Flight Attendant Allegedly Attempts Suicide At Emirates Headquarters

Filed Under: Emirates

My gosh, this is tragic.

It looks like a horrible incident occurred earlier today at Emirates headquarters. For those of you not familiar, Emirates’ headquarters is right across from Dubai Airport, and it’s where all crew report at the start and end of each trip, as it’s where they check in and take the buses back to their homes.

Emirates’ headquarters is even open to the public, and in the past I wrote about how much I enjoy going there to people watch from the Costa Coffee located in the lobby.

As Emirates described today’s incident in an internal memo, “one of our colleagues was hurt in an incident in the EGHQ atrium.”

Unfortunately it looks like this wasn’t an accident, but rather was intentional. A male Lebanese Emirates flight attendant allegedly tried to commit suicide by jumping off the third floor into the atrium at Emirates’ headquarters. Fortunately he survived the incident, though is seriously injured.

Paddle Your Own Kanoo explains that the flight attendant allegedly recorded a voice message explaining that the airline “doesn’t give a $hit about their employees.” Then when he was being carried out on a stretcher he was taking pictures that he sent to friends to spread the news.

What caused all of this? Apparently the flight attendant had been fired. He was at headquarters to appeal the decision, but when that decision wasn’t overturned, he decided to jump.

This follows an incident last March where an Emirates flight attendant jumped to her death at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. She had been seen holding a glass bottle under her chin before jumping, and was also the one to open the emergency exit, so it seems like it wasn’t a mistake.

Both of these incidents are incredibly tragic, and also reflects how tolling the job of a cabin crew can be. It’s a very stressful job, there’s constant jetlag, and it can also be tough on relationships. Emirates being based in the UAE perhaps makes things even more difficult.

However, it is worth keeping perspective — Emirates has 20,000+ flight attendants, so it’s a huge number of people who work for the airline, and unfortunately suicide is something that all too many people attempt.

That doesn’t make this incident any less tragic. I hope the guy fully recovers and is able to find happiness.

  1. I’ve worked with a lot of flight crew between my two hotels as layover options, and Emirates is by far the worst. From the accounting side, to the front office side, all they seem to care about is image and titles. They would parade the crew into the lobby, and assemble a line in their respective positions and title, never signing in before their higher ranked colleagues. I’m a fan of the airlines product, but it shows the great divide in their culture vs the western world. These occurances are truly saddening, and I have to question if the airlines practices are correlated, or even causing them, in some way.

  2. I’m fairly close to a current and a former Emirates FA. The “retired” FA spent about 7yrs with the company and left the profession, not specifically the company. The other one is still working for the company and is married to an Emirates pilot.

    They both have never complained more seriously about the company, and have actually praised it in private conversations.

    Obviously this is only anecdotal but makes me believe being shitty to employees is not a company policy.

  3. Emirates treat their employees like slaves. That’s the reason. It’s not the first time, and it’s far from the last time. There are more lives coming to the end.

  4. Are people forced to work for Emirates?

    I don’t even fly with them but do people know why he was fired? It’s just another of those stories where we only know half the story. I too know one person that was a flight attendant for them a few years and now still works as a flight attendant for TAP Air Portugal.

    It’s sad whenever someone tries to take its own life….but that happens all the time, in all kind of works.

  5. While incredibly tragic and heartbreaking, this is not a reflection on the tolls of a cabin crew job.

    This is a sad reality of holding a job in the middle east, period. While UAE is increasingly progressive, their employment rules are very similar to their more stricter and conservative neighbors.

    A foreign national ( which everyone is, since parental citizenship is the sole qualifier ), once terminated, you have 30 days to vacate the country, further more if you have any outstanding debts in the country ( credit cards, bank loans ), you are required to clear them off before you leave. However if you cannot clear them off you are in the Desert Twilight Zone, your passport will be seized, you cannot leave till you clear off the debt, and you cannot work until you clear off the debt.

    Source: Grew up in Abu-Dhabi as an expat, above happened to my dad.

  6. Why on earth would you choose the 3rd floor of that building to make a suicide attempt? It’s obvious even from this photo that you’d be unlikely to die by jumping from that height.

  7. Hi, Lucky, sorry to be pedantic (I’m in Psychiatry) but the term “commit suicide” is no longer recommended in the US because it blames rather than helps the victim. You commit murder, but died by suicide, or died of suicide are the preferred terms by most medical associations. Similarly, using disorders as adjectives is also advised against (e.g., he has schizophrenia, not he is schizophrenic; he has an addiction, NOT he is an addict)…

    My 2 cents.

  8. At least this happened in the UAE, a country that restricts gun ownership. Had it been in the USA, lucky would be writing about a mass shooting instead.

  9. It’s sad to hear about people committing suicide. The act really reflects more on the person doing the jumping than the employer. Most people who commit suicide need mental help. In this case, unless he was trapped as a slave and not employed at his free will, he definitely has mental issue to start with regardless he’s fully employed or terminated by Emirates. I hope he recovers physically and mentally soon.

  10. @Bradley
    You might have your own reasons to expose your experience as you did. I have mine to say otherwise since I live in Dubai from the last nearly 16 years and know many of them. Some weren’t happy because working for a successful airline is demanding, tough shifts etc. Some others are happy because they are under very good perks and make good money also due to the workload. So who’s right? Well one of the things I know is that no one is forced to work for Emirates and especially the aviation sector has plentiful of job offers and its still in high demand, especially cabin crews. One that attempts suicide means most probably that what he did will prevent him to find another job and can’t see why this is the airline’s fault. Yes in Europe it would have turned otherwise (I’m Italian and know how poorly managed are companies in EU especially in regards to Alitalia.

    On another statement which looks discriminatory to me, Emirates president as well as other rank officials are Weatern. Sir Tim Clark is the president and it’s British. Another founder, an aviation legend, Maurice Flanagan, who worked for the airline since the start and passed away in 2015, was also British. So what are we talking about? ME culture? The airline culture is pretty much Western with a very limited number of ME staff and management. Emirates is a success story from all and any point of view and this is the main reason of being a challenging employer. That’s about all. The way it manages the logistics, admin or checkins means little to me. It cares about their image? Who doesn’t care about it? Difference is they manage to keep it and some others may not. These are policies that most probably depend on the smooth work flow and timely organization. I know a lot of happy Emirates employees that worked for the airline since the last fifteen years and have no desire to leave.

  11. How tolling the job is? Huh? The person was fired. This was a disgruntled ex-employee and I don’t see how you tie this attempt in to the person having been a flight attendant. I’ve seen many studies about careers with the highest suicide rates and I have never heard of flight attendants being mentioned.

  12. @adi_T I think if a person committed suicide you aren’t going to be making them feel any better by saying they died by suicide. You know because they are dead and all.

  13. So much misinformation in the post, and comments. If you don’t know, then don’t offer your analysis; it’s distasteful.

    Stick to what you know: Air Miles, Shawn Mendes, and Real Housewives.

  14. I hope I don’t come across as being too sensitive and I’m not wanting to be critical of you.

    But this blog is somewhere I like to read for tips on miles, trips reviews, and generally lighter stuff.

    The topic of suicide is quite personally stressing for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’m not sure that you needed to write about it on this blog, even though I get it is in this instance related to an employee of an airline.

  15. @Bradley Fun fact, the CEO is an Englishman. Before you criticize other cultures, just remember that you people don’t wash your ass after taking a shit

  16. The only one who knows why he jumped is the jumper. The poster saying to stick with what you know is correct. Offering psychoanalysis on a suicide attempt by a person 5,000 miles away, that you never met, do not know, only read sketchy news or blog reports and regurgitating with add on ‘opinions’ ain’t exactly contributing to this blog in any meaningful way. Does Lucky have a in with Emirates’ HR department who gave him the scoop? What a joke. The guy though does sound like a drama queen. Wonder if that’s why the airline fired him. See, opinions. Don’t you hate them.

  17. @David, @MH:
    How is encouraging the use of more empathetic language nonsense? Here’s a blurb that describes it far more eloquently than I could and should be food for thought:

    People in the suicide prevention field discourage the use of the term “committed suicide.” The verb “commit” (when followed by an act) is generally reserved for actions that many people view as sinful or immoral. Someone commits burglary, or murder, or rape, or perjury, or adultery, or crime – or something else bad.

    Suicide is bad, yes, but the person who dies by suicide is not committing a crime or sin. Rather, the act of suicide almost always is the product of mental illness, intolerable stress, or trauma.

    To portray suicide as a crime or sin stigmatizes those who experience suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide. This stigma, in turn, can deter people from seeking help from friends, family, and professionals.


  18. Hi Lucky,

    Global research shows there are links between media coverage of suicide and suicidal behaviour risk amongst vulnerable people.

    While I can understand this story has some relevance for the site’s readership, it’s a story that needs to be covered in a careful way. I’m a bit surprised to see you covering it without adhering to accepted global media guidelines, such as not to specifying too much detail about methods (did we really need to know about a glass bottle?) and including support numbers for those who may be vulnerable.

    It’s a tragic story, but please take care with the way you report this type of content.

  19. Very strange post indeed, and I suspect the motivation.

    Here are the first ten countries by suicide rate. Looking for the UAE, it’s # 173.
    The United States is #34. The UK is #109.

    Things are better in this regard in the UAE than in the US, better in the UAE than in the UK, and better in the UAE than almost every other place in the world. I read with actual horror all the uninformed cultural allusions in previous posts.

    1 Guyana
    2 Lesotho
    3 Russia
    4 Lithuania
    5 Suriname
    6 Ivory Coast
    7 Kazakhstan
    8 Equatorial Guinea
    9 Belarus
    10 South Korea

  20. @Speedbird – True they may not wash their asses after taking a shit but at least they don’t wipe their ass with their left hand!

  21. @Nicola
    The airline is not that Westernized as some claim, neither it has to, to their defense. Maintaining a degree of ME character is part of what makes them authentic and unique.

    On another note, Maurice Flanagan was a gentleman, Tim Clark is a dick.

    True, some are happy, however, for every happy expat employee, there is four fold unhappy. Nobody forces them to work there, and so that explains the unusually high turnover seen particularly with their Cabin Crew. Very few have been there for a long time and are happy, there are some, but they are the minimum. A lot come from countries they can’t afford to quit that easily.

    Fact about EK: most common nationality amongst cabin crew is British followed closely by Egyptian.

    Truth is though,management doesn’t like seniority, they promote a high turnover. Those this seem like an airline that takes care of their own? They do care about their image only second to their financial statements but incidents like this do kind of tarnish it.

  22. Commit means to “pledge or bind to a certain course”. Suicide attempts are definitely commits, so committing suicide is technically accurate. The PC world is incredible……..

    Dictionary result for commit


    carry out or perpetrate (a mistake, crime, or immoral act).
    “he committed an uncharacteristic error”
    synonyms: carry out, do, perform, perpetrate, engage in, enact, execute, effect, accomplish;

    pledge or bind (a person or an organization) to a certain course or policy.
    “they were reluctant to commit themselves to an opinion”
    synonyms: pledge, devote, apply, give, dedicate, bind, obligate
    “local business leaders committed themselves to community projects”

  23. Yes quite strange. If you’re going to jump. .do it correctly. Now he is just hurt and Emirates will have to pay. Also, when shrinks say what that shrink said above it makes me question their own sanity. Just sayin.

  24. I am an ex emirates staff worked for them for 20 +years . The way the airline is now is sad and I could see that the crew is really frustrated . I happen to travel just last month with them on my retired tickets I could not believe how they were treating the passengers . It clearly shows the status of the staff . Wearing a nice uniform and nice make up wormy help . The service level also have to be to that standard . I urge emirates management to look closely and do something to make staff happy .

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