Qatar Airways reserves the right to terminate the contract of any employee for any reason. This obviously leads to a little bit of mistreatment from time to time.
Qatar Airways are generally considered to be one of the finest airlines in the world, and subsequently have a pretty good reputation among both frequent flyers and aviation enthusiasts alike. However, it seems that controversy is always around the corner where Qatar Airways (QR) are concerned…
Former employees of the airline have testified that they are subjected to poor working conditions and by signing their employment contract they effectively sign away their Human rights to fair treatment. There are stories that Qatar Airways cabin crew are monitored around the clock – even on their days off – to make sure they do not sleep anywhere other than the official housing and that they do not stay out late after the time mandated by the company. This seems like a pretty strict way to treat grown adults. Qatar as a country adheres to a strict “sponsorship” system regarding employment, and to a major extent the employer has full control over its employees, from the confiscating of passports to the control over housing – and even some power of the employees’ bank accounts! Although cabin crew and pilots may see enough of the world in their jobs, occasionally they may wish to visit friends abroad or simply go on holiday during their time off. For cabin crew especially, this is usually not possible, as they must seek an Exit Visa every time they wish to do so. So-called “bad performance” at work or “warnings” on the job may lead to a punishment whereby up to six months of Exit Visa applications are rejected, so the employees really do have no power whatsoever.
It is also common knowledge that members of Qatar Airways cabin crew must remain single for 5 years after joining the company, and even after that they must ask for permission from the company’s CEO Akbar Al Baker if they wish to marry. Due to Qatari employment laws (of lack thereof) QR are allowed to get away with this, and in fact it is common practice in the country. In addition, any sign of pregnancy must be reported to the company immediately, and this will usually result in contractual termination at some point. In fact, female staff are advised in recruitment seminars by their own CEO to stay away from their male colleagues for the good of their careers.
It is true that Qatar Airways has very high standards. They are among the best airlines in the world and their reputation is wholly deserved for these reasons. But there seems to be a nasty side to this airline. Admittedly, this may be down to Qatari customs and employment law rather than a directive from within the company, and it is true that other airlines in the Middle-East, such as Emirates and Etihad, have similar employee “mistreatment” within their ranks too. Yet nonetheless in my own experiences flying with QR I have noticed a lot of cabin crew members looking demotivated and somewhat miserable and you have to wonder if many of them are regretting the day when they signed up to the airline in the first place.
This article is based on my personal opinion as an aviation enthusiast and is not intended to be slanderous. I am a big fan Qatar Airways and I have no malice towards the airline at all.