Emirates - Disaster

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by alien, Mar 11, 2006.

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  1. alien

    alien Member

    Nov 6, 2002
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    Hi Guys,

    Thought I would share some information about an Emirates experience in the last couplde of days.

    Emirates Flight EK419

    Depart Thursday 9th March
    Sydney - Dubai - London

    My step daughter booked her flight and arrived at Sydney Airport. She then checked in and was advised the flight was 1 and half hours delayed and provided with a meal voucher of $15.

    As the time came to board she like all the other passengers were told there was a technical issue and the flight was going to be delayed further.

    So after many updates of being delayed at 1130pm they advised the flight was cancelled and they will provide accommodation, breakfast and lunch along with $20 worth of calls to call friends and family etc.

    Friday 10th March
    Was advised at the hotel that the flight was delayed even further and wasn't leaving until 230pm.

    After arriving and checking in the flight departed at 230pm (i believe). The flight was now Sydney-Bangkok-London.

    Saturday 11th March
    After arriving in Bangkok they were stuck on the tarmac due to technical difficulties. After various updates and being told just another 10 mins it turned out to be close to 4 hours on the plane with no lighting, air con etc.

    Now once in the terminal they were given accommodation at Loui's Tavern. From what she told me she wasn't provided with much information about where she was staying and having her passport taken off her and not being explained as to why this was happening.

    Emirates provided the accommodation however did not provide any provision for meals, phones calls back home etc. She has also stated she doesn't have any of her luggage appart from her carry on stuff. the place she is staying is that bad she will not sleep in the bed. The staff at the hotel speaks little english making it difficult to communicate with the staff there.

    After i spoke with her and using all her credit on her phone I had to make some calls for her as typically Vodafone's pre paid system is down but thats another issue. I spoke with Emirates to find out what was happening for her and and they couldn't even find her in the system with me providing her fligh out of Sydney and her name. The lady I spoke wiht required a booking ref to do it. Anyway 30 mins later the customer service lady managed to locate her details and provide me with her flight details to pass on to her. I was lucky I guess that they gave them to me.

    So now after being delayed her flight is now Bangkok-Dubia-London which she isn't very happy with.

    Whislt on the phone to the customer service officer, i asked what are the chances of giving her an upgrade due to the inconvenience who advised me that she couldn't and she would have to put a complain in writing when she got back to Australia.

    For a first time flyer with Emirates I'm this will be the last time she travels with them and i'm also not even going to attempt at a first time experience with them.

    I've told her she should complain at the customer service desk at bangkok and try for an upgrade. So as of 1 hour ago from this post she is still in Bangkok.

    Anyone got any advise for the writen complaint?

    Thought I would share this story for anyone thinking of travelling with Emirates.
     

  2. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    Delays happen. It's how the airline responds to the delays that sets out a quality airline from others. (although even the best have bad days!)

    I think the worst kind of delays happen when an airline is far from home and /or just doesn't have the spare capacity to get another plane there quickly.

    I'm curious why Emirates collected passports from the passengers? Must be some kind of special immigration exemption so that the passengers can stay non-airside, but without having immigration problems? Weird. I would not like to have this happen to me. My passport stays with me at all times while overseas.

    I doubt if any upgrade will be forthcoming. Most other passengers in the same plane are experiencing the same issue. They can't upgrade everyone.

    In your complaint letter, I would address the following issues:
    1. The lack of communication about delays.
    2. The changing state of the rerouting.
    3. The state of the accomodation in BKK & Emirate's assistance there.
    4. Your Step-Daughter's need to have been in LHR (or wherever) at a certain time.
    5. A request for what you want them to do with the letter. Do you want expenses reimbursed? What for? How much? Do you want compensation? How much? Do you request that the return leg be upgraded to J class? Do you just want them to note this for future etc.
    And that the Emirate's experience shown is not what you expected from such a top tier carrier.

    Hope things improve for your Step-Daughter.

    Does she have any Travel Insurance that will cover food / accomodation etc? She might be able to move hotels if she can work out exactly what is happening.
     
  3. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    :shock: Sorry to hear about your sister's ongoing drama with EK. When the "wheels fall off" sometimes it just seems to go from bad to worse. :(

    My boss (in Singapore) who flies around Asia every week and to Europe and North America often had a similar experience with SQ last year. They buggered up badly leaving him stranded in BKK for a night without luggage and consequently missing an important meeting the next day.

    SQ made some offers of compensation but he insisted it was not enough. He made a number of phone calls and wrote to them a few times, refusing all of their offers until he was totally satisfied. In the end he accepted money (for the major inconvenience) and free J-class return tickers to LHR! :D He is a top-tier FF with SQ though so I guess he had a reasonable bargaining chip.

    Nonetheless I would say push for whatever you think is justified - don't accept any lame offers.
     
  4. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

    Jun 30, 2002
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    I've had this happen in BKK when a TG flight I was on got delayed nine hours. They put everyone up at hotels in the city, but took everyones passports. I alsways thought it was an immigration thing.
     
  5. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Sorry to hear the delays and frustration experienced by your daughter. As others said, unfortunately sometimes delays happen and disrupt travel plans. The treatment by the airline can differ markedly.

    A couple of comments.

    I think there was some miscommunication or misunderstanding on the routing. There was no way Emirates would bypass their own hub in Dubai, unless they offloaded passengers to another airline which clearly wasnt the case here. Was she originally on the nonstop flight to Dubai then connecting to another flight to London; or was she originally booked on the SYD-DXB flight that goes via BKK (but is still one flight number so may not be obvious)? The original flight number will clarify this. If the former then this may be grounds for complaint unless by shifting the flight (at the time, and bearing in mind the delay at BKK would not be known at this point) would be the quickest reasonable way to get her to London.

    Louis Tavern is airside. I have never used it but have seen it from the outside and seen a few reports on FT about it. I'm speculating here, but EK may have wanted the passports to ensure pax turn up (on time) for the rescheduled flight rather than wandering off making their own arrangements. She should have been told the reason for handing over passport, or refused to part with it (passport is a valuable document after all).

    I agree with Mal that it is not reasonable to expect an upgrade when the journey recommenced since there would have been a lot of pax in the same situation.

    I would
    1) get an explanation for the delay (relevant for what compensation if any is appropriate and possibly also for travel insurance claim)
    2) ask EK what they will do to make it up to her (pointing out she lost a day of business/holiday in London)
    3) point out service failings - passport taken with lack of explanation, unclear rerouting (if that is indeed the case), left without food and drink
    4) once feel have gone as far as can with EK then put in travel insurance claim
     
  6. alien

    alien Member

    Nov 6, 2002
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    Hi Guys,

    I agree it would be impossible to upgrade each passenger however at Bangkok only those travelling to London (20) were transfered to the hotel whislt the others carried on to other flights. Given the small amount of passengers (assuming not all of them will request an upgrade) I don't think it would be unreasonable to get. If you don't ask then it may be an opportunity missed. Considering the issues its the very least i think in the circumstance.

    I also agree she handed her passport over to easily without asking questions. Something I have addressed with her already. I spoke with DFAT who confirmed they do take passports for immigration reasons.

    The original flight number was EK419 Sydney-Dubai-London.

    Without having all the facts from her makes it hard to make comments on the whole situation apart form what she has already told me. I've advised her to make jot down some notes so she doesn't forget points of issue so she can compile a letter of complaint once she returns home.

    I've also advised her that she should look at her travel insurance.
     
  7. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    EK419 is SYD-BKK-DXB. Ie she wasnt rerouted by the sounds of things.

    For DXB-LHR there is EK1 (which seems to be default option in EK website), EK29, EK3 and EK5.

    And DXB-LGW there is EK9, EK11, EK15.
     
  8. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    Sorry to correct you Kiwi Flyer but the Louis Tavern is not airside! It is south of the airport back towards downtown BKK on Viphavadi-Rangsit Road. It is a 2-3 star hotel and there is not much to do in this area of BKK.

    The only "airside" hotel in BKK for now is Amari Airport but is very expensive.
     
  9. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    :shock: What is EK doing putting people up in a 2-star hotel that costs USD39.00 per night? I guess the photos look OK but they're often very selectively taken, IME. :(
     
  10. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    Actually, there appears to be two "Louis' Taverns".

    One is airside, and is more of a day room hotel type setup (according to this URL http://www.miraclegrandhotel.com/dayroom.html )

    The other is outside as discussed above, and also visible on http://www.miraclegrandhotel.com/louis.html
     
  11. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    Well there you have it. There are 2 Louis' Taverns. :shock:

    I knew of the hotel, I was thinking of staying there for a few days in April, but had never heard of the smaller much more expensive version at the airport. Terribly sorry Kiwi Flyer. Thanks Mal.

    <takes foot out of mouth>
     
  12. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    Yep, it's as clear as mud.

    That doesn't answer the real question though... where is the OP's Step-daughter staying? Airside in Louis Tavern, or outside in Louis Tavern?

    If airside, why was the passport taken? If outside, why that hotel?...
     
  13. justinbrett

    justinbrett Active Member

    Mar 6, 2006
    696
    134
    Sydney
    I wouldn't let my passport out of my sight, especially outside Australia.

    Basically I'd tell the airline to go jump. They cannot make you surrender your passport. I'd be on the phone to the Australian Embassy on that one.
     
  14. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

    Jun 30, 2002
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    It was a few years ago when mine was taken from me when I was delayed in BKK, so I cannot remember if it was the airline or immigration that took it. But even if it were there airline, they may be doing it on behalf of immigration. I think it save them on some immigration formality.
     
  15. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    I hope this nightmare is over for your step-daughter and she is finally on her way to London.

    Only 20 passengers were travelling through to London?

    Very common with lower class hotels in Thailand.

    Again quite common in Thailand.

    A Lenso phonecard costs A$10 and is good for 40 minutes talk time back to Australia.

    Interesting, some websites with feedback of experiences with Emirates! I think I will give them a miss just in case I was ever tempted to fly with them.

    http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Cafe/9653/emirates2001.html

    http://www.airlinequality.com/Forum/emrts_2.htm
     
  16. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    I did not know there are 2 Louis Tavern - learn something every day :) . The landside one makes more sense, given lack of english spoken and passports taken (the simplest explanation is to enable the passengers to be fast-tracked in and out of Thailand). If she had refused to hand over passport then EK could possibly refuse to offer accommodation.

    My experience of EK is limited to a couple of trips in first and business (they have some fantastic specials :wink: and the free airport transfers alone are worth a good portion of the fare). They are fairly good although some aspects are great (eg the A345 suites) others not quite what you'd expect from an airline that aspires to be one of the top in the world.
     
  17. aspro2

    aspro2 Member

    Nov 26, 2004
    174
    1
    MEL
    Emirates attracts the same sort of mixed bag of reviews as most international airlines. The page from airlinequality.com reflects the good and bad experiences -- I wouldn't draw a conclusion that EK is a bad choice (and I know a fair few satisfied customers).
     
  18. cumaloon

    cumaloon Newbie

    Mar 5, 2006
    7
    0
    Angola
    Passport!

    Nasty trip! I was about to look at Emirates as a travel provider this wil make me look more closely!
    On the passport issue NEVER surender your passport unless it is to a Immigration Officer (when you have little choice) ALWAYS carry a photocopy of your passport (and when in-country lock the original in the safe and only carry the copy) and if at all possible have two passports one with that you use (and surrender if you have to) and the other as clean as possible and hung onto like grim death! Following these rules has kept me out of trouble and got me out of places where otherwise I would have been in the very deep doo-doo!
     
  19. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Re: Passport!

    Umm in most places you cant get 2 passports.
     
  20. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    Travel insurance comes in handy at times, for dealing with issues that may not be in the full control of the airline. Sorry to hear about the above problems but it seems that the communication has been reasonable and there was no one sleeping on a bench at the gate. As for upgrades, a frequent flyer would probably be treated better for obvious commercial reasons, at the end of the day its a business.
     
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