Couple threatens to sue Emirates after unpleasant first class experience

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A couple who spent almost $17,000 on first class tickets with Emirates has shared their ordeal during the flight, vowing never to fly the airline again.

Eamonn and Karen Gilmore of Perth, Western Australia, booked return business class flights from Perth International Airport (PER) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) after a death in the family.

Emirates then offered the Gilmores the option to upgrade their tickets to first class for an additional $4,800. They decided to treat themselves and took up the offer.

However, the couple’s less-than-luxurious ordeal began when they boarded the airline’s flagship Airbus A380 aircraft.

First, Eamonn told local media Perth Now that his entertainment system was not working, so he used his personal tablet instead. 

And then, Karen’s seat became stuck during the flight. 

“She was lying in her seat and she couldn’t get the seat to come up. The buttons wouldn’t work,” Eamonn said.

The crew eventually had to force the seat to a sitting position. However, the seat would not recline and could not be changed to any other setting at all, meaning that Karen had to remain in an upright seated position for the entire first leg of their journey, which was from PER airport to Dubai International Airport (DXB), a flight time of approximately 11 hours.

When the Gilmores arrived in London, they contacted Emirates to report the unsatisfactory flight experience. They were told by the airline to put their feedback in writing. 

According to the Gilmores, they requested a refund on part of their $4,800 upgrade to first class because it was only the first leg (PER Airport to DXB Airport) that had faulty products and services. The refund amount requested is approximately $2,600.

“This may as well have been an economy flight we went on and we paid thousands upon thousands,” Eamonn told, adding that even without the upgrade to first class, they would expect the in-flight entertainment system and lie-flat / reclining seats on the original business class tickets.

Emirates replied to the Gilmores weeks later, offering them 100,000 SkyMiles each as a “gesture of goodwill and in consideration” of their inconvenience.

Eamonn told that he was “disgusted” that they had to wait so long for a response and the airline’s refusal to refund them in cash.

“We didn’t want the 100,000 Skywards points because we’re not going to fly with Emirates ever again. Not the way we’ve been treated,” Eamonn said. 

He said that he is considering legal action.

Emirates remains one of the best airlines offering First, Business Class and now Premium Economy in their cabins. 

Passengers are enticed by the airline’s spacious lie-flat seats, onboard showers and mini bars, and all the luxurious add-ons that make flying such a premium experience.

However, not all passengers are impressed. 

In May 2023, a passenger took the Dubai-based airline to court over what was described as “disgusting” business class seats. Emirates was accused of false advertising, showing a more premium product on ads and the passenger receiving less than what the ads portrayed.

In March 2023, Emirates was ordered to pay $8,440 to a passenger who flew business class from New Zealand to the UK. The passenger also had a disappointing experience of ‘reality vs expectation’ when his actual flight bore no resemblance to the dazzling ads that lured him to purchase the business class ticket.

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