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Qatar Air Relaxes Grip on Flight Attendants as Carrier Grows Up

A Qatar Airways flight attendant smiles during a flight in an Airbus A350 over Toulouse, southwestern France.

A Qatar Airways flight attendant smiles during a flight in an Airbus A350 over Toulouse, southwestern France.

Photographer: Fred Lancelot/AP Images
Corrected

It’s 10 a.m. in Doha and more than 200 Qatar Airways flight attendants are gathered in an airport hotel ballroom. Taking the microphone, one woman fires off a query about a policy barring cabin crew from using their mobile phones in public while in uniform, garnering murmurs of approval. Another asks why those living in company-owned housing must be in their rooms from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m., getting a round of applause.

Fielding questions is Rossen Dimitrov, the senior vice president who oversees the carrier’s 9,500 flight attendants, 80 percent of whom are women, from places as far-flung as Peru and India. Affable and at times even funny, Dimitrov explains a recent relaxation of policies on marriage and pregnancy, and pledges to review the curfew and other concerns.