FLY DUBAI SILENCE IS DEAFENING A PLATFORM FOR A COMPLAINT
While in Dubai recently on a flying visit I had contact with some friends but as the events played out we did not meet due to the packed programme. However, knowing what I do and what I mainly write about the friend used the opportunity to share a passenger complaint with me about an experience on Fly Dubai, to which the airline reportedly has not responded.
I had given Fly Dubai some mention in the past, like when they commenced flights to Addis Ababa, but being a low cost airline surely does not preclude having staff dealing with such events as described in Mr. Eisa Abdelgalils email, which is reproduced here so that others too can learn a lesson or else share their trials and tribulations at the hands of airline staff going AWOL at the most inopportune times:
Re. Notorious flight No. FZ 634 from Khartoum to Dubai
I am referring to Fly Dubai flight number FZ 634 Khartoum-Dubai, which was scheduled for Friday 9 September 2011. The flight was supposed to leave Khartoum airport at 12:20 at noon (by Sudan local time) and arrive Dubai airport terminal 2 at 17:25 by UAE local time. After checking in, passing through the immigration and customs procedures at Khartoum airport, boarding the plane, the plane took off a little bit later than the scheduled time. Shortly after the take off, the passengers noticed that the plane was flying unsteadily and moving in a circle and it became clear there was something not OK with the plane. Then the captain told the passengers that the plane had small technical problem and the crew was contacting the head quarter to fix the problem. This was all the information that was given to the passengers who at this point became very worried. The plane continued flying unsteadily at a low altitude and no one knows what is going on since no further information was given to us. After some time, the captain told us that the plane would return to Khartoum airport due to a technical problem and this return journey would take about 15 minutes. Finally, we landed at Khartoum airport and the landing was rough and the passengers felt that bumpy landing. Then all passengers were taken to the waiting hall at Khartoum airport and were told to stay there till further notice. The waiting room had no any facilities except for the seats and the air-conditioning, which was very cold and most passengers were shivering with cold, especially the poor children. After protesting the situation to the airport authorities, they allowed us to go to another waiting hall with some facilities such refreshments and toilet rooms but Fly Dubai did not offer us any food or refreshments. Till this time, no one from Fly Dubai Company has talked to the passengers; it seemed they were deliberately avoiding the angry passengers. The passengers were waiting and no information was forthcoming and every one was tired, exhausted and frustrated. This waiting took around 5 hours and no comfort or refreshments were given to the poor passengers. Finally, and after a long waiting, the passengers were told they could go home and come back to the airport at 10 Oclock in the evening and there would be a flight around 12 in the night. Those who had no home at Khartoum were offered to be taken to a hotel, but since no one has confidence any more on the company most people l preferred to go to friends homes in Khartoum rather than wait to be taken to a hotel which might take long time to be arranged. I am one of those who went to a friends home in Khartoum rather than wait to be taken to a hotel. This was around 6 Oclock in the evening by Sudan local time. Please note that I left my home outside Khartoum around 7 Oclock in the morning so that I could be at Khartoum airport at 9 Oclock in the morning and supposedly fly to Dubai at 12:20 at noon. As we were told, we came back to Khartoum airport around 10 Oclock in the evening hoping that we would fly to Dubai at 12 Oclock midnight. We continued waiting and no one from Fly Dubai had shown up and the passengers were not sure whether they would fly to Dubai or not. At this point, the passengers became very frustrated and angry and they were only calmed down because the securities forces at the airport threatened them that they would be taken to detention!!! After long waiting and a lot of row and chaos, the passengers were allowed to board the plane. Even here, there was chaos because the seating was free and family members had to be separated, though the cabin crew did their best to accommodate the families request to be seated together. Finally, the plane took off at around 2:20 Oclock in the morning of Saturday 10 September 2011. This means that the passengers had to wait for about 14 hours in an uncomfortable environment, even sometime it was hostile!!! Please note that there was a considerable number of children among the passengers. The suffering was unbearable and terrible and only those who went through it can tell you about it. In my case, I spent 25 hours between the time I left my home in Sudan and the time I arrived my home in Dubai!!! To add insult to injury, when we arrived at Dubai airport terminal 2, my checked in bag went missing and I only recovered it after two days with some damage done to it.
Fly Dubai should be sensitive to the fact most its Sudanese customers (i.e. passengers) have the view that Fly Dubai has been offering them the worst service in all its destination routes and its cabin crew (especially those originating from other Arab countries) treat them in a condescending manner and I have personally witnessed such incidents.
The main conclusions, from this is nasty experience with Fly Dubai, are the following:
Fly Dubai has terribly failed its customers and has not lived up to their expectations; and has not lived up to its own promise of offering excellent services to its customers. Fly Dubai staff at Khartoum office have mishandled the situation and they showed poor judgment. Most passengers on that notorious flight will think twice, if not thrice, before buying a ticket from Fly Dubai again. This incident will cost Fly Dubai dearly in terms of customers satisfaction and undoing the damage to its reputation. There should be an investigation on what happened and who will take the responsibility of mishandling the situation. Passengers on that flight should be fairly compensated for the material and psychological damage that was inflicted on them due to the mishandling of the situation. An official apology from the company to the passengers is in order.
Eisa Abdelgalil (Mr.)
Passenger on Flight FZ 634 Khartoum-Dubai
Email: eisaabdelgalil / Dubai, UAE