“We know our response has been far from perfect” – Emirates’ open letter following Dubai flooding

“We know our response has been far from perfect” – Emirates’ open letter following Dubai flooding

Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, has written an open letter to customers whose travel plans were disrupted by the flooding at Dubai Airport. 

As of Saturday 20 April Emirates’ regular flight schedules have been restored, with passengers previously stranded in the airport transit area now rebooked and enroute to their destinations, and a task force in place to sort, reconcile and deliver luggage.

In the letter, Clark confessed that last week had been “one of the toughest for Emirates operationally”.

He went on to apologise to customers impacted, adding that “UAE experienced its highest rainfall in 75 years”.

“Lashing storm winds and rain disrupted activity across the cities. Our 24/7 hub in Dubai remained open, with flight movements reduced for safety, but flooded roads impeded the ability of our customers, pilots, cabin crew, and airport employees to reach the airport, and also the movement of essential supplies like meals and other flight amenities”.

“We diverted dozens of flights to avoid the worst of the weather on Tuesday, and over the next 3 days we had to cancel nearly 400 flights and delay many more, as our hub operations remained challenged by staffing and supply shortages.”

The airlines’ two priorities were to “look after our customers who have been impacted by the disruption and get our operations back on schedule”.

“To free up resources and capacity to manage impacted customers as a priority, we had to suspend check-in for passengers departing Dubai, implement an embargo on ticket sales, and temporarily halt connecting passenger traffic from points across our network coming into Dubai”.

To ease the stress on customers Emirates employed extra staff, he said.

“We deployed additional resources to aid our airport and contact centre teams with rebooking and put on additional flights to destinations where we identified large numbers of displaced customers.”

“We sent over 100 employee volunteers to look after disrupted customers at Dubai Airport departures and in the transit area, prioritising medical cases, the elderly and other vulnerable travellers. To date, over 12,000 hotel rooms were secured to accommodate disrupted customers in Dubai, 250,000 meal vouchers have been issued, and more quantities of drinking water, blankets, and other amenities.”

As of Saturday 20 April, all regular flights had been restored and stranded passengers had been moved on to their destinations.

Emirates “have put together a taskforce to sort, reconcile, and deliver some 30,000 pieces of left-behind baggage to their owners”.

He asked for customers’ patience and understanding as the airline clears the backlog of rebooked passengers.

Clark went on to apologise for Emirates’ response which “has been far from perfect”.

“We acknowledge and understand the frustration of our customers due to the congestion, lack of information, and confusion in the terminals. We acknowledge that the long queues and wait times have been unacceptable.”

“We take our commitment to our customers very seriously, and we have taken learnings from the last few days to make things right and improve our processes.”

“I’d like to also acknowledge and thank our teams across the airline, and our many suppliers and partners for their tireless efforts around the clock this week, despite the challenging conditions, to support customers, recover our network, and bring our operating schedule back to normal.”

“Finally, and once again, I want to offer, on behalf of myself, and all the teams across Emirates, our apologies to each and every customer affected by this disruption.”

“We will continue to work hard to live up to your expectations, and to our Fly Better brand promise.”

 

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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