Monday, March 21, 2005


Just had to write this

Just had to write this
Mon, 21 Mar 2005 21:56:26 +0400
"Bill Blaschke" Add to Address Book

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I’d like to make a few comments regarding the various complaints (and a few compliments) on the site.
I’ve been flying long haul routes around the world for over 20 years. I haven’t flown very often with Emirates (maybe 5 Europe/Dubai) R/T’s).
So very many of the complaints seem to have little to do with the Airline at all, but pertain more to the ground staff at numerous airports around the world. The most humorous complaints, however, were those that wondered why they didn’t get their milk, or chicken, etc. I am still chuckling over many of those.
A few points:
The reason we are all flying around the world so cheaply these days is that airline competition has made tickets so inexpensive. To continue to operate, this means the airlines cut costs as much as possible by not providing lavish meals, 100% contingency meals to suit all tastes, hundreds of extra pounds in cargo weight to supply your every baby/child/auntie’s needs, filling every single seat as much as possible, etc.
Now I hate flying in cattle car class as much as anybody, but you do it because it’s cheap. Don’t expect to get off the plane with 1st and business class passengers, because they paid for the preferential treatment …you get what you pay for. Don’t expect the cabin staff to be your personal waiter either. Get up and go get your water, or wait patiently until they can find some precious time to cater to your every need.
Do not begin to whine about excess baggage charges………I’ve seen your carry on baggage and it appears that some kind folks not only bring their household appliances with them on board wrapped in blankets and twine, but also 2 metric tons of duty free items. Then it’s me, with my single, regulation hand carry bag, that cannot find room in my overhead storage because I was the one polite enough to allow you first opportunity because of your family status on board.
As one commentator noted, planes get delayed…, union strikes, wars, equipment failures…….build a bridge and get over it. Take enough cash to put yourself up in a hotel if you get stuck somewhere. It is not an obligation of any airline to do this, but if they do, be very thankful and courteous about it.
If anyone still thinks flying is glamorous and exciting, be prepared for a bit of culture shock when things do go wrong. There is an airplane landing or taking off every few seconds at any time of day or night around the world. It’s a hard, pressure packed business, and you are indeed lucky to get your baggage upon arrival. Have you ever given a moment’s thought as to how that baggage handling side of the business operates? If you are silly enough to pack valuables in checked baggage, I suggest you think this through very carefully. Then, read your ticket back………the airlines are NOT responsible for lost, stolen, destroyed baggage above certain limits ($150 US dollars I think).
I have flown hundreds of long haul routes to every imaginable airport location you can think of, and have never once been subject to having my ticket be invalidated. I will again suggest you read the restrictions applied to your double discounted tickets. Why do you think they were so cheap in the first place? These simple words may help you understand….Non-endorsable, non-re-routable, non-refundable, non-transferable. This means you are either there for the flight listed, or you pay the difference between “Y” class tickets and full fare, it’s as simple as that, and don’t expect the airline to cut you some special slack either….this is a business, and they are not going to hold your hand.
Flight crews do not generally have connecting flight information at their finger tips. When they do, don’t hold it against them when the ground staff changes something and they aren’t aware of it.
Airplanes are a very complex piece of engineering, and when they take off, fly thousands of miles, feed you a snack, and land again safely, be thankful. If it’s close to being on time, well that’s just gravy. If it’s late or cancelled, have enough money to buy another ticket if your schedule demands it, but if you don’t maybe you shouldn’t be flying after all.
To those who need this information, and I hope you know who you are, a few words of advice………under arm deodorant, regular bathing, and keep your shoes on.
To those who have never flown into and out of Dubai, it’s a busy place, and DNATA (Dubai National Air Transport Authority) is OK at moving people into and out of the skies. They are the ground staff, and they don’t work exclusively for Emirates. They make mistakes, and when you show up with those aforementioned cargoes that weigh hundreds of pounds and are bound up with twine, it is you who are causing the delays and animosity of your fellow passengers. No wonder they are rude!

In closing, my flights with Emirates have been excellent, with courteous service and excellent aircraft and staff. My absolute worst flights of all time have been on another Middle Eastern airline (Gulf Air, but I’ll have to find their nasty-gram website for that feedback), so watch what you wish for, or you may well get it. Better the devil you know versus the devil you don’t know.

So the next time you are in the back of the plane whining to the cabin staff about the mess you made in the lavatory, and wanting them to come clean it up so your family can use it and turn it into a small version of Hiroshima, get a grip, get a life, and get me another round of drinks while you’re back there.

A seasoned traveler.

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