Monday, December 18, 2006


Inconsistent service on Emirates

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Benjamin Leong <>
Date: Dec 18, 2006 9:07 AM
Subject: Inconsistent service on Emirates

Dear Emirates Customers affairs,
I was unable to find any link to customer feedback on the official website, and have to resort to this means of communication, having found these possible contact e-mails at
I recently travelled to Italy from Singapore and back on Emirates, which was my 1st experience on the airline. I was optimistic, having heard some positive comments about it, which was prior to my finding the above named website.
I now wish to express some disappointment, if you would read my story below.
On my return trip back from Italy, on Flight EK 97 departing Italy at 1515 hours, 16th Dec 2006 to Dubai, I had various beverages / liquids spilt on me, not once, but TWICE.
The 1st time it happened, a stewardess was pushing a food trolley which accidentally bumped into my seat, causing some used cups to fall off, spilling their contents on me and the passengers sitting behind me on either side of the aisle.
She apologised briefly and offered me some paper towels. I thought nothing of the incident at 1st, as such accidents are inevitable.
However, later as I was sleeping, I felt some cold liquids spill onto my legs. Opening my eyes and exclaiming "Excuse me", I noticed a stewardess (I do not recall if it was the same one) holding a tray in a slanted manner with (water?) spilling from it onto myself and the passengers behind me.
Again I received a very brief apology and some paper towels, and in addition, a muttered "this tray is leaking!" as she returned to the service area.
Again, one might say this was another accident. An event occuring once is an accident. Twice is a terrible coincidence. But if it happened repeatedly, something is wrong. Let me number the times I observed things dropping or near misses:
(1) After boarding, a bottle of mineral water fell off the cart in front of me when the crew were perparing to serve the 1st drink.
(2) Later 2 carts collided and a small bottle of what looked like wine or liqour fell off.
(3) As the 1st drink was being served to another passenger sitting at the window seat in my row, the stewardess was pouring the orange juice into a cup on a TILTED tray resting at the EDGE of the serving trolley on the stack of packets of sugar - I watched very worriedly for it to spill on me, which thankfully never happened.
(4) I was spilled on the 1st time as described above
(5) I was spilled on the 2nd time as described above
(6) A steward was observed holding a tray similar to the one that spilled on me by the other sewardess vertically dangling from his hands with water dripping off it onto the carpet as he walked forwards presumably to retrieve used cups.
Any restaurant worth its salt would take even one such incident very seriously and immediately offer some assistance, apologies, after care, and recompensation as a form of service recovery.
But apart from the brief apologies and towels the I was given, there was no form of after care at all. No one came to ask if I was alright, no manager came to apologise, basically nobody really cared.
Not even after the passengers behind me tried to raise the issue with some other member of the crew. All I overheard was an excuse like "The aisle is very narrow", replies like "I am just here to find out what's going on" (and that was said quite rudely) and retorts like "You want to write something?" (also rudely).
Needless to say, as I kept quite quiet, no one came to follow up. I didn't think it would amount to anything anyway, after hearing what transpired behind me.
To be fair to the crew, they seemed like a cheerful lot, and I observed very, very good camaraderie - better than what I have seen before on any other flight.
They were bantering with one another, chatting on the internal phone on the crew's seats. They were also taking pictures with one another when we landed, so many that they only remembered to thank and say goodbye to the passengers after 1/2 the plane had got off.
I would be the first to declare that a happy staff equals happy customers, but basically in this case, I think they were all having such a good time that they forgot their job.
The other possible explanations I can think off are:
(1) Poor / inconsistent training
(2) Poor / inconsistent quality review
(3) Some specific recalcitrant staff (although in this case it appeared to be more than one person)
(4) Something they had against me or the passengers around me personally? (Since all those things were happening around me, unless similar incidents were happening throughout the plane, which I do not know of)
(5) Equipment problems - "leaking trays", uneven surfaces on serving trolleys, poor supports preventing dropping things?
In constrast, the flight on the second leg of my journey EK 348 departing Dubai for Singapore at 0320 hours 17th December 2006 was better - the crew were clearly more professional, did their job well, and I really have nothing to complain about.
I write this for your company to follow up on any internal quality review processes, and to take up acceptable service recovery actions.
Benjamin Leong

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