Unbelievable Conditions – Truth Behind Working for Qatar Airways

This seems a bit sensationalist but the comments from supposed former Qatar Airways crew seem to confirm the truthfulness of the article.

Qatar Airways is regarded as one of the most luxurious airlines in the world, and has received numerous awards for their on-board service. However, flight attendants Saga and Gina testify about the other side of the glamour and how employees are forced to sign contracts that prevent them from governing their own choices. Johanna Karlsson from Swedish newspaper Expressen reports on the conditions in the full article. Check it out for an interesting read…some selected passages below:

The guard is there to monitor her. To ensure that Gina never sleeps anywhere but the staff housing. Never gets home later than mandated by the company. Never allows an unregistered guest into her room, never leaves during her leisure times or has anyone sleep over.

The airline holds recruitment events every weekend. There are often about six recruitment days a week globally. At the tryouts, information is shared about what the employees are signing up for. A pledge to stay single for five years, that permission from CEO Akbar Al Baker is required to marry as a flight attendant, and if you become pregnant, you must inform the company immediately. Also, Qatar Airways reserves the right to fire an employee without having to give a reason.

Gina boils some eggs. She has only just arrived home from a flight. She is tired and removes her makeup slowly. The saucepan overheats when the water evaporates and suddenly the fire alarm goes off. Gina switches it off quickly and tells the security guards that it was a false alarm. Too late. Three different managers from Qatar Airways arrive at the guarded staff building. Question her in detail about what happened and ask her to prove her story. “You were boiling an egg? Show us the egg.” Gina rummages through the garbage and finds the egg. The managers arenít satisfied. They decide that she should be removed from flights for the next few days and she is summoned to the office the following morning. As there is a twelve hour resting rule before any work event, whether it is a meeting or a long haul flight, Gina is grounded until the time of the meeting. At the office at Qatar Airways Tower, she is once more asked to give an account of the event. The fact that she was boiling an egg, how could she be so careless, how can they be certain that she will never do anything like that again? Gina is given a severe warning. Then she is given a pen and paper. Qatar Airways now wants Gina to explain the egg incident in writing and to conclude by saying how sorry she is and that it will not happen again. They dictate and she writes. “I am very sorry, it will never happen again.”

When you get through the article you might find some of the accounts unbelievable, but here are a few of the comments from supposed former staff:

Sophia – I’m ex QR crew, worked 6 years ago, article is 1000% real and there’s worse stuff missing in here. When I joined these “rules” we’re not included in the contract, in fact not even the recruiters warned anyone just to realize once you were in Doha that something was totally wrong. Your accommodation is surrounded by CCTV cameras, lobby and elevators entries got more high tech cameras with face recognition, security guards are working 12hrs shift with ZERO days off for their 2 years contract. This company is even abusing of their sub contract staff.  I survived for a year in Qatar and is true you can get ride of some stupid curfew rules but is just a matter of time and bad luck, QR will find out that you’re tying to have a “normal” life and you will get sacked.

Leandro – Reading this article comes as no surprise to me. Being an ex-QR crew I can assure this is the way it is and there are plenty of things left unsaid. I managed to survive that place for 1 year and resigned after being treated like the worst living creature on earth while I was giving 200% of myself to serve the passengers and make them have a pleasant experience. Unfortunately, this will continue like this as long as AKBAR AL BAKER and SALIYA KARUNANAYAKE remain there, but not limited to, as a great percentage of the management and other sectors’ staff are contaminated with this “i-am-god” attitude. When I see my colleagues in the uniform I used to wear in a hotel lobby, I feel sorry for them and wish all this get sorted out somehow and soon. I know is easy for some to state “If you don’t like it, just resign” but you won’t imagine how tough it is until oneself goes through that experience. This company does not depict the conditions as they are during the interview and in a contract they cannot reflect the inhumane treatment to their employees, otherwise who would be so silly to go to a place knowing the way they work? I doubt anybody would do it, no matter how much the money is, whatsoever. On the other hand, I’m glad that all this is being exposed, this is a second article revealing Qatar Airways’ ruling with fear and threatening their staff constantly with being sacked, sending them to prison and even restricting them to get out of the country. I am sure not everybody feels this way in Qatar Airways, as for some of the staff who come from worse conditions in their home countries feel this like a good opportunity, but under no circumstances this is a normal way of living compared to ANY other country in the world. I’ve traveled a lot around the world and never seen a mindset in a nation like in Qatar and Qatar Airways. So a piece of advise to sum this up, if you wish to be a cabin crew and plan to go for this airline, think it more than twice. There are plenty of options out there, but if you still are adventurous and courageous enough to go for it, be sure you are tough and mentally strong for any challenge you’ll face because trust me it will be VERY tough. And forget about your Freedom, cause nobody here can discuss this matter, you have no freedom there.

UPDATE October 2015 – Unbelievable Working Conditions at Qatar Changing…a tiny bit for the better?

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Qatar Airways FA

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Comments

  1. I’m surprised it took this long to come out. Knowing of the slavery in Dubai, Doha, etc., I completely assumed that most of the flight attendants were only paid more than the slaves building the glamour of Dubai, but other than that housed and employed in the same deplorable conditions.

  2. Assuming the conditions described in the article is true, do travel bloggers havea moral obligation to stop promoting tQatar Airlines?

  3. You may want to check the definition of slavery. As far as I could tell from the story, these flight attendants took the job voluntarily, and can leave any time they like. Those rules are strict, but they seem to be good rules. As a passenger, I certainly want the flight attendants to be fully rested and in best mental and physical condition, instead of just having been party all night long, being drunk, or fighting hangovers or morning sickness while serving me food. I would want to know that they can focus on the task when they handle kitchen equipment and not burning anything. I think I want to fly Qatar more after reading this, and believe air travel can be a much better and safer experience if all the BA/AAs learn to request the same from their pilots and flight attendants.

    • You are missing the point that it is more risky to fly with a FA who is psychologically and mentally afraid of her/his work environment than someone who is tired because the level of stress is higher. I got hired by QR and one of my friends is always in Doha as a pilot and told not to come, everything he signed for is not respected, he is trying to leave the country now and he can’t.

  4. @Bgiagg – What do you do for a living Bgiagg? How about the exact same rules apply to you? We all want to be 100% sure that when you’re serving the customers in your industry you are completely alert and haven’t been partying all night. Hypocrite.

  5. Slavery? Are you kidding me? The job is challenging and very demanding, no doubt. So is many other jobs like running an offshore oil rig, working on a cruise ship, or driving a truck along Alaska’s Dalton highway.

    The salaries are very high to compensate for the strict work environment. You don’t like it, don’t work. You have a choice, unlike in slavery. Sheesh!

  6. What the article says is completely true. Im currently working for QR and I can tell it´s being tough, specially when you are aiming to progress in the job and when you think about the coming years. Is true that nobody is putting a gun in your head to stay, and that the living conditions and salary we get are not bad at all, however when you think about this in an environment that makes you feel invaded in your private life and that regardless your good performance and behavior you can be kicked out anytime for the most stupidest issues then the thing turns out in something more to considerate if you want to stay. Issues for which you can get fired like passengers complaints, which they value higher than any excellent performance of an employee, giving you zero credibility and taking severe actions like warning letters, demotion from your position, if you are lucky (I know lots of this cases happening to people I know), and in the worst case, termination. Some other things you can be fired for is being outside your accommodation during the 12 hours of mandatory minimum rest before every flight, or arriving 5 min late after the curfew starts at 4am, even if you are in your days off, maybe because you couldnt find a taxi easily; also being pregnant is a reason to be fired for, having reported sick for so many times, being offloaded more than 3 times from your operating flight before its even stared due to a haircut, in the case of a guy, which is really short and shows your scalp slightly, because your trousers are too tight according to them, or you have a little burn scar in your arm that you got accidentally from your previous flight with the oven while working like crazy, or because your hair, lipstick, or make up, does not match with the ridiculous requirements from the grooming checks that we also have like soldiers before every flight (so you can be a dumb and maybe not knowing how to actuate during an evacuation, but your lipstick has to be present and matching with the nail polish, THAAAT is veeery important), also being gay if by any chance you are unlucky to get someone accusing (reporting you of being so) is another reason they can just fired you without explanation, as it happened to one of my friends recently. Talking about reporting simple matters, is a common practice for the supervisors to encourage the crew to share any information pertaining to the flight and any incident happening on board, which would be completely acceptable in the industry for any other airline; the difference is that for us, the simplest problem becomes a BIG problem, like having spilled some juice drops of juice accidentally on a passenger while you were serving the drinks during the service. This is a matter of concern, even if you already apologized with the passenger and I have to say the most of the times, they are very nice and understanding, but supervisors live day a day under a big stress, having to write lots of reports every flight about this kind of incidents even when the most of the times the crew apologized 100 times, supervisor also went to talk with the passenger and apologized for the 101 time, and even when the crew were just trying to do their best and somehow find a solution for any situation arising on board, but at the end you will end up involved in a report where you will be phone called from the office asked again about what happened and making sure you understand with a polite warning that this can not happen anymore in the future. Supervisors or pursers on the flight used to say “Is not to report you, but to support you”, “Guys you never know, maybe the passenger will complain, so better to be safe” And I can keep going on and on. Wouldnt be nice to say you work for a company that over all the rest, at first is making you feel appreciated, wouldnt be nice to say you feel proud to work for them, but instead you get contaminated every flight with all bad comments and complains from your colleagues about the company and the country, as well as comparisons with other airlines, and of course with issues like the few i mentioned above happening every day people have no other choice than ending up hating it and leaving, and for the brave ones that we are still here, only hoping something will change eventually and make things better. Sad but true.

  7. Actually the worst department of Qatar Airways is Cabin Crew recruitment, some people who work in that department making it a crazy sickening working environment to work for any one.
    There is this one staff called Avina De Souza ,she behave as if she owns the company, she run down and talk to every new staff who joined, She treats people like shit,Bossing and shouting. She even doesn’t care about her immediate bosses or higher management even the CEO, her attitude towards them is I don’t care I am not scared , I do what I want. The higher management should be aware of this behavior but the picture she show to her bosses is very sweet and cunning, so no one knows in up who she really is. Her daily routine is coming to work drinking tea and ordering food from all the shops eating more than 5 – 6 times and be on personal calls for hours, She has a gossip bunch another few ladies in the same team that they bitch about everyone whole day, She is the leader of this gossip gang,I joined QR and left in 1 year because I could not take the way Avina De Souza treated me, She made my life hell by shouting at me passing hints with others and bossing my work and always complaining about my work to the bosses .Then it came to a point I cannot take it anymore and I decided to leave the company.Not only me I have seen she is bitching about another two three staff who mind their own business and do the work.This woman will one day get all the return for the things she does, She never actually do any real work only sitting till late to earn over time and to show that she works. And a prestige company name will be ruined because of staff like these, the management must open the eyes and must take action for these type of people, I love Qatar Airways and wish the company all the very best and really wish that they should remove toxic people like this to have a better reputation and better future and a better working environment for others.

  8. #103 Re: After Qatar Final Interview Stories Posted 10/08/2012 at 09:21 •


    •Quote
    •Reply

    These are some blogs found in internet which Avina De souza has made cabin crew applicant life also miserable.

    In reply to post #96…
    [QUOTE=stelina]I had my FI in 21st May and i’m still waiting! i really don’t know what to do.. my last email answer was : ”Please wait for Ms. Avina D’Souza’s e-mail” …. HELP.. 9 weeks with no reply! [/QUOTE]

    Hi Stelina 🙂
    I have exactly the same situation. My FI was on the 1 of June. My coordinator is also Avina. About 1 month ago she asked me to reclick the picts , I did so and I m stil waiting til now. I v called them a couple of times and I ve been told that Avina is not in the office…. also didnt get any reply for my e mail 🙁

  9. I am Wilson I would like do job with Qatar airways I have trained life guard and first AId and also done. Computer paccages and Driving class and security guard at Hamad international Airport at Air traffic control facilities.please I required the job,of cabing crew at Qatar airways.

  10. Something like fire incidents also have same reaction in other company not only Qatar airlines, and if it happen in the company I used to worked, I’ll get fired instantly.

  11. I work for Qatar Airways. Yes it is strict, and yes they have rules, but really I am not complaining. Getting to travel the world, having accommodation paid for, having layover money, and getting 90% off flights to other destinations is nothing to complain about. I nearly burnt my accommodation down – only the security guard and mantainance came and housing and it was over. I know of several other people who had this issue and it was all over for them in one night too. I’m sorry to hear about your experience but if it was really that bad then no one would be working for Qatar anymore. I know many people who have stayed 5-6 years when originally they were only going to stay 3. If it was that bad then why would they stay that long? Some people can cope with rules and regulations, some others can’t. But the fact that you leave after a year probably won’t look so good on your resume…

  12. Hii..i would like to know life in doha as a ground staff in doha qatar..i have applied for the job but am married .will i get the job?my hubby will reside in another country.will he be allowed to be with me sometimes?thanks

  13. I was stunned when I read this article. Usually laymen will have a good perception about Qatar Airways because of the brand but only the people close to QA knows how it feels to be a part of QA.

  14. it is 2017, I just joined QR and it is still the same as this article narrates. It is very sad, I came with such a possitive attitude…however I am not the same, stress levels in me went to the roof..I am always stressed and scared. I am not even happy about flying anymore, I dont know if I will have problems in any of the phases of a flight with the security in the aiport in the hangar, the crew im flying with (who can be super rude and report me for anything stupid) any passengers complaining about the craziest little detail or the management. It is a very stressful environment.
    I really don´t know how long i will last.

    • Hey! When did you join? I’m thinking of going for an open day but can’t make up my mind due to all this bad reviews …I really want to travel tho and some people say the benefit of the travelling outweighs all the bad stuff…do you really not feel that way?

  15. I was surprised and unbelievable reading this article. As usual, lay people will be well aware of Qatar Airways. Only people close to QA know how uncomfortable it is.

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