Emirates – High Expectations. Poor Experience.

I haven’t been on an Emirates flight in ages but have always had a good experience with them.

Today, myself, my wife, my 17 month old son & my mother-in-law are heading to India via Dubai.

We had been reminded of how great Emirates was and that we would be taken care of.

I’m normally very easy going but you know, when past experiences and popular opinion (or hype) treks you that your experience will be nothing but the best, expectations have a tendency to be raised to new levels.

What we experienced was anything but stellar.

The very first cabin crew member that we had any meaningful interaction with, didn’t seem to want to be there, nor was this person happy to see us. I suppose my young son put her off as she could see some (or a lot of) crying in her future.

Throughout the 8 hour flight, we had to keep asking for help. Not once did anyone come and ask us if we needed anything. So much for being taken care of.

The funniest/saddest/annoying bit was when we asked for a bowl to be rinsed (we had fed Judah Weetabix in this bowl so it was dried and crusty) and the bowl came back just as dirty, but it was a bit most because they had soaked it in hot water but not bothered to really rinse it out. It boggles my mind that someone could do this and not use common sense!


We still have a long way to go in our journey to India. I’m not very hopeful that the rest of our trip will be remarkable in any way. I hear it might just go downhill.

I’m writing this post as we wait in Singapore to board our flight to Dubai. That’s how impressed I am.

We are just lowly economy passengers so we don’t expect to be treated like Sheikhs, but our experience could have been, should have been, so much better.

Thanks Emirates, great customer service thus far.

[box]Updated 12/10/2014[/box]

I thought I should share some details about the rest of the trip.

The Singapore to Dubai leg was no different.

I get it. Those traveling with a baby aren’t favourites in an airplane, but don’t the other passengers and more importantly, the crew, understand how difficult it is for the parents to do this? We are not doing this because we like to put our 17 month old through so much grief or because we like to challenge ourselves or because we want to inconvenience others. We are going through all of this because we haven’t seen our family for a number of years, because my parents are eager to see their grandchild!

We felt like we were walking on egg shells, with the passengers around us and the crew wondering when our boy would “lose it”.

When we landed in Dubai, I noticed one of the high and mighty business class passengers staring us/me down. I’m so sorry sir that my 17 month old baby boy didn’t have the courtesy or presence of mind to keep his voice down and behave like an intelligent and respectable human being!

Hey Emirates, here’s a suggestion. How about letting parents with children disembark first, just like you allow us to board first?

While it was nice of Emirates to organise a hotel for the layover in Dubai, they could’ve done so much more to help us get it sorted. Again, they forget that we had been traveling with a baby for nearly a day and that we were tired, sleepless and the last thing we were wanting to do was figure out how to get to the hotel. It would’ve been nice if there was a staff member at the gate as we disembarked to give us some directions and help us. Since we are just Economy class passengers, that might be just too much to expect/ask.

Going through immigration in Dubai wasn’t as bad as I last remembered the process.

We had to wait another 30 minutes before the shuttle would take us to the Arabian Park hotel, not before the Emirates staff asked me about a missing coupon (for the hotel) for my mother-in-law, which was taken by the immigration officer (because the guy who stamped my transit visa, did it on the coupon). Brilliant move, but at this stage, I was over it all.

The few hours we spent at the hotel was nice and gave us a chance to rest a little. That is a nice touch Emirates, one of the only times where we felt like we were treated well.

The last leg of the journey, the shortest in our itinerary, felt long for other reasons. Being a keralite/malayalee, I can say this with all honesty that traveling to Kerala in an aircraft filled with my own people, isn’t the best experience. The passengers are very demanding, don’t follow instructions well and can be rude to the crew. So, I understand why the crew behave the way they do and have the opinion they have (not the best) about this sector.

[box]I am not speculating here. I have a number of friends who are/used to be crew members with Emirates, therefore, I have firsthand knowledge about a number of things.[/box]

At one point, I needed crew assistance and despite pressing the call button, no help came. After a while, I ended up doing what the other passengers were doing – just walking up to the galley and directly engaging with the crew.

We landed in Cochin finally. Things haven’t changed much there. The immigration process is slow and it still takes forever to collect our luggage and clear customs. Just what we needed after the kind of journey we had.

It was a difficult trip – long, tiring and sleepless.

My wife and I knew that this wouldn’t be easy but where we could’ve used a hand, some sympathy and understanding, we got little to none from the Emirates crew.

We still have our journey back to Brisbane.

Honestly, I am not looking forward to it.

Emirates, with their extravagant advertising and outlandish endeavours, has caused us to raise our expectations so much that when anything less than the best is delivered, it is very noticeable.

I am not sure if this post will achieve anything. If nothing else, it gave me a chance to express my disappointment and vent!

If you are reading this post and work for Emirates customer service, I’d be more than happy to talk to you and share some suggestions. Just email me ( sri at srikanthnair dot com) and we can arrange to have a conversation. In the various positions I have held over the years, delivering exemplary customer service experience has been key, so I know a thing or two about treating customers right.

Until such time that my family and I have  a remarkably different experience with Emirates, I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone and instead, would suggest you fly Singapore, with whom I have nothing but great memories.


Thank Sri :)Thank Sri 🙂

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