Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker “Crap American Airlines Employ Grannies – Average Age Of MY Flight Attendant 26 Years”

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Qatar Airways CEO, sometimes hot headed but always entertaining and outspoken, Akbar Al Baker made some not so nice comments about US based airlines and crews in an event held at the InterContinental hotel in Dublin that got recorded and uploaded to YouTube.

These comments are somewhat surprising because Qatar Airways is in the process of acquiring 4.75% stake in American Airlines (maximum it can purchase without the AA board’s approval) and would like to have it raised to 10%.

You can access Qatar Airways here.

Akbar commented that the average age of HIS cabin crew is 26 years. If passengers choose to fly on American airlines from Ireland, they will be served by grannies.


At this point, I believe that he is doing a disservice to the airline and to the country that he represents. I do like that fact that he is a straight shooter and speaks out his mind, but he doesn’t seem realize when he crosses the line.

There are practically no employee protection in the Gulf Countries and Qatar Airways especially don’t treat their cabin crew very well (lot of restrictions what they can do). This is the reason why you find very few cabin crew members from western countries flying for the airline. The crews come mainly from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

In western countries, the goal is to get people to work longer due to pension contributions (none in the Gulf) and longer life expectancy. I have no issues with experienced crew members as long as they do their job.

The main problem is that due to crew seniority and pay, the most senior members tend to be on the most lucrative flights for them (longest flights and layovers to maximize pay and fewest flights) that tend to be transatlantic/pacific flights for the US based airlines.

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  • Dave Huntley

    He needs to look in the mirror – pretty ugly and no spring chicken himself – but oh yeah in his country its women u treat like shit and plenty of Irish female voices laughing there too….

  • Jocke

    I for one prefer experienced and service minded CC to the young and inexperienced ones. Some of the very young Eastern European crews are just plain awful when it comes to service.

  • ihg newbie

    who are we kidding? most of us prefer young and pretty over fat, ugly and old. he may not have been politically correct but he said the truth. and i respect him for it.

  • I keep seeing the old lines repeated about how Qatar treats its employees blah, blah, blah. However I have flown many times with both Qatar and American Airlines. Qatar employees seem generally infinitely more motivated and happy than those of American Airlines.

    I would rather pay a 50% premium (however they tend to be cheaper) to fly on Qatar’s smart aircraft with service-oriented staff than on American where cabin crew can be almost hostile and act like you are interrupting their coffee break if you dare ask for something.

    Qatar crew realise they are in the service business, American crew are told they they are there to act as security guards. Naturally there are exceptions but after many flights I can say that generally this is true. The age of the American crew seems to matter little – the younger generation are not much different as they are influenced by the older. I understand from speaking to some of them that the older resent a lot of changes forced on them by AA management (e.g. they have little discretion) and are just sticking around doing a job they no longer enjoy to collect the paycheck and retirement benefits.

  • Gregg L

    I do NOT think this is management’s goal at all: In western countries, the goal is to get people to work longer due to pension contributions (none in the Gulf) and longer life expectancy

  • David

    Must be nice to run a business in a country that doesn’t care about human or worker rights…after all slavery and mysogeny are rampant in the Gulf emirates and part of the culture and history. This man is disgusting but does reflect the norm in that part of the world…and many non-western airline executives towards their front line staffs.

  • LaJo

    Al Baker CEO crap grandpa much older than average of 26 years .

  • BigWhale

    Funny looking at all the politically correct liberal idiots losing their mind at this. That’s their culture and they are free to be proud of it. Get over your “social justice” arrogance.