Sorry! Your child is not dead. Please fly with us again!

Mikey 6 comments
  • PR Disasters
Sorry! Your child is <u>not</u> dead. Please fly with us again!

I can only imagine this fathers grief. Briton Chris Miller was informed by the airline that the flight carrying his partner and children had been diverted due to a passenger falling ill. They also informed him his own children had been taken to hospital to be treated for chicken pox. The passenger who was ill actually died, but the airline contacted Mr Miller instead, and passed on details for "the undertakers dealing with the body".

They airline soon realised it's mistake and called Miller back immediately, but by that time he had already started grieving believing his child had died.

"Obviously, to Emirates, putting a family through absolute hell is worth nothing"


Not a Member!


Wednesday 9th April 2008 | 05:48 PM

Great communication on Emirates behalf!
I hope they compensate MAJORLY! I could not even imagine the horror the father went through. Unbelievable!

Not a Member!


Thursday 10th April 2008 | 12:12 AM

Yes, I am the person in the story. Thank you for your comments, they are very supportive and my Australian partner will appreciate seeing them after what she went through. The truth is actually a lot worse than the edited version the media have chosen to put forward. We could only tell the full story to journalists, we cannot control how they present it and clearly they are putting their own spin on it. That is how the media works. The media like a straightforward story but this was not a straighforward story. Consequently they cherry picked the story we went to them with and presented two parts - one part about the phone call and one part that we had been offered no compensation. The rest of the story was ignored or referred to without detail to produce a clearer story. What you may have read is therefore not the full story and you cannot fully comprehend what happened without understanding the whole picture. Emirates is a big multi national company that clearly thinks they can just do whatever it wants to its paying customers. We are an ordinary family that was thrust into exceptional events 1000's of miles from our home. We merely want people to be aware of what they did. We have no solicitor acting on our behalf, we are dealing with all the media ourselves in an attempt to show how any family could be treated by their incompetent staff. We have both travelled all over the world and used numerous airlines, we have never had cause to make a single complaint in all our years of travel. This was our first Emirates experience.

On arrival at Mumbai after a passenger became ill the airline removed my family from the flight as my son had developed a rash during the flight. They then put the safety of my partner and two young children at risk by driving them around Mumbai in a dangerous, old taxi without seat belts or doors that closed properly in the full sweltering heat of the day with no air conditioning. After 5 hours of suffering with these unacceptable conditions my Daughter also became ill (later that day it was diagnosed as a viral infection). If your child contracts chicken pox you might get a local GP to confirm it but instead of calling a doctor to look at him in the airport they took my partner and two young children (and of course very young children don't have fully developed immune systems and are always prone to picking up bugs), none of whom had any inoculations/anti-malarial protection across Mumbai to two municipal third world hospitals, exposing them to all kinds of potential diseases. The airline attempted to get our children admitted into a filthy third world hospital for 5 days as an adequate response to their condition (which we refused to agree to). They then had another two hours in a dangerous vehicle until they got into a hotel. As a consequence this caused both my young children to get additional severe respiratory infections which meant they were not well enough to return home even after my son had been cleared to do so over the chicken pox, and requiring both to have antibiotic treatments before they could fly.

I am sure you can appreciate how stressful it was for my partner to be on her own with two young children unexpectedly thrown into India and then come against bullying tactics which meant she was forced to travel across the city with strangers who she did not trust.

Yes, they called me up from India to tell me that one of my family was dead, in error. Instead of explaining that there had been a mistake they just put the phone down on me. 10 seconds or 10 minutes, 10 days does the time make any difference? If you are a parent believe me it makes no difference. Of course I was relieved to find out that they were alive. Emirates called me back but never explained to me about the first call or apologised. They called again I believe to see if they had made a mistake but certainly not to explain it, I had to work that out myself - they have never provided an explanation to this day. And they did not even say sorry at that point. I finally received an apology from UK staff after 4PM, 9 hours after the original call.

Yes they did fly me out BUT THIS WAS NOT COMPENSATION. Had I fancied a week stuck in Mumbai for a holiday maybe it could be considered compensation. My insurance company had agreed immediately to fly me out to help get my family home. Emirates also offered to do so but this gesture of course does not compensate us in any way - it merely enabled me to fix all the problems that they had created and get my family home.

Staff blatantly lied, were uncooperative, were unhelpful, failed to call me back when they said they would, provided no method of actually getting to speak to a senior member of staff to deal with the case and unbelievably initially told me that in what was an immediate emergency situation they hoped to get back to me with a response possibly within eight days - providing I put everything in writing by email to them.

Local staff in Mumbai stuffed up my families emergency visa status meaning we had to drag our children across Mumbai (a two hour journey each way) to spend a day in a government office to pay a £50 "fine" for them overstaying their emergency visas (because the kids had been made ill by Emirates actions they were unfit to fly for a further 5 days).

On the return flight home things directly in the control of the airline went from one problem to the next. They provided no food for our children for the whole day when they flew back to the UK, a flight which lasted 12 hours. The incompetent airline staff failed to re-book the original food we requested and paid for our children on the flights back from Mumbai. It was little surprise that both children arrived back in the UK totally stressed and in my daughters case physically ill once again. They then expected my three year old daughter to sit by herself on the flight from Dubai to Newcastle, putting us through the stress of having to argue and refusing to board the flight until the staff reluctantly sorted the problem out (after they once again lied to us, saying that the flight was full yet there were plenty of empty seats when we boarded) right upto the plane almost leaving. After all that had happened as a final insult the airline left our luggage behind in Dubai, so we had to wait and hour and a half in Newcastle Airport with two stressed kids only to find out our bags were not on the plane. The bags eventually arrived the next day, finally at our door after 5PM.

In addition Emirates cabin Staff subjected my partner to abuse. Cabin stuff vindictively harassed my partner and called her a bad mother as they mistakenly believed she had requested an upgrade to First Class for herself while flying to Australia in the first place!

When we got back to the UK I wrote to Emirates with a chronicle of all the events and appalling experiences they were responsible for. We pointed out that I had lost 8 days of work and we personally paid out over £900 in costs to keep my family in Mumbai and get them home - the delay in returning was after all the result of their local staff. We additionally asked for compensation for the stress, ill-health etc which all the family experienced. I can assure you there was no specific mention of the phone call in this request. The experiences of my partner and children in India were a lot worse. Our request for recompense was based on the whole of our experience on this journey, not one phone call. The airline wrote back and apologised for any inconvenience caused but refused us any compensation for anything which had happened. Airlines are a law unto themselves, they can treat people how they like with very little recourse if things go wrong.I don't think we were being at all unreasonable to expect that Emirates would compensate us accordingly for what was an extraordinary set of blunders. Instead Emirates dismissed us and the refusal to offer even a penny of compensation is an insult as it shows that they clearly don't value customers and consider our experience acceptable. Some gesture of compensation would have represented closure for the whole episode, offering nothing has left us angry and we were left with no option but to try and get back at the airline with the one thing left to us - bad publicity via the media.

Nice site by the way


Not a Member!


Thursday 10th April 2008 | 06:06 AM response to this comment by Chris. Hi Chris,

Thanks for putting that forward. I had a feeling there was more to the story than being let on.

I have 2 toddlers myself and I can only imaging how stressful it must have been having them in that situation. It certainly sounds like a piss-poor effort from everyone involved, from the airport staff to the flight staff. And Emirates sound very uncaring about the whole situation. I Hope they come to their senses (if they have any) for you. Feel free to let us know here if anything happens. I would love to know.

Rusty Lime Admin.

Not a Member!

Jaquie S.

Thursday 10th April 2008 | 08:12 AM

Chris that is quite a story! Give em hell!

Not a Member!


Thursday 10th April 2008 | 03:50 PM

I don't think the airline ever expected me to follow through my threat to go public. Perhaps they believe most people don't bother to follow up when push comes to shove, it is not a straightforward thing to do. I will post any update, although I suspect Emirates may be kicking themselves about the publicity I doubt they will change from their "final position" now. I have one more thing up my sleeve, so you just never know!

Because the story has been watered down some people have criticised us without knowing the full facts. Please feel free to put them right on our behalf if you see anything in the Australian media!

Nicole went over to Australia with the kids this time because her grandmother was terminally ill. We will have to travel to Australia on a regular basis to see her family for ever, but just not with Emirates!


Not a Member!


Thursday 10th April 2008 | 04:02 PM response to this comment by Chris. Thanks Chris. I will certainly set the record straight for you on this issue when needed. I would suggest you post the same information on other blogs that have mentioned this story as well, or just send them the link to this page:

If things start to get our of hand in any way and you want an online voice feel free to send me a message via the Contact page and I will gladly help you out.

Add a comment

Login to Rusty Lime

Not registered? | Forgot your Password? Cancel Login