Qatar Airlines Chief: you are being served by grandmothers

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If Qatar Airline Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker wasn’t already known as being quite outspoken, he is now, after having a crack at the American airlines with which he competes.

Mr al-Baker was speaking at a gala ball at the InterContinental Hotel in Dublin to celebrate the launch of Qatar’s new route between Ireland and Doha. During his speech, he let some of the air out of the tense tussle between the Middle Eastern carrier and its ‘big three’ US opponents, Delta, United and American, by calling them “crap”.

It also seems Mr al-Baker may be somewhat ageist, or just a bit cheeky, saying that passengers flying on US airlines are “always served by grandmothers”.

He went on to brag about the “excellent service from our international cabin crew” and making pointed remarks about the youth of his staff.

“By the way, the average age of my cabin crew is only 26 years,” he said.

“So there is no need for you to travel on these crap American carriers …

“You know you will always be served by grandmothers on American airlines.”

What do you think about Mr al-Baker’s comments? Do they offend you? Or do you think he’s just being a bit cheeky?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 5
  1. 0

    travelled once on American Airlines and I joined the return leg of a South American flight. The cabin crew were in fact the oldest I had encountered and they were literally buggered before the flight began. They must have had a terrible first leg because they just wanted to sit down and not be bothered with passengers. Had a similar experience with Air Canada Sydney to Vancouver. Have flown with most of the big airlines and there really isn’t much in it. I just stick to any of the non budget air lines which offer a good deal and a direct flight.

  2. 0

    maybe we need to ask him what society and culture he subscribes to and what century he comes from.

  3. 0

    Back in the old days of Pan Am we used to call them “Pans grannies” but one could still get good service off them – the young can be just as disinterested. I wouldn’t be so cocky if I were him – personally As a woman flying alone frequently I always avoid countries were if the Icelandic volcano went off again one could be stuck in he 14th century. Those gulf countries are blokes clubs with the death penalty. Execution in the car park anyone?

  4. 0

    I get served by a granny every day, and have been for over 50 years. I love every moment of it. I would have thought YLC was one place that would not give ageism any publicity. I think Qatar is off my list of preferred airlines: actually they were never on it so things are unchanged.

  5. 0

    Male chauvinist pig! Going (only going I am afraid) are the days when air crew were selected by looks and youth.

    Having said that, they are there to serve the passengers and except for one bad experience when a female steward on Qantas behaved as though we should have been serving her, I have not had occasion to complain.

    Sadly I experienced really bad behaviour by Qantas staff at a private party once where they really let the airline down by complaining about passengers for hours. I heard a fellow guest say ” well that’s one airline I will avoid”.



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