for location, I couldn't imagine living any place other than Duabi with my family. Everyone has a different experience, but as someone who doesn't get drunk in public, takes taxis when I do go out for drinks, and has been fairly lucky at flydubai with not having anything major happen (knock on wood) work wise, I'm fairly glad I took the plunge. Occasionally you run into some anti-Americanism from the least expected places, but that's few and far between the vast majority of people in the world that are quite pleasant work with. Good luck with your job search!
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 07:25
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"full of ambition, not to mention confidence"

Well, well vf "there you again". Now I could get snippy and call you a punk, but I'll keep that thought to myself...it's not nice. I was answering a question regarding quality of life in the middle east wrt airlines...I do not believe that I said anything warranting your comments.

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and getting furloughed at UAL. The latter took me a few years to figure out. As I mentioned, as well as others, the middle east is a great place to make and save money as long as you have a plan. It's nice to know the good, the bad and the ugly before getting here. I applaud the originator of this thread for doing his due diligence in analyzing the potential move. So what is your beef?

Now regarding the ambition and confidence thing...as Randy states you don't know anything about me. I have found over my life it's good form to keep your pile hole shut when you don't have a clue. Confidence...my friend, I reached the pinnacle of my aviation career 15 years ago. I will go out on a limb and say that I have done more in an airplane than you can even imagine. Ambition...in my family of 5, there are two doctors and 3 others that work in medicine...so let's put ambition to rest please...I am here to make money, play a great guitar and ride bicycles on the back side of the curve...make the best of the situation.

I say again...in my opinion, you will not find US legacy airline quality of life in the middle east. But there is the good that makes the ugly and bad palatable.

Have a nice day.
ualgrizz is offline  
Old 4th Dec 2012, 10:58
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My try at a considered response:


Quality of life is such a subjective thing, it's hard to gauge. Your attitude, and that of the family, will be the biggest factor. By far. Are you glass-half-full, like Grizz, or are you a sniping ****** like, that other guy?

Seriously, luck will play a part. I'm on the Boeing in EK and from my perspective, it's pretty good. Like you, I highly value time at home and specifically time at home on weekends. I cope well with ULR flying and recover quickly afterwards. We have several ULR flights that are worth about 30 hours and will keep you away for around 3 or 4 days. You can do two of those a month and that's around 66% of your flying finished in 8 days, max. A leisurely 5 hours a day for the other 25 hours or so will see you at home 17 days for the month. Now, some of those days are ULR STBYs or rest days, but you're still at home. That is a typical roster for me and it suits me fine. For guys on the Airbus, the equation is slightly different but my friends on it are also happy. $ is always a consideration and, again, I don't think it's too bad. I wish we were paid more but we're not, and I can't do anything about it. As a TRI told me in training 'we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto'. However, I send $ home each month- and I have kids at school, a wife who likes stuff and we eat out, have a maid, etc. It can be done.

That's about it for me. As a family guy I would say my recommendation is:
1. EK
2. EK
3. EK
4. Think about the mob we can't mention
5. Have a few beers and then think again before staying put.
Good luck! Cheers
fringhtok is offline  

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