Imagine having to ask your boss for permission before getting married. It sounds crazy, but it’s the reality for tens of thousands of Qatar Airways’ employees. A report by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) claims the airline abuses many of its employees’ basic labor rights, particularly in the case of female workers.
The ITF says the terms and conditions in a typical employee’s contract state that women must “obtain prior permission from the company” if they want to get married. It’s not clear what the consequences of tying the knot without getting the green light would be, but based on what happens if you fall pregnant, we’re guessing the outcome wouldn’t be good. Women who become pregnant are required to notify Qatar Airways as soon as they find out. If they don’t, it’s considered a breach of contract. And even if they do speak up — well, they could be fired anyway, according to the report.While labor laws in Qatar might be tough on workers, more than 90% of the airline’s employees are foreigners, which means they don’t enjoy the same work-related freedoms they would have in their home countries.
The news follows controversy over a Turkish Airlines policy change earlier this year, which forbade female flight attendants from wearing red lipstick, dark nail polish and silver eye makeup, as well as banning them from coloring their hair blonde or red.
Imagine hopping on a plane to go on vacation in Africa, taking a nap and waking up to find yourself in Bangladesh. That’s exactly what happened to one couple after an airline mixed up their flight bookings and flew them 7,000 miles away from their intended destination.
Sandy Valdivieso and her Husband Triet Vo had wanted to fly from LA to the African city of Dakar, Senegal, but mistakenly ended up on a flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh. It turns out the mishap all came down to the three-letter airport code airlines routinely use when making bookings or entering information on baggage tags. Instead of entering DKR (for Dakar) in the computer system, the airline representative entered DAC (for Dhaka), sparking the intercontinental travel nightmare.The couple, flying on Turkish Airlines, transited in Istanbul before joining their connecting flight to what they thought would be Dakar. They told the LA Times they didn’t notice anything was wrong, because they went by the flight number on their tickets. And the similarity in city names didn’t help matters. “When the flight attendant said we were heading to Dhaka, we believed that this was how you pronounced ‘Dakar’ with a Turkish accent,” Valdivieso said.
It was only after seeing a route map several hours into the flight showing their plane hovering over the Middle East that the pair realized something was wrong. Upon landing, Turkish Airlines actually tracked down the voice recording of the couple booking their flight to Senegal to confirm the bungle was in fact the airline’s fault, before finally putting the couple on a flight to the right city.
Turkish Airlines has announced it will soon ban its flight attendants from wearing lipstick or nail polish in bright shades while on the job.
The carrier says colors like red or pink don’t match the inflight crew’s uniform, so wearing make up in those shades would “impair the visual integrity” of the outfits.
Instead, the airline says it wants its staff to wear pastel-toned makeup, as that would not only coordinate better with the uniform but also give off a more calming effect.While it’s standard practice for airlines to provide guidelines on how their staff should be groomed, the Turkish Airlines announcement has been met with criticism from some flight attendants, the general public, and even Turkish government officials. A number of Turkish Airlines hostesses have started wearing red lipstick during flights in protest of the ban.
The new makeup rules come in the wake of stricter guidelines implemented last year in which the carrier banned crew from coloring their hair platinum blonde or red, and forbade female staff from wearing silver eye makeup. The latest measure banning bright lipsticks is apparently the result of passenger complaints.
Do you think the ban is out of line? Do you care what makeup shades your flight attendant wears?
[Photo credit: Flickr user jerine]