No, An Emirates Flight Attendant Wasn’t Fired For Using Her Phone

Filed Under: Emirates

Earlier in the week I wrote about how an Emirates flight attendant was allegedly fired for using her cell phone during a flight, and crew members were seeking revenge. Well, as it turns out, there’s a bit more to the story.

A recap of what allegedly happened

This incident surfaced in a YouTube video that has since been deleted. The video was uploaded by a YouTuber who covers topics of interest to flight attendants, with a particular focus on Gulf carriers. According to the video:

  • An Emirates frequent flyer saw a flight attendant texting on her phone during taxi, and wrote in to Emirates to complain; he essentially was trying to blackmail the airline, and said that if they didn’t compensate him he’d publish the video online
  • The Emirates flight attendant in question was fired for this incident
  • The YouTuber exposed the name of the passenger and also shared the contact information for the company he works for, and she requested that her followers write to this guy’s employer to complain, presumably with the intent of getting him in trouble as well.

As I noted in my original blog post about the topic:

  • The passenger sounded like a complete jerk, if he was reporting a flight attendant simply to get compensation
  • At the same time we were hearing only one side of the story, and I suspected the flight attendant wouldn’t have been fired if this were her first warning
  • I didn’t at all like this YouTuber’s attitude, claiming “he flies for free as his company pays for everything,” and that she essentially wanted to cause the same harm to him that he caused to the other flight attendant

What really happened to that Emirates flight attendant?

The same YouTuber has now uploaded a quasi apology video. I’m not even going to link to it, because frankly she doesn’t deserve the traffic, in my opinion. In the video she apologizes profusely, but she also says “people threw me under the bus.”

Anyway, I’ve (independently) been able to get my hands on the complaint that was filed, and have also heard the actual flight attendant’s version of what happened, so I wanted to share an update.

Yes, the passenger was a complete jerk

Here’s the exact complaint that the passenger filed:

Every flight I have to listen that emirates is the best company in the world. And since last event I really was thinking this. I’m a platinum member flying almost weekly with you. Doing take off i saw a lady texting on her phone like if it is normal procedure. So when we were landing i took my phone and got a video of her while texting. I can not attach the video here, so I just took screen shot. But In case I can also send you the video. Please do not force me to publish this on youtube, internet or 9crew on facebook. It will be a very bad advertising for you. Just explain me how it is possible the BEST company in the world allows such behave. I’m urgently looking forward to hearing soon from how to compensate the lack of professional service, lack of safety, lack of everything…I’m disgusted, no other words. Hope the highest ranked manager will contact me as soon as possible, before i will put this video on youtube and 9crew. Thank you

Yes, this guy sounds like a jerk, which doesn’t come as a surprise. It’s one thing to report something like this because you want the airline to improve, but all he is concerned about is “hearing soon from how to compensate the lack of professional service, lack of safety, lack of everything.”

No, the flight attendant wasn’t fired

Here’s a slightly important detail that the YouTuber should have probably looked into — the flight attendant wasn’t actually fired for this, as I speculated from the beginning. Here’s what I’ve been able to figure out:

  • This involved a February 2018 flight, so this is an old story
  • The flight attendant had been at Emirates for six years, and said she had a “perfect file” up until this point
  • She was called into the office one day and was confronted by her manager, who she says “made her feel like s*it” and treated her “like she killed someone”
  • For this incident she received a “final warning”
  • The flight attendant says she lost all respect for the company at that point, and she couldn’t continue to work and be nice to passengers, so she decided to resign
  • She now works at another airline where she “gets treated like a person and not like a number,” and now she “finally understands how a good company should treat you”
  • She shared the details of this incident with other flight attendants because “he is still flying with Emirates and is maybe continuing to report ex colleagues”

Bottom line

None of this comes as much of a surprise. Yep, the passenger who demanded compensation because a flight attendant used her phone is a jerk. No, the flight attendant wasn’t actually fired because of this incident, but rather resigned.

As I said in my last post, I found the YouTube video to be rather inappropriate even if all the details were true — she essentially wanted to get the passenger fired from his company because he got a flight attendant fired from Emirates… only he didn’t.

That doesn’t make the guy any less of a jerk, but…

  1. The complaint isn’t bad at all. We all hear how Emirates is the number 1 in everything and their branding calls for services to be top notch. The guy is calling out a situation that demonstrates a need to improve. Emirates themselves holds their company brand with incredibly high regard. If they don’t live up to it, then expect to be called out. People ask for compensation for the tiniest issues – this one is not egregiously done.

  2. I do feel like the resign vs. fired line isn’t as big as you’re making it out to be. If someone feels like they’re going to be treated extremely badly if they continue working at a company and they decide to resign because of that, it’s pretty similar to being fired in my opinion. If the company makes your work environment toxic to the point you can’t work there anymore it’s basically a way for them to “fire” you without legally doing so

  3. I think there will be many such stories in the industry. I do wonder why this one really warrants your blog attention but I suppose it does raise awareness of how things can escalate quickly. This lady might be fired from her new employer if they catch wind of her social media rantings.

  4. I don’t understand why this person complained in this first place. Was he just upset seeing that the help can text? Would there have been any impact to service here, since wouldn’t usually FAs be in their jump seats during those phases of the flight rather than up and providing service items?

  5. Emirates policy is indeed quite strict. An ex-Emirates flight attendant and now YouTuber coaches propective flight attendants on successfully navigating the incredibly difficult interview process. Two policies he mentions that are strictly enforced are absolutely no use of mobile phones or any form of reading material while on duty. The first offense is a warning, followed by reprimand, and finally termination. It’s a tough job standing between demanding passengers and some difficult in-flight supervisors.

  6. ME3 flight attendants are really entitled. And i’ve noticed my african and south asian colleagues complain about how much more poorly they get treated… hmm

  7. That’s it, then. Show’s over. Now to a completely different but very reasonable topic: what’s going to happen to the valuable Heathrow slots owned by Qantas (no int’l flights until Jul ‘21), or those used for US flights, since the UK will also probably ban Americans even if travel restrictions are eased?

  8. Exactly how is this newsworthy? The world is full of total a-holes – surprise. Many of them believe that finding some semblance of fame, or clicks from someplace on the internet will allow them to be professional a-holes. They’re just complete a-holes. Stop giving them attention. The attention just breeds more of them. If people stop going OMG, look at this this guy, he’s such an a-hole!!! they would stop defecating all over the internet. Like Donald Trump, they got where they are by outraging people and expecting attention. Stop encouraging them. Ignore them. End of story.

  9. So we’re taking EK’s word that this was a resignation? Was it a resignation if her boss said “quit or be canned”?

    As noted above, you’re making a distinction w/o much of a difference. And then hanging way too much on that small difference. This whole things still makes EK look pretty bad.

  10. Well, I wouldn’t say the customer sounded like a jerk at all. The particular YouTuber is the one who behaved like the biggest jerk in this entire situation.

    The airline should never have released the complaint outside of their management and HR department. There is no way any of us should’ve known about this complaint unless it was the complainant releasing it.

    I’m disgusted by the airline and the flight attendants behaviour as well as that of their colleagues attempting to get a passenger fired from their job.

    Frankly, all this has done is given the airline a bad reputation with me. It’s made the flight attendants look like entitled prats.

  11. The complaint seems OK, the author of this article however sounds like ex cabin crew. Seems to me the author is trying to take the cabin crews side for what reason like I said maybe he was ex crew. The guy or girl who reported the crew did a good job. I don’t want my safety jepordized by a idiot on the phone during a crucial period of the flight.

  12. Tbh, I gotta say this. Well, i’m not siding with anyone here. but it was extremely wrong of the crew member to text while taxiing. It’s a potential safety hazard. Aviation industry is where you can have a lot of *What Ifs*. What if there was a fire onboard and needed quick evacuation or what if there was a medical emergency onboard? No matter the reputation of the airline, using mobile phones while on duty for personal purposes is a BIG NO-NO. And well of course, the guy is also a jerk. He should’ve dealt about it with the flight purser and finished that matter off right there. The purser would’ve warned her about this or write a report about this incident against her records. And well, the crew should’ve realized her mistake and moved on. I don’t find any reason as to why people should side with her. She clearly violated the rules and expect people to side with her?!

  13. “How about a trip report from your time out west?”

    We’re still waiting for his MEA/Beirut trip report lol

    “I wouldn’t say the customer sounded like a jerk at all. The particular YouTuber is the one who behaved like the biggest jerk in this entire situation.”

    The customer was kind of a jerk, though, for threatening to release the story to social media unless he got compensation for it…

    One thing I am confused about, is the FA in question the one who made the Youtube video? Or is she just some thirsty third party to all of this?

  14. Working for EK as a a Cabin Manager her actions needed reprimand and running around seeking a pity party isn’t the way to go not is making a her a hero. She messed up and yes she is in a safety sensitive role so fess up to being a numpty and deal with your issue. At the end of the day we are the ones at the front line. Once pax are off see your messages no issues but if you on your jumpseat wake up and do your job. Would you fancy a surgeon running around watsapping while he/she doing heart surgery?? Media needs to wake up and realise that glorifying poor performance doesn’t make a wrong a right

  15. Again, all of this over wrought and breathless reporting…
    So very glad I dont have to fly any where, any more or ever again. And it is the whole milieu of travel that turns me (and my wallet) OFF!

  16. A legitimate complaint if that actually happened. I’m assuming English isn’t this persons first language ? , I sure hope it isn’t. This type of thing happens most of the time especially where a carrier has wifi but utilizing it on takeoff touch down and landing would be an instant dismissal, or at least tea and biscuits with their Manager.

  17. Surprised Emirates didn’t fire her. Being on your phone while in the jumpseat esp during taxi, takeoff, or landing is UNACCEPTABLE. The job is SAFETY and she is responsible for being alert and prepared for an emergency at her door. This is what she’s paid to do. I’m not understanding why any cabin crew would even think to do it!

  18. I agree with some if the posts that precede mine….their actions are not all that newsworthy! You’ve given a second voice to an upset youtuber who in all fairness doesn’t need to get her facts straight as she is not a real news source! Secondly, you gave us an up close and personal look at a complaint from a traveler who essentially negated his compensation claim by mentioning “compensation” as he wasn’t treated poorly on any account so his silly attempt at seeking a reward gets tossed! Then you updated us on the FA who was actually in the wrong. I’m glad the FA left to pursue a job where she’s treated fairly, but I just hope she isn’t continuing to text/call during take off while at the new airline! If we the passengers cannot utilize our phones and are told to hit the plane mode icon, then why isn’t that same rule good enough for FA’s??
    Either way…thanks for the original and the updated story….you’ve given me something to do during Quarantine!

  19. Sadly it’s pretty normal for passengers to be abusive and blackmail airlines into compensating them and then wrote s—t on social media. That’s the world we live in.

  20. It is illegal to take photos or videos of people without their permission in the UAE.. how did this person was not sued or arrested for doing so?

  21. Many a times it’s really “he say she say”. The letter writer used the word “compensate” but reading it in entirety it appears the passenger isn’t fluent in English. Therefore he could have used the word wrongly. Instead it could have been “rectify”? An honest feedback that was misconstrued?

  22. I’m not taking the passenger ‘s side, but it is an extremely serious breach of protocol on my airline to be using a mobile phone while we are taxiing, as this is one of the critical phases of flight where we are supposed to be aware of our surroundings, so the passenger wasn’t completely wrong. The FA should have known better. It is wrong to seek compensation though.

  23. Not only is this passenger a jerk…he is also a blackmailer. So, yes, if he wanted to go so far as to get her fired for such a miniscule thing as sending a text …. and requesting to be paid to not publish that information…yes, HIS company should be made aware of his behavior and character. If he would do it in this situation, he would do it anywhere else, including at his job to co-workers and/or clients, or in any other situation he thinks he could unjustly benefit monetarily. His name should be made public so people REALLY know who he is and the type of person with whom they may be doing business.

  24. What is this story doing on this site? It’s a tale of interest only to those with an IQ below that of Donald Trump who live and die by Social Media.

    It drew me because of interest in the policies & practices of airlines and all I find is bathroom wall gossip.

    Return to journalism, please.

  25. Bottom line…?
    I do not believe this either!
    This jerk’s complaint is a straight forward blackmail of Emirates (do not force me to publish this video….unless i get compensated).
    You must be out of your mind to blackmail one of the most important companies in the UAE whose managers have very close ties to top government ifficials…..

  26. Actually with regards to resigning. The way in which emirates works is they advise you to resign vs firing you and convince you to do this so you can get another job.

  27. Sounds like you’re making more out of this story than him. Also, this complaint is internal communication between the airline and a customer. If Emirates finds out who leaked this – and they definitely can if they put enough resources on it – then this person WILL be fired and worse.

    So who’s doing more damage here?

  28. Given the somewhat imperfect English in the written complaint, is it possible we’re misinterpreting the term “compensate” as blackmail?

    I feel it’s just as easy to interpret the statement as “I’d hate to have to tell others what Emirates is really like and, I’m anxious to see how Emirates will address/remedy these problems” rather than the “give me money or else” conclusion everyone else seems to have.

  29. I think anyone who rat finks on an employee for behaviour that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the passenger, and blackmails for compensation, should be sought out and sued by the airline. For all he knew, the attendant was sending an emergency text or something that is NONE OF HIS BUSINESS! I would love to give him a piece of my mind. The jerk! And that is putting it kindly!

  30. Fascinates me that so many people here think the customer isn’t a jerk. The guy was trying to get money out of Emirates in lieu of not revealing a minor breach by their staff. Did he really think future passengers care that the FA was texting? She was guilty of “do as I say, not as I do”. Hardly worth holding an organisation to ransom.

    Wonder if Emirates gave him anything? With that behaviour, I doubt his opinion influences others much. Emirates are fools for taking notice of him.

  31. What is all the fuss about…this story is a big nothing. So what if the cabin crew was texting on her mobile. The phone was probably on plane mode, and she was answeingca text that toyd go thtough once on the ground. All airlines now brag about onboard wifi… honestly, and if this poor girl was put through hell by her superiors, then I would have yold them quite vocally where yo stick their job.. too many over inflamed egos, for a flying waitresses job. And as for the passnger, you really are not getting enough sex mate…..

  32. The guy was trying to extort/blackmail EH, plain and simple. He should have his loyalty membership removed. I bet he’d love them apples!

  33. So many people commenting about the use of the mobile phone who do not have any knowledge or understanding regarding policy or aircraft safety.

    Fact, it’s Emirates Policy crew must not use mobile phones when in the jump seat. All crew know this and it’s a sackable offence, this crew got away lightly as she was only given a warning.
    This ties in with aviation security as the Cabin Crew must remain alert and ready, especially during descent / taxiing.
    God forbid there is an emergency and the crew was too busy texting to notice what was going on in her allocated area.
    Do you get it now…?

  34. lolz i was laughing at few lines here,

    after 6 years she found out she is being treated like a number ???? well shocking !

    6 years with emirates which am sure she should knows all the rules better than anyone and whats allowed and not allowed to do during the flight ! now no matter how Jerk the flyer is i dont think thats the issue !

    you did a mistake ( considered by your work ) and you know very well its something not allowed to do so take the consequences.

    now you are happy with the new airline well you must be happy if they allow you to get paid for being on your phone during the flight lolz and am sure you getting paid quarter your wages in Emirates.

    and yeah the jerk won.

  35. Despicable people here refering to the cabin crew as the “help”… No, wonder we are living in this social climate today, what makes you believe that you can treat a fully trained professional any way you want just because you paid for a ticket? Sadly, it seems those justifying the customer’s behaviour have been oppressed for so long they believe regretable actions like this are ok. Probably, because they don’t know any better in their own lives. How about just asking the crew to put the phone away? instead of “risking” your own life and the life of others in order to get “free” reward points.

    This incident also shows how many cheap customers with no education, values or even money fly on Emirates premium cabins, prolly just financed by the companies they slave away to pretend they are someone they are clearly not or using “dirty new” money to pay for the tickets.

  36. Emirates flight attendants passenger service standards are definitely going down. The most alarming is their biased behaviours towards passengers of different ethnic origins and must be rooted out by the administration immediately through strict training and service guidelines.

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