Emirates Customer Affairs / What does Emirates Customer Affairs actually do?
My brother and I had a bit of a weird experience on 13 June 2007 at JFK International - it's fairly minor compared to the other complaints. Anyway, i'm a real stickler when it comes to customer service so i reported the incident to Emirates Customer Affairs almost immediately when i arrived at my destination. All i wanted was a reasonable explanation for what had happened. The response i received after an "investigation" was conducted was extremely generic and ignored the facts i had presented in my complaint.
I've been battling with Customer Affairs for over 2 months now and their responses remain vague and do not acknowledge the validity of my case. In my search for similar cases or experiences, i found that most airline websites don't have e-mail addresses for customer service comments/complaints and it appears that the treatment of complaints is the same across most airlines: Ignore the facts, give the passenger a generic response.
I first tried getting a straight answer from the Customer Affairs rep who was dealing with my complaint. I eventually mailed my complaint to every email address i could find on the internet for the Emirates - still no joy. Every response i got from the rep was pretty much the same and EVERY time i responded to her i kept correcting her statements with the facts to show her that she was getting the story wrong (seemed like it was on purpose).
The rep chose to play down the incident and stuck to quoting their overbooking and Denied Boarding Options policies which implied that I was a liar and the airline was not at fault with the initial incident.
She kept ignoring my emails and so i resorted to an alternative means to get her attention: I went to the Emirates website, looked up every magazine that had given them an award in 2007 and submitted the ENTIRE thread of communication to them.
Two hours later, i received a response from the rep and upon reviewing the complaint again, she was pleased to let us know that "As a gesture of good will, without prejudice or admission of liability" they would offer usa return upgrade to any destination of our choice on the airline's network. I promptly responded and told her that it was still unacceptable as we would still have to buy a return Economy class ticket to "benefit"from this gesture - this is money we shouldn't be spending in the firstplace.
Furthermore, she was STILL refusing to acknowledge ANY fault on the airline's part for what had occurred at JFK. Her generic response to that email simply stated that they had no further comments to add. I kept re-sending this response to her daily until she replied.
On 7 Aug 2007, i also mailed the email thread to their Customer Affairs branch in New York as well as the senior vice president (Mostafa Karam) of Customer Affairs and Service Audits for the Emirates. I've asked them to kindly provide me with some insight as to how customer service investigations are conducted. I am failing to comprehend how customer service managers reach their conclusions - I've been informed that investigations have been conducted and reports have been reviewed, yet my story is still being denied completely. I've got confirmation from Delta proving my side and have the name of the clerk at JFK who was instructed to offload our luggage, but what does the airline have on their side proving me wrong? Absolutely nothing from what i can see.
I have a read-receipt from the senior vice president's email account, but not one email from him. In the last 2 months, i've been searching the net and am very surprised to find the most appalling experiences being handled extremely poorly (if at all) by airline customer services - what does service mean to them? The responses to passengers are very much of a "copy& paste" nature which leads me to believe that the complaints are barely being read thoroughly. The aim here seems to be to ignore or frustrate complaining customers to the point where they give up trying to get somewhere with customer services.
I kept re-sending my emails to Customer Affairs indicating that there was no way I could reasonably accept their "compensation" and eventually they responded to me on 14 Aug 2007, simply reiterating their position. My final email to them was on 15 Aug 2007 - I sent the mail to Customer Affairs in Dubai, New York, South Africa as well at their Media Relations department AND the Senior VP of Customer Affairs & Service Audits again. I've received read-receipts from the Senior VP (again) as well at the New York office, but I doubt I'll get a response.
Initially this was a crap experience we had endured at JFK and ALL we wanted was to be treated fairly - eventually, in time, we would probably be able to get over it. We thought that reporting it to Customer Affairs would yield some kind of constructive solution - it turns out that this is a joke. The rep's vague, inaccurate, inadequate responses have only made things worse. Even if they weren't willing to give us what had initially been promised to us, they could have simply said "Sorry, we screwed up,we'll try not to let something like this happen again" and we would have been happy with that. But no, they wouldn't even do THAT.
It truly amazes me how Emirates play down customer complaints - all I wanted was an explanation, and they couldn't eve give it to me. By handling my complaint poorly, they've really marred the impression I had of them as I would have thought they would welcome customer feedback to try and be a better airline. Their crap responses to me have made me rather frustrated, but at least I know I tried my best to get their attention and let them know what I think of them - the Senior Vice President is the top of the ladder and I can't go further than that. I battled with them for TWO MONTHS and still no real progress. I'd be very interested to find out if anyone who has complained to them has ever gotten a reasonable response and/or reasonable compensation (if applicable). It seems to me that the Customer Affairs staff are grossly overpaid as they don't really perform a service of any value.