17th September 2011 at 18:33 #502952
Anonymous17th September 2011 at 18:33 #502953
I have been flying primarily OneWorld/BA for over 10 years. I’ve been a Gold BA member for > 10years. I thought in one of my recent travels to try Emirates, so I booked a First-Class ticket with them. One of my sectors was downgraded to business and there the problems begun:
1. I called the call centre and they asked me to write a letter to explain that they downgraded my flight in order to even receive a refund for the fare difference!
2. When I contacted them again, they asked me for ‘evidence’ for the downgrade, and requested my boarding pass. I thought it was a bit insane as they could have easily seen that the aircraft on that sector did not have any first-class seats!
3. The email I received from their ‘customer service’ was entitled: “INV DG DUE FLT OPS J/Y CONFIRG ONLY”. Is this really how customer services should reply on a subject line? What does all the above mean anyway.. yes, I figured it out its “involuntary downgrade … bla bla..” but seriously, who would write such an email?
I am still to receive any refund or compensation from Emirates OR even an apology.
Are Emirates really that bad on customer service? Suffice to say, I wont be using them again.. can you image how they treat economy or business passengers !!17th September 2011 at 20:45 #502954
Forget writing a letter to tell them what they should already know. Simply call your credit card company and claim a refund from them, and the matter will sort itself out.
P.S. Don’t fly them again; Emirates are not all they are cracked up to be!17th September 2011 at 22:01 #502955
I’ve heard Emirates hates to refund money and only do so after being pushed. Another reason I don’t fly them is that should you need to take any legal action against them, you have to do it in Dubai. Good luck with that!
Have to agree with Bucksnet, go the CC route.18th September 2011 at 00:33 #502956
Interested to hear the route you took and the particluar sector that you were downgraded.18th September 2011 at 03:39 #502957
Hi there, the route was LCA-HYD (via Dubai). The downgrade was on the outbound Dubai-HYD.
I have written a letter to Emirates Customer Affairs and they are investigating; not sure why it is now been 1 week and this has not closed.
I also should have said that on my outbound flight I was told that Emirates in Cyprus would contact me and of course they did not.18th September 2011 at 09:18 #502958
From my experience downgraidn or not providing the class booked and then being difficult about refunding is fairly common with certain carriers. I have not flown Emirates as I do not go to the Middle East. However I had exactly the same behaviour from LAN Chile and on the train from Gatwick to Blackfriars First Capital Connect refused to accept they did not provide First class cars and woud not refund any money under any circumstances (I ended up driving). So I adopted the same policy with LAN and FCC as you are suggesting with emirates, take my business elsewhere18th September 2011 at 10:04 #502959
The small things let Emirates down. They charged us 20 dollars in Sydney for a car seat even though there were three of us and therefore in theory could have travelled in two cars. Also on the a380 one of the business class seats didn’t fully recline (can’t remember which seat – 3 or 4 rows back from the first class cabin in the middle) and when a crew member tried the manual override this had been taped up by the engineers on the ground – so they knowingly sold a seat with only a 45 degree recline and when I raised this on return to the UK was told there was nothing they could do and they had many satisfied customers.
On another occasion they didn’t send a car in Dubai (even though we had it confirmed) and were told by customer services to get a taxi and they would refund at the airport but we were met with ‘shaking heads’ at check-in and gave up or we would have missed our flight!18th September 2011 at 10:43 #502960
I have no idea of how you buy your tickets or the type of ticket you brought, or how you handle these situations, but what I tend to do for ALL internet tickets is to ensure I have the T & C for the ticket brought filed with the Eticket.
What else I would do in these circumstances (may seem a waste of time, but it could save you some time), research your downgrade and the companies protocol for dealing with these situations.
If you are near an Emirates ticket office/desk (better face to face, than by phone) make an inquiry for a similar booking and then just add a passing question, as a comment “by the way, what happens if there is an equipment change and dowgrade etc etc, do I get a refund or …..?” in other words ask the question as if the situation hasnt yet happened OR it once happened to a friend.
If you smile enought, you may just get something in writing from the Emirates computers confirming their protocol and then its game set and match, hopefully to you or it could save you a lot of time and money, if it shows you have no chance of a win.
This has worked for me in the past and having the protocol directly from the airlines computers could make it far easier.
If its a case of Emirates just being bloody minded……………………….hmm, threaten to send one of the BT forum posters in, that should do the trick!
Good luck with this and interested to here the outocome.18th September 2011 at 10:44 #502961
Using EK for many years I am always aware that it can either be superb or pretty flat both in experience and customer service. This just seems to be a fact of life, being a premium customer often appears to make little difference, even if gold with Skywards.
But when its good its very good, and I value the privacy of the cabins in 1st. EK customer service offer very basic responses. If you use EK frequently I would advise cultivating a business relationship appropriate to your route which would enable a more personal service.
Of note, on some EK routes which go through DXB part of the route will not have 1st class and the issued ticket will be multi cabin.18th September 2011 at 14:41 #502962
I saw a gentleman downgraded from F to J on an EK flight from BLR to DXB, in exactly the way the OP describes.
He was incandescent and rightly so, as the station manager blatantly lied to him and told him that he would receive first class service and a first class meal, even though the seat would be J. I know, because I checked in behind him and sat next to him. It was J class service/food for us all, only he paid a lot more than I did 🙁
I avoid EK, where possible, as I think they think they are far better than they are; too rapid expansion has lead to a big drop in standards. They used to be really good, but that was a few years ago. As the previous poster writes, on a good day, they can be fantastic, so can BA, it’s the bad days that are the problem.
Etihad is my prefered airline to the middle east, decent business seat, okay service and significantly lower fares than EK.
I also second the credit card route.19th September 2011 at 09:56 #502963
I sent the complaint letter to Customer Affairs and they acknowledged receipt one week ago but I have not heard anything since then. I also wrote an email again to the head of Emirates in Cyprus but have not heard anything from him either… will keep everyone posted.
I will also forward the correspondence to a couple of Editors for BT and other travel magazines.19th September 2011 at 10:07 #502964
It’s often not so much the act of being downgraded, but the way in which it is handled.
I’ve obviously never been downgraded, but were it to happen I think airlines could do well to better understand what customers expect in such a situation. I would posit that:
1. An honest and straightforward reason for the downgrade, with transparent reasoning as to why you were “chosen”
2. Agreed “immediate” compensation, such as access to the very best lounges possible on the ground, both outbound and return (costs the airline only marginally)
3. VERY clear instructions to the crew on board that this passenger booked in F, and should have access to F catering and drinks (again, being honest to the customers around him/her about the situation so as to avoid embarrassment)
4. Pre-agreed compensation which accurately reflects the financial loss in the first instance, and goes some way to compensating the other issues (not such a biggie from F to J, rather more of an issue from J to Premium Economy)
5. Full Miles and TPs for the flights downgraded, as originally booked
6. Something in addition to “delight” the passenger on their next trip with the carrier (e.g. upgrade voucher)
While never ideal. I think most reasonable people (and even Guardian readers!) understand that with finite space, it may not be possible to accommodate everyone all the time without increasing fares.
Too often, airlines have shoddy “make do and mend” approaches to such high risk situations; it’s situations like this which can alienate customers for life, or can (counterintuitively) turn them into brand champions.20th September 2011 at 04:16 #502965
Absolutely agree – the way it is handled is much more important.
1. I was downgraded cause the aircraft had no first class (I presume perhaps not enough first-class tickets?)
2. I received a great big £0 in compensation
3. At check-in, I was given a lecture that “aircraft change, its fact of life, deal with it basically – and if you want to complain, write a letter!”
4. I was told that customer services would contact me, they didnt, until I chased them, and then they said, the fare difference which I could receive ONLY IF I provided evidence of the downgrade (ie. original boarding pass!), was €18. Imagine, I paid over €2000 for 1st class!
Wonderful handling20th September 2011 at 06:00 #502966
Whilst I agree with most of your post, I don’t believe that downgraded pax should receive a better product than others who have paid for it.
When upgraded, one should expect to receive the product in that cabin and the reverse applies.
To expect crew to inform other pax in the class that ‘this one is more equal than you’ is unwise.
Any cc member will be likely to tell you that you tend to encounter a lot more prickly egos in J, compared to F and this could set a few of the little darlings off ‘on one.’
I once flew W with BA, as it was a last minute booking (literally the night before) and J was full. I asked the CSD if they had any no shows and if so, could I pay on board to upgrade. They didn’t, so there I stayed and I was okay with that, I had a seat and it wasn’t the worst ever.
To cut a long story short, because they knew I was a legit guy, not trying to blag a freebie, I was supplied with champagne from J throughout the flight.
I had mixed feelings about this, on the one hand it was a very nice gesture and I enjoyed the champagne, but on the other hand I felt quite uncomfortable with the muttering and looks from the other pax.
FYI, EU261/2004 mandates a 50% refund of ticket price in the event of a downgrade, although I doubt csGold10yrs is covered by the directive – might be worth checking.
Sadly it is a tough lesson learned. Emirates is a bit like Ryanair, the focus seems to be on aggregate numbers, not individuals and they seem to take a view that ‘if you don’t like it, &*$£ off.’
Also empowerment of employees is not widespread in the middle east, so they are not going to stick their neck out and risk ‘the chop’ (words chosen carefully), when they can wind it in and stay safe.
Having said that, it’s not just Emirates who offer a lousy response. BA cancelled a flight on me in late 2009 and never refunded the fare for that segment. The matter is now with the NEB in France, since a chain of communications to BA from me and also a lawyer, have remained unanswered.
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