Aggravation with the EK booking...

Old Jan 16, 12, 10:23 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: West Coast, USA
Programs: Skywards Platinum
Posts: 3,710
Aggravation with the EK booking...

This is my first year flying Emirates and so far I have really enjoyed it (then again I have only flown F). I am on track to rack up over 350,000 tier miles in the next 6 months.

The online, and subsequently offline, booking of tickets has been an extremely aggravating process. All went fine for a few weeks while I was able to book around $50k worth of tickets. Then, all of a sudden one day the online site declined my credit card. I called AMEX to find out why and they told me that they hadn't declined anything. I proceeded to try several of my other credit cards and everything was being denied, even though none of my banks were denying any charges. Finally I call Emirates and they are able to manually put through two bookings, but then they also get a denial after that. They then proceed to tell me that after 3 denials in a 24 hour period I must wait 24 hours for the system to unblock my account.

Of course, this is puzzling as none of my credit cards have been declined from any of my banks. 24 hours later I try more bookings, the first goes through, the second gets denied. I call Emirates again and they are able to charge the 2nd one, but any further attempts fail. This goes on for over a week, with me trying the same thing every day.

One thing to note is that this all started happening when the new fare sale came out in late December, and I was buying lots of tickets to take advantage of it. I emailed Skywards and also the customer affairs at Emirates about this credit card issue back around December 30th, asking them to look into it and find out what is going on. It is over 2 weeks later now and I have not received a single response.

Now, to my most aggravating moment. When the incredible NBO fares came out I decided to do some milage runs and booked 4 round-trip J fares from NBO -> DFW and SEA over February/March. I booked 3 of the tickets early on January 8th, the day before the sale ended. However, in order for these trips to work I had to change the dates on 2 of my existing tickets so that everything connected correctly.

So I went to change the first of my existing flights, when I went to pay the $100 change fee my credit card was declined, this is after I just spent in excess of $7k on that card via Emirates. I called Emirates and they were unable to get my credit card to work either. So, I had them try another, declined. Then another, declined. In total they tried 5 credit cards, and all were declined for a $100 charge!! I called AMEX and one other bank and they all claimed they didn't deny anything. Furthermore, after all of the declines, I went online and was able to successfully book my 4th NBO -> DFW flight using the same credit card that Emirates declined for the $100 change fee.

I attempted to change my 2nd existing flight and of course that charge was declined as well. The Emirates agent told me I needed to wait 24 hours to make the payment as my account was blocked for 3 declines. I specifically told her that I was concerned about the sale ending on the 9th and my flight changes would be repriced at a higher amount. She told me not to worry that they were in the system and to just call back in 24 hours to pay.

Here is the rub, on the 9th I am traveling all day and have only 30-40 minute times I can call through my connections. I have a flight from SFO -> ORD with a 40 minute layover at 7 AM. I call Emirates and for the ENTIRE 40 minutes am on hold. This is odd since I am never on hold for more than about 5 minutes on average. I guess the last day of this sale is taking its toll on the agents. I have to finally hang up since I am boarding my outbound from ORD -> BOS.

I land in BOS at 10 AM and end up missing my connection to MIA, so have about 1.5 hours in BOS. I call Emirates again, and am on hold for the ENTIRE 1.5 hours, never get through to them. But, I do get online and try to change my 2nd flight again, get all the way to payment, and the $100 payment fails.

I rebook from BOS -> DFW, and call Emirates from DFW. I have only a 30 minute connection but the entire 30 minutes on hold, I even board the plane while on hold and have to finally turn off the phone when the FA makes me.

Last leg from DFW -> SJO. As soon as I land in SJO at 7 PM I find a restaurant and call Emirates. After 45 minuets on hold I give up and head to my hotel.

At the hotel I finally get a hold of an agent at 9:30 PM. They find my change orders and process the first one, and it goes through!! I ask them to process my 2nd one and....... the line goes dead. I call back and talk to a new agent. She starts to process the 2nd change and tells me that I need to pay a fare difference of US$9,300! I tell her no way, there was no fare difference and I have been trying to change it since yesterday morning and the payment system at Emirates is broken. After going back and forth and her not willing to do anything, I finally get a supervisor on the phone. The supervisor basically tells me to go pound sand, there is nothing he can do and the decision is final that i have to pay in excess of $9,000 to make the date change on my ticket. I even told them I have over $75k+ worth of tickets booked in the past 30 days and that I need to change this date in order to make all of the tickets I just booked connect correctly. I offered to provide copies of the attempts to make the change with the listed change fees of $100 and no fare difference, etc... It made no difference, either pay the $9k+ or beat it. He told me that I should have gone to an "Emirates Office" to pay in person. I told him I was traveling all day and I am in Costa Rica now where there is no office. He responds that i should have sent a friend to do it for me. Really?!?

I emailed Emirates and Skywards and they said they would look into it, but it may take up to 30 days to get a response?!? The flight in question is in just 2 weeks that needs changing!!

Bah.... Extremely frustrating to say the least. From other posts here online I am not the only one that has these "declined credit card transactions" when the credit card is fine. This sort of thing should not be allowed, because of errors at Emirates on their ability to process credit cards, they now expect me to pay them $9k+ to change the date of a flight.

Does anybody here have any recommendation on how to get them to resolve this issue?
whimike is offline  
Old Jan 16, 12, 12:14 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: BOM
Programs: EK Gold, HHonors Diamond
Posts: 2,794
I can only sympathize with you - $9k a date change really pinches. All the best with EK customer service.

Just one thing. I assume that you have attained Gold with Skywards. I am usually never on hold and when I am, it is usually never for more than 1 minute or two. If you update your mobile number on your Skywards profile, then the moment you dial in it will recognize you as a gold member and ask you to dial your pin - once you do that, it connects you to the Skywards desk who are fairly helpful in my experience. 45 minutes of hold is unheard of! I would try the Dubai number in such situations: +9714 214 4444.
jackiedada is offline  
Old Jan 16, 12, 12:15 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 14,758
Originally Posted by whimike View Post
Does anybody here have any recommendation on how to get them to resolve this issue?
I've had similar issues. Only solution that consistently works is to go to an office. Pain in the arse if you ask me, but thats what it is.
B747-437B is offline  
Old Jan 16, 12, 12:39 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Programs: Skywards
Posts: 463
Writing emails to them is useless. Wait, I mean pi.. poor. They take weeks to respond. They really do need to bring their standards up for their most important customers (Gold). I feel for ya, hope you get it sorted.
S c 0 TT y is offline  
Old Jan 16, 12, 12:44 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: West Coast, USA
Programs: Skywards Platinum
Posts: 3,710
Originally Posted by jackiedada View Post
I can only sympathize with you - $9k a date change really pinches. All the best with EK customer service.

Just one thing. I assume that you have attained Gold with Skywards. I am usually never on hold and when I am, it is usually never for more than 1 minute or two. If you update your mobile number on your Skywards profile, then the moment you dial in it will recognize you as a gold member and ask you to dial your pin - once you do that, it connects you to the Skywards desk who are fairly helpful in my experience. 45 minutes of hold is unheard of! I would try the Dubai number in such situations: +9714 214 4444.
It was only on that particular day that I was on what seemed to be endless holds. I suspect it had to do with the promotion.
whimike is offline  
Old Jan 16, 12, 12:47 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: West Coast, USA
Programs: Skywards Platinum
Posts: 3,710
Originally Posted by S c 0 TT y View Post
Writing emails to them is useless. Wait, I mean pi.. poor. They take weeks to respond. They really do need to bring their standards up for their most important customers (Gold). I feel for ya, hope you get it sorted.
interestingly, while my emails asking about the credit card issue are going on 2-weeks+ with no answer, my emails to them about this change of ticket issue were answered within 1 or 2 days. The answers, though, were simply to state they have been forwarded and an investigation started, and I should expect to hear in 30 days. So, while i did get a response, the net effect is that it is still going to take weeks for any sort of response that is meaningful.
whimike is offline  
Old Jan 16, 12, 12:56 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,096
That is some serious flying and

"The supervisor basically tells me to go pound sand, there is nothing he can do and the decision is final that i have to pay in excess of $9,000 to make the date change on my ticket. I even told them I have over $75k+ worth of tickets booked in the past 30 days and that I need to change this date in order to make all of the tickets I just booked connect correctly. I offered to provide copies of the attempts to make the change with the listed change fees of $100 and no fare difference, etc... It made no difference, either pay the $9k+ or beat it. He told me that I should have gone to an "Emirates Office" to pay in person. I told him I was traveling all day and I am in Costa Rica now where there is no office. He responds that i should have sent a friend to do it for me. Really?!?"

..There goes the common sense!
joorinainen is offline  
Old Jan 16, 12, 9:00 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Programs: Emirates Skywards Gold, Aeroplan, Club Carlson Silver, Marriott Silver
Posts: 858
I gave up on the EK website this year. I booked my 5 tickets for this spring on Expedia.
JTXC is offline  
Old Jan 21, 12, 11:51 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: West Coast, USA
Programs: Skywards Platinum
Posts: 3,710
*** UPDATE ***

So, the last week I have been stressing out as to what to do to fix my issue. All of the possible tickets have gone up in price dramatically. I figured worst case I can book a Y ticket for the proper dates and cancel my F ticket, thinking there is a chance i can get upgraded to J from Y, or would just have to suffer in Y as punishment for this debacle.

I have already started my travels and have been in Hong Kong for the past few days. Each night I got on my computer to see if I can find any possible fares out of various locations. Last night some fares opened up and I was able to book a J fare from CAI -> DXB -> SEA and back for $2k!! Ah, problem solved. Will cancel the F ticket in a few days since I am all set now, although in J.

This morning, my phone rings. Unknown on the called ID which I usually don't answer. So, I don't answer it. They call again, so I decide to answer. It is Emirates! They tell me that they will honor the failed change request at the price on the failed change request, which is $83. Holy cow!! Somehow my e-mails to Emirates got to somebody that had the power to make changes and they did so. Amazing!!!

I really had set my hopes and expectations very low based on reading others experiences here on FT. Franky, I was expecting Emirates to contact me after the date of the ticket had already passed. I was very pleasantly surprised by their call and even more surprised by their willingness to correct the problem. It was completely contrary to what I had prepared myself for.

Luckily, I had a back-up plan with the J ticket and had convinced myself that I was saving lots of money by changing from F to J. Now I am back on my F ticket.

Moral of the story is that Emirates does respond to e-mails and was able to make things right. I am sure having proper documentation and screenshots of the failed attempts to change the ticket with the price to change showing helped here, so being prepared with proper evidence I am sure played a key role.
whimike is offline  
Old Jan 22, 12, 12:08 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,901
Frankly, this does not really sound like an airline you want to do business with, although the issue was finally resolved. You may want to get a travel agent for the future.
CalFlyer is offline  
Old Jan 22, 12, 12:13 am
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: West Coast, USA
Programs: Skywards Platinum
Posts: 3,710
Originally Posted by CalFlyer View Post
Frankly, this does not really sound like an airline you want to do business with, although the issue was finally resolved. You may want to get a travel agent for the future.
Overall I have been very happy with Emirates, except for this one issue. I also trust myself and FT to weed out the best deals, rather than letting a TA run loose. Last thing I need is another person between me and Emirates.
whimike is offline  
Old Jan 22, 12, 12:29 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 545
Originally Posted by whimike View Post
This morning, my phone rings. Unknown on the called ID which I usually don't answer. So, I don't answer it. They call again, so I decide to answer. It is Emirates!

Can l ask, why you don't answer unknown caller ID phone calls? Is it because you might get charged roaming fees?
Oneworldplus2 is offline  
Old Jan 22, 12, 12:45 am
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: West Coast, USA
Programs: Skywards Platinum
Posts: 3,710
Originally Posted by Oneworldplus2 View Post
Can l ask, why you don't answer unknown caller ID phone calls? Is it because you might get charged roaming fees?
I don't at home either. If the person wants me to answer they will let me know who they are. Most of the time I answer calls with Caller ID "unknown" it is a telemarketer. And certainly that is the last thing I want to do when I have to pay $1.99 - $2.99 per minute for overseas roaming.
whimike is offline  
Old Jan 23, 12, 8:44 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 8
Pleased to read thats all sorted !!!

When booking seats in First or Buisness, credit/debit card always seems to be declined, not by Emirates but by the bank, until I call up the fraud number and go thru security etc

Never had any problems with Emirates directly. Did send them a message about the massage seat function not working in 777-300ER from DXB but their reply was prompt, i.e within 24 hours. But this was trivial.
shant is offline  
Old Jan 23, 12, 4:17 pm
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: West Coast, USA
Programs: Skywards Platinum
Posts: 3,710
Originally Posted by shant View Post
Pleased to read thats all sorted !!!

When booking seats in First or Buisness, credit/debit card always seems to be declined, not by Emirates but by the bank, until I call up the fraud number and go thru security etc

Never had any problems with Emirates directly. Did send them a message about the massage seat function not working in 777-300ER from DXB but their reply was prompt, i.e within 24 hours. But this was trivial.
I had a fraud alert from AMEX the very first time I booked an Emirates ticket back in November of last year. Since then AMEX has never declined a single charge from Emirates. Yet, I have received about 20+ declines on the Emirates site. I call AMEX right after each decline and they claim they not only have not declined anything, but there isn't any record of Emirates even attempting an authorization.
whimike is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread