' from the backseat of an autorickshaw ' series / 🌎 travel

from the backseat of an autorickshaw: flying emirates and visiting dubai

backseat_auto2flying emirates dubai_tabWe chose to fly with Emirates after we swore not to ever again, after our experience two years ago on a previous journey overseas.

After having heated discussions about their abysmal customer service, we went against our gut instinct and booked our flight with Emirates again. Why? Flying from the US to India is a LONG trip. The Emirates route included only one connection in Dubai, while Singapore Airlines, our first choice, had two before reaching India. This would’ve been fine—except it’s much more difficult with little ones in tow.


How bad was the service, you ask?

The flight attendants took about 1.5 hours before they cleared away our meal trays. Where the hell where we supposed to put anything?!

They never came when we pushed the service button. NEVER.

When we inquired about how to fill out a particular part of the customs form to re-enter the US, the flight attendant—I kid you not—literally rolled her eyes at us and huffed that she had to ask someone.

The same attendant came around at one point and asked if I had ordered the tea she had balanced on a tray. I had no memory of doing so, but thought this could be due to jet lag. Then it occured to me that perhaps it was the elderly woman next to me. When the woman said yes, I told the attendant who—wait for it—rolled her eyes because she had to go back up the way she came to reach the other aisle.

Maybe she just had something in her eye??

This horrible service was present on both legs of our journey: San Francisco to Dubai, and Dubai to Kochi, and back again.

boarding passes_f

Why am I talking about this now, and how is the current journey going, you ask?

I’m in shock, really. Just a far, FAR cry from two years ago. I don’t know if Emirates provided sensitivity training to all its employees or terminated the crappy ones, but we’re having a very pleasant flight! Yes, I’m truly shocked!

Flight attendants are coming and clearing debris and trays and have even provided me with water in the galley with a smile when I requested some for the kids’ milk. They came around earlier with stuffed toys and coloring books to keep Pumpkin occupied during the flight. (She tossed them aside, but I still appreciated the gesture.) During this SFO-DXB leg,  one attendant even took the kids’ photos and placed them in separate Emirates frames as a souvenir for us. Anytime we’ve had a question, we have been greeted with a smile and given a polite response.

I don’t really want to go on and on about how awesome Emirates is this time around. They’re not paying me to write this blog post. But would I fly with them again? Sure, why not? Would I enter Dubai, hang out for a couple of days, then continue on to Kochi? Umm, been there, done that, will never do it again unless I am forced to.

Dubai is super anti-Indian and we were definitely treated like a second-class minority by most people. It wasn’t always via a direct comment, more like a weird feeling that you are looked upon as those Indians.

I never wrote a post on our trip to Dubai two years ago, since this blog was not up and running yet. Even though it’s a cool place to see and there is a lot of development and opulence, as well as being my first trip to the Middle East, I most likely will not be going back.

Yeah, Emirates is definitely NOT paying me to write this. Meh.

Next: From The Backseat Of An Autorickshaw: Jet Lag and Humid Temps


11 thoughts on “from the backseat of an autorickshaw: flying emirates and visiting dubai

  1. Pingback: Intro to ‘From The Backseat Of An Autorickshaw’ | The Haute Mommy Handbook

  2. Pingback: Haute Mommy How-To: Air Travel With Your Toddler and Preschooler—International Version | The Haute Mommy Handbook

  3. you should look up discussion boards about Emirates. There is no way to officially prove anything but there are TONS of people who claim to notice two things
    1.) if you’re not Arab the airlines treats you like shit
    2.) If you sit in economy the airline doesn’t care. As far as Emirates is concerned if you’re not First or Business class flyer you have no business being on their plane.

    Just type in Emirates discrimination on Google and you’ll see pages after pages of it

    • HOLY HECK were you on our flight with us?!

      That is EXACTLY what we experienced 2 years ago. Thankfully we were luckier this time around!

      You would think that the people who make up 2/3 of the passenger list would matter a little bit 😐 Next time, I’m taking down names.

      • haha! you can take names but i doubt its going to help any. Corporate probably won’t care either. They’re the ones who create the standards, everyone else just follows it.

        I would recommend not flying through the middle east at all. but if you have to do Etihad.

        I know you didn’t like a 2 connection flight but there are flights to India on some really great airlines

        Air France, Cathay Pacific, Singapore, and Lufthansa all fly there. Yeah you’ll have an extra connection, but the service will make the experience so great you won’t care. Especially if you can snag a premium economy seat at a good price

        But most importantly Virgin Atlantic flies there. if you ever have a route that has Virgin on it, always go for it

        • Wow, These are all really good tips! Service does really make the longer flight worthwhile, that’s definitely true. I’ve only begun hearing about Etihad, maybe I’m the last one out there, lol. I’ll look into them, and Virgin for sure. 🙂

          • no Etihad is still kind of under the radar. Etihad has only been around since 2003 but its starting to make a big splash and its finally giving Emirates a run for its money.

            The only problem with Etihad is that its still based in Abu Dhabi. So, if you take a moral stance against the UAE it won’t be an option

  4. We looked at Emirates when we flew into Bangalore in 2011 and had heard similar horror stories and opted to go with Qatar – it is the only way I will go back to India at this point. On Qatar and through Doha. While I am not super thrilled with going via Doha as a woman – it is shorter than going through Europe and the service was excellent. Of course, I’m on the opposite coast…:)

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