Emirates has sent an internal memo to its workforce of over 20,000 cabin crew warning them that a “small minority” are damaging the reputation of the Dubai-based airline after “unacceptable behavioural issues” during layovers. The email, sent by Thomas Ney who is Emirates’ DSVP of Service Delivery, told cabin crew that time spent on layovers is provided “solely to allow crews to suitably rest and prepare for the next leg of your trip”.
The leaked memo, though, was sent just days after two members of cabin crew were viciously mugged in Bali. The crew members were said to be on a hired motorbike when the incident happened – one male crew member was seriously injured and remains in hospital in Bali recovering.
Insiders have labelled the memo as “insensitive” because it apparently links what happened in Bali with inappropriate down route behaviour. The email tells cabin crew that some of their colleagues have “not managed their layover appropriately,” going on to remind them that they must take their “responsibilities in this regard very seriously.”
Some crew say the memo is akin to telling staff to remain in their hotel rooms for fear that something out of their control might happen during a layover.
Others, however, have pointed to other recent incidents that may have prompted the stern reminder. Ney says in the memo that while some incidents have resulted in “intervention from the company” there have also been other incidents where local authorities (which we can probably assume means law enforcement) had to get involved.
While the timing of the memo might be questionable, it’s not exactly like this is a problem that’s unique to Emirates. Pretty much every airline has to deal with ‘out of control’ cabin crew from time to time. Whether it be drunken room parties that can shatter the relationship between the airline and hotels, or more serious incidents including drug use.
And let’s not forget, it’s not just cabin crew that aren’t managing their layover appropriately – including several recent cases of pilots for Japenese airlines who were over the legal alcohol limit after their layovers.
Ney is right in telling staff that it’s both “unfortunate and regrettable” to remind the vast majority of staff about the expectations of the airline. In fact, Emirates is very clear about its expectations of cabin crew throughout the recruitment and training journey and then throughout their career with the airline. Emirates cabin crew are ambassadors at all times and must always behave “with the highest standards of conduct”.
In 2017, a British member of Emirates cabin crew was found dead on a railway track in Amsterdam during a layover in the Dutch city. Michael Moran had only recently joined Emirates when he went missing.
The full memo is below:
“Over the years Emirates has reinforced and communicated with crew our expectations around crew conduct while on layovers on behalf of the Airline. Outstation rest between flight duties is there solely to allow crews to suitably rest and prepare for the next leg of your trip or return to Dubai. We firmly believe that if you enjoy your rest you will return for your next flight refreshed, motivated and ready to operate to the high levels of service, professionalism and safety required by the Airline.”
“From time to time we see a number of crew that have not managed their layover appropriately and we are writing to you today to be very clear that crew must take their responsibilities in this regard very seriously.”
“A small minority of crew have let themselves down by not being properly fit to operate or worse have had unacceptable behavioural issues down route that have resulted in intervention by the company or worse by local authorities. These behavioural issues reflect poorly on the individual and the Airline. As a representative of Emirates while on your layover neither is acceptable.”
“It is both unfortunate and regrettable that the vast majority of crew who behave admirably and represent themselves and the company well, have to be reminded of our expectations because of the actions of a minority. However, it is appropriate to remind all staff that behaviour that impacts the operation, safety and security, customer service or the reputation of the Airline will be managed firmly.”
“Emirates wants you to experience and embrace the spirit of the amazing destinations on our network. However, such freedom comes with significant responsibility and both individually and indeed as a crew we expect the highest standards of conduct.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.