Flying is one of my favourite activities. I love going on long-haul flights to far-away destinations. So it makes me extra sad when things don't go smoothly on the flight. It can literally ruin my holiday!
The flight that proved to be my worst flight, but thankfully didn't ruin my holiday, was my flight from Dubai (DXB) to London (LHR).
I was a transfer passenger as I was travelling from Dar Es Salaam (DAR) to London (LHR), with a short transfer in Dubai (DXB). The full journey was with Emirates, however the flight that would take me home was a code-share flight, operated by Qantas.
This would be the flight that I would remember as my worst flight ever.
It started with finding my gate. There were two flights boarding at exactly the same time, with exactly the same flight number, to exactly the same location. One gate was at one side of Dubai International Airport, the other gate on the opposite side of the airport. We managed to go to the wrong gate, so we had to run from one side of the airport to the other, in the oven that is Dubai International Airport. We finally got to the gate, which was packed already, and sat and waited. We soon realised that our flight still had a lot of time to board. We then boarded and got to our seats.
Our plane had come from Sydney so it was just stopping and letting off some passengers, whilst others remained. This must have meant that the cabin was not cleaned.
I went to sit in my front row seat and got a nasty surprise.
My seat was stained and moist, with gum on the belt buckle and a dirty blood-stained tissue in the side of the pocket. Not really what you want to see when you have an 8 hour journey in front of you!
I then asked to be moved to another seat as I couldn't possibly sit there. It was an actual health hazard!
However, there seemed to be many other people with issues on this flight. Lots of people wanted to be moved. So they found me seats in the row behind, but the leg room was unbelievable!
I actually felt claustrophobic and thought I was going to have a panic attack!
That was the only place to sit though. So we sat there. The cabin crew did deal with it really well and were very apologetic but I was so annoyed, I could only see red.
I then asked to speak to the manager (Oliver) to complain and get the severity of the issue reported as well. That should not be happening because I have now lost my leg room and I am going to be uncomfortable for 8 hours. He took about 20 minutes to see me.
What a bad manager!
His attitude was disgusting and he didn't care at all. He almost bypassed the matter and didn't even care! However, once he had finished talking to us, he spoke to an elderly Australian couple a few rows back. He spoke in the most kindest and sincerest of ways!
I was disgusted and angry!
He was quite clearly racist because he continued this same behaviour with the other "white" people that had had an issue. I confronted him about it and he just disregarded it. I took all his details down.
I then sat and was actually close to crying, due to everything that had gone on!
To make matters worse, when I came home, I logged a complaint, which Qantas, to this day, have not responded to.
The only reprieve was the kindness and support of the other cabin crew, who offered me as many snacks as I wanted and checked up on me frequently.
What I took away from the whole experience is what really mattered. It was a mixture of many lessons but the most important one, in this situation, was staff training.
Incidents like this, or similar, will happen. However, how these incidents are dealt with, makes or breaks a passenger's experience. Due to the actions of the crew manager, a bad situation just got worse. Had he dealt with the situation in a much better way, I may be the most loyal Qantas passenger, encouraging people to use their services.
Bad passenger experience is not just with the one passenger, it continues to affect other passengers' view of the airline. This is true with me as well, because I made sure that everyone I knew, knew about my experience with Qantas.
I knew that I couldn't allow this to happen to more people and have brands lose their power, due to issues that can easily be remedied. I had to do something to change the passenger experience and that's why I created FlyUnknown.
Find out more on www.flyunknown.com.