Why is Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, incapable of shutting his mouth? Seriously, the amount of garbage coming out of his mouth is unbelievable, and the worst part is that he’s hurting his own case. In the battle between the US carriers and Gulf carriers, he’s not helping himself. When a competitor uses an unedited interview with you in order to make their point, it might be time to be quiet.
Akbar has had no shortage of ridiculous comments over the years, from suggesting that Qatar Airways started flights to Atlanta to “rub salt in the wound of Delta,” to suggesting that Qatar Airways started A350 flights to Frankfurt to “rub salt in the wound of Lufthansa,” to suggesting that Qatar Airways’ near miss in Miami wasn’t a big deal, to suggesting that Qatar Airways’ economy is as good as premium economy on other airlines, just to give a few examples.
Well, last week he was in Dublin to celebrate Qatar Airways’ new flight between Doha and Dublin, and of course he took the opportunity to poke fun at the US airlines. One part in particular stands out, as he describes the Qatar Airways experience:
“Wide seats, plenty of legroom, as well as award winning service from our international cabin crew. By the way, the average age of my cabin crew is only 26 years, so there is no need for you to travel on this crap American carriers. You know you are always being served by grandmothers at American carriers.”
The audience bursts out in laughter, so I guess the joke worked with his target audience.
But c’mon, Akbar, really? I’m totally fine with him talking about the “crap service” on US airlines, but it’s ridiculous to equate that to age, and to be proud of the fact that the average cabin crew at your airline is only 26:
- The reason service on US carriers isn’t great has little to do with the age of the employees, but due to a variety of other factors; many of the best employees at US airlines are those who have been there for decades
- Should Al Baker really be proud of the fact that they don’t offer their employees long term career opportunities, but rather just short term contracts where they get fired when they age a bit? I mean, of course he’s proud of that because he’s a sexist you-know-what, but if you’re trying to make a compelling case for reasons to fly your airline, that won’t fly in many countries (no pun intended)
What do you make of Akbar’s comments about US carriers?