Leaders of the big three U.S. airlines and the unions representing their pilots and flight attendants have spoken out against Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker’s remark identifying U.S. flight attendants to grandmothers.
Now Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines pilots, has gone one step farther. The union has taken out an ad in Ireland, where Al-Baker made the remark.
“Who Hates Grandmothers?” proclaims the headline on ad that appeared in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times, Ireland’s largest daily newspaper.
Under a photo of Al-Baker, the ad contains four paragraphs of text and is signed by APA President Dan Carey, who is of Irish descent. He and his wife have homes in Rockville Centre, N.Y. and Ballyporeen, Ireland.
The text says that Al-Baker: “recently complained to guests at a Dublin gala that cabin crewmembers on US airlines are ‘grandmothers’ and characterized U.S. carriers as ‘crap’. The gala Qatar Airways’ new Dublin-Doha route.
“I have news for Mr. Al-Baker: We love grandmothers and we’re proud of our co-workers’ skill and experience. We rely on it every day on flights across the globe.
“If you’re like us and love grandmothers too, consider flying American Airlines,” the ad says. It then lists 11 U.S. destinations including New York, Charlotte, Philadelphia, California, Texas and Arizona. “Like Doha, some of the places we can take you even have sand,” it says.
Two of the four principal American Airlines labor unions are headed by New Yorkers with strong Irish roots. John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union, is Irish; has lived his entire life in Brooklyn, and is a strong admirer of Mike Quill, the co-founder of TWU who fought for the Irish Republican Army before immigrating to New York and going to work for the IRT subway line.