Will his Emirates nightmare end in a big cash award?

Will his Emirates nightmare end in a big cash award?

A disorderly passenger fell on top of Omer Abdullah during his recent flight to Pakistan. Although he didn’t see a doctor for any of the in-flight injuries he says he received, he wants $25,000 for his Emirates nightmare experience.

And he wants our advocacy team to help him get it.

This case is one in a growing trend of consumers who contact us with unreasonable requests for compensation and demands that we just can’t support.

An Emirates nightmare

Abdullah was traveling to Pakistan to attend his son’s wedding when his Emirates nightmare began. He said that he had just fallen asleep when a drunk passenger began causing a commotion in the aisle.

“He did not attack me per se, but, standing only a few inches from me, he attacked another passenger,” Abdullah reported. “I became a victim of his flailing arms.”

Abdullah went on to explain that this passenger fell on top of him. This caused him pain in his knee that continued for the rest of the flight.

And although the Emirates flight staff gained control of the drunk traveler, they did so by changing the seating arrangements to separate the troublemaker from other passengers. This shuffling further inconvenienced Abdullah.

“Both my wife and I were forced to give up our seats so that the individual and his mother could sit together,” Abdullah reported. “We were left to sit in the flight crew’s upright seats for a considerable time.”

Documenting in-flight injuries

When he landed, Abdullah thought that  Emirates should have provided some medical attention for his injuries. It didn’t. So he boarded his connecting flight and headed to his son’s wedding preparations in Karachi.

And he never visited a doctor at any time for the injuries that he says caused him discomfort for 15 days. The injuries for which he now wants the airline to pay him $25,000.

Back home in the United States, Abdullah began an ill-advised crusade to receive compensation for his Emirates nightmare flight.

In the paper trail that Abdullah forwarded to me, he broke almost every “rule” of self-advocacy. He wrote lengthy letters to Emirates filled with insults and accusations. In those complaints, he made vague legal threats and intimated all manner of FAA violations and ended with his unreasonable demand.

In this small excerpt, Abdullah explains many of the shortcomings of this Emirates flight crew:

First, Emirates was negligent in failing to properly screen the passengers that were allowed on board for intoxication. This is in violation of FAA regulations.

Your negligence placed all of the passengers, including myself, in a dangerous position. It was entirely foreseeable that the incident would occur. Unfortunately, my wife and I were the ones who became the victims of your negligence.

Additionally, in further violation of FAA regulations, the flight crew was negligent by continuing to serve the violent passenger alcohol. Then he became so impaired as to put the entire flight at risk. Not only is this negligence, but also it shows a lack of proper training of the flight crew.

How to avoid making self-advocacy mistakes

A fabulous article to consult prior to beginning any self-advocacy campaign would be our publisher, Christopher Elliott’s article on fixing your own consumer problem.

Christopher points out that having a laundry list of grievances in a lengthy letter of complaint will almost certainly doom your chances of a favorable self-advocacy outcome.

However, the number one problem with Abdullah’s complaint was the lack of any proof of injury. If you want an airline to give you $25,000 in damages, you most certainly will need to provide evidence of your in-flight injuries.

The Montreal Convention and in-flight injuries 

Article 17 of the Montreal Convention, of which Pakistan is a member, describes an airline’s responsibility for the death or injury of a passenger on board an aircraft during an international flight:

The carrier is liable for damage sustained in the case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking.

The passenger must provide proof of the in-flight injury.

In fact, Emirates responded to Abdullah’s letters by repeatedly requesting his medical bills so that the airline could consider them. But he had none. In his response to Emirates, he explained what he really wanted from the airline:

The issue is not my medical treatment in Pakistan. The compensation I am seeking is not for medical bills. Upon arrival in Pakistan I was immediately involved in wedding events. I was unable to seek treatment. Instead I treated the injuries on my own with ice, over the counter medications, and rest. I request that Emirates compensate me for the physical pain and mental suffering that I endured during the entire ordeal and afterwards. As a result of my in-flight injuries, I had discomfort during the once-in-a-lifetime event of my son’s wedding.

Because Abdullah has no medical bills, Emirates is refusing to further consider his claim.

Our advocacy team must dismiss his case as well. We aren’t a law firm, and we can’t take “pain & suffering” cases in which the damages are dubious or undefined.

This Emirates nightmare case isn’t the first of its type here

Abdullah is not the first consumer to contact us with a request for big money for in-flight injuries with no supporting medical reports.

Last year, Mei Le asked me to help her get $100,000 for her “near-fatal” in-flight injury aboard Hawaiian Airlines. That complaint went nowhere after her doctor provided a short note that her near-fatal injury was actually just a tiny bruise on her knee.

Not very near-fatal at all. And definitely not a $100,000 injury.

And Sin Nga Ho contacted our advocacy team recently with a request for $5,000 from Swiss International for her in-flight injury. She also was unable to see a doctor because of her need to catch a connecting flight. But she wanted us to ask the airline to cough up the cash after she said a flight attendant allowed a heavy bag to fall out of an overhead bin onto her head.

These cases all land in our Case Dismissed folder because they are unreasonable requests. We are here to advocate for consumers who have been unfairly treated by a company — not to strong-arm an airline to offer cash rewards for damages with no medical documentation of an injury.

Should I have asked Emirates to consider Abdullah's $25,000 compensation request?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Underwritten by

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

%d bloggers like this:
This free newsletter will save you from scams.