Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I Contacted Emirates Customer Affairs -- And Failed

The following correspondence I made with Customer Affairs of Emirates Airlines and I haven’t received any satisfactory response. Maybe publishing it here will help?

1. First letter I sent to Customer Affairs: 

Subject: Complaint on Airport Handling at Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar.

Dear Sir/Madam,

My father had booked a return airline ticket for me to travel from Moscow to Doha and back during my last summer vacation. The departure date from Moscow to Doha was 29th June 2015 and the return journey was 30th August 2015. I have been studying in Moscow for the last 3 years and I hold a valid Russian Residence Permit (Visa).

I have been traveling twice a year with other Airlines such as Etihad, Qatar Airways, Jet Airways as well as Air India. Since Emirates is known for its great aircraft as well as its unbeatable services, I booked the best possible airline that I could afford me, Emirates. I am sorry to say that following the experience that I had to go through – I regret the decision I made by booking a flight with Emirates.

On 30th August 2015 I approached Emirates Airline’s Counter of Hamad International Airport in order to return to Moscow. Since the counter staff could not comprehend that the visa on my passport was a residence visa, I was advised to book a return air ticket from Moscow back to Doha in order to travel.  It had reached a point in the conversation that, if I do not book a return flight, I couldn’t travel with the same flight.

The person at the counter repeatedly refused that the residence visa on my passport was not a valid residence visa of Russia. Since I know the Russian Language, I tried to explain to the counter staff kindly, that this clearly states that it is a residence visa of Russia. Unfortunately he was not ready to listen to any clarifications and he told me to take return ticket if I want to travel with the same flight and he explained that this is the Emirates Airline’s policy.

There was no other option for me as my classes start the next day, hence, I was “forced” to book a return air ticket from QAS Travel & Tours right then and there. I would like to share a little more light to the situation that I was “emotionally tortured in public” and “humiliated” by the counter staff, I will never accept an organization like Emirates to have a situation result in this manner.

On 26th September 2015 my father approached the QAS Travel & Tours to refund the ticket and they checked the receipts and told him the refund amount will be QR. 680/- only out of the QR. 1500/- that I spent on the return ticket (Moscow to Doha) after the deduction of service change and ticket cancellation charge.

That means my father losing his hard earned QR. 820/- due to an incompetent counter staff of Emirates Airline.  I cannot only accept the financial loose but also the torture and humiliation that I had to go through in public.

If the Emirates Airline’s counter staff at Hamad International Airport is correct, please clarify the following:

Why is this happening only at Emirates Airlines?

1. My class mate was traveled the same day evening with Qatar Airways from Doha to Moscow and there was no problem at all for his journey since he is bearing the exact similar Russian Residence Permit (visa).

2. Another two of my friends were traveling from Kochi to Moscow with Emirates Airlines and joined me at Dubai Airport for traveling to Moscow and they did not have to experience such humiliation and torture at Kochi International Airport.

3. I traveled with other Airlines earlier from Hamad International Airport, Doha and such a situation has never happened.

In view of the above, I would like to claim the following:

1. You have to advice the QAS Travel & Tours to refund the full amount for my return ticket (Moscow to Doha), because the ticket was purchased unnecessarily with your Airport Counter Staff’s inadequacy and bad behavior.

2. You have to pay compensation for torturing me at Airport in front of public and put me in to a very humiliating situation that I had to experience throughout the journey.

3. My father wasted time and traveled unnecessarily from Dukhan to Hamad International Airport (120km + 120km) to settle this issue due to the incompetence of emirates counter staff.

I hope you will settle the above issue immediately and not cause more stress on us, with not only a refund, but also a compensation as well for this whole issue.

Adheela Shams

2. Reply from Customer Affairs

Our Ref No: DXB/X/HS/280915/7068080
20 October 2015

Dear Ms Shams,

Thank you for your correspondence of 30 September 2015 with regard to your travel with Emirates.

I regret to learn of the inconvenience experienced by you, when you were unable to travel on flight EK852 from Doha to Dubai on 23 August, due to incomplete documentation (Student ID), related to the mandatory security features required on a visa. In such a situation the Document Check officials will refer a passenger to their respective Embassy for verification.

Please allow me to advise that it is always the passenger's responsibility to ensure that he/she has obtained all relevant exit and entry visas and other necessary travel documents for the journey.  Any document inspection carried out by the airline or ground handling agent at the airport of departure is merely to establish that the passenger is in possession of travel documents for the flight.

Of course, possession of the appropriate appearing documents entitles the passenger to travel with an airline as booked, but does not always guarantee right of entry into the country of destination.  This is always subject to the local Immigration Authority's approval at the entry port.

I learn from the airport services Manager in Doha that you were in possession of a Student Visa with a restricted validity; hence you were requested to provide a supporting identification, Student ID or Resident ID, to exempt you from having a return ticket.

For your future travel, may I recommend that you visit the International Air Transport Association [IATA] website. which provides travelers with full information on visa requirements for all countries.

Whilst we can understand your concerns, I must point out that the predicament you found yourself in was not due to Emirates. Regrettably I am unable to offer you a refund of the new ticket purchased as requested in your letter.

Ms Shams, thank you for allowing me this opportunity to respond.  We look forward to another opportunity to welcome you on-board Emirates, to demonstrate our service commitment.

Yours Sincerely,
Hamza Sallaheddine
Customer Affairs

3. My response to Customer Affairs, the reply to my complaint


I am very sorry to say that your investigation and feed back is incomplete, because you never checked with me whether I am holding student ID or not.

Quote: “I learn from the airport services Manager in Doha that you were in possession of a Student Visa with a restricted validity; hence you were requested to provide a supporting identification, Student ID or Resident ID, to exempt you from having a return ticket” Unquote.

The above is absolutely wrong and your Airport Service Manager is trying to mislead and his credibility in question.

The fact was that I showed my student ID during the Counter staff’s argument, but it was also in Ruski (Russian Language) and he was not ready to look at the Student ID.

Please note that I am not a 1st time international traveler and yearly twice I am travelling Moscow to Doha and Indian destinations since 2012 and from my child hood I am travelling with my parents internationally and never had such arrogant attitude from a airport counter staff.

And also note the same day or same week many of my friend students travelled with same visa from Hamad International Airport, Dubai International Airport, Delhi International Airport and from Kochi International Airport. Why didn’t the same happen to them?

Hence if you are not giving proper reply to my complaint within three (3) working days, I will proceed further steps including the issue will be brought to Aviation Consumer Protection Division, Consumer Rights & Protection and will be discussed in Social Medias.

Adheela Shams