I have to say that working as a flight attendant for a Gulf carrier comes with a lot of benefits and the housing of their staff members is no exception in that regard.
Qatar Airways provides its crew with fully furnished shared accommodation in modern buildings. However, as wonderful as this sounds, it isn’t always easy, because you have to abide by the rules and regulations stipulated by the company.
Today I’m going to share with you my housing experience with Qatar Airways and tell you everything you need to know about cabin crew accommodation and the rules that apply.
How is Qatar Airways accommodation organized?
Once new joiners arrive in Doha city, they are taken to what will be their new home for the time that they will be working in Qatar.
Males and females are located in separate compounds throughout the city, but always in close vicinity to the airport.
At first this segregation by the sexes can seem a little odd, but you really do soon adjust and discover that it comes with its own set of advantages.
As a ‘Welcome to Doha’ treat, new cabin crew members receive a ‘goodie basket’ with food, a cutlery set, 1 mug, 1 plate, 1 bowl and some snacks to keep them going for the first few days while they discover where the nearest supermarkets and restaurants are.
There are usually Baqala’s (mini markets) close by in residential areas where staff can buy their basic groceries without the need to go to a bigger shop.
Accommodation is shared: Who will I be sharing with?
Accommodation is always shared amongst 2 or 3 cabin crew members from different countries, which can be a new experience for some!
Since flatmates are assigned randomly by the housing department, new joiners may be placed with senior crew members or with their batch mates from the initial training course.
It all depends on the availability of the accommodation.
During the first six months of employment, you can’t request to move to a different apartment.
However, once your probationary period is over, and if you have a valid reason for moving, you can ask for a transfer.
What is a Qatar cabin crew apartment like?
Each apartment comes fully furnished.
Common areas such as the kitchen are equipped with appliances like microwave, oven, fridge, plates, and cutlery, while the living room has a TV, telephone and sofa set.
Bedrooms have a single bed, mattress, sheets, pillows, and a couple of towels. There are also 2-night tables, 2 lamps, a closet, and a dressing stand with a mirror.
Furniture is basic and everything that is provided is noted down in a detailed list that all crew have to sign.
Staff are more than welcome to start decorating their rooms according to their own tastes and liking, however, keep in mind that candles, incense sticks, or any other flammable accessories are not permitted.
When it comes to utilities, electricity is included at no cost, with the exception of internet and cable tv.
But this can be easily shared amongst the flatmates with next to no financial pain.
In each apartment, there might be 2 full bathrooms. Which means that some people will have to share.
Since the rosters are usually all different, make sure that you get along with your flatmates and establish a time to use the shower for when you need to get ready for a flight.
Sharing an apartment
There’s no denying that living with strangers can be difficult but, with time and understanding, it is possible for you all to rub along smoothly together.
The golden rule is to respect each other’s rest times!
This is critical for maintaining harmony in the household.
Everyone will be flying at different times and nobody wants to be trying to get some sleep while their flatmate/s are having a party or blasting music out at high volume.
Being respectful is extremely important and goes a long way towards stopping conflicts before they start.
You may not see your flatmate/s much, but when you do, make sure that you cultivate a diplomatic and easy going relationship.
Trust me, nobody wants to come home to a tense environment after a long or stressful flight.
From experience, a tip that works very well is to share each person’s roster (schedule) so that you all know exactly when you might be in the house at the same time.
A lot of synching of bathroom time and other such things can be sorted out early by doing this.
Just remember the two Cs – Courtesy and Consideration, and you’ll all get along just fine.
How to get around?
Doha taxis run 24/7 and since the city isn’t a very large one, it doesn’t cost an arm and leg to move around in.
If you chose to, you could also get a Qatari driving license and buy or rent a car for your personal use.
Transportation to and from work is provided by the company, which is another benefit that is worth a few more dollars in your pay packet.
Visitors – Visitors are allowed from 8 am to 22:00hrs and MUST be residents of the country. To enter, they present their ID to the security guards who will register them in a log. From 22:00hrs, only actual crew members are allowed to stay in the compound.
Family members can visit if they are the same gender as the employee. Meaning that if you are a woman, your mom or sisters can stay. For a male, their father and brothers are welcome. Again, this is one of the rules that you quickly get used to.
Curfew – regardless of whether a cabin crew member is OFF on the following day, they must return to their accommodation before 04:00 am. Arrivals are checked through a system using their company ID to open the building doors. CCTV is on for 24 hours and if you are late you can get terminated from your employment.
Minimum rest – 12 hours before your flight, you must be at your apartment to ensure the 12 hours minimum rest period that you must have. So between flights, cabin crew are only allowed to go out for 90 minutes. This doesn’t sound much, but it’s time enough to go to a supermarket, a restaurant, a gym or to visit friends.
Alcohol – Keeping alcohol inside the accommodation is strictly prohibited. If you want to have a drink, you can do so in any of the hotels, restaurants, or bars.
Pork – Pork meat is prohibited because the Muslim religion doesn’t allow its consumption. Which means that cabin crew can’t keep pork products of any description in their apartment.
The restrictions on alcohol and pork are very important to the Muslim faith, so please do respect them.
Smoking – There is a zero-tolerance policy toward smoking. You are not allowed to do so anywhere near company premises, on or off duty.
Spot checks – The housing department is allowed to enter someone’s accommodation with or without them being present. They do this to make sure that each individual is abiding by the rules. Checks are also conducted in the common areas. If for any reason a prohibited item is found, this will be confiscated and the crew member concerned will get a warning.
It’s important to note that these rules don’t apply to pilots, as they are given an allowance to live outside.
The rules of Qatar Airways have always been a hot topic and the airline has been questioned in the past for enforcing such strict ways of living on their cabin crew.
But most people, people like me, try to stay positive because we love our job and it helps us to manage the accommodation’s rules and regulations.