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Emirates. Not that bad, surely?

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

Emirates. Not that bad, surely?

Old 29th Feb 2016, 06:30
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: UAE
Posts: 958
Emirates. Not that bad, surely?

I have recently been asked via Private Message if EK is really as bad as it is painted on these pages. Surely people exaggerate or even make things up for their own nefarious ends? It can't be possible for a major international airline- and wannabe major international brand- to behave in such an uncaring and cavalier fashion towards its employees. Can it?

Well, I have plenty of time to write a reply at the moment as I'm on a flight back to Dubai from my home country. I had six days off in a row, which is a reasonably rare event but not unheard of, so I went home for four days. I got downgraded to economy on the way out, despite having a waitlisted ID50 for business class. On the way back there was only one flight in two days where I was fairly confident I would get on at all and this is a destination with three flights per day. This is in late February, not school or public holiday time. Here is the first lesson- do not think it is easy to use staff travel when you do get days off especially with low seniority. Flights are very often full and, especially travelling with a family, it will be a stressful experience. It also starts to get expensive very quickly. Even ID90s are far from free.

More observant readers will have noticed that, although I had six days off, I only went home for four. This is because after my days off I am rostered for an ultra long haul flight and the company demands that I be back in Dubai for three full nights before such a duty. It is very common to have such flights rostered after a block of days off and it can often completely prevent travel. It is worth mentioning that the majority of pilots I have spoken too believe that the company's interpretation of the flight time limitations is not correct and there is no legal need to be in Dubai so early. However, only the company's interpretation matters and it is not negotiable. This is lesson two- having days off does not mean you are free of the demands of the company. It is also worth mentioning at this point that the company, being a government entity, does not have to follow any employment laws. Even in Dubai, where the employment laws tend to be biased in favour of employers, that is worth having a good think about but before you sign up.

My wife decided to stay at home for a couple of weeks. Or possibly months. As she pointed out, I am only actually in Dubai for 12 “useful” days in March. “Useful” means days when I have not just got back from a long flight at 6am and am either in bed or exhausted for the rest of the day. I am flying 100 hours in March and the last three months have all been between 95 and 105, with a similar number of days in Dubai. Not surprisingly my spouse is getting sick of effectively living on her own as I am often away for five or six days at a time. Everyone's marriage is different and I leave it up to you to speculate on the effect living like this is likely to have on yours. Lesson three. The job is a marriage wrecker. The irony is a lot of people bring their families to Dubai for a better life, then never see them. Or the wife gets sick of being a one parent family and goes back home. With your children. You will see them even less then- see lesson 1.

I actually did relatively well for leave this year and got some of what I wanted. However, I still have 7 days of “forced leave” allocated by the company at a time of year I certainly wouldn't have chosen. This 7 day block finishes only three weeks before a period of leave I actually asked for. I have no doubt, based on past experience, that I will be flying for 90 hours during the month when I have this week “off”. As that is almost a normal month's roster the leave is actually only the days off for the month compressed together. Lesson four and five- you don't choose when your holiday is, the company does and it isn't really holiday at all as you still do the same amount of work that month. Working here, you are tired and jet lagged. Constantly.

When I joined Emirates, just over a decade ago, I left a secure job at a reputable European airline. Indeed, I was just coming up for my wide body command there. Nobody I spoke to at the time, either inside or outside Emirates, thought it was a bad idea. This was one of the best jobs to have in aviation in terms of both lifestyle and salary. Indeed some people in my previous company were positively envious. Now, I doubt any pilot inside Emirates would give an unqualified yes to the question, “Should I apply?”

The sixth and final (for now) lesson. If you join today the terms and conditions you experience will be the best you will get for your time here. In ten plus years I can't think of anything I could honestly say has improved. Other posts have mentioned the rampant inflation (and, coming soon, VAT- for an instant 5% pay cut) and the difficulty of saving on an F/O salary.

So there you go. No, we aren't making it up. Almost all of the posts are true and when somebody does post something that is completely wrong somebody else will correct it pretty quickly. After all this is the internet!
BigGeordie is online now  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 06:46
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 11

While I did still enjoy the flying and colleagues in EK, I just couldnt stand the workload and irregular pattern any more.

As several have said before, the money as a Captain is still pretty good, questionable however if it is worth your health and family life. And as an FO, forget about saving if you come to Dubai with kids. Single guy or girl is different.

A month later and I am slowly regaining a normal circadian rythm. I cannot describe the feeling of being able to go to bed more or less the same time every night. And waking up in the morning actually feeling refreshed.

For anyone claiming 'It cant be that bad; in XXX Airline we fly 6 sectors per day and fly 90+ hour months. Just remember that most of us that fly or flew EK also flew for XXX Airline previously. The jetlag and irregular pattern combination has to be experienced before you can truly appreciate the longterm effects.

Still, EK may work for some. It didnt work for us any longer though.
bittersweetheart is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 07:59
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Earth
Posts: 683
What Big G x 10.
The reality is not any different to the posts as you see them, yes I am sure there is a version of events that differs from another perspective, but thats interpretation rather than reality.
I had occasion to be back in Dubai a week or two back and managed to have a chat with a few of my ex EK colleagues, they were in unison, without prompting I add, ALL working on their exit plans. All spoke at length about the issues that have gone around and around on this board, one friend in particular has had a recent issue where he was falsely accused of a minor breach by a junior member of staff, this breach he was accused of occurred on a flight he didn't operate, and nor was he actually working that day, nor has he worked with the accuser and yet he is now in possession of a warning letter that effectively removes all chance for receiving any profit share if granted and he has NO recourse.
I left over 6 months ago, I renewed my medical the other day, BP normal (at EK I was considered hypertensive), 6kg lighter and fitter, and I've never felt better.
Think EK won't shorten your life? dream on if you don't.
falconeasydriver is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 08:40
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 16
!00% true from all 3 above. Off = recovery, if lucky. It's no life and the cash is well short to compensate such an existence.
jatqual is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 08:52
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Sandpit
Posts: 10
Every EK Pilot would agree with Big Geordie 100% on the money. I don't know any pilot that can see themselves staying within the next 1-3 years of the company.

Says it all.
Versace is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 10:03
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: guess where
Posts: 372
Every EK Pilot would agree with Big Geordie 100% on the money. I don't know any pilot that can see themselves staying within the next 1-3 years of the company.
It seems we haven't met then. Speak for yourself and not for all....
what_goes_up is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 10:08
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: dxb
Posts: 71

They should introduce a like button!
VLS with ice is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 10:39
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Varies!
Posts: 727

Without wishing to drift off subject, your 'friend' with the warning. Obviously this is his side of the story but in any event, profit share is only blocked if on a final warning, not a written one. If he did indeed have a final warning, then he also has the right to appeal.

Doesn't seem to add up to me.
BYMONEK is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 12:16
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Earth
Posts: 683

I'm no Barack room lawyer these days, nor am I sufficiently familiar with the HR policies or terminology at EK anymore. I can tell you I read the letter, I reviewed the dates mentioned and then reviewed his roster for that month, the text contained within clearly stated the removal of any type of bonus or profit share.
In respect of his version vs the company/accuser version of events the letter contained both factual errors and referred to events in a fashion with what would best be described as heresay in any normal context. My friend had absolutely nothing to gain or any axe to grind before this mess landed in his lap. Suffice to say he has saved himself a great amount of stress and frustration and accepted his fate, he accepted it for around 10 days, then, the day after our little reunion, he resigned.
falconeasydriver is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 12:19
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Dubai rock city
Age: 46
Posts: 168
That's why the company run all over us. Pussy captains not standing up for themselves. A real pity.
motley flight crue is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 14:13
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Shower house of Africa
Posts: 275
Motley flight crue :

I'm not an EK employee nor do I work for any Middle Eastern Carrier and nor am I an expat.

Once you are a Captain , in any company for that matter , you have very little "weight" outside the Flight Deck. Maybe in the queue at your company coffee shop but that's about it.

You can't expect an expat , Captain or not , to "fight" contractual issues.

In the Middle East you are an expat first , then a captain or FO.

No one in management gives a flying $&!? ......If you join any company as an Expat you got to "take it lying down".
Ghost_Rider737 is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 16:21
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: free Europe
Posts: 90
Incredible stories

The problem with these incredible stories is that there is absolutely no legal relief under the UAE feudal system. There is not even a concept that the government (your boss) could ever be wrong. Hence when it happens it all goes to hell very quickly. Don't think that it only happens to others.
in freedom is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 17:40
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Centre of Universe
Posts: 303
Big G
3 local nights before = Only EK have picked up on this for sure. By all means but treat fatigue seriously and do your part EK. Treat pilots with respect and they will turn up well rested. I would only mention then the commercial risk of coming in the day before. On standby and you don't get on time to splash cash for a full fare.

Leave = more difficult I'm afraid you can't expect time off when yoiu expect it all the time.
Ifyou want it when you want go work in the office will be the answer sorry
Twiglet1 is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 17:42
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Earth
Posts: 683
Motley, nothing like a keyboard warrior such as yourself to pass judgement without the benefit of intelligence nor compassion, you sir are reprehensible. I'm sure in your version of utopia there is nothing you can't accomplish
falconeasydriver is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 20:30
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Sandpit
Posts: 10
What_goes_up -

You must be a Middle Easterner... Say no more...
Versace is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 22:10
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: HKG
Posts: 1,390
Sounds just like Cathay except there the housing and pay are also sh*t.
BusyB is online now  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 22:56
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Austria
Posts: 351
Gulf Air 2.0

What can you expect from the 3rd floor Muppets?
Talparc is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2016, 02:54
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Dubai rock city
Age: 46
Posts: 168
Falcon, I did have a situation, was wrongly punished, and refused the outcome until I got to see AS. Guess what, it was overturned! If your right, conduct yourself properly and state your case then things can change.
motley flight crue is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2016, 03:38
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: guess where
Posts: 372
Central European coming from a major there...
Over 10 years in EK and still wouldn't go back.
It's not that nothing is wrong here... But it's not as bad as portrayed.
But even if I was from the Middle East I would be part of the "every EK pilot community" you elected to represent in your post.

Last edited by what_goes_up; 1st Mar 2016 at 04:06.
what_goes_up is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2016, 04:08
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 56
I second that comment!
Look for the bad and guess what; you'll find it...
Enjoy the good and guess what; you're happy...
It's all up to you guys. Be negative, or be positive. I choose the latter and I'm enjoying myself.

birdieonfirst is offline  

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