My First Emirates Experience (and Losing Our Luggage)

Emirates Bags Luggage by Natalie Parker

Mr. P and I flew from Cape Town, South Africa to the Maldives on Emirates.  Instead of just telling the story about how they didn’t deliver our bags, here are several thoughts about our first Emirates experience.

What I thought we’d get: I’ve said it before — travel is all about what your expectations are going in.  I’m not going to book a bus ride across rural China and complain that my seat was stuck in recline the whole time (true story) because my expectations were on point.  In my mind, I thought flying Emirates and transiting the Dubai airport would be a 21st century experience.

Our Routing: We had a 10-hour flight from Cape Town and a 1.5-hour layover in Dubai.  After that, we had a 4-hour flight to Malé, the capital of the Maldives.  Both of our flights were Economy.

Service & Entertainment Great:  I’ve never seen such choice in seatback entertainment.  It was fabulous.  The service was great and attentive.  Also, I’ve never seen real flatware in economy before: neat!

Being Squeezed into a Seat:  Most of the raves I read about Emirates are from miles and points junkies who fly business or first.  If you are flying economy, it’s a totally different story.  Emirates squeezes an extra seat into each row compared to other carriers (though sadly, other carriers may start imitating).  I couldn’t figure out why I was so uncomfortable until Mr. P pointed out that there were 10 seats to a row.

20-Minute Bus Ride to Terminal:  I couldn’t wait to see the terminal, I figured it’d be over the top.  Emirates is one of the world’s leading airlines and this was their home base.  Yeah, no.  Ever wonder what it’s like to unload a 777 onto buses?  File that under things-I-never-wanted-to-experience.  I’m just guessing here: do they have so much traffic at the airport that they don’t have enough gates?  A 777 is a big plane!  Plus, it was parked goodness-knows-where and it took 20 minutes on the bus to get to the terminal.  We had to run for our gate and didn’t get to check out the terminal at all.  We were pretty pissed.

And Then Our Bags Didn’t Make it:  I expected Emirates at its home airport to have a smooth operation.  A 1.5-hour layover should be plenty of time for me to get to my gate and for my bags to make it on the plane.  When we landed in Malé, our bags didn’t make it (despite the “Rush” tags pictured above).  Even worse, they didn’t even put our bags on the next flight to Malé.  They were put on a flight way later in the day and it was too late for them to be delivered to our hotel, so we couldn’t get our stuff until the next morning.

I’ll clarify: our bags weren’t “lost,” as I’m sure Emirates knew where they were the whole time.  But, it’s hard to fit “possible operational difficulties made it impossible to get our bags” in a headline.

If a flight is delayed and bags don’t make it, I get it.  But the entire experience connecting in Dubai left a bad taste in my mouth.  I’ll think twice before flying them again.  I can’t stress enough how important expectations are.  If someone had told me, “hey, connecting in Dubai is a shitshow because they have too much traffic,” I probably would have a different outlook.  I’m surprised at how well Emirates markets their image!



2 thoughts on “My First Emirates Experience (and Losing Our Luggage)

  1. Argh! I’ve experienced that busing in a few places in the US and Europe. It is TERRIBLE and seems to happen during weather extremes (making it even more lovely). I also was privileged enough to experience it off of a big plane at Heathrow. Boooo! Luckily it was my destination. But it took forever and was an unpleasant ending to a long flight. Also aren’t we all squished enough with nine seats in a row?!

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