Emirates forced to compensate passenger for “misleading and deceptive” advertising

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Emirates has been forced to repay NZ$13,555 (approximately US$8,500) to a passenger after a business class flight failed to meet expectations, according to New Zealand media.  

A court in New Zealand has ruled in favour of a man who purchased business class tickets to London for he and his wife on Emirates, only to find out upon boarding that the cabin product did not match the one Emirates was using in its promotional materials in New Zealand. 

One particularly contentious point was the fact that the Boeing 777-300 deployed by Emirates on its route from New Zealand was not fitted with lie-flat seats, as are other types of aircraft with newer interiors. 

On top of that, the two travellers were also disappointed by the IFE system, which was also of an older version and did, allegedly, malfunction during the flight, as well as the absence of a mini-bar onboard. The couple ended up booking first class tickets for another leg of the trip in order to make sure they had access to those amenities. 

The airline argued that its ticket terms and conditions allow for changes in the type of aircraft as per the prevailing operational requirements at the time of the flight. But this failed to convince the court, which considered the aircraft allocation to be a regular occurrence rather than an occasional one.  

According to New Zealand’s media, Disputes Tribunal referee Laura Mueller said: “The Fair Trading Act 1986 prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct in trade. The advertising of a service that Emirates knew would unlikely be delivered is misleading and deceptive.” 

Emirates operates a daily nonstop flight between Dubai (DXB) and Auckland (AKL), one of the longest in the world (with the return leg from Auckland to Dubai taking around 17h 30min), although a search on scheduled databases shows that, as of March 2023, this flight is usually operated by Airbus A380 aircraft. 

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