Emirates Airlines / deplaned in dubai
It is with great disappointment and distress that I recount my (Ek [protected]) recent travel experience on emirates flying round trip from dallas to hyderabad. I was forced to travel to india on short notice while pregnant and accompanied by my 22-month-old daughter, due to my father-in-law’s poor health. He has terminal cancer and his condition has been up and down. There was a strong possibility he would pass away prior to our next trip to india. At the time of travel, I was about to be 30 weeks pregnant, and was cleared by my obstetrician to travel up to 34 weeks. He provided me with a letter indicating the necessity to travel with self-administered medications. I felt healthy and was comfortable to go to india. My husband was already in india at the time. I flew in business class to be as comfortable as possible and reduce the stress of travel; instead I was put through emotional and physical torment!
I flew on emirates flight ek 222 departing dallas at 1235 on sept 6th. Everything went fine. I landed in dubai and had a 3-hour layover. My daughter and I boarded ek 528 at 1515 on sept 7th when my nightmare started. The flight attendant noted I was pregnant and asked how far along I was and wanted to see my certificate of fitness to fly. I showed her the paperwork given by my doctor. The stewardess, then the supervisor and a personal relations officer proceeded to decide that the paperwork was inadequate and were going to deplane me. I made it clear to all of them that I was fine and had no complaints, and that I had just flown on a 14.5 hour emirates flight without any problem. I was not asked for any paperwork or documentation at the time that I got on that flight. I also made it clear that I was a physician and felt perfectly fit to travel. Despite everything I told them, they still deplaned me to be seen by their airport physician to get a certificate indicating that I was fit to fly. I specifically chose this itinerary so I would have minimal discomfort and shorter layover time, particularly in light of having to manage my 22 month-old. Instead, in the infinite wisdom and logic of the flight crew and pro, I was deplaned and detained in dubai airport for 6 hours, instead of continuing to hyderabad which was less than a 3.5 hour flight! At this point I was completely distraught and in tears. Worse, I had no means to call my husband or inform him of this change. Furthermore, this pro stated that I was lucky that the airport physician was willing to see me. Otherwise he threatened me with having to obtain a visa and go into dubai to the women and children’s hospital via cab at my expense to obtain this certificate. I was petrified of being stranded in a foreign country, pregnant, alone and with my young daughter!
In the airport hospital, they were shocked that I had been deplaned for no reason and without any complaints beyond a certificate requirement. I was seen by dr. Danish ahmed who told me that he had not wanted me to be deplaned and that he was more than willing to provide a fit for travel certificate. He stated that this had happened several times where their recommendations (The physician on-site) had been overridden by the pro and perhaps some remote medical director for emirates who dictated what happened to the passenger and who was not physically there to see the person.
When I received the certificate, a wheelchair attendant came to take me back to the pro. Instead of taking me by wheelchair, my bags were put on the chair instead, because children were not allowed in the wheelchair in any form and my 22-month-old could not walk while I rode in the chair. So I walked and carried my daughter all over the airport - from the airport hospital to the gate where I was deplaned to the transfer desk and then the business lounge. At this point I was mentally and physically exhausted and still had to take care of my daughter who was woken from a sound sleep when I was deplaned. I finally boarded flight ek 524 at 2145 and surprisingly, no one asked to see my fit to travel certificate.
After this experience, prior to the return journey I obtained a & ldquo;fitness to fly” certificate from an ob/gyn in india. Despite this, when I attempted to check in at the emirates counter at rajiv gandhi international airport in hyderabad, I was forced to see the general practice physician (Dr sajad) at the apollo hospital at the airport. This is completely ludicrous that I was forced to go through this every time when I felt fine and had no complaints! Additionally both my husband (Who was travelling back with me) and I are board certified physicians in the us. We do not need other physicians to clear us!
I wish to see some acknowledgement and recompense from emirates for the physical and mental agony that I was put through by their employees. If emirates has policies dictating that a pregnant woman has to have this certificate for fitness to fly, then it should be uniformly applied. It was not instituted at the start and it is unfair and ridiculous to implement it in the middle of the journey, particularly when the bulk of the journey had been completed uneventfully. I was on a 3-3.5 hour flight when I was deplaned and instead made to wait in the airport for 6 hours, in addition to the 3-hour flight to hyderabad. Additionally, the certificate that I was deplaned for, was not even asked for when I boarded on the later flight. It is inappropriate for flight crews to haphazardly enforce these policies, forcing the passenger to suffer the consequences. I have written to the customer affairs email address over a month ago and still have not had the courtesy of a reply.
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