If your Emirates Seat is Broken, What is Fair Compensation? A TravelSort reader writes:
“I finally got to fly Emirates business class [from the U.S. to India]. The flight there was great. I enjoyed the food and it was nice to be able to relax and rest on such a long journey. The flight back, however, was quite a mess. About two hours into the flight, I wanted to rest. It turns out that my seat wouldn't recline and all of the seats in business and first class were booked. The purser and flight attendant did their best to try and accommodate me, but there was nothing they could do. I spent the rest of the flight in an upright position and grabbed a few hours of rest because a generous fellow passenger offered to swap seats with me so that I could get a little bit of rest.
I wanted to get some advice on what kind of compensation I should ask for. In Emirates eyes, what would be reasonable? If we are offered miles, what amount would be the norm for a non-functional business class seat? Any advice you could pass along would be very helpful. “
Great question. Airlines vary considerably in what they award as “goodwill gestures” for issues that arise, whether it's a broken seat, broken IFE (entertainment) system, delay due to mechanical or staffing issues, lost or severely delayed baggage, or the like. Emirates isn't known for being generous, particular to non-elites.
To write up your complaint, go to the Emirates Help Center
page, select “Complaint” and provide your name, email address and phone number, ticket number, flight number, travel class, departure date, etc. and write your complaint in the comment section. I recommend being very factual, rather than emotional, and focusing on the 1-2 biggest issues rather than a whole laundry list.
For example, if you were unlucky enough to have a first class or business class seat that didn't recline, your baggage was lost or severely delayed, your IFE worked only half the time, your special meal wasn't on board and the shower was dirty, I'd only focus on the broken seat and the baggage as those are big issues and the greatest source of potential miles compensation.
Here's what to expect in terms of compensation / goodwill gestures, based on FlyerTalk accounts:
Broken Emirates Business Class Seat
If you're fortunate, and there's another working seat in Business Class (even if not one you'd ordinarily prefer) by all means take the flight crew up on it, if it means you can put it into bed mode. Even if the flight crew has to manually change it into bed mode and seating position, that's much better than a seat that can't be made to recline at all (as in the reader's account above) so I wouldn't expect much if any compensation as long as it can be made into a bed.
If the Business Class Cabin is full, also politely request an operational upgrade to Emirates First Class; unfortunately this wasn't an option for the reader, as both the Business Class and First Class cabins were full.
reported a broken seat between Dubai and Washington Dulles got him 20,000 Skywards miles; presumably s/he had no Emirates Skywards frequent flyer elite status.
On the other hand, Flyertalker Lkaroo
, an Emirates Skywards Platinum frequent flyer (the highest elite status, requiring 150,000 Tier miles), received 15,000 miles for a partially broken Emirates Business Class seat where the seat foot rest was broken, the tray table didn't open/close properly and the power outlet didn't function (although presumably the seat reclined) on a 7 hour flight.
, who has Emirates Skywards Gold Status (2nd highest elite status, requiring 50 flights or 50,000 Tier miles) received 85,000 miles for a broken Emirates First Class seat on a 13 hour flight, where the seat did not recline (the purser was able to put it in lie flat mode manually), there was no IFE, the suite doors did not close and there was no light. Keep in mind that compensation would undoubtedly have been less for a flyer with no Emirates elite status.
Broken Emirates IFE
In First Class, Flyertalker Lkaroo
, an Emirates Skywards Platinum frequent flyer, received 65,000 miles for a broken IFE on an 11 hour flight.
1 Day Flight Delay, Emirates Business Class
A 1 day flight delay due to Emirates issues (not weather) scored 75,000 Skywards miles for Flyertalker MUCDavid, who has Emirates Skywards Platinum status.
Delayed Baggage Delivery, Emirates First Class
Delayed baggage delivery for Emirates First Class got 20,000 miles for Flyertalker Saltire74
, an Emirates Skywards Silver frequent flyer at the time of the incident.
Emirates Crew Forgot to Serve Business Class Meal
On a short Hong Kong to Bangkok 5th Freedom flight, Flyertalker FlyerRed5
received 10,000 Skywards miles when the crew forgot to serve his/her Emirates Business Class meal.
Have you complained to Emirates about a broken seat, broken IFE, delayed or lost baggage or other issue? Please share your experience, including the miles you received, the travel class, length of flight and your Emirates frequent flyer status, if any.