When I returned from Melbourne, I flew Emirates. I was lucky to get an economy class seat for a relatively cheap rate during a sale while I was in Melbourne. I reckoned it would be an appropriate self-reward after a 9 month stint in Melbourne and flying in budget carriers most of the time!
I was pleasantly surprised! I loved the uniform of the friendly cabin crew! They were so unique! I wasn’t really expecting much but my experience within the plane (it was on a connecting flight to Dubai with a brief stopover in KLIA) far exceeded my expectations.
The seats were very comfortable with more than enough leg room and when I placed the back of the seat into a recline position, I was thrilled that the entire seat shifted forward slightly to give better back support and comfort! At the back of every seat was attached a personal TV in which were loaded more than 200 movie titles, hundreds of songs and documentaries. The ear phones provided did not feel cheap and they were comfortable. For a small fee, I could even send emails or text messages form the comfort of my chair using the console in front of me.
Each seat was equipped with a very comfortable small pillow and blanket. Throughout the flight drinks and snacks (such as instant noodles) were provided when requested without charge. The meals were excellent and when the main lights were turned off, I was again thrilled because on the ceiling of the cabin were hundreds of tiny twinkling lights which simulated the open night sky with thousands of stars! And if one can’t sleep, one can always view the outside of the plane thanks to two cameras mounted, one at the cockpit giving you a view of what the pilot sees and the other under the belly of the plane giving you a view of the clouds below or the land when the plane flies low enough.
Awesome isn’t it?
There was bad experience which marred the otherwise experience with Emirates and it happened at the check-in counter. I was carrying around 4KG of excess weight (the baggage allowance was 30 KG) which I was hoping Emirates would be generous enough to overlook.
The lady who attended to me was less than friendly (she was more friendly to others before me) and when she discovered my overweight baggage, she firmly ordered me to “step aside there and repack your things sir and then rejoin the queue”. She would not listen to reason and she claimed that the plane was FULL and therefore could not accommodate any extra baggage. She would not listen to my request to see her after repacking my stuff and not rejoin the long queue.
Now wanting to create a scene, I left the counter and went off to a corner to repack my things. I had intentionally gone early to the airport in order to check in early. By the time she ordered me to repack the queue has stretched to a very long one and I had to queue all over again from the back in order to check in again.
That day I had to dump almost 5 KG worth of perfectly good clothing into the bin. I felt very bad about throwing the clothes away but it was either that or the chocolate and candies for my kids and some souvenirs I bought for friends which collectively weighed around the same weight. I managed to check-in the second time round with another personnel without incidence. To pay the fine for 5 KG worth of clothes would have cost me AUD 150 and not worth the value of the clothes.
What really irked me was these two matters:
1. There was a caucasian lady behind me during the first time I queued up who had 3 huge bags and a BICYCLE! She voiced out to me her concern that her baggage were excessively overweight! And indeed it was! I later learned that her baggages were 11 KG overweight! But guess what?! They let her passed the check-in, without so much as a fine!!! It made my blood boil!
2. When I got into the plane, I discovered that, contrary to what the lady at the counter told me, the plane was not full at all. In fact between the guy next to me and I were 2 empty seats! The flight was not even half full by my estimate.
The Emirates staff at the counter had lied and was dishonest. Her lack of integrity cost me to throw away good clothing. I also felt discriminated. People like her should have no place in the service industry.
I hope someone from Emirates read this and do something about these bad apples.
Will I fly Emirates again (assuming I have the money for it!!)? Most definitely! But I hope I won’t meet that lady at the counter again!