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Tears and light fingers cast shadow on Emirates

July 12, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

Emirates is under fire on two fronts, with a young Australian trainee flight attendant accusing the airline of firing her after she fell down the stairs, and a couple claiming to have had AUD 4000 stolen from their carry-on luggage while they flew in an ultra-luxurious Emirates first class suite.

The two cases are separate but news of them has surfaced over the past week.

Ciara Burke, 23, from Perth, a former nurse, was training to be a fully fledged member of Emirates cabin crew. Her hopes of a permanent job with the highly regarded airline were dashed when she fell down a flight of stairs at the airline’s training facility in her uniform’s red heels, she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Burke says she was fired after taking time off to recover from severe, though temporary, injuries to her back, leg and ankle.

Before her fall, Burke had spent almost six months working on flights to Europe, Africa and the Middle East, drawing high praise from colleagues and using her nursing skills when called upon to give injections to two travellers suffering separate medical emergencies, the Herald said.

Later, when the injury left her foot in a cast and then a moon boot, she couldn’t work.

Burke says she was warned she could be fired and was a “ball of tears” while she waited for the verdict. Then it came. As her friends graduated on 13 April 2017, she was told her contract had been terminated because she had taken too much approved leave and sick leave.

Burke claims she was given seven days to pack up her life in Dubai, having been told her accident had not been classified as an industrial injury. Unions are illegal in Dubai and the definition of workplace accident is different to that in Australia.

MEANWHILE, on the passenger front, a couple claims someone stole almost AUD 4000 from their carry-on luggage in opulent Emirates first class.

Auckland couple Steve Hay and his partner Andy were reported to have spent over AUD 25,000 on a first class flight home with Emirates after three weeks touring Europe.

The reason they were carrying so much cash in their carry-on was because they did some expensive shopping in France, and were able to recoup their tourist tax. They say the airport insisted on paying cash so they ended up with EUR 2674 (almost AUD 4000) in their carry-on baggage. They stowed this in their first class suite on their Paris-Dubai Emirates flight on 30 June 2017. The money was secure, or so they thought.

The couple say they found after a night’s sleep that all the money was gone. Only EUR 4 had been left behind and they have no clue as to who was responsible.

“We spent the most hideous hour of our life waiting for the plane to land,” Hay told the New Zealand Herald.

“You wouldn’t expect on first-class return airfares that you’d have to secure your valuables when you wander to the bar.”

Hay says he is certain it was theft, despite the airline referring to it as “missing cash” as if it had got lost. The couple made a formal complaint to Emirates and say the airline replied as follows:

“Emirates does not accept liability for personal items missing onboard the flight. Some of the loss may be covered by your household or travel insurance policy. Therefore, may I suggest that you contact your Insurers who may be able to assist you with your claim.

“We appreciate your support as a valued Gold Skywards passenger. I hope this unfortunate incident has not marred your impression of Emirates. We look forward to welcoming you on board Emirates flights in the future.”

Hay described the airline’s attitude as “laughable” although he isn’t laughing.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Paul Ramsay says:

    Surprise surprise

    My name is Paul Ramsay, owner manager TASA and the Australian Football League Event Office. For more than 30 years as a Director of my Company I have been a fantastic supporter of Emirates and our track record, loyalty and commitment is impressive and their records would support this.

    I recently return from LND with Emirates, travelling in first class and I also had some belongs disappear during my flight. (flight details attached)

    When I boarded the plane, an Emirates crew member kindly suggested that I store my luggage (1 small carry on suit case and a normal size backpack) in an empty first class seat directly behind my allocated seat. At the time I thought that this was a great idea. I’m way over 6 feet and weight 115ks so why not free up some space.

    (note: there was only myself, my wife and 3 other passengers traveling first class)

    I placed a leather ticket wallet containing my passport, business cards and a mixture of AUD, USD and Euro currency into my backpack all secured but not locked with pad locks.

    I was escorting an incentive and conference group of 118 paxes outbound from WA through to NYC then onto London. The entire group travelled Emirates in both economy class and business class of various services pre and post my actual travelling dates.

    When I arrived at the Perth International airport I retrieved my passport from my backpack for obvious reasons and noticed my leather ticket wallet was missing. I’m totally 100% convinced that my passport was enclosed within my ticket wallet (I have had this behaviour and specific ticket wallet for more than 18 years when travelling and escorting groups) and although it was a long flight, I slept most of the way. At the time of retrieving my passport in the Perth International arrival terminal, I search my backpack looking for my ticket wallet only to discover it was missing. An hour later, when I return home, I once again searched everywhere and to this day it’s remains a mystery……………Until I read an article that you published that relates to another passenger namely Mr Steven Hay most recent experience.

    I’m joining the dots together here, because for the past month I still can’t recall how I would have lost my ticket wallet on board an Emirates flight when travelling in First Class.

    I find this news and experience extremely disturbing, over to you Peter.

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