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Qatar/Doha vs Emirates/Dubai (life and work)

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

Qatar/Doha vs Emirates/Dubai (life and work)

Old 8th Jun 2022, 09:16
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Cool Qatar/Doha vs Emirates/Dubai (life and work)

The time has come to expand horizons and look for a long haul career in a ME carrier. Tons of colleagues in my current company are doing the same. Some apply to FlyDubai, some Emirates and some Qatar. Most of them apply to all three as if the main goal was to move to the ME no matter which company. I tell them that living in Doha is not the same as living in Dubai and that living in Dubai while working for FlyDubai is an inferior experience and a lot less nice than with Emirates. I used to live in Dubai back in the 2000s and I'm the kind of person who adapted to the lifestyle of the city. I loved the expat environment. Yes, I hated the turnarounds like most people. I know Dubai has changed a lot since I left and has probably lost the small town feel that it used to have where most people knew each other. Before you recommend not going: I know what I'm doing. I've been there before. I don't have a family and I'm the kind of person who, excluding the sleeping patterns, enjoys being at work or on a layover as much as on a day off at home. I compare my current conditions with what I'd find in the ME and for me this would be a huge step up.

Having said that, what I want to know is how different it is to live and work in Doha when compared to living and working in Dubai at Emirates. Is the city as exciting as Dubai? Are people there in the same welcoming expat mentality? Is the environment at work and during the layovers equally nice in these two companies? Could it be that Doha now is similar to the Dubai I experienced in 2005? When I think of a career in the middle east I only consider Emirates as an option, but seeing how most people apply to both companies I want to know if Qatar would be a good option and if I would ever regret having chosen it over Emirates or considered it as the next best thing when maybe it isn't.

PS: Please. If you have only negative things to say about working in the Middle East, at least try to consider that, for some people, what you complain about sounds like unreasonable whining given the conditions and the lifestyle we're coming from. For some of us, the nice hotels, getting picked up for work, not having to pack food and water for a flight, getting our uniforms cleaned for us and the higher salary completely justify the intentions. Also, some consider Dubai a great place to live and work. Keep that in mind.

THANK YOU
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Old 8th Jun 2022, 09:55
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I dont know if you are a CPT or FO, but consider this. You will spend an average of 120 - 140 h on the airplane during most months, inlcuding inflight rest and some deadheadings. Divide your expected salary including housing allowance through this number and you will see that the blockhour rate of your favorite lunchbox carrying job will start to look pretty good. The conditions are really just as shit as here, but you will be used harder. The only financial benefit of being in the middle east is that you are legally earning it tax free and getting some end of service if you manage to make it out in good terms.

Just fly to Doha or Dubai in your 4 days off after a week of earlies and see how much you enjoy it, because you will experience your new base mostly tired and fatigued.

Pilots are just running away in circles from the real problem, we need to change our terms here and then will it improve everywhere else too.
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Old 8th Jun 2022, 10:28
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Originally Posted by level_change View Post
I dont know if you are a CPT or FO, but consider this. You will spend an average of 120 - 140 h on the airplane during most months, inlcuding inflight rest and some deadheadings. Divide your expected salary including housing allowance through this number and you will see that the blockhour rate of your favorite lunchbox carrying job will start to look pretty good. The conditions are really just as shit as here, but you will be used harder. The only financial benefit of being in the middle east is that you are legally earning it tax free and getting some end of service if you manage to make it out in good terms.

Just fly to Doha or Dubai in your 4 days off after a week of earlies and see how much you enjoy it, because you will experience your new base mostly tired and fatigued.

Pilots are just running away in circles from the real problem, we need to change our terms here and then will it improve everywhere else too.
I know what you mean but my intention is to understand the differences between the experience in Doha/Qatar and the experience in Dubai/Emirates. Let's imagine that I'm obligated to choose one between the two. How much worse/better would either be? Are they completely different experiences? Is the company's attention to your private life in Qatar as bad as it sounds? Is Doha a place where you would feel more the fact that it's a Muslim country with Muslim rules (I never felt that in Dubai and it was very easy to respect rules and to stay out of trouble without having to dramatically change the way I live my life). Those are the things I want to know. Not so much how tired I will be. I already get tired in my current airline where 90h (paid flight time) means 150h (duty). So basically 60h in uniform are unpaid... and I have to pay for my own uniform, pay and arrange for my own medical and book and pay for my own hotel when I have sim or a duty out of base. I've serioulsy had enough of this and I want to have a more "airline" lifestyle, even if it means to fly around the time zones for 140h. It's not like Lufthansa is an option...
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Old 9th Jun 2022, 17:30
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I PMd you but your inbox seems to be full. PM me
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Old 9th Jun 2022, 19:07
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Originally Posted by JG1 View Post
I PMd you but your inbox seems to be full. PM me
Can you try again please? I'll empty it but I cannot reply as new accounts and incredibly limited.
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Old 9th Jun 2022, 21:05
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There are more options in the middle east than just Doha and Dubai...
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Old 9th Jun 2022, 22:38
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Yeah but excluding FlyDubai then there's only Etihad. I know Abu Dhabi and I don't think it's the kind of city I'd like to live in. The rest of the airlines in that area probably don't have the "expat" vibe I know and enjoy. My question is whether life in Doha would be similar to life in Dubai (considering I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Dubai).
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Old 9th Jun 2022, 23:29
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Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
There are more options in the middle east than just Doha and Dubai...
Where would you suggest rudestuff? Anyone else recruiting around that part of the world?
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 00:16
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Originally Posted by Spongeboeing View Post
Yeah but excluding FlyDubai then there's only Etihad. I know Abu Dhabi and I don't think it's the kind of city I'd like to live in. The rest of the airlines in that area probably don't have the "expat" vibe I know and enjoy. My question is whether life in Doha would be similar to life in Dubai (considering I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Dubai).
So by saying expat lifestyle what you are saying is you wish to be able to partake in copious amounts of alcohol and partying and boat parties? Why not just go to Hong Kong on POS18, live on peel street so after your 14hr duty and test and hold you can go meet gollum. Maybe grab a Swire house or a junk sometimes when you get bored of the standard street life. Otherwise take a trip to Riyadh. The private compound parties are rather large and always contain copious amounts of snow and other fuel.
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 07:25
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Originally Posted by Rie View Post
So by saying expat lifestyle what you are saying is you wish to be able to partake in copious amounts of alcohol and partying and boat parties? Why not just go to Hong Kong on POS18, live on peel street so after your 14hr duty and test and hold you can go meet gollum. Maybe grab a Swire house or a junk sometimes when you get bored of the standard street life. Otherwise take a trip to Riyadh. The private compound parties are rather large and always contain copious amounts of snow and other fuel.
Maybe that's your idea of expat life. I already did all that and got it out of my system when I was a 25 year old energy machine in Dubai. I'm finding it incredibly frustrating to get an answer for "how different is it to live and work in Doha when compared to the Dubai I know". I've been an expat for the past 5 years trying to win a transfer to the base of my choice. Command is around the corner so I will go back to the bottom of the list for the base I'm requesting. If I'm going to continue being an expat in a place I don't enjoy (eastern Europe), I might as well try to be an expat in a city where most of the people are expats, money will be good and where I will experience work as an airline pilot, rather than an airplane driver. Emirates appears to be slowing down Boeing assessment so I'm considering other companies in the area. Would Doha be a good option? Is my question really that hard to understand?
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 08:18
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I believe that you haven't tried LH flying with an airline like QR that schedules you like short haul with non EASA ftl. All guys coming from Ryanair say they never been so fatigued in Ryr as in QR.

Never the less most people all know better and still join.

Try to sum up advantages up both here (airline and city)

Emirates
- Slightly better working culture with less threatening than QR
- Way more western expats in Dubai and EK, Qatar and QR is very east, se Asian.
- Can meet Cabin Crew as they aren't locked up and discouraged to meet pilots as QR
- Pick up from accommodation (Qr does not offer this)
- Better accommodation although some still poor but the ones in QR are definitely worse.
-Dubai offers the opportunity to eat a sandwich in a mall during Ramadan by day, Qatar is strict and everything is closed for a whole month during daytime.
- Dubai offers multiple options to buy alcohol and pork. Qatar only 1 store in the whole country.
​​​​​- Buying properties is easier in Dubai than Qatar and likely to be more valuable than a sinking building at the Pearl which can't be sold easily. If you plan to stay longtime that might be an important issue.
​​​- lots of stuff to do with nightlife available in Dubai
​​​​​​- Lots of entertainment in Dubai
- Public beaches don't need Muslim style swim wear, In Qatar swimming in Bikini is for hotels only.
- Entering a mall for Women wearing few clothes would be acceptable in Dubai not Qatar.
- Qatar has still Familiy only malls where males alone aren't welcome at weekends.
- Qatar spies a lot on Social media, firing staff for whatsapp texts, Facebook pictures or an Instagram post.
-Qatar asks staff to pay for part of the uniform such as suitcases (not sure EK does this)
-Qatar Airways crew meals from Qatar are inedible, few pilots ate them thus the company is now removing them replacing them with a granola bar.
​​​​​​
QR
- Save more money as there is few to do in Qatar.
-Families with young children generally enjoy Qatar with a safe environment and little traffic compared to Dubai. Life is just more quiet than down South
- Hamad Airport is very convenient with usually little queus as few people enter / leave Doha. Might be one of the easiest airports in the world.
-Smallness of Doha can be convenient with less bigger malls and city it is easier to get around.
-Kids education allowance better than EK
-Training in Qr seems better than EK.


I'm not sure what expat life you're looking for, in Qatar you'll never be at home thus don't see what life you look for there you'll be in the plane all the time. You'll be sleeping on the little time you have off in Doha or trying to go home. Doha is pretty similar to Abu Dhabi. Many friends not working in the airline but working in other gulf countries like Kuwait, Bahrain and UAE say they find Qatar the least welcoming of all.

In essence EK is better at all points nearly unless you have a family and a wife who doesn't mind not seeing you a lot of the time. Life for families with small kids in Doha is relatively nice.
There is a lot more to consider but whether people warn or not most know better and join anyway thus not worth mentioning
If you're single I Definitely would go EK. Also bear in mind if you're a f/o, commands are long and difficult process in both airlines where a single mistake can set you back years in the queue. Flying 140 block hours a month with up to 12h jetlag and mostly by night takes a toll on your health.

​​​​​​



​​​​​

​​​
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 08:49
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Well SB, going to Doha is going to a junior positon compared to the rest of the ME. You will start with 2 bars and be like that for years, command is non existent with QR. Anywhere else and you will actually see something on the horizon with substantially better pay at potato and EK. Out of interest what makes you prefer Dubai over Abu though if it is not for the hustle and bustle of the night life? There are limited perks in Dubai anymore. Also I wouldn't really call Eastern Europe an expat lifestyle. It's still Europe...
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 09:15
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As a passenger I cannot comment about QA, but as a long term resident of Doha who left at the start of the COVID pandemic, I can make a few comments.

On a day to day basis Doha is a easy place to live - plenty of decent shops, restaurants and traffic managements has improved dramatically. Drink & Pork products are available from QDC - accommodation is expensive but plenty of choice & cleaners are usually easy to arrange. The usual ME caveats apply - don't take out loans, & live with the frequent irritating random rule changes. In the medium term they want more Qataris working in "private" companies so there may be less opportunities for promotion.

Recreation wise, the opportunities to get out into the desert are quite limited these day - partly development and partly to many people trying to do the same. Plenty of opportunities for sport and some decent facilities as well. A good selection of schools for expats, but they are being relocated away from the older city areas so if you have children they may need to travel a considerable distance every day.

Would I choose to go back to live & work there if I wasn't almost 70 - yes!
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 09:15
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Originally Posted by Spongeboeing View Post
Maybe that's your idea of expat life. I already did all that and got it out of my system when I was a 25 year old energy machine in Dubai. I'm finding it incredibly frustrating to get an answer for "how different is it to live and work in Doha when compared to the Dubai I know". I've been an expat for the past 5 years trying to win a transfer to the base of my choice. Command is around the corner so I will go back to the bottom of the list for the base I'm requesting. If I'm going to continue being an expat in a place I don't enjoy (eastern Europe), I might as well try to be an expat in a city where most of the people are expats, money will be good and where I will experience work as an airline pilot, rather than an airplane driver. Emirates appears to be slowing down Boeing assessment so I'm considering other companies in the area. Would Doha be a good option? Is my question really that hard to understand?
Why would you give away your command? You get a command you need to move but you're a captain and have a chance at your base later on again. If you move to the middle east, you won't be captain for probably 10 years if you didn't do anything wrong . By 10 years you'll likely have left back to Europe to start as an FO all over again. Join the middle East as a captain in a few years if you want to try but don't go as a FO as your career progression is stalled. All my friends who were FO who left to join QR over 6 years ago are still FO and many of them already left again back home since they can't bear the rosters basically wasted years of career progression for some extra cash and to start as an FO at a base they didn't like on minimum salary all over again!
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 09:59
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Originally Posted by Spongeboeing View Post
Maybe that's your idea of expat life. I already did all that and got it out of my system when I was a 25 year old energy machine in Dubai. I'm finding it incredibly frustrating to get an answer for "how different is it to live and work in Doha when compared to the Dubai I know". I've been an expat for the past 5 years trying to win a transfer to the base of my choice. Command is around the corner so I will go back to the bottom of the list for the base I'm requesting. If I'm going to continue being an expat in a place I don't enjoy (eastern Europe), I might as well try to be an expat in a city where most of the people are expats, money will be good and where I will experience work as an airline pilot, rather than an airplane driver. Emirates appears to be slowing down Boeing assessment so I'm considering other companies in the area. Would Doha be a good option? Is my question really that hard to understand?
I think very few here are actually qualified to comment, myself included, as we have not lived in both places.

I am going to provide my unqualified comment anyway cos that how I roll....I reckon Dubai and Doha are much the same., however, I am lead to believe that it is far less desirable to work for QTR than for EK. Stories of 6 ULR flights in a month - that is just astounding. I would not go work there. I think you should keep chasing EK......
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 17:47
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Originally Posted by Nachos View Post
I believe that you haven't tried LH flying with an airline like QR that schedules you like short haul with non EASA ftl. All guys coming from Ryanair say they never been so fatigued in Ryr as in QR.

Never the less most people all know better and still join.

Try to sum up advantages up both here (airline and city)


​​​
Very appreciated. This is exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. Learned new things about QR and confirmed my perception that I would enjoy life in EK a lot more. By expat life I mean the things you do with other people in your same expat situation. It's completely different to be an expat in a city where most people are expats than to be one in a country where almost nobody else is. I'm still in close contact with the colleagues and friends who stayed in Dubai and I would enjoy going back to the Dubai expat life there. You can call me weird but back when I was there I'd enjoy a day off as much as a day on a nice layover destination with a friendly crew.

Maybe actual fatigue is not an issue here. We have stable 5/4 rosters and every block is only earlies or only lates. Pretty sure you know how it works. The problem are the things surrounding work. For example next month I'm rostered for 2 days at a base that isn't my homebase. No arrangements are made by the company. It's all just a normal roster app icon. I will have to drive 2 hours to this other airport and find and pay for a hotel to spend the night. The out of base allowance will barely cover the cost of the fuel, the parking and the hotel. The day before this I'm rostered to fly at my base, landing pretty late. This means coming back from work I'll have to go bed straight away, wake up, fix a lunchbox and start driving. After 2 hours driving I'll do a short flight. After the flight I'll check in the airport hotel. Next day I've another flight out of base landing well past midnight. After this last double turnaround (4 legs) out of base, I'll drive another 2 hours back home where I need to go to sleep immediately because the next day I have a flight from my home base. Yes it's all legal but I'll be doing all this for about 10h of paid work. This type of roster is common and we call it "summer season". Winter season are those months where we'll fly 30h... on a contract without any basic salary. Airplanes are fuller than ever and bases are understaffed yet we're still on COVID hourly rate. Things would have to be awful over there for one of us to not consider it a huge step up.

Last edited by Spongeboeing; 10th Jun 2022 at 19:33.
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 17:51
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Originally Posted by Rie View Post
Well SB, going to Doha is going to a junior positon compared to the rest of the ME. You will start with 2 bars and be like that for years, command is non existent with QR. Anywhere else and you will actually see something on the horizon with substantially better pay at potato and EK. Out of interest what makes you prefer Dubai over Abu though if it is not for the hustle and bustle of the night life? There are limited perks in Dubai anymore. Also I wouldn't really call Eastern Europe an expat lifestyle. It's still Europe...
That's exactly what I mean. I'm from a country with very sought after bases. Everyone in my company wants to be based where I grew up and the transfer list does not take into account where you're from. So I'm an expat in Eastern Europe in a country where 99% of the people are locals living life with the people they've been in contact with for decades. Expat communities here are small and the people who travel here don't always have much in common with each other. It's not like in Dubai or any other city where the majority of the people are expats living expat life. My point is that I prefer to be an expat in Dubai and enjoy life and work there than to be an expat in a country that I don't really enjoy, where my working conditions aren't that bad but still far from what anyone would consider "airline pilot life".

Last edited by Spongeboeing; 10th Jun 2022 at 18:30.
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 18:01
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Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
Why would you give away your command? You get a command you need to move but you're a captain and have a chance at your base later on again. If you move to the middle east, you won't be captain for probably 10 years if you didn't do anything wrong . By 10 years you'll likely have left back to Europe to start as an FO all over again. Join the middle East as a captain in a few years if you want to try but don't go as a FO as your career progression is stalled. All my friends who were FO who left to join QR over 6 years ago are still FO and many of them already left again back home since they can't bear the rosters basically wasted years of career progression for some extra cash and to start as an FO at a base they didn't like on minimum salary all over again!
I appreciate that insight and I know I'd be taking a risk by doing that but I right now I think I would value more a job at a company I feel better about than command at a company where I'm not really happy at.

The problem is that command should come by the end of this year or beginning of 2023. Seeing how I'm climbing the transfer queue for the base that I've requested, my base transfer wouldn't be offered before command. So when I become a captain I would go to the bottom of the captain transfer queue for the base I'm requesting. It could take another 5 to 6 years before I end up based where I want. That's another 6 years based who knows where (Bulgaria, Lithuania...). If I end up in a base in a place hard to call "home", I would spend my days off jumpseating home and living in a cheap room during work blocks. For every colleague who got upgraded recently it was "Time for that fourth stripe! Now start looking for an apartment in Riga...". Honestly, if it turns out I'm happy with the job and the city, a longer wait until command wouldn't be that bad.

Last edited by Spongeboeing; 10th Jun 2022 at 18:41.
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Old 10th Jun 2022, 19:18
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Get your command, enjoy Riga for 3 years and pack your bags for a nice DEC job in SE Asia.

This time and the next year it's still crap. For the rest go check Airbus Global Market Forecast 22-40, published recently. DaNang beaches await, and the old Chinese contract of 50:50 partime was the best a homesick pilot and a family man could get.

The ULH f/o experience in ME is nothing but an obstacle.

Or a different viewpoint shared on a similar thread near you: For the next downturn 7 years from now, would you prefer to be ME SFO or EE/SA Capt? But that is not the end: What about 9 years from now, when that downturn is over but you need to change companies to start over: F/O with 7 years ME experience or ex-captain with 5000 PIC?

Tread carefully. When you signed your licence is the day you lost access to your own country, many did. Sorry that you find the present place dull and overwhelming, wish you the honest best and much success.

captain Obvious out.

Last edited by FlightDetent; 11th Jun 2022 at 08:40.
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Old 11th Jun 2022, 02:43
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Originally Posted by Spongeboeing View Post
I appreciate that insight and I know I'd be taking a risk by doing that but I right now I think I would value more a job at a company I feel better about than command at a company where I'm not really happy at.

The problem is that command should come by the end of this year or beginning of 2023. Seeing how I'm climbing the transfer queue for the base that I've requested, my base transfer wouldn't be offered before command. So when I become a captain I would go to the bottom of the captain transfer queue for the base I'm requesting. It could take another 5 to 6 years before I end up based where I want. That's another 6 years based who knows where (Bulgaria, Lithuania...). If I end up in a base in a place hard to call "home", I would spend my days off jumpseating home and living in a cheap room during work blocks. For every colleague who got upgraded recently it was "Time for that fourth stripe! Now start looking for an apartment in Riga...". Honestly, if it turns out I'm happy with the job and the city, a longer wait until command wouldn't be that bad.
Professionally? Take the upgrade.

But, at a personal level? I wish I had the clarity of mind you are displaying in this paragraph, back in the day when I had to choose how to drive my career. Felicitazioni, you are one of the few pilots I know that are wise enough to put his/her mental wellbeing ahead of a logbook.

My experience of QR and EK goes back more than a decade so take it with a pinch of salt, but if I had to define Dubai it would be the only place in ME where you can still grab a piece of the West. And if I had to define Doha... well, in my time there we used to call it Dohell, and all the stories you can read here in PPRuNe about how QR is run are true, all of them. I can't see any reason for a single young lad to go to Doha over Dubai.

When the time comes to leave EK you'll just need to plan it well ahead of time and make some adjustments. The main issue I see with pilots leaving EK and going somewhere else is that they expect to be valued ahead of the rest just because they have been using a "super" call sign (strapping a helmet as I type, waiting for the lynching that will come), but as long as you keep your 320/737 EASA ratings current, choose the right moment to step out, and keep your head on the ground, you will be absolutely fine, and happier than the rest!
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