Poor old Emirates. I almost feel for them. But in part this was a mess of their own making.
There is fog every year in Dubai. It rolls in when the temperature and due point co-incide. And it is often at its worst in the morning just as the morning arrival rush hour is due.
Cat 3 ILS arrivals have helped reduce the number of diversions – but longer gaps are required between arrivals. Flights are tankered up with fuel as long as the forecasters have predicted the fog. Then they can hold longer waiting for the fog to clear and a landing slot.
But the fog arrived on Christmas Eve morning. One of the busiest days for Christmas flyers heading to their families and friends.
With due warning and years of practice Emirates really should have boots on the ground to help people with revised connection flights; with meals and refreshments for families; with people that can give information and most of all with people that are empowered to take decisions.
A number of flights always end up diverted to the new Dubai airfield at DWC. The trouble is Emirates has no staff on the ground there other than the cargo teams; the terminal building cannot accommodate passengers from a 777 or A380.
But with fog expected why not put some senior people on sight to help passengers and to co-ordinate with crews.
Herein lies one of the biggest problems at Emirates. There is little empowerment. It is easier to take no decision rather than to face punishment for the decision that you made. Punishment is the EK way.
These are a few comments from twitter in the last hour; now over 24 hours since the initial delays:
.@emirates where are all your staff @DubaiAirports? This is a disgrace. Queue after queue after queue and no com from your team! No water, no explanation, fog?? C’mon…an absolute joke!!!
Alexandra V @alexandra_vlada
Merry Christmas from #Emirates in #Dubai, whose staff are not communicating with stranded passengers, and heading off on lunch breaks despite 14+ hour delays on flights. Appalling service
Sir Col: Igneous Mo @touristcol
.@emirates @EmiratesSupport in the queue for an hour. No management here, no support for the desk staff
sue mawhinney @suemawhinney
Replying to @DasariSudheer8
I too am fed up of repeatedly bad customer service from Emirates! It is chaos at Dubai. Our flight was delayed into Dubai and despite the ongoing connection flight being still at the airport we were unable to board. Nobody has a clue what’s happening.
Jacob Wagen @jacobwagen
Ran across @DubaiAirports with absolutely no help from useless ground staff from delayed flight to find out @emirates have bumped me and hundreds of other passengers. No communication and awful service. Worst airline ever! @EmiratesSupport #merrychristmas
Thoroughly exhausted, 100s of delays no sign I’ll be leaving today. Lesson learnt, never flying with emirates again
First time flyer with @emirates unimpressed with lack of com between delayed flight! Sweaty Dubai airport, being passed from pilar to post. Extremely disappointed 😔
A few older tweets:
David Fenton @DaveFUK
#Emirates airways customer service. What a load of rubbish! Flight delay due to late take off and fog and missed connection. 6 hrs to find anyone near helpful 😠 next flight 30th Dec. Very poor service.
Barri Marlatt @BarriMarlatt
@emirates @EmiratesAir fog cleared 4 hrs ago passengers still stuck at DWC ground crew hopeless abandoned passengers
Change of Christmas Day plans for us thanks to @emirates and fog in #Dubai. (Strangely, our connecting flight managed to take off in the fog while we waited hours).Shambles at @DubaiAirports, hours of queuing, unfriendly, unhelpful. Not impressed. Thanks for the happy Christmas
@emirates Hey guys instead of delaying the flight by an hour each time why don’t you be upfront and tell us a correct time. I don’t blame you for the Fog but your lack of customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Will definitely be the last time I fly with your company
Sanjeeva Naganathar @sanji2witter
#Dubai, @DubaiAirports Good customer care is judged on how you handle matters when things go wrong. #flightdelays dumped passengers,total chaos,confusion due #fog.No food/water/no Emirates staff-stranded at DWC.#DXB, Old&Kids struggling @EmiratesSupport
Joanna Higgins @jo_higgins
Replying to @GeorgePickvance @emirates
Can’t control the fog, but can control the ability and attitude of your staff… total chaos and astonishing levels of incompetence.
You get the message. Of course if you fly through a hub with a change of planes then you done run the risk of delays if there is poor weather or any other incident.
Emirates also is hit worse than other carriers due to the capacity constraints at Dubai – the smaller Abu Dhabi and Doha airports have more flexibility to land flights in poor weather.
But after all these years when poor weather is forecast Emirates really should know that it needs as many people on the ground as are available, managers to be visible and staff to be allowed to make decisions.