Emirates Airlines — poisoned food
Emirates customer services
95 cromwell road
Flight ek407, melbourne to dubai, 17th june 2007
Skvwards membership number [protected]
I refer to my recent flight with you as detailed above and hereby would like to make a formal complaint. Both I and my 5 year old son ordered a diabetic meal and a short time after take off we received a chicken dish for our first meal. My son fell asleep not long afterwards and a few hours later I began to feel sick which followed by stomach cramps and a severe headache. I had several visits to the toilet where I was physically sick. My son woke up and asked to go to the toilet and while we were waiting my son had to be sick in my hands and then in the toilet wc. My son fell asleep again and I continued to be violently sick for the remainder of the journey.
I advised cabin crew that I suspected there was something wrong with our chicken meal as we had not ate anything else other than cereal for breakfast that morning. She advised that all other passengers were ok but I advised her that we had diabetic meals. The stewardess then asked if I would like any paracetamol which I refused at that time. Shortly before landing my son woke up and breakfast was being served. I refused breakfast but my son said he would like something. On opening his breakfast he only wanted to eat the "fresh" fruit. I noticed something was not quite right with it and asked the passenger sitting in the seat beside us (16f) if he thought it was mould on the fruit to which he agreed and I immediately made my way to the cabin crew area. I saw a different member of the crew at this point who looked at the fruit and said that she would need to report it. I told her of the whole ordeal from melbourne and she took details in writing. Back at my seat I asked another member of crew for some paracetamol as my headache had not gone away. When the captain announced fasten seatbelts for landing, my son once again was violently sick in his seat. Obviously there was nothing I could do to clean it up at that point but as soon as we were taxiing I ran to be cabin crew for assistance who gave me two trays of wipes and towels. I cleaned my son up as best I could and we waited until all passengers were off the plane. The senior member of cabin crew advised that he had arranged for ground staff to escort us to the doctor and then on to our next flight. He had also advised that he would inform our next flight (Ek025) of our ordeal and that they would take special care of us both.
Ground staff did collect us at the plane and we walked to two different areas with no doctors and then eventually on to the medical centre. At the medical centre the doctor advised that it was his opinion that we both had food poisoning and gave us an injection. He also insisted on doing an ecg due to my past medical history but mainly because my blood pressure was high. This all took some time and we did not get out of the medical centre until 07.48 and our next flight was due to depart at 07.50. The doctor advised that the flight would be held for us, pointed in the direction of gate 33 and left us at the bottom of the lift at gate 15. There was no ground staff or car to escort us to the plane and I was particularly worried about the time and distance to get to the next gate. This obviously did not help my already high blood pressure! On arriving on the plane none of the cabin crew was aware of our previous flight ordeal. Although this flight was better than the first, I would like to make you aware that diabetics need preparation time before meals in order to take blood sugar levels and injections. Prior notice is required in order to eat a "hot" meal and frequently this is not the case when flying as staff are not educated enough on diabetes. I am sure you will agree that the main issues here are:-
1. Food poisoning:
As if it was not bad enough to be poisoned the first time, my son received mouldy food a second time!
I am of the opinion that the cabin crew basically told me what I wanted to hear to get us off their plane and out of their hands.
There was no communication between the first set of cabin crew and next - not one member of the second cabin crew were aware of our situation at all.
I am extremely disappointed with emirates regarding this whole situation and look forward to hearing from you before my return flight ong july 2007.
Yours faithfully — *
And the reply letter
Dear mr mcaloon,
Thank you for your letter regarding your recent experience with emirates. I was sorry to learn you were unwell during the flight from melbourne to dubai, and whilst you feel you and your son had food poisoning, we have not received any adverse comments concerning the food served on board our flight that day from other passengers eating chicken and/or diabetic meals. Our medical section has advised that your condition may have been affected by other meals consumed before your flight or by other factors. Our in-flight meals are prepared in a batch production method and our caterers apply very stringent hygiene control checks in their meal preparation processes. Food poisoning, therefore, from such a meal production method would generally affect a large number of people who had consumed the same food on a flight. As indicated earlier, except for yourself, no other passengers have complained about feeling unwell after having consumed our in-flight meal on board this flight.
I have been in contact with our office in dubai, and the report they were able to obtain from the medical
Centre reflects that you were diagnosed with gastroenteritis, and therefore it would appear you and your son had a stomach bug.
Our cabin crew have made a report from this flight, showing that you did not bring you and your son's
Illness to their attention during the flight, until your son regrettably found some mould on a piece of fruit
Provided for his breakfast, and I would like to offer my sincere apologies if this caused him any distress.
I would like to assure you that this is an isolated incident and not indicative of the usual standard of service provided by emirates, and I was pleased that you son accepted the alternative which was offered.
The international airline of the united arab emirates
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However, I am sorry you felt abandoned after your flight from melbourne, but our staff are unable to wait at thc medical centre with passengers, but I can assure you that if there had been any problems, and you were unable to travel on your next flight, the staff at the medical centre would have notified emirates, so alternative arrangements could be made.
I am truly sorry you have found cause for complaint mr mcaloon, and I do hope that your return flights were enjoyable, that this unfortunate experience will not deter you from traveling with emirates in the future.
Customcr a ffai rs