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Joining Qatar Airways after Covid

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Joining Qatar Airways after Covid

Old 18th Aug 2021, 01:01
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Joining Qatar Airways after Covid

Iím going to tell you a story. Much has been said here on these boards already about QR, but most of it isnít very specific, a lot of it clouded by emotion, or the posts didnít really have a specific conclusion. Iím going to give you a much more detailed report on what you can expect if you join this airline. To establish some sort of structure, Iíll try and tell the story as a timeline and then add a few more details at the end. Iíll start with what happens before you try and join. Youíll go to the Qatar Airways careers page and make a profile. Youíll probably find that you may have some trouble registering, logging on and submitting a profile (you can expect more of these troubles using all of their excreble IT systems later). If you are called for some sort of selection process, after rushing you through some online selection, (varying from a quick Skype interview if theyíre desperate, to a complete set of psychometric tests of they are being choosy), they will give you a few dates to choose from for the Doha interview, put you on a shiny new plane in business class and in a nice hotel in Doha, and you will be quite impressed. Just to keep perspective Ė the business class seat was free for them because it was a standby seat, and they own the hotel so that was free for them too. Sorry if you have to quarantine for a week or two these days. If they decide to offer you a job, youíll get an unsigned email asking you to be there before your notice period is up with your current airline, or a date within ten days. This is due to their fastidious advance planning. This email will also ask for all manner of onerous documentation including your logbook stamped on every page. This should already be a warning flag. When you write back saying that you actually have to work the 3 month notice period you informed them about before you can leave your current employer, there will be (after a few dayís delay where you are nervously waiting) a reply insinuating or baldly stating that unless you accept that date then you will go back into the holding pool. Or you wonít even get a date, youíll just be told youíre in the holding pool (think about a fish holding pool Ė small fish held captive at the fishermanís mercy Ė itís well named). Sometimes you will wait so long in the holding pool youíll go stale and they will just turf you out again with no notice. Or their IT system lost you. Youíll think youíre in the holding pool still and youíll write to them asking about when you can expect a date and get mealy-mouthed answers from a different clerk every time but eventually you discover someone neglected to tell you that you had been removed from the holding pool and now you have to wait to be selected again. On different criteria. Or thereís always the chance of you joining the group of pilots who were given a joining date, resigned from their current jobs, sold their houses back home and then a few days before joining being told that there is no job for them any more, due to operational reasons, leaving them totally in the lurch with nowhere to live and loss of seniority. But you take the chance and jump.

So joining date rolls around and youíve sold your house and burned some bridges but hey, itís going to be worth it right? Even though you havenít got a signed contract yet. You get to the boarding gate and you see the crew arrive. The captain looks tired and the second officer (the one with 2 stripes) looks about 19. Or 48. Thatís normal for second officers, right? Well, heís actually the first officer, and youíre about to lose a stripe because at this 5-star airline, itís different to the rest of the world, FOís only have 2 stripes. No idea why. But youíve been promised fast track command! You see the cabin crew, uniform is a bit dowdy and you have a bit of trouble deciding which is the most attractive because there arenít any attractive ones. Ah well, must have drawn a bad crew, the rest will be okay? (Um, no). At the gate youíre a bit disappointed when your ticket isnít upgraded this time and youíre in economy. You find yourself sitting next to another pilot and ask if he is also a new joiner. No, he is the relief FO, deadheading back to Doha. The 787 has no bunk and business class deadheading here is on a standby basis and only for flights over 4 hours. Thatís written somewhere but nobodyís ever been shown where. Heís not needed for the return flight because itís only 10.5 hours and therefore well within the duty limits of the two guys upfront who flew into your city 18 hrs ago, so he deadheads back, unpaid. Yep. No pay for deadheading here. No guaranteed business class Ė crew often enjoy that 15hr return from Sao Paulo or LA in 5-star economy.

So you finally arrive and are driven to your accommodation and when you see Ain Khalid Gate (AKG) or Barwa your heart sinks a bit but youíre told you can apply to move out of company accomodation and receive the housing allowance and go and live anywhere you like. You sure can apply. But nothing will happen apart from you butting heads with the bobbleheads in Housing where you are number 1,351 on the list, which strangely is further back than you were last month. Ah well, AKG it is.. enjoy winter when it floods ankle deep or you get driven crazy by the constant noise of kids or maintenance.

So induction and training starts, and you start to realise there is something different here. The trainers are scared of something? You find yourself in a confusing maze of manuals on the iPad, most of which change every Thursday. (Because moving something from manual A to manual B this Thursday and moving it back to manual A next Thursday is the definition of a lot of peopleís jobs in the head office). To find one thing you have to consult three manuals? Which one is correct? You discover your training is sub par (because the instructors are not properly qualified instructors, just line pilots who applied for the job to stay in Doha, and even if you had a good instructor, heís not allowed to impart his experience to you, strictly only the syllabus) and some of you wonít make it. That includes a high percentage of the Direct Entry Captains (DECs) who join. To their surprise Ė theyíve always had good SIM scores ? Yeah well, then they werenít with some palooka FO from Myanmar who can hardly speak English, and the SIM sessions made sense..here not. So sorry, you didnít make it, your Residency Permit is cancelled and back home you go, tail between your legs, do you want to rejoin your old airline at the bottom again? Is your house rented out to someone else?

For those that make it, and make the Final Line Check, the relief is palpable. The fear culture has already set in and youíre aware that if you screw up, even in the tiniest way, youíre in trouble. You find yourself on probation for 6 months (hey this wasnít mentioned at the interview?) where you can, and many have, received an email informing you that your services are no longer required, no reason given. Tra la, back home you go, bottom of seniority list again. Now some of you hotshots may be thinking, thatís fine, Iím a good pilot, I wonít screw up. Well, some people donít, but you have to be lucky. Then you get the ones paranoidly keeping abreast of each and every one of the hundred or so Thursday changes to the manuals and the AirCrew Notices (ACNs) and the emails which change Company Policy daily and know the paragraph numbers by heart. You might not screw up but the other pilot might, and guess what, youíre both fired. In QR, even if youíre the relief crew in the jumpseats, and the operating crew make a mistake, youíre fired or on a final written warning letter.

For FOs who were hoping for a command, such a letter delays your command by a year. So you better hope the guys flying the plane donít screw up your career. You can get a Warning Letter for not having the right haircut, or watch, or flight bag Ė the Company that trusts you to fly a half billion dollar machine across the planet employs a grooming checker who sneaks around in the operations room during your sign-on briefing to check that you donít have a bracelet on or that your socks are black enough. If they arenít Ė you get a letter. You can get one for reacting to a Landcruiser who was tailgating you at a distance of 5cm on your way to work (which happens numerous times per trip), or for getting into any altercation with a local when he treats you like something on the sole of his thick soled sandal. You can get one if the cabin crew you were speaking to like a human misunderstood what you said because of their revel 3 Engrish and reported you. The cabin crew have reported pilots for all sorts of ridiculous reasons, including carrying cups of Starbucks at the airport (not allowed), having jackets open or off in public (not allowed Ė heavy jacket must be kept on at all times, even in 49 degree C heat), not wearing hats, you name it, theyíve screwed the pilots over for the tiniest things. The Captain asked for a cappuccino! Reported. A word about these cabin crew. The ones who get high scores on the interview exams arenít the target. The middle intellect (Iím being kind here), the mildly unattractive (donít want problems with them dating other crew) and the compliant are needed. After all, they live in compounds with a curfew and lead a much more precarious life than pilots do when it comes to getting into trouble. Their accommodation is subject to random search. Fired even if a packet of cigarettes is found. Much has been said in the worldís press about their inhumane treatment Ė as Google will attest. They live in abject fear, and lead lives as little maroon robots, scared even to say hello to you. A recent ACN has banned pilots from leaving the flight deck for anything other than Ďphysiological needsí during a flight because a cabin crew member reported a pilot who was chatting in the galley. Not Allowed. Want to put your yoghurt in the galley fridge? Not Allowed. Any cabin crew report about you will lead to you getting a warning letter Ė and if an FO, a yearís delayed command. Your pilot managers will always acquiesce to the cabin crew managers. The airline is run by ex cabin crew doing all sorts of specialised duties they are unqualified for such as HR and management. One is even running a whole airport now, and is responsible for all flight crew planning. Including pilots. You couldnít make it up. The Cabin Services Director (CSD Ė senior cabin crew on board) is de facto the Commander of the aircraft. Your managers in fact, will not defend you in any way, or protect you from any trouble. They seem to be there simply to process your transgressions. Your warning letter will already be printed before your meeting and be handed to you no matter what you say.

So you make it through your probation and then you start discovering that things you thought you were entitled to like buddy tickets, loss of licence insurance, pension fund, time to promotion etc which you thought started when you joined, in fact will only commence on the day of your Final Line Check, or your probation ending, in 6 months. These just excuses to delay the accrual of any benefit to you, written in some arcane HR manual that you donít have access to, if indeed written at all. The office minions guard against you getting half a cents worth of anything they canít screw you out of. Itís like it was their money.

Anyway, what to do (your new favourite phrase), off you go on a trip to a city youíve always wanted to go to, only to discover your hotel is pretty far away from the actual city. Itís called an airport hotel, but strangely it seems to be some distance from the airport, too. In fact, itís pretty much in the middle of nowhere and to get to the city you have to take a succession of buses and trains which eat somewhat into the 18 hours you have there. After sleeping off the 10 or 15 hr flight, if youíre lucky enough to be awake during daytime at the destination, youíll have an hour or two (or 2 and a quarter if youíre lucky) to sightsee before you have to get some sleep in again before the return flight, which is just about impossible because you only woke up 3 hours ago, remember? Ah well, that problem will be solved soon by the cumulative fatigue from flying 100hr rosters. 100hrs? Am I joking? Yes, haha, itís more like 110. Now, about these hours. Just like you gets different airspeeds, you gets different hours. Two parts of the distance speed time equation. If they could theyíd screw with the distances too. You have block hours, on which your roster is based, and you have your logbook hours which bear a passing resemblance to them except the inflight rest time is subtracted. The taxi time is subtracted from the IFR time too. You used to get paid for block time. But suddenly and unilaterally, without communication from the company, you only get paid for Ďlogbook hoursí now. So for a 15hr flight to LA you only get paid for half that. And half for the return too. So you may as well have done a Europe flight for the same pay and saved the fatigue of crossing 5 time zones. 15 hours plus flights like LA and Dallas used to be Ultra Long Range (ULR) as such flights would be in other airlines, but suddenly and unilaterally (youíll hear this phase again) they were redesignated ĎLong Rangeí. Because ULR required 2 days rest before and 2 days rest after so it was a little difficult to roster. So you get to LA, and open your iPad to submit your blank report (QR IT making sense again) and you get the daily roster change and also a kick in the balls email which will be about how bad and unprofessional the pilots are for not taxiing on one engine and how youíll be terminated if blah blah. Or that youíve suddenly and unilaterally lost all buddy ticket privileges (no reason given). Or that for operational reasons, the request you made to Fleet for special leave was denied. Or that your Loss of Licence insurance has suddenly and unilaterally been cancelled. Or that Housing advises that youíre now number 2,034 on the waiting list. Or that your swap request was denied. Or that you have a meeting to do with a report that was filed against you. Or that your Medical scheme has been downgraded. Sorry for you. Hey, maybe you escape the day without any of that. But probably not. So the new Roster is out. Great! You spent hours going through the hundreds of pages of trip reports to prepare your bids for flights for next month! What do we have? No bids granted? Again? Whatís this? A twelve day cargo trip away from Doha? Omg, what is the wife going to say again? Sheís already on your case because of life at AKG and being driven off the road every time she ventures out and when is Housing going to move us and why didnít you get your leave requests and the school is terrible here and why are you away so much and why are you always so tired? Yet you console yourself with the fact that sheís not particularly worried about any hanky panky with the cabin crew because sheís seen them and doesnít feel remotely threatened. Well, maybe you can swap out the flights you donít want? Yes, that would be a possibility if the in-house built (read:crap) swap system would allow any swaps. You discover upon its launch that it wonít allow OFF days to be swapped, or standbys, and the rest of your roster is so tight there is nothing legal to swap it for. If you can log in. Or you find someone who has the perfect flight to swap but alas you canít fly with the FO or Captain because heís the same nationality as you, and in QR that is (suddenly and unilaterally) Not Allowed. Oh well, you can still look forward to that NYC flight, itís one of the few places where the hotel is in the city. Only you get suddenly and unilaterally re-rostered the day before onto a Bangalore turnaround (no reason given). So you fly though the night with the chaotic chatter of Indian ATC for seven hours looking forward to trying to sleep with the AKG kids running around screaming all day, and hoping the other guy doesnít screw up the landing and earn you both a warning letter.

Then the time rolls around to you making Senior FO. No big deal Ė itís an automatic promotion, you get an extra stripe which might stop other FOs at foreign airports wondering why QR has 30 or 40 year old 2-striper cadets, and a bit of extra cash, as the manual States, itís 3 years in the Company service, and 2000 hrs on their aircraft. Except itís, guess what, changed to be 3 years from your Final Line Check which happened 6 months after joining, and the 2000 hrs are factored hours, ie. They arenít block hours, they donít include rest time. So you thought you had 2000 but you only have like 1300 so you must wait another year. What happened to that Fast Track they promised at the interview? Suddenly and unilaterally suspended. With no notification. What to do? When you do finally reach their requirements, nothing happens for a couple of months until you inquire and are told the promotion board only meets every couple of months so you wait patiently and eventually it comes and you get paid a bit of backpay.

Except in these unprecedented times when you qualified a year and a half ago and are expecting the 18 months backpay only to find that the manual has suddenly and unilaterally changed without notification to include a SIM check before promotion, so you automatically donít qualify for the automatic promotion, or the backpay any more. (This kick in the balls is separate from any other emailed to you that day).

Now in LA you get a call from crew control that they need you to pax on American Airlines to Atlanta to take part in a freight trip which for some reason is insufficiently crewed. You arrive at AA check-in and discover QR hasnít paid for a check in bag for you, and you stump up $30, no problem captain you can claim it back, bring the original receipt to the office on your off day. No, we donít accept scanned emails, sorry. Canít trust pilots.

You carry on month after month, sometimes getting your bids, most times not, and the 50 degree heat of summer in Doha turns to winter and the weather is quite pleasant for 3 or 4 months. A few years pass by, youíve become submissive and you are starting to get closer to command. Your previous warning letters have expired and youíve managed to ward off any new ones, youíve kept your head down, and now the upgrade process starts. First up, an interview where a panel of judges throw arbitrary questions at you and see how you are and if they like your face. If this doesnít go well, no upgrade, wait 6 months (officially) to 12 months (normally) and try again. If they still donít like your face or fail to answer some silly question the way they want it answered again and sorry for you. No more chances. And if in those intervening months you should get a warning letter, sorry for you too, the process is set back another year. All this whilst hundreds of Direct Entry Captains who know nothing about the complex and sometimes illogical QR procedures are being hired ahead of you from gone-bust tinpot airlines all over the world. Some come from short haul 737 operations so you get the honour of carrying them through their first few months on line for long-haul, because, remember, if they screw up, you screw up, and a warning letter is in your future. Some can even speak passable English.

Finally, after months of emotional rollercoaster rides and frantic cross-referencing of manuals and hearsay, and jumping though all their hoops and ad-hoc obstacles, and the nerve wracking line flights, and provided youíve had decent instructors, you become a Captain. Congrats. Now you find that you actually have no say in any matter, everything is defined as nauseam in one of the many manuals, (except the small matters of your benefits which mysteriously canít be found). You had better know this library of manuals by heart and you are to follow them to the letter. You will also be deferring to the Senior Cabin Crew on board, and woe betide you if you get into any sort of altercation with them, youíll be receiving your letter shortly. Basically your new duties include just a lot more paperwork. Youíll be entering the fuel load into the tech log, the journey log, the flight log, sending an ACARS with it, and photographing the fuel slip. You will now be one of the four people reporting why there was a two minute delay. Nothing replaces quadruplicate when it comes to paperwork here. And you will find out that extending a FDP at Captains discretion is actually an assignation not a discretion, and is planned in advance. Youíll also be paired with strange FOs from all over the world who speak 11 kinds of English, none of which you quite understand, who have 11 different interpretations of the Company Rules (as explained to them by 11 different instructors or WhatsApp groups) who will be blithely running red lights straight down Warning Letter Avenue unless you intervene. Some of whom will report you for disagreeing with them.

Letís look at a few choice areas :

..a continuť
The Lost Goat is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2021, 01:06
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Joining Qatar Airways after Covid (p2)


There is an in-house Roster bidding system, which works very well at giving 0% satisfaction. There is an in-house Roster swap system which works very well at telling you youíre not allowed to swap. The roster for the full next month is supposed to be published a week before month-end, but due to Ďoperational reasonsí sometimes only half a roster will be published, or the publish date will slide by a day or two so nobody really knows when the roster will be out. Great for planning your life. What to do? Wives love this part. Then, during the month, crew control hand you so many changes that by the end of the month, the roster you actually flew bears little or no resemblance to the roster you were given. Due to two Algerian pilots having a fight on the flight deck, a knee-jerk rule stating Ďno two pilots of the same nationality may fly togetherí was immediately implemented to solve the problem. This means you have half the chance of getting your own country on a flight bid, because the other pilot is probably also bidding for it, and you may not be rostered together. There seems also to be a rule where people are not allowed to be rostered to their own countries anyway. Whilst it hasnít been put in writing, in practice many pilots have not been rostered to their own countries for fourteen months plus. What to do?


There will be sudden and unilateral changes to your FTL laws. Suddenly it was made possible to do a 23-hr and even in some cases a 23:55 FDP. Yep. This was originally for freight turnarounds to china at the start of the covid, but now has since been applied to 18 destinations including African destinations. Anyone fancy flying to Johannesburg and back in one duty? The passengers in the back oblivious to their five-star exhausted pilots.

After a couple of years you wonít even know how many hours of flight time you really have either, because QR insist that you log only half or two thirds of the flight time on augmented sectors, and deduct IFR time for taxi, remember! So your flight time limit of 1000 hrs a year could quite possibly be about 1500 actual hours or more Ė this whilst other major airlines target about 600-700hrs per year. What to do, Captain? Itís legal. Are you refusing to work?


There will be sudden and unilateral changes to your medical insurance scheme. QR pilots used to be insured with Allianz, a globally respected medical insurance scheme. Not long ago we were emailed about our change to ďAl KootĒ, a second-rate Qatari-Indian company who have a nasty habit of not paying claims. Now you have to even pay for the sick certificate. Sorry, Gaptain.


There wasnít an incremental pay increase in Jan 2020, as usual it was delayed with no communication and then when covid struck it was delayed until further notice. Suddenly and without prior notice (and unilaterally), we got a 50% pay cut (deferred, we did actually get this back), which lasted for 2 months. Then a ďSolidarityĒ scheme was introduced whereby you accepted a 25% deduction from your basic pay to ease the burden and save some of your colleagues from being made redundant. Which actually did more to save you from being made redundant yourself, because if you didnít agree to it thatís what would happen to you. This -25% crept into the flight pay somehow too, without ever being communicated. And suddenly you werenít getting paid for flight hours any more but for logbook hours!! None of this communicated to you, because thatís obviously too hard, management would far more prefer to send everyone threatening little emails instead. Suddenly then, you were earning about 60% of what you were previously earning, and this for the next 5 years apparently. What to do? You can always leave, Gaptain! This deduction had little to zero effect on redundancies anyway, which happened at frequent and perplexingly random intervals throughout the year, and are still ongoing until Mar 21 when the Einsteins who did the planning suddenly realised that they were hundreds of pilots short. Some people went for several months paying this deduction, and then were fired themselves. As previously mentioned, QR also stopped paying flight pay for inflight-rest time (without prior notification). Whereas previously an Australia trip would be 28 block hours return paid, now you only get 14 hrs paid at 75% which is 37% of what you used to get. This is how -25% becomes actually -67%. Bonuses. Donít hold your breath. Bonuses were paid to the entire Cargo Department in 2019 for making exceptional profit but the pilots who actually flew the cargo were exclusively excluded. There has been no annual increase for 2020 or 2021 either, and nothing has been communicated to the staff about any pay increases or lack thereof. Locals (Qataris) regularly get little bonuses and pay increases though.

Overtime. Because youíll be flying a LOT harder than youíve ever done before , youíd expect a bit of overtime pay, right? Well, There will be sudden and unilateral changes to your contract and/or working conditions. For example, the overtime pay threshold for suddenly changed from 735hr to 850hr once the company saw how much it needed to pay in overtime in 2017. So the 115 hours overtime you were owed (that extra month and some of hours you worked during your 12-month year) you kissed goodbye, no complaints allowed. What to do? Overtime for 2019 was paid a year late, with zero communication about that, and there is currently a problem with overtime for 2020 Ė on last months payslip a small one-liner appeared Ďdouble hfpí (hour flying pay). And the amount was not as expected. A lot of people who had flown well over 1000 hrs in 2020 got ZERO. Emails to the Pay department are currently going unanswered, as are enquiries to fleet management (itís totally normal for them to ignore your emails anyway so nothing strange there). Then an Air Crew Notice was published on the first day of the recent holidays giving a number that could be called after the holidays. The people who answer this number are giving all sorts of lame explanations about how the overtime now has a higher threshold limit, and the way your hours are now calculated changed part way though the year and are now factorised and your flight hours are now your logbook hours minus minus etc, so even if you flew 1200 hours in 2020 but a lot of it was longhaul (and most of it was, the 777s flew to the max, 3 man round the world Trans-Pacific flights, 22hr china turnarounds etc) then you didnít get any overtime. None of this communicated to the pilots, and it seems they are too cowardly to put the calculation in writing, because they have published a number you have to call to get a private and unique convoluted verbal explanation that will make no sense instead. We call this a Qsense experience.


Youíll find some people mysteriously got to opt out of company housing before you despite joining after you. A recent development is that they are suddenly and unilaterally moving people back into company housing from private accommodation (and of course ceasing to pay the accommodation allowance)(Wives love that too).


Let me just say this. At QR, we even do ditching courses on the iPad. Yep. Can you swim? Check the box! 5-star qualified!


The catering on board used to be quite decent, then suddenly it changed and instead of a proper meal we get slung the same Indian style economy food packs, which never change, and get back catered from Doha. So before your descent into Mexico City (which youíll be doing with anybody but a Mexican Ė because pilots not allowed to fly to homeland), youíll be eating briyani (again) that was onloaded in Doha before the start of the first sector, 22 hours ago. Enjoy. After numerous complaints, they came up with a Ďhealthyí box which contained, out of 5 items, 2 items the catering already had. Way to go, original thinkers. This healthy box probably costs a lot and isnít touched by most crew anyway. Like the other food. The rest of the catering is pot noodles, chips, popcorn, biscuits, bread, chocolate and other unhealthy rubbish. So to stay within the required BMI you have to bring your own food, but pilots are not allowed an extra little bag to put it in, unlike the cabin crew who are allowed two bags and are allowed to store them in the overhead bins. There will be a slimy little man slithering around the briefing room checking that you donít bring an extra bag. Your flight bag is big enough, Gaptain.


Will be changed suddenly when they prevent a situation which benefits QR, or if QR is in contravention of them. If a situation arises which benefits you that isnít prevented by one or more of the spider-web of rules, an ad-hoc rule will be created, dubiously translated from the original Arabic rant, published by email and elevated to the Operations Manual the next Thursday.

You must be ready to operate after minimum rest on a layover...so technically, no drinking, at all.

Pre-covid, you may not be more than 1hr away from the hotel. Nowadays, youíre not allowed to leave the hotel premises. Hotel staff have been instructed to report crew who leave the hotel for any reason. This rule suddenly extended until December 2021.

Youíre not allowed to do all that much, actually. If you have a request, nine times out of ten, itís not allowed, only reason given Ďoperational reasonsí.

They will change any rule at any time to suit them. Your contract isnít worth the paper itís printed on.

They make things up as they go along and then they believe it. Just to picture you in on this by example, they change the departure time of a flight if it is delayed, sometimes multiple times, so that itís not delayed. Then at the end of the year they award themselves a 5-Star award for on-time service. All of the 5-Star awards are similar flimsy and dubious circle-jerks, many of the votes being akin to Ďpaid likesí by migrant workers who travel once a year.

Now for the Covid-19 appendix to the above. When the virus started in Feb 2020, the CEO here denied itís existence. Crews were not allowed to wear masks. As countries went into lockdown, QR was one of the lone players flying in and out of a lot of places, mostly with 777s. QR became the Official Carrier of Covid-19 as one wag put it. The 320s, 330ís, 787s and 380s were grounded, and the 350s flew sporadically. In March Qatar suddenly closed its borders 3 days earlier than they had previously indicated they would, and a lot of pilots were locked out. Chaos reigned. But the 777 crews continued to fly, pushed way beyond normal Flight Time Limitations (FTLs) suddenly and unilaterally by email advising them that they would be doing turnaround flights to china with Flight Duty Periods (FDPs) of up to 23 hrs. The worldís longest previous duty before that had been the QR Auckland-Doha service of 18 hrs, superceded by the Singapore airlines Singapore-NYC service of 19hr. Qantas had been trying for a couple of years to push Operation Sunrise, Sydney-London direct which would have been 20hr. For this theyíd done test flights with monitors attached to crews, consulted medical staff, etc. QR simply emailed us and told us were doing 23hrs duty from now on take it or leave. What to do? Later came almost 24 hour flight duties. Crews even did 32hr duties, for example, flying to the US and deadheading back immediately. 777 crews that is. Then came the news that we were to get 50% of our salaries deducted. Even those who were doing 120hr monthly. ĎLogbook hoursí. Also, annual leave was suddenly and unilaterally suspended until they decided to allocate it themselves to reduce the company leave debt. For the non-flying fleets, a week or two of your annual leave per month was allocated unilaterally, but nobody could go anywhere anyway. On the 777 rosters, a day or two at a time of annual leave was often used in place of OFF days on the roster. Sort of like replacing weekends with annual leave for office workers. Sort of like blatant theft. It would have been understandable had the annual leave only been deducted from those who were not flying or were locked out, but to steal that annual leave from the 777 pilots was unforgivable, and clearly shows that operations management is so club-footed and clumsy that it canít interpret a higher general operational order to reduce the annual leave debt for aircrew, and the 777 fleet management didnít speak up for their crews who were not idle and were flying to the max, to preserve their leave.

Simultaneously, crew control were given an absolute free hand, all rules were thrown out of the window and they could do anything with your roster including not even publishing it, or making you fly on a rare off day. Authority for this being a mystical Ďmanagementí email. Thirty or forty roster changes a month were common. Sleep was rare. And make one complaint and you would be shown the door. I have seen with my own eyes a complaint by Crew Control against a Captain ďRefused to Fly on Leave DayĒ.

Dismissals started to happen, but in a sneaky and opaque way. Peopleís rosters suddenly got cancelled, nobody was told anything, for a week or two they were sitting at home wondering what was happening, and then theyíd get a call to go to a meeting and be told that theyíd been made redundant. Iím not going to bore you with details of how this process was mismanaged to the max by the 5 star HR team (who, coincidentally have just won an international award for ĎBrilliance in HRí Ė itís enough to make you puke) but suffice to say when they made people redundant here during Covid, they didnít communicate it above more than a general email from the CEO saying there would be layoffs. For the pilots, you suddenly got your flights removed, TBN (To Be Notified) inserted on your roster, were left to stew for a few days, contacted a few days later, and equally as suddenly you were locked out of your iPad and all company apps, so things like emails, payslips and staff tickets were instantly inaccessible. When you went to the Operations Centre to collect your papers, there was a special roped off section to keep you segregated, with security guards in attendance, because you were immediately persona non grata, a suspect, and an ex-employee leper. One of the main consequences of laying off pilots in dribs and drabs, unlike other airlines where all the pilots to be laid off were all laid off in one tranche, or two tranches, was a heavy psychological load. Pilots were reluctant to speak up about anything, or even take extra fuel, for fear of being on that weekís list of redundancies. In this environment, they were abused to the maximum by crew control (rostering) who simply threw all the rules out of the window, removed OFF days at will, rostered pilots for ridiculous duties, cut flight pay, cancelled leave, assigned leave in place of legal off days, secure in the knowledge that nobody would complain. Where was the Fleet Management support?!

Getting a roster bid is very rare nowadays, and is the one thing that would go a long way towards retaining pilots, but they canít seem to be bothered making this work, and seem to have a ban on pilots flying to their home countries. They also put ridiculous arbitrary Ďmanagementí restrictions on swaps, which are just about impossible to do.

Since they suddenly realised they were hundreds of pilots short, they started to recall pilots they had dismissed barely 3 months before, late last year or early in 2021. So these guys, who had been cruelly shown the door for no reason given (except for the knee-jerk need to reduce numbers, even though their colleagues were giving up about 40% of their pay to try and preserve jobs Ė a blatant lie), and had to uproot themselves and their families post haste back to their home countries in the midst of a pandemic, selling all their possessions and vehicles at a loss, were (and indeed still are) being brought back at

1. No seniority

2. Minus 25% pay (basic AND flight pay)

3. Only Company accomodation available

4. $50k bond to sign if they decide to put you on a different type (they donít tell you this)

Pilots on 6 year Captains pay are now getting less than an FO that weathered to storm and didnít get retrenched. A few of these rejoiners have already left and most of them say they will stay at QR only until they get another job and then they are gone. Most didnít bring their families back, and some only came with one suitcase with the intention to get current and then dump QR as it dumped them, the wheel turns. QR is an exceedingly unhappy ship, the main problem is that the pilot fleet management has balls the size of electrons and will not support their pilots in any way, shape or form. One small ray of light was the appointment of the new VPFO, who at least addresses the pilots with respect, and I feel would move in the right direction to create a happy, motivated fleet of pilots, purely by implementing changes which would not cost the Company a cent, such as sorting out the deadheading problems, the bids, and getting rid of the ridiculous same-nationalities-may-not-fly-together rule which must be having an extremely adverse effect on the number of pilots need to run the roster and is in any professional pilotís mind simply absurd. Also by rectifying the Ďgroup punishmentí mindset. One pilot has a device malfunction on the flight deck, all pilots not allowed to charge any device on flightdeck. One pilot misbehaves in crew rest whilst being a passenger, all pilot not allowed to use bunk whilst being passenger. One person caught selling buddy tickets, all peopleís buddy tickets removed for a year.

What is wrong with just punishing the guilty?

Upgrades Ė in previous years, they used to upgrade pretty well. That was then. During the last three years prior to Covid they did however employ over 200 Direct Entry Captains (who were among the first to be made redundant when Covid hit). Now they are bending over to save a cent and are also about six months to a year behind on their training. Theyíre outsourcing training because their Sims are fully booked training pilots they just made redundant a few months ago (in cross-type cases also making them sign $50k training bonds) (on their minus 25% salaries) so upgrades are the last thing on their minds. Donít join here as an FO if youíre expecting an upgrade within 10 years. Over the last couple of months they have shifted over 100 Airbus Captains to Boeing when they suddenly discovered they had fired too many Boeing pilots.

Are you starting to get the picture? Some may think Iím being overly negative here but I promise you, all of these things have happened to me or are reliable first hand accounts. Those of you who arenít familiar with the Middle Eastern/Indian management style may think Iím exaggerating about warning letters, but thatís how this place is run, on fear. A warning letter is a good outcome for many transgressions here, a lot of the time youíll just be terminated. Suddenly and unilaterally. You are going to be a startled victim here many times. You have little defence against the sneaky subcontinent business Ďethicsí and zero against the heavy handed Qatari law. This company feels zero for you, anything you do will be wrong if they deem it so, everything they say is the law. They change the Operations Manual whenever and however they like, literally every Thursday.

Because people from first world countries usually figure out fairly quickly that they are being treated like slaves they donít stick around for long. Qatar Airways thus employs people mostly from third world countries, this is who run the airlineís admin and all departments (good luck trying to get anything done through this Level 1 English morass of CYA where the default response is Ďnot allowedí). Ergo, QR is actually just a third world airline with money to buy new equipment, but then are penny wise, pound foolish in operating it. The five star accolades are all very suspect, and are generally acknowledged by those in the know as bogus. They even demand your old shirts back after 2 years on a uniform reissue, or make you pay for them.

Youíll doubtless be thinking very hard about taking any new job, and will be evaluating all aspects of it. What Iíve given you here is an honest report of how your life will be at QR.

A lot of the stuff you couldnít make up, anyway. What I havenít gone into is how life is in Doha itself, outside of Qatar Airways. But, in short, be prepared to take many deep breaths and put your real life on hold for the duration of your tenure at QR. Far better to stay in your home country, or a nice, normal country, and have a decent life.

To summarize : Donít join Qatar Airways.

As things are at the moment, the pilots here are still being robbed of flight pay, having leave cancelled, flying insane rosters and 22 hour days, are still having benefits curtailed, are still being made to deadhead without pay in economy class (for 15 hour flights), are still being governed by bizarre Qatari CAA exemptions that allow QR to roster you into discretion prior to the flight, are still flying from minimum rest to minimum rest and are still having upgrades cancelled (FO to SFO) or delayed (SFO,FO to Capt). Donít join here if youíre an FO hoping for an upgrade within a decade because they prefer to hire DEC's. Itís apparently cheaper, the subcontinental superstars have figured, despite 7 decades of other airlines not doing it for very good reasons. Donít join here as DEC unless youíre prepared to take the fairly high risk of getting kicked out as soon as (a) they donít need you any more and/or (b) you put a foot wrong, which is very easy to do with their always-changing-thousands-of-pages-manuals. Donít join here if you want to see the world Ė youíre not allowed out of your hotel at any destination until the end of 2021 and perhaps longer. Brought to you by an unsigned crew notice. Donít join here and think that youíll be treated with respect, or that you can improve things, or think that you may be listened to... your emails wonít even be answered. If you do join be prepared to forfeit any life apart from being a flying robot for QR. Shut up, keep head down, and do exactly as youíre told, get prematurely old, and in some cases, die. What to do? That. Donít smell the perfume, smell the whore. This is an airline that paid Boeing extra to remove the inflight entertainment screens from the crew rests.

Being a long haul pilot (or perhaps any pilot) was always a passion. All of us joined here with the best of intentions, and would have served with loyalty, honor and pride had we been treated with respect. But here itís just a kick in the guts every week and if you donít like it, leave. So why do we care now?

Being a long haul pilot was also a lifestyle Ė people didnít become pilots to be the CEO. They sacrificed the traditional career progression in a non-airline company where there was ample opportunity to become a senior manager for a two-tiered airline position Ė FO/Captain Ė and for the lifestyle of travel and no set routine. Now that Ďlifestyleí is Ďno longer validí Ė even after the Covid restrictions end, the tightening of the roster screws, the never-granted bids and the cost-cutting on the hotels have pretty much out an end to it. You will have no life at QR, let alone lifestyle. Their attitude towards their employees is that they own them, 24/7/365. Youíre a slave. Every single contact you have with QR will be negative. You have to say yes to everything, they will say no to everything.

Itís like a prison. You even have to call the guard when you want to pee. If you want to spend 5 or 7 years in a prison, rather rob a bank or something, go to a real prison, and get a decent nightís rest every night. The food is just as crap but youíll earn more and you wonít have constant iPad LMS training to do either.

Seriously reconsider your career moves, stay at home if you can. If you do feel you need to come to the Middle East, go to Emirates instead. Youíll at least be flying with crew you can relate to, pilots and cabin crew.

To the management who read this. Unprecedented times required unprecedented good management and you have failed miserably at even normal management. You canít manage a fleet from the coffee shop. You canít manage people if you never answer their emails. Get over the anger and realise the truth that you are not doing your job and see the frustration and the hurt your current policies and/or lack thereof are causing thousands of pilots and their families who are basically trapped in your abusive system until they can get another job and leave, which is what hundreds plan to do. We canít talk to you, you donít listen, you donít respond. When we get a response itís always Ďregret due to operational reasonsí or Ďits legal captainí. Enough is enough. I and others like me are going to spread the word and prevent others from being sucked into this maelstrom of 120+ hrs flight time rosters, zero life, constant fatigue, lies and disrespect. Spreading the word on social media is the only option that will have any effect. So expect this, and in powerful form, across all media until things change. Sort it out. You are going to see pilots leaving in their hundreds very soon.

Start with sorting out the flight pay, just restore it. Youíre stealing 25% from us. With full flights and 120 hour rosters, and QR sponsoring all manner of sports events, there is NO excuse for covid-reduced pay any more. Fix the rosters. There is ZERO life-work balance. Fix the bidding system, itís important. Sort out the deadheading. Any economy class deadheading should not be allowed. Especially long haul. Set a standard pay for deadheading. Get rid of the stupid nationality rule. Communicate to us. Engage with us. These things are not difficult, you are not applying yourselves. Sort things out, make your own jobs easier, and better, and more rewarding. Itís not as difficult as you think. Look in the mirror and be the change. Leave a respected legacy.

A message to everyone who is going to comment with, ďyouíre lucky you have a jobĒ, ďyouíre just negativeĒ etc etc : I care absolutely rocks about what you think. The purpose of this missive was to tell the truth about QR, to describe how you can expect your life to be here if you join, to reveal in detail how QR behaved towards loyal staff during this current pandemic, and how life is here. I have done exactly that.

As for QRís dedicated team of IT social media worms and spies who will literally create social media profiles pretending to be attractive women and try and Ďfriendí you (so they can catch you posting anything to do with QR on social media) Ė youíre pathetic. Get a real job. And remember, when you tell the truth it isnít libel.
The Lost Goat is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2021, 02:09
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So what made you stay that long?
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 02:16
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Lol felt like I just read the sandbox version of Flying Upside Down. You delivered the story in a humorous way but itís just sad seeing the pilot profession being exploited like this in certain parts of the world.

Have you had any luck finding another flying job at your home country?
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 04:59
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Now that, after all my years here at EK, is an interesting and eye-opening read about life at QR.

Best of luck to you guys and girls flying there; I would like to think things will get better for you but something tells me that's unlikely for the foreseeable future!

As for the FIFA World Cup going ahead there... That'll be interesting!
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 07:37
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I'm sure many of the things he is saying is true but his annoyance at kids making noise and the hostesses not being hot enough for him ruined it.
Also, recognize many of the problems at other majors that I've worked at. All flying jobs are and COVID has made it worse. Want to be treated well; get a new profession.
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 07:38
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Originally Posted by FMS82
So what made you stay that long?
After you have been sucked in into the Middle East black hole itís not so easy to get out. Itís not like you are free to do anything really. When you get out, you will feel like a hostage in the movie ARGO...
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 07:46
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Is it true that most of the HR team has been sacked?
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 08:04
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Thanks for sharing. All familiar themes there to EK readers, albeit a more extreme, headless chicken version.

Deadheading in economy as a policy is unnecessarily harsh and highlights how pilots are viewed at QR.

Crew subject to random house searches is psychotic and embarrassing. On top of curfews, or needing permission to marry - Sounds like the Taliban.
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 09:11
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Reminds me of the Flying Upside Down posts from China.
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 09:32
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Exactly like flying upside down. Probably time to get a few stories together and throw a PDF together. Thanks for the good read!
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 10:11
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Thatís pretty much how I remember the place. Sometimes I wonder why I left, and a second later I remember all the reasons it was a good decision for me.

As for why people donít leave - itís not that easy! Even if youíve avoided the golden handcuffs itís extremely difficult to get the time off to interview anywhere! Between the crazy schedules, impossible swap system and the need to get to a multiple day interview elsewhere, you need to be incredibly lucky to have the stars align!
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 10:14
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A few additions but sounds very similar to the EK lot, what to do !
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 10:37
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Spot on. Didn't find a single lie. The only thing is that I'm a little surprised you "only" fly 100-110hrs a month . Worst year I did was 2018: 1080 hrs block time (only 785hrs in the logbook due to their FTL factorisation), PLUS 210 hours UNPAID deadheading (sometimes in Eco indeed).

Thanks for spreading the truth.

- ex QR, fired by this miserable management.

Last edited by VelocityNeverExceed; 18th Aug 2021 at 12:22.
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 13:28
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Thank you for the interesting read - very eye opening!
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 13:30
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Quite a missive thats mostly true..

QR have behaved abysmally towards crew. A disgrace. Any shortage of crew is 100% self inflicted.
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 14:01
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@The Lost Goat thanks for this post ! I was writing something similar, less detailed. Mine was titled 'Qatar Airways Wall of Shame'. Really liked what you've done.

Originally Posted by Pistolpete47
I'm sure many of the things he is saying is true
It's 100% accurate and spot on. You could even add more when you look at some recent events.
Like 3 cabin crew recently died on duty. One of them reported fatigue on her previous flight. They gave her 12h rest and sent her to long haul flight. Her heart stopped in QROC.
Neither the company nor even the flight ops said a word about that.
In the meantime some remote lady in the office died from 'a long disease' and we all receive an 'we will all miss her' email from the GCEO.

Originally Posted by Pistolpete47
but his annoyance at kids making noise and the hostesses not being hot enough for him ruined it.
Well unfortunately when you fly 6 night duties in a row and have only 16h of rest between duties the kids screaming and waking you up is a real issue. One that no one in housing will give a about.

Originally Posted by Pistolpete47
Also, recognize many of the problems at other majors that I've worked at. All flying jobs are and COVID has made it worse. Want to be treated well; get a new profession.
Don't take this wrong I'm not trying to minimize the problems that other airlines are facing, but I think the problem in QR is way bigger. It's now a safety matter as the pilots on the 777 are on, some past, the verge of exhaustion.
Getting a new job will not change this, it will make it worse.

Let me give you an example. The factoring or the so called log book hours.
- On a 16h (block) 4 man crew you log toward the monthly/yearly flying limit 8h (factored).
- On a 9h (block) 3 man crew you log toward the monthly/yearly flying limit 6h (factored).
- On a 23h FDP 'china ULR' (4 man turn around, 2 legs, 8h/leg), you will log only 8h (factored) toward limitations (4h on each leg).
The limit is not 100h block a month but 100h factored a month. The limit is not 1000h block a year but 1000h factored a year.
That wasn't much of an issue before COVID as they rarely passed the 100h block using this rule. Well it is a big issue if you ask me even for one month, but that was.... rare.
Since COVID (March 2020) the 777 pilot are flying an average of 95h FACTORED a month, which turns into a 120+h block, every month. Lots of them are over 1300h block a year, not including deadheading.

They fired way too much pilots, and they can't hire enough to cover the people leaving. Instead of trying to be more attractive, they are increasing pressure and reducing the salary even more.
A new ACN (company notice) came out and is effective since 2nd of August. On a 3 man crew the in flight relief (IRP), and on 4 man crew the B crew (the one taking over in flight), has to deduct an other 1.5 hours from the logbook/limitation time.
The reason behind is that? When you are on the jump seat for take off and landing you're not "at the control', so you don't get tired and don't deserve to get paid.
Now with that ACN :
- On a 16h (block) 4 man crew you log 6.5h (factored - as B crew). For the round trip 32h block you'll log 14.5h towards limitations (1 leg as A crew, 1 as B crew).
- On a 9h (block) 3 man crew you log 4.5h (factored - as IRP). You fly both leg as an IRP (which is usually the case) from a 18h block you'll log 9h towards limitations.
- On a 23h 'CHN ULR' FDP , you will log only 6.5h (factored) toward limitations (2.5h as B crew 4h as A crew).
You're flying 2 round trips as an IRP or as B crew and that's and other 6h gone in regard of limitations (and flight pay), enough to squeeze in an other china ULR.
BTW to ensure everything is within limit, we don't do our logbook anymore. The company is taking care of it, we can just print it. So kind of them..... And so convenient in case of a SAFA check.

An other example.
There is no limit any more on the consecutive disruptive flight (night flight). You can do 20 in a row as long as you get the proper extended ERRP every 7 days (which is not enough to recover).
The usual roster is 3-4 consecutive night turnarounds (IKA, ISB, BEY, LHR....) followed by long IRP flight to Asia (MNL, CEB, NRT...), which means early departure (23:00-02:00) and a night return (02:00-06:00).
All the rest between those flight is 16-20h. Basically for one week you don't see the sun except when it rises in your face in the flight deck. You'll be sleeping during the day (with the kids screaming below your poorly insulated windows) and be awake at night for a full week. After you'll be given 2 local nights (1 day off) to try to recover. Rinse and repeat. Forget about your wife, kids, life balance etc...
And now guess who is (was hopefully) flying to KBL.... The 777.
Factor into this the fear culture, and You got yourself a recipe for disaster. In a recent anonymous fatigue survey, initiated by the company, 93% of the pilot said that they are too scared to report fatigue or even to write a fatigue report.

I don't understand how EASA, FAA, CASA... let airplanes flown by overly stressed and exhausted pilot; working way above any sane/safe limitation; fly over their airspace.
I don't understand how EASA, FAA, CASA... believe that a turn around to DOH-LAX is only 14h block.
I don't understand how, unions in normal airlines; when they are canceling flights because of crew shortage; let Qatar Airways fly to their own airports with crew worked to unprecedented, unsafe, illegal? extend.
I don't understand how, unions in normal airlines, let Qatar Airways take market from them in their home countries by letting the do something that is not allowed in their own airline.
I don't understand how an insurance company is still willing to ensure any Qatar Airways 777.
I am flying with people who are taking inflight rest from TOC to TOD. Dispatch briefing is non existent as people are too exhausted to bother anymore. Take FPL fuel and go.

With what I know and what I have witness, as a PAX i will not fly the 777 with Qatar.
Don't get me wrong, the vast majority of the pilots on the 777 are sharp, well trained, competent, nice people to work with.
But they are not given a chance to do their job properly. Mental exhaustion is a thing, fatigue is a thing, burn out is a thing, pressure and stress is a thing, they can lead to depression that pilots will naturally try to hide in fear of loosing their job.
Some past event in the Alps should be there to remind us. But in QR they remember as much as they plan in advance : 1 week at best.

I don't allow my family on 777 anymore.
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 14:38
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Originally Posted by flareflyer
Is it true that most of the HR team has been sacked?
Didn't they get some sort of HR award? They must be so proud..
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 15:34
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Thanks for taking the time to write and advise us of the reality of QR.
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Old 18th Aug 2021, 16:17
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Gezzz... thank you for bringing back so many bad memories!lol

After quitting back in 2018 for not agreeing with the overtime unilateral pay cut, I sometimes wondered if it was indeed the best decision or I over reacted... seeing that things only went downhill since then brings peace to my mind. For someone outside the sandpit what you wrote sounds unbelievable, but I can totally see things going that way from when I left.

Thanks for sharing, best luck!
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