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Are all pilots @ EK so unhappy?

Middle East Many expats still flying in Knoteetingham. Regional issues can be discussed here.

Are all pilots @ EK so unhappy?

Old 25th Jul 2014, 16:38
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Are all pilots @ EK so unhappy?

Firstly, I don't frequent this site too often. Usually, I come to it now and again looking for some information... with a very open mind. It is very difficult to attain information on various companies when I don't know anyone within these companies I am researching... so, I use the web.

When I look at all the EK threads I can't help but feel negativity from pilots post. Whether or not these pilots actually work for EK is not fully apparent. I am not sure whether or not this negativity is coming from actually working for the company themselves, or having to live in Dubai when you have a desire to be elsewhere.

What I would like to know is... are things there really as bad as some of you here portray? I see lots of positives from the package they offer and living in Dubai, itself. Saying that, I have never been to Dubai myself. Maybe the pilots that enjoy living and working in Dubai are not actually on this site, airing their views? Maybe they are down at the marina on their boats or off to the desert in their 4x4. Is anyone here content there? Thanks for reading.
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 16:55
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hat I would like to know is... are things there really as bad as some of you here portray? I see lots of positives from the package they offer and living in Dubai, itself. Saying that, I have never been to Dubai myself. Maybe the pilots that enjoy living and working in Dubai are not actually on this site, airing their views? Maybe they are down at the marina on their boats or off to the desert in their 4x4. Is anyone here content there? Thanks for reading.
Its an interesting question, and one with many many different answers. I had a visit from a family member a few months ago, who expressed surprise that I'd moved my family back to the "civilized" world after a number of years here. My answer to the surprise expressed was to try and explain that for me the job is ok, in fact its not bad at all, yes there are issues..just like there are everywhere, but in a general sense if you do your job as expected you are left alone. Living here on the other hand was and still is a big challenge, certainly in the sense that there are a many many little things that cause frustration and contribute to my negative view of Dubai, the mindset of many of the individuals who live here and the expats contribute to this greatly. Its difficult to explain these frustrations and observations to someone who doesn't live here, but for me they have built up to a point where I am in essence completely disengaged from life here, yes I work here and I spend a night to two here, but in reality I go to work, land back in Dubai and then hop on the first plane out to get me home to my family where I can relax and enjoy life.
I hope that explains in some sense one persons viewpoint and doesn't come across as a moan or negativity, after all working here now and being away from family for periods of time is my choice.
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 16:58
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Maybe the pilots that enjoy living and working in Dubai are not actually on this site, airing their views?
Think you've hit the nail on the head there! Same old people airing their grievances on here if you look at the names. Some have valid points, but I for one enjoy it in Dubai.
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 23:56
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I'll just say this... living in Dubai has only made me appreciate my home country all the more. Also, this insane increase in price of pretty much everything from basic food to real estate is quickly making staying in Dubai a case of bad math taking away one of the few remaining reasons/excuses for being here..
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 23:56
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Dubai is not bad at all. I have had lots of fun here. The company is generally not to bad, it's just the continuous erosion of our conditions when the company makes so much money that I find galling. I must confess that in the last 5 months I seem to have been working pretty hard . Lots of postives though about the job, just the negatives seem to be growing. I actually came on pprune just now to post a negative post about staff travel . I have never started a negative thread before .
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 03:20
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It's not so much that the JOB itself is bad. It is the policies/practices of the company in taking things away that causes the issues.

Items the company changed because they are cheap asses and don't care about your health or happiness:

1. Monthly hour increase to 92 hours (you work like a dog for not a lot extra)
2. Bonuses essentially gone
3. Staff travel reduced to nothing. Company so cheap it can't avail 5 seats a flight to staff whose Cat C rate is sometimes more than sale fares.
4. Assigning computer training duties at home rather than on "work" days
5. NO RAISES only step increases
6. They hired TCAS and AAR, who both dislike pilots, to be in charge of Pilots.

Other items:

1. Stupid rostering rules. Can't have more than 7 days in a row off, can't go to one destination more than 3 times a month, can't swap into overtime but they can roster you that way, unable to swap because everyone's hours are too high. WHY SHOULD THE COMPANY CARE WHAT WE DO AS LONG AS IT'S LEGAL, WE ARE PRODUCTIVE, and ALL THE TRIPS ARE STAFFED.

2. Bidding system that doesn't work because the company has loaded up the system with arbitrary stupid rules and a requirement that pilots must fly between 90 and 92 hours a month (an example...it may be between 83 and 85). The system HAS to assign you a roster between those hour blocks so it kicks your bid out to do just that.

3. Can't carry a cup of coffee while walking, have to use a certain flight bag, and other annoying little rules. We are not kindergartners, leave us alone and let us do our job and stop MICROMANAGING everything.

4. Having to read multiple changes in policy weekly because those in charge can't make up their mind. The company is constantly spamming your email with dumb little changes that don't really matter.

5. The company takes on the mind set that you screw up on purpose and you will continue to make errors unless you are punished. They can't seem to realize that mistakes just happen they are not made purposely. When you make a mistake, they can't just call you on the phone and ask for information. Most likely, you will go to the office and come home with some kindergarten style warning letter, caution letter, or verbal warning.

I'm sure there are more things.....bottom line is that if you want to see your Terms and Conditions eroded fairly significantly as the cost of living increases significantly and you enjoy being treated like a 2 year old with overbearing parents then come to Emirates.

Last edited by TransitCheck; 26th Jul 2014 at 03:40.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 04:49
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Well I'm happy here. I've been here a fairly long time, too. Not as long as some but longer than most. I'm in the top 500 of a 3600+ pilot seniority list which is a nice place to be but I wasn't always of course. Every generation of pilots here pays their dues by being adversely affected by one policy change or another. There's nothing new about that.

I see all the negative stuff too but it's understandable I suppose. People have to vent. That's one reason.

Another is, it's just not for everyone. I'm always surprised at new guys who start complaining about the capricious rule changes and, let's say evolving work conditions. How could they come all the way over here and not know the company would do this? They always have and they always will. Understanding that fully should be part of anyone's research before they make the jump. I have a TRI friend who had a guy bitching about this and that, WHILE HE WAS STILL IN THE SIM ON HIS INITIAL COURSE!! I mean, wtf? My friend just paused the sim and told him that was enough. Too funny.

You just gotta remember why you came and keep asking yourself if you're getting it. You can't lose sight of your bottom line. You have to let the rest roll of your back. Otherwise, vote with your feet. It's really your only option.

That all being said, a little complaining is natural - it makes people feel better and I guess this is just a safe place to do it.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 05:49
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I think where one of the real issues lie, is hugely based upon what fleet your on. If your on the 330/340 fleet, you not only have to contend with all the issues of living in the middle east (which, as stated above, there are many that cannot be truly be understood unless you actually live here), but also for this fleet, dealing with all the $hit runs to war zones, night turns, crap layovers, reserve every 5 months-which also affect vacation bidding, more duty time than flight pay time, fatigue, and etc. erodes the purpose of ever coming here. Another huge point is...what country are you actually coming from? Both of my EK neighbors come from countries where there is serious physical safety concerns in their home country. So yes, for that reason (and the fact that they are both on the 777 makes them (and their wives) relatively happy to be in Dubai.

So IMHO, ESP AS A SINGLE PERSON, coming to EK on the triple 777 or 380 fleet, OR coming from a country where safety is an issue, OR where there are no decent paying jobs available …I'm thinking that life could be rather enjoyable and lucrative. Yes, there are definite downfalls about Dubai…but it's all relative.

Now on a personal note….YES, without a DOUBT my family would rather be in my home country, BUT this job pays the bills, my children are getting a good education, and overall it's what you make of it….and all of this is said WITH being on the crap 330 fleet.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 08:07
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Fitnesspilot--- I would say that most are not terribly unhappy but certainly FRUSTRATED. I would go further and say that I think most pilots who have been here more than 3 or 4 years are at the point where they just don't care!!

There tend to be two issues for pilots here:

1) Dubai - Dubai not Europe, Oz or the US. It can be a frustrating place where it can be difficult to get things done (spend a morning and cross 2 things off your list and your doing well), where the driving is atrocious (though improved in the last few years).

Lots of other comments about it in these threads. But in general I think MOST pilots and families enjoy Dubai and what it offers.

2) Emirates itself.

Hmm, where to begin here. 99% of the posts you will read here on pprune, I believe, are accurate. The complaints are real, they affect pilots lives greatly and are something that have to be dealt with.
It isn't one issue in particular but the gradual degredation of one aspect, then another and another that have most pilots frustrated. The number one issue for most here is the 92 hours per month! Fly an EK sked for any length of time and you see that it becomes almost impossible to not spend your life being tired.

I won't produce another list of 'issues' - they are all over this site - but what has happened is that they have all built up onto one another. The new swap system keeps getting harder to use well etc etc etc.

If I had to distill it down I would say that it has become abundantly clear that Ek simply does NOT CARE ABOUT THE PILOTS.

I don't say that lightly. A few examples: the rostering rules have been changed over time to ensure that the pilots get less benefits - max 7 days off in a row etc etc etc (all on this site). WHY?? No good reason.

When the swap system was introduced we were told that the 'rules' would not be released and that we would discover them over time. The arrogance of that is astounding.

Look at all the examples of complaints here on this forum and they prove, fairly conclusively, that as all these changes have been implemented in a manner so as to make it clear to the pilots that there is no regard for them.

And THAT, I believe, is the real issue.

Having worked in flt ops previously in a few places I am well aware that in most airlines, within office management there is what I would call 'pilot envy' or 'crew envy'. You hear it all teh time--the computer flies the airplane so I don't know why they get paid so much or complain about hours. Or, you get to stay in nice hotels and have your food paid for....yadda yadda yadda. This certainly exists at EK. Add to that the bean counters and bonus system where cost cutting is all that counts and you end of with a flt ops dept that is continually cutting. What gets frustrating is that many of these rules/systems/directives cause issues that are needless. So much could be done here AT NO COST to help improve peoples lives yet it is not. Instead they go the other way. In the end, there appears to be little or no respect for the flight crew. I am not talking about 'bow to me as a sky god' respect - but the simple respect that comes from any relationship.

So when you ask - are pilots here really that unhappy I would say it depends on scale. The one that are seriously unhappy have left or will leave. Others have no options. I think it is fairly accurate to say that the vast majority of pilots have gotten to the point where this has become nothing more than a job. More so, a job where they will simply do the bare minimum and then go home.
When I came here I was full of excitement to work for a company like Emirates. I sent shirts and hats home from the EK store to my wife, kids and family. I fully expected to embrace Dubai and be an EK family. I still like Dubai but EK has made it clear that we are simply beasts of burden to be used as they see fit. Which, I suppose, is their prerogative. But my response to that is, as I said above - then I will go to work, do my job and come home. I won't go the extra mile because they won't go the extra mile for me.

I don't say that maliciously by the way! I'll do a great job, the best I can, while I am work. The passengers will be taken care of and so will the crew.

So are we unhappy..no, I don't think that is the correct word.

I think RESIGNED would be more apt.

Resigned to the fact that we really don't matter and will be shown that we don't matter (which, by the way is difficult for most pilots to accept because, by our nature, we are proactive doers).

Resigned to the fact that it could be SO much more yet it is not.

Last edited by Trader; 26th Jul 2014 at 08:40.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 08:50
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Trader....excellent post. My complaints are based on the same sentiments that you just explained.

Our jobs are still done professionally....unlike our management when they dirham and fil us to death on benefits that cost them nothing in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 09:38
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After all, it is all what one makes of it. After time we all become eroded, and as Trader correctly said resigned. We go to work do our jobs, and go home. What we look forward to then? Personally I look forward to my next block of days off to go back home and see my family. Others will forward to payday, and others to their next LAX layover. Its all personal, we have to have something to keep us going.
Jump ship? Well there are plenty of options. In Europe, EZ, FR, Wizz, all are hiring and they will give you the base you want, they are desperate. But money is crap and you will basically split 50-50 with the tax man and the social insurances. And then for non Europeans there is China, Korea, Japan, and lots of money..(not to mention other ME airlines).
But what do we all do, or at least the great majority? Nothing. Because here we have become 'institutionalized', and we kind of think that here at least is the devil we know, and somehow we have came in terms with him.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 09:45
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EK will be in a world of hurt if some of the Asian carriers like Korean and China Southern start to recruit First Officers with significant time in type for command positions.

By the way...where is our Salary? Anyone gotten it yet?
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 09:57
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Yep. Mashreq
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 10:10
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Trader wrote,

99% of the posts you will read here on pprune, I believe, are accurate.

Do you really believe that? I don't, I'm sorry. I mean, everyone's entitled to their opinion, obviously, and no disrespect intended but I'd be interested to know who else thinks that 99 out of 100 posts on a rumour site are accurate?

My guess would be about half....maybe.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 10:22
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Yes, for some it is that bad.

What you also need to understand is as a pilot, EK is 3 different companies. It is not the same job to a 380 pilot as a 777 as a 330/340. I know pilots in all three and they all have very different views of the company. I personally can not understand how the 330 guys work the way they do, with 8 days off a month every month. Think about it. Its fewer days off than office staff, then you have a jacked up schedule flipping day and night duties monsoons in India and flying into war zones. Oh, and study on your off days. Now take that Guy and stand him next to a 380 guy who goes to Europe twice a month coupled to two US flights or down to OZ, and you will have two very different views of life a EK. EK pilots are by far the most overworked pilots out there regardless of equipment, and their pay not reflect this. I think most guys at EK are greatly disappointed at how pay and schedules continue to erode. There has been no positive changes on these for years, only negative. So the assumption of the future is the trend, and the trend is grim.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 11:07
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ExpatBrat---the opinions may not be accurate (but then they are opinions) but the facts regarding conditions are!

The comments about hours worked, pay, bidding etc are all pretty accurate.

The rest is opinion.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 15:57
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The bottom line, really, is the Terms and Conditions that many of us signed up for have been degraded since around 2009. That includes rostering, leave allocation, remuneration, housing, staff travel, et al. There have been little or no improvements (yes, I know, a bit of increase in the utilities allowance) in the overall package. But again, the big one is the rostering, with the type of flying the majority of the pilots do here. Things like factoring, (no flight credit for augmenting crews not in operating seat), ULRs with only three crew with published expectation to go to 22 hrs in irregular ops, just to name two. The fact that if the bid computer gives you over five off days in a row, there will a "reserve day" (AD-available day) manually inserted in the middle of the days off. Do I need to go on?

Not so much "unhappy", just more of a frustration and being fed up. It's a one way street here and not in the pilots' direction.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 16:50
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The issue that pretty much everyone joining doesn't anticipate is the way in which your priorities change as you get older. Most guys that join are happy, they see all the shiny aircraft and tall buildings and can't believe their luck in comparison to where they came from.

After a while the veneer wears off and there is a command to look forward to. In the past that was as little as 18 months, now it will be very much longer. Whilst they wait their 10 year plan starts to disappear out of the window. Conditions erode and many start to feel trapped.

The money starts to vanish too. If you are used to going out, it is crazy that you can't really afford it without an EPC card. A bottle of wine on a night out will cost you 400 dids when in Aus it might run to $25 bucks. And there are no choices to 5 star prices because they hold the licences. Expat inflation is staggering and to give you a feel for the change, Dubai went from the 90th to 67th most expensive city in the world with essentially a $1.40/hr increase in pay.

Further erosion comes in the form of allowances which never come close to following the price increases and changes to conditions that are touted as positive, medical for instance, but just result in reduced cover. All changes are negative and camouflaged with spin to "manage expectations"!

Here though is the big kicker. When most guys first join they look at the package and add it all up and are impressed. It's great for the little kids but gradually they grow and become bored to death as their teens fly by. They then move overseas to go to university and you are left with the bill. Yep I know that happens elsewhere but the reality that bites is that often families split and try to run 2 homes.

All the costs that the company covered in Dubai are dropped overseas. Often the kids are then also not entitled to the same benefits of the other students at home. With the kids gone, the parents rattle around the house and many pilots at that stage just become the cash cow sacrificing their health to try and keep the family on rails.

In my experience many of they guys that love it as they get older come from lower cost base countries or carry passports that offer few options. Many of the others start to feel trapped as their conditions spiral down and just can't imagine being 65 years old flying a dodgy 3 crew operation to the US as part of a 90 plus hour roster with factored flight hours.

So if you are new you'll enjoy it but in 10 years time as a relatively junior captain pulling down say $14k/month and paying the bills for your family back home you may find the gloss wears off and discover the true costs of being an expat are not matched by the ever diminishing EK salary.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 18:59
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Well said Fred
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Old 27th Jul 2014, 02:30
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Yes, well said. But it's absolutely intended.

Lure in the young and cheap, then let them get slowly disillusioned as to have them either accept that fact that they will get exploited until almost broke, at least relative to what they would need for a civilised retirement, or they leave without enough savings for later, and making space for another young dreamer. No social obligation whatsoever, they say you could have saved for that yourself, but the trick is that inflation directed everything back to their pockets before you were able to counteract.

It is an exploitation society and will always be one step ahead of you. Up to maybe 4 years, there was the property market. It was a dangerous path, but at least a chance of preparing for retirement. These days are gone because we are grossly out-priced.

EK might still be an option, but you either have to come with a nice reserve back home, for retirement, or the latter has to happen in a very cheap environment.
You know: Exactly the kind of environment you wanted to leave for good reason in the first place!!

The Boss tells the story:

Last edited by glofish; 27th Jul 2014 at 03:37.
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