I had an interesting customer service experience with the Emirates airlines and I guess its high time I expose the airline’s poor customer care practices. This incident happened when I was travelling from San Francisco airport to Cochin international airport for my wedding in May 2010. I bought a lot of gifts for my would-be wife Shiniga and also a few gifts for her family . After landing at Cochin international airport, the emirates airlines authorities informed me that they had lost my baggage at Dubai. I had brought only one baggage and they had everything – cloths, gifts and you name it. I was stuck !!!! – can’t visit my would-be or her family with no gifts (just felt a little sad ). So as they said they can get my baggage tomorrow, I requested them to send it to Calicut so that I will stay in Calicut for a day, get the baggage and then head to to my hometown Kannur. I stayed in Calicut that night and then the next morning I get another call saying the bag will take again 2 more days. I was like I have only 23 vacation days and can’t stay in a hotel because of one bag. I decided to head to Kannur empty handed. I went to the near-by clothing store and got two pairs of cloths (Can’t stay on the same cloths for 2 days that too after a 22 hour flight 🙂 ). The next day I called the calicut airport and at last the baggage has arrived. I hired a taxi, traveled 135 kms (also lost one more day from my total vacation days). I believed that the airline should reimburse me all the cost I had to take because of their negligence. Then I got a chance to talk to the most unprofessional emirates employee at the calicut airport. He apologized for the trouble I had to incur and offered me $50 as reimbursement when I already documented all my expenses for the last two days which majorly include the taxi and the hotel charges. They came to around $ 250. The official said he can’t do anything , he can’t provide me his manager’s number or Emirates Kerala headquarters numbers. After spending 20 mins at his office he was ready to offer me the email address for emirates Indian head office. I decided not to accept his so-called fixed reimbursement and decided to fight for what the airline owe me.
After my wedding in Kerala , I decide to shoot an email to the email address he gave me. I waited for two months and didn’t get any reply (The email address was of their Mumbai office – Baggage claims / customer affairs). I looked up for any social media presence for Emirates and to my surprise there were NONE. Its very strange for a company like Emirates not have any social media presence. I managed to find another email address for their NYC office and send them the email detailing all the problems the airlines caused me when I traveled to India. I was lucky to find a reply to this email back saying they have registered an official complaint with a reference number. I was glad that somebody in this company wrote back. Here is the email I received from Emirate airlines On 13th July 2010.
13 July 2010
Our Reference: NYC/X/VS/120710/6707339
Dear Mr. Naroor,
We are in receipt of communication regarding your most recent travel on Emirates. We are very concerned to hear of what has happened, and the length of time it has taken to address your claim.Your file is currently under investigation, a Customer Affairs Officer will contact you with our findings and if we should require any additional information.
In future, please use the above mentioned claim reference number in all correspondences.
Emirates, Baggage Claims/Customer Affairs and Service Audit US/NA
55 East 59th Street, 5th FloorNew York NY 10022
212-758 3944 Ext 451
As you can find the date on the email, Emirates airlines officials are still trying to investigate my case (ironically for more than an 18 months now). I tried contacting the phone numbers they provided in the email and they never got picked up.
Emirates airlines clearly showed me how to easily ignore their travelers grievances and shut them up with a case reference number which never get worked on. I love their in-flight services and would love to fly with them again , but they really failed in their customer service. This is the main reason why they have no official Facebook fan page, when the smallest of smallest company have fan pages in this timeline. If they open one, I am sure they will have a hundreds like me posting their bad customer experiences with Emirate airlines. I found a lot of similar stories in various airline forums (here and here ) and they complain about the same issues across the world . Being a successful airline, I think they should appoint an online grievance team to find travelers who had a bad experience.
I hope someday Emirates airlines will take some time to review their processes and come up with better customer service expected by their customers . Anyways , they made my wedding trip a memorable one with over expensive travel expense.