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Rant : Poorly handled 8 hour delay in Accra

Rant : Poorly handled 8 hour delay in Accra

Old Aug 26, 10, 2:04 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 14,913
Rant : Poorly handled 8 hour delay in Accra

To : [email protected]

Dear Sirs,

I was a passenger on your flight EK 788 of 25th August 2010 from Accra to Dubai. This flight was scheduled to depart from Accra at 1730hrs but was delayed till past 0100hrs the following morning due to shortage of crew.

I am writing to draw your attention to the extremely poor handling of the situation by Emirates with regards to passenger welfare. While the delay itself may have been due to circumstances outside of Emirates' control, the service recovery was an area that Emirates could control but unfortunately failed to deal with passenger welfare appropriately.

The key areas of service deficiency were :

a) Checkin staff declined to provide lounge invitations (a published benefit of Skywards Gold status) at 2100hrs and instead instructed passengers to proceed immediately to the boarding gate. This instruction was neither necessary nor appropriate as there were no Emirates staff present at the boarding gate till just after 2200hrs and the gate area itself was occupied by British Airways passengers.

b) No refreshments or even drinking water were available for passengers who reported to the boarding gate at 2100hrs and passed through security screening. Physical passenger boarding did not commence till almost 0030hrs. As a result, these passengers were confined within an enclosed secure area for almost 4 hours under very cramped, chaotic and uncomfortable conditions.

c) Altercations ensued between passengers and Delta Air Lines security staff who forcibly removed Emirates passengers from seats in the gate area to enable later arriving Delta passengers to be seated. This was especially troubling as Emirates staff appeared to be powerless to stop these Delta security operatives from physically manhandling passengers and their hand baggage.

d) Once the flight was airborne, the first meal service offered was an inadequate "light snack" at 0130hrs. The Cabin Crew may have had the opportunity to eat dinner at their hotel prior to boarding the aircraft and they may have viewed the meal as appropriate in that context; however most passengers had been stranded at the airport for many hours with no access to refreshments and would have preferred a proper dinner to be served as listed in the provided menus.

The poor handling of this situation has resulted in significant lost productivity during my limited time in Dubai. The entire morning was forfeited as we landed at 1315hrs rather than 0545hrs as scheduled. I am sure you understand that it is not easy to reschedule plans intended for a Thursday during Ramadan.

I would appreciate if you could provide some sort of goodwill gesture to compensate for the inconveniences that I was subjected to. I am willing to accept a reasonable amount of Skywards miles towards this end.

Finally, please pass on my thanks to the Accra town office staff who proactively notified passengers of the delay in the early morning, as well as the crew of the flight who worked a physically demanding schedule at minimum rest to ensure that the disruption was not exacerbated even further.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
My Name Here
Skywards Gold Member 123456789
Booking Ref ABCDEF
E-ticket 1761234567890
B747-437B is offline  
Old Aug 26, 10, 3:27 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 44
Very well written, will be interesting to see how long it takes to get a response and what the outcome will be.
But really, you did well IMO to keep emotion out of the email, and just to provide concise facts. All the points you raised are valid, hopefully its taken constructively and someone somewhere learns from it.
EKglobetrotter is offline  
Old Aug 26, 10, 4:49 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Programs: EK Gold SQ TPPS BA SILV
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Something similair happened to someone i know, travelling in J, he got 25,000 miles. I think you should push for the same considering you had some extra issues.

Do keep us informed.
GSCAM is offline  
Old Aug 26, 10, 7:30 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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B747-437B, do you actually expect to get anything out of EK? You've written in the past that EK management doesn't really care when a non-Arab or non-Caucasian has a problem.
ttjoseph is offline  
Old Aug 26, 10, 7:46 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by ttjoseph View Post
B747-437B, do you actually expect to get anything out of EK? You've written in the past that EK management doesn't really care when a non-Arab or non-Caucasian has a problem.
Indeed. Let's see what transpires. To be fair, everyone had a miserable time during this delay (the Australian guy next to me had slightly more colourful language!) so the scope of the issue may compel them to do something rather than an individual case.
B747-437B is offline  
Old Aug 26, 10, 10:26 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Dubai, UAE
Programs: EK Gold, BA Silver, IHC Plat, HERTZ gold, GF Gold, SAS Silver
Posts: 744
Place your bets ladies and gentlemen....

OK, what is the betting this will be the base of the reply, if you read into other replies they are all so similar, totally missing the point to the letter and ignoring the main reason that regular customers take time out to write to them in the first place - oh other than glowing on any compliment they can, then passing the blame and saying they will investigate, then never hearing from them again!

Here is what I think you will get back..........


Dear Mr B747-437B

Thank you for your e-mail message of 27 August in connection with your journey Accra-Dubai

On a positive note, I am naturally pleased to learn that we have exceeded your expectations on with regards to our town staff. Emirates places high priority on customer service and we are proud to have professional representatives who offer our passengers the highest standards of customer care. When customers, like you, take the time and trouble to tell us the things that we have done well, it encourages us to do even better. Your compliments have been conveyed to the relevant Senior Managers. I am sure all concerned will be delighted to know that their good work did not go unnoticed.

You are indeed correct in pointing out that the delay was beyond our control at Emirates I am sorry for any delays caused on this occasion.

It is disappointing to learn of your observations regarding the service attitude of members of our check-in staff at Accra airport. It is also alarming to hear your comments regarding the meal service; however, flights are loaded with meals prior to their departure from DXB or again from our out-stations.

Please be assured that as unprofessional service conduct of staff members is not tolerated, I have drawn the attention of the Management concerned to the points you have raised and hope that on the next occasion you travel with us, you will have the opportunity to experience a standard of service that meets with your expectations.

Mr B747-437B I thank you for taking the time and trouble to detail your experience and for bringing to our attention those aspects of our service that did not meet your expectations. We appreciate your support as a valued Gold Skywards member do hope we can leave you with a more a more positive impression on your future flights with us.

Yours without care,

EK Customer Affairs
Down_the_back is offline  
Old Aug 27, 10, 12:01 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Dubai, UAE
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Haha - Careful DTB - Emirates will want to hire you to prepare a series of template / stock answers to complaints. Are you sure that you are not really an Emirates customer service employee already?
mrtdxb is offline  
Old Aug 27, 10, 6:02 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Programs: EK Gold, QR Gold, Miles&Smiles, Miles&More
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DTB it was really funny. Especially the closing note "Yours without care!"

B747 please keep us posted if you get a response.
kilic16slx is offline  
Old Aug 27, 10, 7:51 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 400
Here is my Reply from emirates when i was delayed by 90 Mins and missed my Airasia Flight to Phuket (I have changed my surname on the Letter ;-) Just in case emirates read these posts

Dear Mr Smith

I write further to your recent emails and apologise for the significant delay in responding to you. Unfortunately, the delay you have encountered arose due to the error on the part of a member of our admin team and I am sorry that you have been affected by this situation.

Nevertheless, I feel it is important I reassure you that Emirates places the greatest emphasis on the quality of service provided to all passengers, both in the air and on the ground, and I do apologise for any dissatisfaction caused by your recent experience.

Although every effort is made to operate flights according to planned schedules, there are times when flights are disrupted due to reasons that could not be foreseen. As you are aware, flight EK372 on 22 March experienced a delay of 1 hour and 26 minutes to its departure from Dubai. This was a direct knock-on effect of a delay that had affected another flight due to the adverse weather conditions in Dubai. Due to the number of passengers that would be disrupted should flight EK372 have left on time, the decision was made to hold this flight back to accommodate the large number of connecting passengers.

I can appreciate how this situation may have caused you to miss your onward flight arrangements in Bangkok and I would like to extend my apologies in this respect. I must however clarify that in accordance with general airline practice and as stated in our conditions of carriage, we are unable to accept liability for passengers’ onward flights, unless these are reflected on a single ticket. As you onward journey was ticketed separately, I regret to advise that we will be unable to assist in any claim for compensation in this regard and I must respectfully advise you to refer this part of your claim to your travel insurers.


Nevertheless, Mr Smith, I was glad to note that you were still provided with hotel accommodation upon your arrival due to the circumstances you were encountering and as a further, I have taken the liberty to credit your Skywards account with 10,000. I hope you will find this useful towards some of our many rewards.

I would like to add that whilst our statistics for disrupted flights compare favourably with those of other major airlines, occasional flight disruption must be viewed as inevitable in this day and age of modern air travel. I do hope that in time, you will allow us another opportunity to serve you again, as we would be delighted for the chance to regain your confidence and support.


Yours sincerely

Last edited by malct; Aug 27, 10 at 8:04 am
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Old Aug 28, 10, 12:19 am
  #10  
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It's just not my week.

Today on EK241 DXB-YYZ the ICE system died for about 1/3rd of the upper deck (including my seat) halfway through the flight. The absolutely wonderful purser bustled around trying to reboot and fix things but no dice.

I guess I need to draft another request for compensation.

It never rains but it pours!
B747-437B is offline  
Old Aug 28, 10, 5:03 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 13
ek templates!

mrtdxb
Code:
Haha - Careful DTB - Emirates will want to hire you to prepare a series of template / stock answers to complaints. Are you sure that you are not really an Emirates customer service employee already?

DTB probably prepared a reply within 5 minutes. Emirates takes three weeks
to prepare a copy paste reply from their templates!
as
Travel Quest is offline  
Old Sep 30, 10, 6:30 am
  #12  
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Well, wonders never cease. It took a month but a very thorough and comprehensive reply was received this morning.


Thank you for taking the time and trouble to detail your concerns in your e-mail of 27th August 2010.

On behalf of Emirates, please accept my apologies for the inconvenience you experienced due to the delayed departure of flight EK788 from Accra to Dubai, on 25th August.

Our Daily Operations Report confirms that the delay of 7 hours and 22 minutes was due to operational reasons.

Although every effort is made to achieve on-time departures, which is an integral part of our product, there are occasions when flights are delayed due to circumstances beyond our control.

I regret to learn that you are unhappy with several aspects of our service both on board the aircraft and on the ground. On receipt of your original e-mail message, I obtained a report from the relevant departments. I would like to address each of the issues you have raised.

1) Our Call Centre in Accra informed all passengers of the delayed departure of flight EK788 on 25th August.
2) All our Premium class passengers and Gold and Silver Skywards members were informed of the revised timings of check-in.
3) Our Gold Skywards members along with their guest were handed lounge invites. Hence, I am at a loss when you state that our ground staff declined to provide lounge invitations.
4) All transit passengers from Abidjan, our Premium passengers and Gold Skywards members were offered dinner at the Airport Restaurant.
5) The boarding gate was opened at 10.00 pm and boarding commenced at 12.18am.
6) Our Airport Services Manager in Accra confirms that due to the airport facility constraints, there are only a total of 3 gates. The gate assigned for Emirates is also used by other airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM and Delta.

Customer feedback is taken very seriously as it enables us to identify those areas of our service which need improvement. I do hope that we can leave you with a more positive impression on your future flights with us.

Notwithstanding this position, we regret the inconvenience you experienced as a result of your delayed arrival at your final destination, and we wish to take this opportunity to restore your faith in Emirates

As a goodwill gesture, without prejudice or admission of liability, I am pleased to credit your Skywards account with 10,000 miles.

Thank you for writing to us and for allowing me to respond to your concerns. We appreciate your support as a valued Gold Skywards member and look forward to welcoming you on board our flights again.

Yours sincerely,
Customer Affairs

Last edited by B747-437B; Sep 30, 10 at 7:01 am
B747-437B is offline  
Old Sep 30, 10, 6:51 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 278
Lol @ "....without prejudice or admission of liability..."
eshaq786 is offline  
Old Sep 30, 10, 6:57 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: OSL
Posts: 4,473
10,000 miles seems very little. As this was due to operational reasons, aren't they liable to giving some sort of proper compensation? After all, they hand out free tickets if they want you to take the next flight after 10 hours, and at least then you don't need to keep waiting hoping the flight will leave.

Btw, you probably want to remove your name from the e-mail excerpt.
ung1 is offline  
Old Sep 30, 10, 9:17 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by ung1 View Post
10,000 miles seems very little. As this was due to operational reasons, aren't they liable to giving some sort of proper compensation?
I'm perfectly happy with the 10,000 miles. I was looking more at a non-form response which I have received. The issue was a sick pilot which unfortunately is out of everyone's control.

I also had the chance to discuss the delay with the MD of the local handling agent for Emirates and he confirms that while EK did give instructions for passenger welfare as described in the email, it was very difficult to track down passengers and implement them due to the crowds of passengers at the airport that evening.

FWIW, this was what the gate area looked like for 3 hours that evening. Truly standing room only and wall to wall people.


Last edited by B747-437B; Jun 24, 12 at 6:00 am
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