Emirates Airline holds passengers as prisoners?

In the past few days Dubai International Airport was a stage of a human drama. Passenger was held at the airport for 6 days until he was released to travel back home. This passenger was forced to ask for help by writing a comment on this blog, so I have decided to help him after he wrote me a second e-mail.

This situation has raised a lot of questions, but the most important ones are:

Can Emirates Airline (or any other airline) hold a passenger as a prisoner?

Does Emirates Airline (EK)  have the right to keep anyone in detention until that person does what EK is asking them to do?

By every definition this situation is called a “blackmail” and “keeping a hostage for a ransom”, because in civilized company there is a contract between a customer and a company. In case that one of the parties doesn’t fulfil the terms and conditions* from the contract, other party can sue or call a police or other stated authority.

In this case, Emirates Airline decided to hold a passenger for several days at the airport until he fulfils terms and conditions* of their contract (in this case, EK was forcing a passenger to retroactively pay for the flight that deported him to Dubai back from Australia, after EK staff told him that his deportation will be paid by the company and after the passenger notified the EK staff that he doesn’t have the money to pay for this ticket). During the whole process passenger was lied to, interrogated and, finally, sent home after several sleepless nights at the airport.

Why Emirates airline managers decided not to call the police or sue the passenger? I suppose because they are used to bully people and scare them to do things they want them to do.

These are the comments made in favour of Emirates Airline (and my responses to them). You decide if this world went completely insane if one company can take away freedom of its customers who committed no crime.

In EK’s favour:

Sadly not illegal, but recommended practice. Not EK alone thats just the industry. And as far as deportation rules are concerned they send you back to where you came from. In this case Dubai; doesn’t matter if he had a return ticket to Tahiti with Easy Jet. He has to go back to Dubai and unless theres no flight with emirates within 24 hours of deportation decision being made then he has to fly Emirates. (this is all in ICAO and IATA).

All costs are Edgar’s liability its in the terms and conditions. People you can scream bloody murder all you want but if you don’t agree to the contract don’t buy the ticket.

(insert here paranoid delusional statement that I am EK management bully and paid to post etc. etc.)

My response:

nobody here actually argued that these are not the rules, we talked about the abuse of these rules.

  1. Edgar was told that EK will pay for his ticket, so he was deceived
  2. His passport was held by the company instead by the immigration authority
  3. Contract between a passenger and airline does state that pax has to pay for a deportation, but it doesn’t state holding a passenger as a hostage until he pays

Does this contract says what are legal means to use if passenger refuses to pay?

In EK’s favour:

A. One may say deceived, one may say victim of incompetence.

B. Dubai Authorities have no legal right to hold his passport at all and are not a party to his deportation or his monetary conflict. the most they can do is dictate what sort of care he should receive (e.g. the meal vouchers), or arrest him for breach of contract or being unable to pay his bills so to speak (absolutely not a better alternative). On a side note Dubai Airports do have staff whose job it is to try and sort out these sorts of conflicts between passengers and airlines. Perhaps he can try to avail himself to these individuals.

C. Holding passenger hostage is very emotive language, intended to illicit certain emotional reactions, rather than a rational argument. I do not condone these actions but sadly EK (and the industry at large) are well within their rights, in these cases. Otherwise it wouldn’t happen.

This is a daily occurrence globally not a one off situation; you want to alert the media go ahead lets see who picks it up. And its not because of the all powerful EK machine threatening and using its titan like might to silence the media. Its because it happens everywhere and they’re not doing anything illegal. Whether it be unethical or immoral is a matter for debate.

And as to your final point; Yes in Dubai as in a lot of places you refuse to pay your bills you go to jail… is that what you really want for Edgar?

My response:

So, as I understand the situation, EK told Edgar that they will pay for his ticket back home and, therefore, they lied to him. Then EK has detainedhim at the airport for 6 days, forcing him to pay the bill. Tell me just one thing: who is EK to keep anyone in detention?

It was better for EK if they called Dubai authorities or Dubai Airports staff immediately after Edgar refused to pay, because they are the ones who, actually, have the authority to deal with it. Even if it means that Edgar could be arrested. At least he would be arrested by someone who has the right to do it. EK has no rights to arrest the passenger (which is what EK actually did in this case).

You still didn’t answer my question about legal means that EK can take after a passenger refuses to pay for ticket, stated in the contract?

You have hold a passenger for ransom. That is the only way to describe what you did. You took the justice in your hands (instead turning to legal authority), forcing a man, who didn’t commit any crime, to sleep on your chairs for 5 or so nights.

Me contacting newspapers? 🙂 You have got it wrong. My goal was to free Edgar from EK’s claws. This blog IS a form of newspapers. I am really surprised that you haven’t got it so far.

Edgar has the final word on your treatment of him. I am not interfering in that.

My response:

Also, whose “victim of incompetence”? EK staff’s?

* We don’t know these terms and conditions yet, since Emirates Airline didn’t provide a copy of a contract between them and a passenger nor answered our question about legal means which company can apply in these cases. 


8 responses to “Emirates Airline holds passengers as prisoners?

  • Anonymous

    Guys, there’s an interesting point here that everyone seems to have missed… Edgar was deported from Aus because (on his own version) they determined that he did not have sufficient funds to support himself while in the country. They also wouldn’t accept his explanation that he was going to use a credit card to cover his expenses there. Now, how is it that this credit card would have a sufficient credit line to pay for his couple weeks in Aus, but that the same card cannot be used to pay EK for his ticket??? There is more to this situation than meets the eye….


    • admindragana

      No, we didn’t miss it. We just respect Edgar’s decision not to pay for this ticket because he was told that this ticket is going to be paid by the company.

      It’s not our business why he was refused entry to Australia. Every human being has rights.

      Anyway, possession of a master card doesn’t necessarily mean that someone can afford to pay for the ticket.

      And finally, it’s not EK managers’s business if Edgar has a master card or not. Don’t miss a point here: Edgar was imprisoned by the company at Dubai Intl Airport.


  • iluvek

    GUYS….. Good to see the goons at EGHQ are awake and reading the blog. Well done! Najms for all. I suppose we have the good cop bad cop thing. Yawn. I guess you are trying the whole let us appear to be reasonable punt. YOU took his passport. Let EK show in its terms and conditions where it states that EK can hold his passport? Please keep writing in. Your arrogance is on display for the whole world to see. And now the WSJ. I am sure Edgar will tell us the full story and I doubt any of you will come up smelling of roses. Show us the evidence!! There is a lot more to this story than meets the eye. Hoe true. It will come out and I wonder which one of you will be the latest scapegoat that gets binned. Hello Tomorrow….


  • Anonymous

    Why should be believe Edgar that Emirates told him they will pay his ticket!!!???
    I worked in INAD office and I am very sure we never lie to passnger
    I work for Emirates and passenger lie all the times and you Drangana must have had so many of their lies any way..
    Am not here to defend any body but this whole case built on his side of the story and you decided to take the advantage and take it as a plus to your side and write more negative stuff about Emirates!!!
    If you were fare you would have not judged the case base on one party statement..
    you should be a neutral party in such cases can only publish trusted info..


  • Anonymous

    Emirates is not a charity..It is a company seeking financial profit and if the company to pay a ticket for every single case it would be a huge much of money that can be utilised some other areas..
    I do not have time to follow your blog and go with you on a debate on every thing you write but trust me if I had the time I will prove you and your readers that every thing happen in Emirates toward PASSENGER is following international rules and for a valid reason
    There are some flaws with the way they treat Staff “which is by the way not as bad as you put it on your blog”
    Other wise the company would have not lasted for the last 25 years on a continues success on a yearly bases..
    You are so young person driven by anger and hatred..
    Not you not me and not so of us would bring Emirates down..the game is so much bigger that It is international politics and economy that you do not know about..
    Even If Edgar calls up on his own country consulate they will perhaps do no thing because Its not much they can do but lending him the money..
    I would like to End up my writing by wishing you best of luck finding a job and leave this “bad experience” behind you
    And consider it a learning lesson for your future..


    • admindragana

      “Passengers lie all the time” statement is a proof what EK managers think of their passengers. Should I continue with answering your comment after this (public) statement?

      I should be very stupid to try to bring Emirates down. I tried to help them by helping their employees. I don’t even have to respond on your comments, 500 comments and stories on this blog speak for themselves.

      Maybe you shouldn’t work for INAD office if you see nothing wrong in keeping a passenger imprisoned for 6 days at the airport. And when you say “EK is not a charity” you miss the point (again). IT’S NOT ABOUT WHO SHOULD PAY THE TICKET, IT’S ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE ILLEGALLY HOLD THE PASSENGER AT YOUR PREMISES. If you wanted money for the ticket, you should have called police or sued the passenger. But you have NO RIGHTS to keep him as a prisoner. The more I repeat this I am more confident that you have no clue how to do your job and respect your customers.

      I didn’t take advantage on Edgar’s story. Edgar contacted me. Twice, because I didn’t publish his story first time. YOUR PASSENGER HAD TO SEEK FOR HELP FROM YOUR EX EMPLOYEE. How bad is this and how much this speaks of you?

      You are asking me why should I believe Edgar and I am asking you: why should I believe you? So far you didn’t present ANY evidence that you, as a company, have the right to imprison a person?

      I do not hate anyone. I fell pity for EK managers. They are ruining a company by their incompetence. But I am a little bit angry, yes. I was chased out, I was badly treated and my EOSB was not paid to me. Who wouldn’t be angry?

      I guess that we all have to learn something from this. Not only me.

      Company lasts for so many years, yet again in the last couple of years its managers managed to ruin almost everything that was built so far. I hope that Sheikh Ahmed is reading this blog. Every comment of EK manager troll is just an embarrassment for the company and further evidence that EK is rotten inside.


  • Edgar

    Dear “Anonymus”, seems like, you haven’t learned much about your fellow colegues, during your time at INAD office. Since you are very wrong with your presumption, that they wouldn’t lie to a passanger regarding the ticket payment. I have allready sent to Dragana the original email conversation between the office from Brisbane and the one from Dubai, in wich INAD office was asked for permission to issue a ticket for me, from Brisbane to OTP ( Bucharest, Ro) ,after they have contacted me and were aware that I don’t have the founds to pay for it. And ,I also have the name of the person, who took the decision not to allow it to happen. In other words the person , who is responsable for the tragic events from last week. So, if you are looking for lies,try to read a newspaper or maybe watch some TV, but don’t try to look for them in my story…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Iluvek

    Edgar. Please write your story for all to read. I have a number of suggestions as to how this gets taken forward. It will be hugely damaging to the liars at EK. Let us make sure the join the ranks of those celebrated stars, like Sophia, Katrina, Rick and hopefully a few more of the clowns in HRBS. Well done on coming by through this.



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