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Thu 19 Mar 2015 11:02 AM

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Qatar Airways sends photo of ‘drunk’ air stewardess as warning to airline staff

Doha airline said it was reviewing its working conditions for cabin crew to reflect local culture, "which remains largely conservative"

Qatar Airways sends photo of ‘drunk’ air stewardess as warning to airline staff
Qatar Airways (AFP/Getty Images)

A photo of a drunk Qatar Airways employee slumped on the floor has been sent around to the airline’s entire workforce by the company’s vice president.

Rossen Dimitrov, VP Customer Experience at Qatar Airways, sent a picture to members of staff of an employee who was allegedly sleeping off a drinking session, saying in his email that he was “ashamed and disturbed” by the woman’s behaviour.

“I am so ashamed and disturbed by this behaviour displayed by a tenured member of our team, an adult who has been with the company for over 9 years,” Dimitrov said in his email.

”How can we change rules when we do not behave as mature individuals? I am very disappointed.”

Qatar Airways confirmed to the Daily Mail that the email was genuine and was sent to remind staff the importance of respecting Qatari customs.

“The email was sent to impress on our cabin crew that, to make their working environment as good as it can be, while still respecting the norms and values of the Qatari society in which we work, everyone has a part to play,” the spokesperson told the newspaper.

“In Doha, the consumption of alcohol is not permitted for nationals and, although drinking is permitted for foreigners, being seen to be drunk would be considered highly disrespectful – it would have negative implications for both the individual and those associated with them.”

The spokesperson explained that the woman was found in a state of incapacity by the entrance of a Qatar Airways staff building.

“The vast majority of our cabin crew would themselves be disappointed at the idea that one of their colleagues should get into this situation, since they share our pride in the reputation of our team, and they would also, as we are, be very concerned about the safety implications for someone in this position,” said the spokesperson.

In relation to Dimitrov’s comment in the email about ‘changing the rules’, the airline spokesperson said Qatar Airways has been working on a review and revision of the employment conditions for its cabin crew members, which have been universally welcomed by staff members since they were rolled them out since December 2014.

“This is something of which we are proud, but obviously we are making these changes in a culture which remains largely conservative. We think that the cabin crew community has an important part to play in showing that we have done the right thing in making these reforms, which is why we wanted to move quickly to highlight the kind of problems that could be caused by behaviour which offends local culture.”

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Jack Daniels 5 years ago

Surely there was a better way of managing the problem. I assume that Dimitrov and other russians do not drink as much as his personally humiliated staff member.

Tamz 5 years ago

I'm very “ashamed and disturbed” by the VP’s behaviour. What a thing to do to 9 years employee .. or anyone at all for that matter!!

anonymous 5 years ago

Qatar Air has ignored the fact that passengers are often served excessive amounts of alcohol to the point it endangers other passengers. Twice passengers have been so uncontrollable that it created significant problems, one passenger was arrested in London I believe. I have flown Qatar Air since it began and have complained myself on several occasions about the excessive service of passengers but they have no regard for the passengers who suffer due to the inappropriate behavior of drunken passengers. I have witnessed passengers be loud and rude due to being drunk. It is of course a danger and completely inappropriate for a flight attendant to be drinking alcohol on duty however the service of alcohol is a problem long before this.

Mick 5 years ago

Is that legal? Also, this so called executive should take sensitivity training. I'm usually not one to support the lifestyle of the cabin crew that I've witnessed (outside of their employment hours) but they work hard, deal with unimaginable amounts of nonsense and I happen to know they are not paid well anywhere in the GCC. If this woman had her time off and, as a one off, had too much to drink or perhaps a modest amount of alcohol and was fatigued (I've had one beer and fell asleep immediately after a long hard day of work mixed with a very early morning). Dimitrov should be fired for his handling of this. Unacceptable and immature handling of this situation by someone posing as senior management.

Norman Leite 5 years ago

As a Qatar Airways frequent flier, and making it my airline of choice, I have had many flights in the hands of the competent cabin crew staff. Never a fault. It is unfortunate that human-ness is to be excluded under a person's conditions of employment and that the concepts of compassion and empathy fail at management level.

Aviation Professional 5 years ago

I have been following this story closely as I've recently completed a project for the Qatar Airways. I've had many interactions with Dimitrov and I must say that I have a hard time believing the story. He undertook the cabin services department 2-3 months back and has done a lot of positive changes for their crew and I know the crew are extremely happy to have him comparing to his predecessor. There must be either a reason unknown to me why such email was sent out or there is something fundamentally wrong with this entire story.

Ashley 5 years ago

I worked under the leadership and guidance of Mr. Dimitrov, eight years ago.He was an extremely hardworking, Respectable and admirable role model.During his tenure as our manager,We the staff felt worthy of our contributions.We were always recognized and valued.We also felt our voices heard whenever suggestions were made.He always mantained an Open door policy and was extremely supportive of employee engagement and development within the organization.Of the many people that worked under him, I had the honour and pleasure to have been associated with the department he managed.Airlines worldwide adopt many policies and procedures that would draw areas of concern to the masses,Most of which go unnoticed and away from media scrutinity.Mainly due to the fear factor imposed on their employees.It is extremely obvious in this case that the individuals concerned, Have the liberty to voice their opinion and by doing so, They are using the freedom given to bring unnecessary attention.

Expat in UAE 5 years ago

looks like someone wants to go back to their previous job

Bart 5 years ago

For all their money, and for all the excessive energy spent in creating their brands, as a longterm aviation professional -and customer- I find this "story" just another appalling reason for my disregard for the so called Big 3 in the ME aviation world: Qatar,Emirates,Etihad.
They can throw around all the money they want, buy the newest planes and technology within their seemingly unending reach, but no matter what they do, they are still Third World organizations servicing Third World clients, and managed by Third World staff, including the posturing "executives" like this one.
All the rest of the hype so noisily promoted by Messrs Baker,Clark, and Higan is f-l-u-f-f.
Like their own nationals demonstrate, why would you think the Emiratis and Qataris of a certain rank continue to patronize the forward cabins of Lufthansa,Air France and British Airways,and shunning their own national carriers?

viren 5 years ago

This should never have reached a newspaper, in any western country the person concerned could have sued the airline. The lack of compassion and empathy among the people who passed,
is worrying, while the eagerness and the motive to take a photo was more important.