In this blog I am going to attempt a different approach to writing about a customer service experience. I haven’t written about customer service in a while and my most recent experience with Emirates Airlines compelled me to get back to it.
Why Emirates Airlines: Cause unlike many others I actually need to apply for visa in advance to visit the U.A.E. (can’t just show up at the door and be welcomed) and after calling the U.A.E. embassy I found that my options are to apply for the visa through Emirates Airlines. Of course Emirates required me to book the trip with them before they can help me with the visa and otherwise they wouldn’t have been my airline of choice.
Emirates Agent ONE: She answered all my questions around how to get a visa, make a booking first, get it ticketed then you go online and manage your booking and there you’d find the steps to apply for the Visa online, and it takes 5 days.
So I made an initial booking based on my earlier plan and didn’t ticket it yet.
Emirates Agent TWO: He answered my call the next day after I finalized my plans and helped me issue the ticket with a change of date. I know I had exactly five days to apply for the Visa. I asked him to confirm if this is enough time, he said yeah, plenty of time and you would have the option to choose an urgent application once you’ve paid for the ticket
So I paid for the ticket. I started the process to apply for the Visa and I got stuck because I didn’t have enough days for processing and the system wouldn’t let me get any further with my application and there is no such thing as urgent application.
Emirates Agent THREE: after I called in Panic asking what to do, he confirmed that I still have plenty of time to apply for the visa and advised that I keep the dates as they are and email visa support to enquire on why I am stuck, he also assured me that I will get a reply within 3 hours.
I send the email and I get an automated reply saying “we will respond to your query in 48 hours”!!!
Emirates Agent FOUR: At this point time was getting tight and I needed to move things forward for my travels to start. Changing the ticket would cost me an extra 100 bucks because it is a restricted fare. The only help this agent could do is email asking for a waiver of the 100 bucks and ask me to wait.
Emirates Agent FIVE: this was the next morning conversation. he said that he will change the dates for me so I can proceed with the Visa issuance but he will put the ticket on hold till an answer comes back regarding the waver of the 100 bucks, He did an excellent job finding a solution out of the box, and he estimated accurately how long it should take for me to get the Visa and changed the dates accordingly.
I was able to finally apply for my Visa and it all went smooth till my travel day.
Check in Counter: they weren’t able to check me in cause I didn’t pay the 100 bucks to change the ticket. (I didn’t want to change the ticket, I had to cause of the wrong information I was given different agents) after this and that, I had to go back to the ticketing counter.
Agent: I don’t know what the story is but you have an outstanding 100bucks
Me: I can tell you the whole story.
Agent: I don’t need to know it (WHAT? WHO SAYS THAT TO A CUSTOMER?)
Agent: I can see here that there was a request for a waiver of the change fees and it was declined. So in order to board this flight you have to pay the 100 bucks and you can complain to customer affairs later.
It is 2 hours before my flight, and I wished at the time I had the luxury of cancelling my ticket (even if I had to pay cancellation fees) and purchase a ticket to U.A.E. on any other airlines. Unfortunately I needed to board this flight so I paid the 100 Bucks.
So far my experience can be summarized in that Emirates don’t really care about the customer experience, and they are willing to go to a great length to show that in order to get 100 bucks.
I boarded the flight and my seat was awesome, legroom was great, the screen was large, the entertainment system worked perfectly and had lots of variety, the food was delicious, even though I didn’t use their phone service nor On Air Wi-Fi I am still impressed that they had that option for me at a reasonable price.
But then again the people, the way the staff served the food or gave safety instructions lacked the basic curtsey requirements let alone being friendly or customer focused. the flight attendant ask me “can you lift the window shade up for me?” well of course I can, I have an arm the works and has enough muscle power to push the little piece of plastic but what stops you from saying “would you please push that up for me?” that’s not how I answered her of course but it is just an example of how these guys need to improve the way they interact with customers. I am still appalled by the comment from the Emirates Ticket counter agents “I don’t need to know it” which screams “I don’t care” just pay and get out of here and sort yourself later through our complaints email address.
Anyway, I will send this blog to the customer affairs address I was given along with my details and see what kind of reply I get. And will keep you posted.
Thanks for reading 🙂