My African partner is a Ghanaian citizen with an Australian multiple entry residency visa in his passport.
On travelling with Emirates to Sydney in September 2006, via a transit stop in Dubai he was confronted with humiliating remarks about his private life from Emirates Transit Counter staff regarding his interdependence visa with me. Jokes about a jiggy-jiggy visa - you get the idea.
An interdependency visa is issued by the Australian immigration department to same gender couples in a long term exclusive supporting (gay) relationship.
My partner showed Emirates staff his visa approval letter and was eventually issued a boarding pass. Flight service was excellent. We thought the 'incident' at Dubai, may have been an isolated incident - an Emirates staff member with poor customer relationship skills. How wrong we were!
In June 2007 my partner returned via Emirates to Ghana to see his parents and friends. No problems on the first leg of the journey. His boarding pass from Dubai to Accra was issued by Emirates staff in Sydney due to the short time between connecting flights.
On the return trip to Sydney from Accra through Dubai the Emirates transit counter staff person at Dubai, after examining his multiple entry visa under a magnifying glass, then asked him about his knowledge of Australia, and finally examined his Australian medi-care green card, his Australian bank card and company work ID. All the information he provided supported the compelling evidence that he was a genuine visa holder.
What happened next was a disgrace. The male Emirates staff member just kept him waiting. He did not issue him a boarding pass to Sydney with his electronic ticket, while all other passengers had boarded the plane and the flight was due for take off.
His anxiety at being left in Dubai broke him into tears. Emirates staff and passengers for other flights just looked on at his ordeal.
Finally, a boarding pass was issued and he was rushed to the plane, causing a delay to the scheduled take off of the filght to Sydney.
I would expect that an Airline with any integrity would take decisive measures to ensure that Emirates ground staff always treat passengers with respect and training on how to conduct validation checks of visas quickly and accurately. My partner intends seeking an apology and compensation from Emirates. I will advise you of the outcome. I know it is difficult to change entrenched adverse cultural attitudes in an airline - but not impossible.
If Emirates realises that customer complaints can help them to improve their systemic customer relations problems at the home base, Dubai, then they have the opportunity of becoming a great world airline.
If they do not rise to the challenge, then word of mouth will condemn it in the court of public opinion.
I appreciate your blogspot for passengers to share their experiences.