Tag Archives: Denied Boarding

How EKAS management decided to increase its profit by sudden changing of baggage allowance policy

I consider the disclosure of the following information as being fair towards EK passengers and towards ground staffs who are still struggling to charge excess baggage at Dubai International Airport.

Passenger at the DXB International Airport can notice huge baggage belts which can be rarely seen at other airports. This is because excess baggage is usual in DXB, especially with Asian travellers who are going back home after long and hard work in UAE.

When I had the training for check-in my trainers told me that I can wave off maximum 2 kilos of my passenger’s excess baggage, but only if I consider it safe and necessary. By practising this “2 kilos off” rule in years, EK has promoted forgiveable excess of 2 kilos; so allowed 30 kilos in economy class became allowed 32 kilos over the years.


Suddenly, in just one day, everything changed for staff and, which is much worse, for passengers. Check-in agents got the instruction to charge EVERY kilo and to give NOTHING for free and there was an obligation to check and tag hand baggage and this obligation didn’t exist before. We supposed to charge absolutely every kilo of excess with no mercy and average price of one excess kilo is 25 euros.

This is a regular procedure at the other airports, but let’s not forget: DXB airport is specific because many people have excess baggage, including big and overweighted hand baggage, and they were allowed to carry it for years. Sudden decision of the management to charge every kilo brought a lot of headache to check-in agents who were getting accusations on a regular basis that they are “rude”, “discriminative”, “racist” and “malicious” for not allowing two additional kilos or big hand baggage. The job of a check-in agent, which was unbearable and exhausting anyway due to tiring shifts with no breaks and awful management treatment, became a nightmare once all of these “fights” with passengers occurred on a daily basis.


Understandably, passengers who are loyal to the company for years and who are used to travel with few kilos extra, suddenly felt betrayed and robbed, and, understandably, the first points of expressing their anger were check-in counters.

While staff had to charge excess kilos, passengers were facing unannounced and unfair impost on their few kilos more, especially on the hand baggage, since management ordered measuring every single piece of hand luggage that passes through the immigration point. This is not only aggressive but also very humiliating for the passengers, as every customer has to stand in the long line to check-in first and then in another line to weight their hand luggage. Passengers certainly feel like they are criminals who want to smuggle something past the strict staff who have to either weight the baggage or face the harassment of their bosses because they let excess weight baggage to pass the immigration.

This inconsiderate and greedy decision of EKAS management made the lives of check-in agents even more miserable and customers disappointed and angry and I was surprised to find out that nobody actually cares! Staff is in every day problem of how to explain the customer that they HAVE to pay the excess, without being punished when customer complains on them, because almost every customer’s complaint on the staff is almost an automatic punishment for the staff. These are unendurable conditions for work, and management didn’t care neither for angry passengers nor staffs who were exhausted and totally demotivated by this new situation where they were controlled every day (like in prison) if they are charging the excess and tagging the hand baggage.


This is just another example of Emirates Management incapability to implement good customer service strategy or to motivate its staff to do good job with the customers.

Eventually, this situation turned into a circle of frustrated passengers, indifferent and numb check-in agents and furious managers.

Emirates Airline management is simply failing to provide an excellent customer service and has no contact with the airport reality.


Denied boarding compensation in Emirates Airline

Since many people are sending me e-mails and asking me about confusing denied boarding procedure in Emirates Airline I will try to clarify things here.

Denied boarding in Emirates Airline is different than in Europe or USA. In UAE they don’t have to pay you a compensation if you don’t get a seat on the booked flight.

The whole procedure is called “The freedom to choose” (and there is even a brochure with the same name that you get from your EK agent), while there is nothing to choose, actually.

This is what happens in economy class denied boarding counters:

If the flight is “overbooked” (it means that EK sold more tickets than there are seats in the plane) you will be asked to volunteer to take the next available flight. Now, there is a discrepancy between what the brochure says and what the company actually does. Brochure says that if you agree to be a volunteer you are eligible for 100 AED duty free voucher (higher value for higher classes). If you get the seat on the booked flight after the flight closure time, you will get a boarding pass and an opportunity to spend the duty free voucher air-side or on board. If your boarding is denied at the flight closure time (there is no seat for you), besides the duty free voucher, you get a free ticket (same as your booked one) and, under certain conditions, a free hotel room, transport to the hotel and a telephone call.

If you don’t want to volunteer, staff will try to find you a seat on your booked flight, since non-volunteers have higher priority than volunteers to get the seat.

In reality, volunteers often get nothing for their volunteering, except the free ticket (and a hotel/transport/call), which already belongs to them anyway (by the law). It turns out that it is better not to volunteer during the denied boarding procedure since non-volunteers have more chances to get the seat on the booked flight and in the case they don’t get it, the compensation is the same like for those who volunteered.

I guess you have to ask for the brochure and read it carefully if you are denied boarding in EK.

Hope this helps.