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

EK toxicity

Old 8th Aug 2023, 07:34
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EK toxicity

I am genuinly curios to hear from ex and current EK members regarding the toxicity at EK between pilots and management and in general, especially with the training department.

I have on good authority from about 5 EK pilots that Covid was used to clear out the dead wood, toxic pilots including trainers that nobody liked, ie some Austronaughts etc and others from other countries or just problem pilots in general.

im not an EK pilot but would like to know if things genuinely improved or is that all just nonsense and itís just as toxic as before or did EK realize they had a real problem and have made concerted efforts to right the ship so to speak in terms of making it a more pleasant place to work.

Does anybody else know EK pilots currently employed there who can confirm this?
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Old 8th Aug 2023, 08:51
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Originally Posted by TinFoilhat2
I am genuinly curios to hear from ex and current EK members regarding the toxicity at EK between pilots and management and in general, especially with the training department.

I have on good authority from about 5 EK pilots that Covid was used to clear out the dead wood, toxic pilots including trainers that nobody liked, ie some Austronaughts etc and others from other countries or just problem pilots in general.

im not an EK pilot but would like to know if things genuinely improved or is that all just nonsense and itís just as toxic as before or did EK realize they had a real problem and have made concerted efforts to right the ship so to speak in terms of making it a more pleasant place to work.

Does anybody else know EK pilots currently employed there who can confirm this?
EK will put effort into improving things if itís in there way to make business.
since more than half of the redundant made ones ( more or less 2/3 of 380 fleet was kicked out) has not been called back, and will be eagerly replaced by new joiners should say quite a bit.
EK has destroyed many careers, and they will do it again if needed. There might be some ease out throuout the training now as they need pilots. But as soon the demand is half way filled arrogance will toughen up on everybody. Tenor was, is and will be Ątake it or leave itď
EK managment will never have respect to there employees, especially as long people like STC, AAR in charge. AAR will not leave any soon, rather than even progressing forward upward.
second for the STC replacement is todays boss of Human resource, not any better than AAR.
chief of flight ops is a local and does like expats too much either while his deputy has (the big orange guys) has thrown the towel, his successor will just only fit into the entire picture.
current fleet chief airbus is a person how whatís only protect his chair. Properly the new Boeing guy wonít be any different. But no matter what these people are a like, the pressure comes from offices like AARs and these guys hate pilots, like to see an entire Emiratisation throu out the airline (which of course those not work), but thatís what your value is.


bottom line is if you are lucky you can have a good time, but if not, and that might not even be your fault, EK can be an absolute Desaster.
keep in mind 50% of your live and career there is not in your hands, never will.

Roasters are packed, utilized to the max. Things like calling fatigue, calling sick, needing medical attention can and will used against you when needed. It can and will influence your career.

Have you ever asked your self, how can it be that half a fleet is considered a bad apple to be thrown away, not being offered to return, where the demand is higher than ever?
and fact is EK could have afforded to keep all of them for 20-24 month not loosing significant more money compared to what it costs to send them home, and hire new pilots.
but admitting that make so many redundant was a mistake, makes them loosing their face, which is not an option for Arabs, therefore let the time pass, look a way, forget about it and hire new ones. New ones have of course an advantage, they donít know what they are getting into, and leaving once there is more complicated then joining.


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Old 8th Aug 2023, 14:20
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Originally Posted by flyTheBigFatLady
since more than half of the redundant made ones ( more or less 2/3 of 380 fleet was kicked out) has not been called back
Nah, it was roughly 10% not invited back. Many chose to retire early, or take a job back home etc.

For the OP, there really isn't any toxic culture here except in individually toxic people like the dude above. Truth is we have little interaction with management. Sure, training department and trainers are more relaxed since covid. Think it made many find a new perspective on life, and some camaraderie in what we went through. No one is sweating details anymore, it's very 'big picture', 'good enough' stuff.

Maybe 8-10 years ago there was the odd trainer to avoid, the problem being they had some control over the content of the session and could make life difficult for you. And yes these guys were removed. But importantly, the sims have been strictly scripted for years now - no excuses tbh. Sims are very straight forward, and only 3 hours long nowadays.

The people who complain about training, are the people who have let their skills/knowledge slip and it's their egos defence mechanism to play the victim to an evil trainer that screwed them. Happens in every airline. E.g What the guy above isn't telling you, is he wasn't invited back for a reason: Attendance, training, disciplinary, health, age.
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Old 8th Aug 2023, 14:21
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Originally Posted by TinFoilhat2
I am genuinly curios to hear from ex and current EK members regarding the toxicity at EK between pilots and management and in general, especially with the training department.

I have on good authority from about 5 EK pilots that Covid was used to clear out the dead wood, toxic pilots including trainers that nobody liked, ie some Austronaughts etc and others from other countries or just problem pilots in general.

im not an EK pilot but would like to know if things genuinely improved or is that all just nonsense and itís just as toxic as before or did EK realize they had a real problem and have made concerted efforts to right the ship so to speak in terms of making it a more pleasant place to work.

Does anybody else know EK pilots currently employed there who can confirm this?
Knowing personally, quite a few of the pilots that were let go, I would hardly describe them as dead wood. Some may have been unfortunate enough to have a load a long term illness in the past, that was enough to put a target on their back. There were other reasons also, but not because they were dead wood, as you call it.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 09:06
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I’m not calling people with an illness dead wood. I am however suggesting every airline has a few pilots who eventually lose interest, stop caring or whatever reason where they become a burden to the airline, hence the dead wood comment.

im sure most of the guys cut were decent people and operators, it’s not a personal attack but more of an enquiry to see if EK changed for the better.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 18:12
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Originally Posted by Xulu
What the guy above isn't telling you, is he wasn't invited back for a reason: Attendance, training, disciplinary, health, age.
because you know me right. - this is exactly the toxicity we are talking- he knows it better, itís only single case etc. which is complete bullshit
had no issues, except my age is above fifty. That make me for sure on of those not deserving to get a job back - xulu seems to be ok for you- you just described exactly that Toxic environment Ek represents!

it shows what kind of personality you have if age is a reason for you to exclude someone from having a job - well done

for the original poster here - this is exactly EK at its best!


Last edited by flyTheBigFatLady; 10th Aug 2023 at 07:12.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 21:16
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Got called back twice but did not go.
All my mates who went back are looking for options to leave asap.
It became a toxic place, yes. It was before and it is now.
Good luck.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 23:27
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Indeed. My friends who are 15 year captains at EK are stuck and will ride it out. My 380 mates who were thrown under the bus, and were recalled, wouldn't dream of returning.

And all the potential applicants, like myself, are very wary. We're sort of keen on Dubai life, but I hate the toxicity of EK. Been there, got the t-shirt, at another expat airline.

EK is not a happy place, and there are better options.

Unless they absolutely were to hose me down with money, then I would reconsider. I'm a mercenary night fighter at heart after all.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but EK hasn't increased pay in 15 years, but costs have quadrupled? Sound like a bum deal.

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Old 10th Aug 2023, 07:49
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As for myself, and Iím assuming many people who survived the Covid redundancies, I totally lost confidence in having a secure future at EK. I still enjoyed the flying and the crews I worked with, but our interaction with the company didnít really change much. But you always knew that if the company decided they didnít want you anymore, for any of the reasons mentioned by the above poster, you would be out on the street with a month or so to leave the country. You could give your life to the company and it would not count for anything.
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Old 11th Aug 2023, 07:02
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This toxicity

Originally Posted by Giuff
Got called back twice but did not go.
All my mates who went back are looking for options to leave asap.
It became a toxic place, yes. It was before and it is now.
Good luck.
This is what makes me say no. When you hear too many of these stories they canít all be wrong. As somebody above said I hav3 also had my fair share of toxicity at the airlines I have worked for and I need to escape it.

I will take QOL and job satisfaction and security over money any day. Unfortunately most of these airlines will never change and Iím sure that probably includes the ME3.
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Old 11th Aug 2023, 09:26
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I can see both sides here.

I was made redundant from EK in my late 50s, then lost my medical and, despite interest from other airlines, I have not been able to pursue these job opportunities due losing my medical and I have little chance of ever getting it back. Now, in my early 60s and with my health still not good, I am resigned to, very likely, not sitting at the sharp end of an aircraft ever again. Whilst I did have a few health issues while with EK, the health issue that actually cost me my medical was not one of them. It would be very easy for me to feel bitter. I never failed a sim, I think I had a good working relationship with everyone I worked with, I had good productivity (I was told that in writing just a few months before being made redundant) despite a slightly higher than normal (but very genuine) sickness record and it would appear that health and age were the criteria used to consign me to early retirement. But, I don't really know because, of course, I was never told. I wasn't surprised. I was disappointed not to be told, but not surprised.

Toxic culture? My dealings with management (thankfully, not many) were not unpleasant. Not warm, but not unpleasant. I came across a couple of oddballs in the Checking Department, but not enough to call it a toxic culture (though it was certainly very different to any training department I had experienced or worked in before) and I thoroughly enjoyed most of the layovers - despite the brutal rosters. While I was going through my own joining admin, HR 'sacked' from Training Management the B777 Training Managers (two really good guys) and invited them to reapply (with others) for their own training manager jobs back. They said 'No Thank You' and the Training department was a worse place for it. But, again, I was not surprised to see such behaviour by EK.

The point I am getting around to making is this: I knew what I was getting into before I ever arrived in DXB and it therefore held little in the way of a surprise for me. Yes, some attitudes were not very nice by both indigenous and expat Management but that was not a surprise. The checking department was very 'different' to anything I had seen before in either the military or in my previous three airlines (two of them being expat wide body flag carriers) and I very quickly hardened my initial opinion that I would want no position in training in EK - despite previous experience in Training and Management and despite encouragement to apply. Again, it wasn't a surprise to me.

I just got on with the job, saved as much money as possible and, when made redundant, at least I didn't have much to worry about financially - and topping up our financial freedom was why I joined EK in the first place. So, my attitude is that we each got the pound of flesh out of each other. It's not an 'employee friendly' business model and could, imho, be made much better - some good people tried - and invariably gave up and left. I wasn't prepared to even try as I could see that I would be swimming against the tide all the time. So, I just kept my head down and flew the line. I never felt inspired enough by EK to apply for any further promotion and I was happy to just fly the line. Again, it was not a surprise to me to see such things happening.

It was frustrating, though, as things could have been so much better than they were (and, apparently, still are) at EK, but I was at least prepared for all the hassles that came (and evidently still come) with working for EK.

The best advice I can offer to anyone who cares to heed it, is with regards to the 'two buckets.' When either one gets full, it really is time to move on. If one (or even both) buckets are overflowing and you stay, you are risking your mental health in one case and you are missing out on a far better quality of life in the other. Life is short, (shorter than most of us think) so don't waste it being miserable or missing out on a better quality of life with your family once you can afford it. Both of my buckets were nearing capacity so it is probably fair to say I was pushed just before I would have jumped anyway.

I was, however, still disappointed to have been made redundant and my ongoing health issues are placing a few challenges and restrictions on me and my family, but if I got my medical back today and EK offered me my old position back tomorrow I would (very politely of course) say 'No Thank You.'

Good luck to everyone with difficult decisions to make.

Last edited by BANANASBANANAS; 14th Aug 2023 at 13:55.
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Old 11th Aug 2023, 11:23
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Originally Posted by BANANASBANANAS
I can see both sides here.

I was made redundant from EK in my late 50s, then lost my medical and, despite interest from other airlines, I have not been able to pursue these job opportunities due losing my medical and I have ittle chance of ever getting it back. Now, in my early 60s and with my health still not good, I am resigned to, very likely, not sitting at the sharp end of an aircraft ever again. Whilst I did have a few health issues while with EK, the health issue that actually cost me my medical was not one of them. It would be very easy for me to feel bitter. I never failed a sim, I think I had a good working relationship with everyone I worked with, I had good productivity (I was told that in writing just a few months before being made redundant) despite a slightly higher than normal (but very genuine) sickness record and it would appear that health and age were the criteria used to consign me to early retirement. But, I don't really know because, of course, I was never told. I wasn't surprised. I was disappointed not to be told, but not surprised.

Toxic culture? My dealings with management (thankfully, not many) were not unpleasant. Not warm, but not unpleasant. I came across a couple of oddballs in the Checking Department, but not enough to call it a toxic culture (though it was certainly very different to any training department I had experienced or worked in before) and I thoroughly enjoyed most of the layovers - despite the brutal rosters. While I was going through my own joining admin HR 'sacked' from Training Management the B777 Training Managers (two really good guys) and invited them to reapply (with others) for their own training manager jobs back. They said 'No Thank You' and the Training department was a worse place for it. But, again, I was not surprised to see such behaviour by EK.

The point I am getting around to making is this: I knew what I was getting into before I ever arrived in DXB and it therefore held little in the way of a surprise for me. Yes, some attitudes were not very nice by both indigenous and expat Management but that was not a surprise. The checking department was very 'different' to anything I had seen before in either the military or in my previous three airlines (two of them being expat wide body flag carriers) and I very quickly hardened my initial opinion that I would want no position in training in EK - despite previous experience in Training and Management and despite encouragement to apply. Again, it wasn't a surprise to me.

I just got on with the job, saved as much money as possible and, when made redundant, at least I didn't have much to worry about financially - and topping up our financial freedom was why I joined EK in the first place. So, my attitude is that we each got the pound of flesh out of each other. It's not an 'employee friendly' business model and could, imho, be made much better - some good people tried - and invariably gave up and left. I wasn't prepared to even try as I could see that I would be swimming against the tide all the time. So, I just kept my head down and flew the line. I never felt inspired enough by EK to apply for any further promotion and I was happy to just fly the line. Again, it was not a surprise to me to see such things happening.

It was frustrating as things could have been so much better than they were (and, apparently, still are) at EK, but I was at least prepared for all the hassles that came (and evidently still come) with working for EK.

The best advice I can offer to anyone who cares to heed it, is with regards to the 'two buckets.' When either one gets full, it really is time to move on. If one (or even both) buckets are overflowing and you stay, you are risking your mental health in one case and you are missing out on a far better quality of life in the other. Life is short, (shorter than most of us think) so don't waste it being miserable or missing out on a better quality of life with your family once you can afford it. Both of my buckets were nearing capacity so it is probably fair to say I was pushed just before I would have jumped anyway.

I was, however, still disappointed to have been made redundant and my ongoing health issues are placing a few challenges and restrictions on me and my family, but if I got my medical back today and EK offered me my old position back tomorrow I would (very politely of course) say 'No Thank You.'

Good luck to everyone with difficult decisions to make.
Thank you for your very down to earth and honest reply. Sorry to hear about your medical and I wish you the best for the future and your health.

It seems to me the best way to join EK is realise it will be a toxic culture but if you are happy biting your tongue and keeping your mouth shut you can make decent cash and hopefully you will realise when it is time to leave before you go insane.

Have a plan and do whatís best for you I guess. For me however joining them is not worth it so I will be avoiding at all costs.
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Old 13th Aug 2023, 09:25
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Originally Posted by TinFoilhat2
Thank you for your very down to earth and honest reply. Sorry to hear about your medical and I wish you the best for the future and your health.

It seems to me the best way to join EK is realise it will be a toxic culture but if you are happy biting your tongue and keeping your mouth shut you can make decent cash and hopefully you will realise when it is time to leave before you go insane.

Have a plan and do whatís best for you I guess. For me however joining them is not worth it so I will be avoiding at all costs.
Used to be decent, now the shit bucket gets full sooner rather than later.

With all the influencers pumping dubai back and forth. Cost of living, changes on conditions, etc.... I mean, the money is not what it used to be.

Would I rather get 7k net in Europe? A no brainer. Hopefully they'll wake up once RIA and all those opens with better packages and after several hundreds of pilots gone, they'll notice they need to improve, as everywhere else.
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Old 13th Aug 2023, 16:28
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I'm a bit confused as to why everyone thinks RIA is going to change the landscape of the salaries at the ME3. Saudia has offered a commuting contract, a base in Jeddah (2 hours closer to Europe than Dubai) and ridiculous salaries and bonuses for years but I never heard of 100s of pilots from ME3 applying there. Yes, the salary and bonuses have decreased in recent years but 10 years ago it was all still available and most pilots still chose the ME3. what has changed?

Is the fact that there might be a few bars that will soon be available in Riyadh that has caused people to change their mind? If you want to drink with Saudis go to Bahrain on the weekend, see how much fun they can be when they get drunk.
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Old 13th Aug 2023, 16:33
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Originally Posted by Airmann
I'm a bit confused as to why everyone thinks RIA is going to change the landscape of the salaries at the ME3. Saudia has offered a commuting contract, a base in Jeddah (2 hours closer to Europe than Dubai) and ridiculous salaries and bonuses for years but I never heard of 100s of pilots from ME3 applying there. Yes, the salary and bonuses have decreased in recent years but 10 years ago it was all still available and most pilots still chose the ME3. what has changed?

Is the fact that there might be a few bars that will soon be available in Riyadh that has caused people to change their mind? If you want to drink with Saudis go to Bahrain on the weekend, see how much fun they can be when they get drunk.
I was in Bahrain when the causeway first opened in the mid 80's. Great entertainment!!
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Old 16th Aug 2023, 04:59
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May I deviate slightly from the original subject and ask about family life over there with children below 10y old?

I'm more and more hesitant about living in Dubai because having a happy family is very important. I'm also scared my wife could get bored.

We know what to expect, hot summer and inside life. She is already planing to go abroad etc but I feel like we are not ready for it. Also the lack of green and outside life might be affecting our moral passed the honeymoon year or two


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Old 16th Aug 2023, 05:26
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Originally Posted by Mlambin
May I deviate slightly from the original subject and ask about family life over there with children below 10y old?

I'm more and more hesitant about living in Dubai because having a happy family is very important. I'm also scared my wife could get bored.

We know what to expect, hot summer and inside life. She is already planing to go abroad etc but I feel like we are not ready for it. Also the lack of green and outside life might be affecting our moral passed the honeymoon year or two


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There are things to do to keep you and your family occupied but you will pay for them. Extra curricular activities for children, brunches for mum and dad, etc. You will either like that life as a family or you will not. If it sounds attractive then go for it. You can travel of course but only as it fits into your roster, school holidays and leave - unless you are ok with being separated from your family while you work and they grab opportunities to have mini breaks.

It is not for everyone and it is a big commitment. With the bond, disruption to existing lifestyle and the set up costs it really does need to feel absolutely right before you go there imho.
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Old 16th Aug 2023, 12:56
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Originally Posted by BANANASBANANAS
There are things to do to keep you and your family occupied but you will pay for them. Extra curricular activities for children, brunches for mum and dad, etc. You will either like that life as a family or you will not. If it sounds attractive then go for it. You can travel of course but only as it fits into your roster, school holidays and leave - unless you are ok with being separated from your family while you work and they grab opportunities to have mini breaks.

It is not for everyone and it is a big commitment. With the bond, disruption to existing lifestyle and the set up costs it really does need to feel absolutely right before you go there imho.
Thank you. Could you elaborate on the bond and setup cost? I'm not aware of the bond policy and the setup cost doesn't seems like something to consider that much.


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Old 16th Aug 2023, 14:21
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Originally Posted by Mlambin
Thank you. Could you elaborate on the bond and setup cost? I'm not aware of the bond policy and the setup cost doesn't seems like something to consider that much.

Let me start with full disclosure: I left Emirates in 2020 so my information is not current and my memory is not perfect.

But:

Bond: US$48000.00 decreasing linearly over 4 years I think. Maybe someone currently in EK can confirm or correct?

Set Up cost: When I joined there was the choice of either EK provided you with furniture of their choice and they paid for it but you were also effectively bonded for its cost in the same way as the training bond or EK gave you $ and you went shopping. Either way, you needed to do at least 3 years (then) or 4 years (now) I think to be bond/debt free. There is/was also the option to have EK ship your own furniture out to DXB if you wish. Additionally, you will need a car (at least one) and various other 'settling in' to DXB accessories to make life pleasant. If you have the cash, fine. If you don't, then, when I joined, banks were falling over themselves to lend EK pilots $. I am not so sure what the current situation is but you can easily find yourself tied into a 3-4 year bank loan. In DXB, financial default is not a civil matter. It is a criminal matter. Factor in a little job insecurity or home sickness and it can become a problem.

We were quite 'boring' and didn't take out any loans, we had one second hand car and we always lived within our monthly salary. But the bond would have needed paying (pro rata) if I had left within its effectivity. Similarly, the 'cost' of the EK furniture would have to have been repaid, pro rata within its effectivity - 3 years for me.

The good news is that one good year of profit share (provided you don't spend it) should knock a big hole in any outstanding amount owed to EK if you leave early. But don't count on the profit share. This last year was good but do your research on the last 10 years or so to see how it varies.

As stated, I am quite happy to see this info updated and corrected as I left 3 years ago.

Last edited by BANANASBANANAS; 16th Aug 2023 at 14:34.
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Old 16th Aug 2023, 17:49
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Do not underestimate the setup costs, they are considerable, even if you don't consider your lifestyle extravagant. You need a car, public transport is poor to the point of being unuseable unless you live next door to a metro station (and even then it isn't great) and taxis are no longer as cheap as they used to be. You will have to buy curtains/blinds and kitchen appliances. You will need to spend on rugs, decorating and furniture. If you don't have the cash you will find yourself in debt for at least as long as you owe EK for the bond.
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