Saturday, December 4, 2010


Our decision to fly Emirates in the end was influenced by a number of factors: their reputation – everyone you talk to who have flown with them rate them highly; their fares – they were one of the cheapest ones available; their destinations – they fly direct to Munich; and their bassinettes - one of the largest out of the major airlines, but in the end still not big enough!

From my experience, rightly or wrongly, an airline is mostly rated on their crew.  Having been through five flight sectors and five crews, I was very disappointed overall with the level of service on Emirates.  I suppose I am comparing them with my experiences on Singapore Air, who have set a high industry standard, but I thought Emirates didn’t even come close.  Aside from anything else, I am convinced their seats are far more cramped than any other international flight I have been on.

In general we found the cabin crews were particularly unfriendly and appeared to be just going through the motions.  Compared to the Singapore girls who are forever smiling and going out of their way to help, the Emirates crew were aloof, stand offish, elusive and noticeable by their absence!  On one of the sectors coming home, I reluctantly had to use the crew call button, as you just never saw anyone.  On both occasions my call light was turned off (I suspect remotely) hence resulting in complete ignore – until it was pressed again!

It has been my experience on long haul flights that the crew walk around constantly with trays of water to try and keep up people’s fluid intake – not so on Emirates.  Perhaps coming from a desert country, water is a rare commodity, but you just never saw anyone walking around offering drinks. In the end I had to ask for drinks a couple of times.  Once I was told that they were bringing the service around soon, so to wait.  One hour later I was still dying of thirst! 

Be warned that if you order child meals as opposed to baby food and even have them confirmed on all sectors (which I have in writing), it doesn’t mean that you will get them. Three different crews on three different flights told us that if you don’t have a seat, you are not entitled to a meal! Perhaps it is their contribution to the fight against obesity.  Or just another attempt to make your life travelling with infants just that little bit harder. After repeatedly insisting with them that the meals were ordered and confirmed by Emirates themselves, we were reluctantly given something for the short one to eat.  The meals were less than acceptable, however.  One child ‘meal’ included an orange juice, a packet of potato chips and a mars bar.  Needless to say the short one shared my meal.  Her breakfast tray had water, half a cut up apple, two chocolate bars, a packet of lollies, a packet of chips, a bread roll and an English breakfast fry up.  My cholesterol levels were going up just looking at it!  Whatever happened to cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, the fight against obesity??

Everywhere we went, the short one attracted spontaneous interactions and flash photography, not so with the Emirates crew.  She was flat out even being acknowledged.  Not that we were expecting special treatment, but it would have been nice if she was at the very least recognised as a person!

Trying to juggle three food trays on one tray table, within a space that wasn’t big enough to swing a teabag, the crew always insisted that they couldn’t take the short one’s tray back before delivering ours as they didn’t have enough room!

On one sector, one of the toilets was decommissioned early on in the leg.  Inconveniently, it happened to be the one with the change table.  Speaking with one of the flight attendants about other facilities, I was told to just change the short one’s nappy in our seat…the other passengers won’t mind! I don’t know about you, but if I was sitting back, enjoying a nice glass of Australian red with my lemon infused chicken breast served on a bed of Asian greens and watching the latest cinematic release, that I would mind if some sleep deprived crazed woman started wrestling with a toddler not one metre from me, while removing a nappy full of yesterday’s digested meals that would make anyone dry reach at the best of times!

The other thing that struck me was the inconsistency in the Emirates service.  Our flights home had child meals on order for the short one and were delivered without question.  Our flights over didn’t provide anyone with comfort packs, yet they were distributed to all on the way home.

The Emirates website declares…whether your child is up to 16 years old and flying alone, or sixteen months old and travelling in your lap, our young passengers receive the utmost care and attention.  Everyone else, you are on your own, clearly!

Still smiling, mid flight

All in all, Dubai was an interesting place, the airport was something to see, the Emirates ground crew were efficient, and most importantly we got home safely; it was just the ‘face’ of the airline that sadly let them down.


  1. Can't possibly be worse that the missing muffin via Cathay!!!

  2. It looks like the short one is watching Playschool?? Pity about the airline - would have picked them next time I flew overseas - remind me when I say - I am going overseas! It has got to be bad - it surpassed the muffing incident!!