Our Nightmare with Etihad Airways!

By Sanket Shah

Ankita and I were on a Bombay-Abu Dhabi-London-Dublin flight last night at 9:15 PM on 5th November 2018 through Etihad Airways Flight EY 203. We were not allowed on the flight after a series of events listed below.

1 — Around 6:15 PM we were at the Bombay airport for our 9:15 PM flight.

2 — At the baggage check-in counter, we explained to the staff that we will be getting off at London and so we will not check-in the luggage. He (check-in staff) issued the boarding passes. After which he consulted his senior Ryan D’Souza who canceled those set of boarding passes. We explained the entire matter to Ryan D’Souza, who then issued another set of boarding passes to us up till Dublin and said we can do whatever we want after we get onto the flight. The question here is that the staff does not issue boarding passes without knowing the rules fully well. Further, in case of doubts they are immediately supposed to consult their seniors, not after the passengers have crossed security. This was a very time sensitive matter. Had we known that we were not getting onto our original flight, we would have booked tickets to London on the same flight, so that at least our return flights wouldn’t be affected.

3 — A small incident took place here. We took a long time at the check-in counter and so the other passengers waiting asked us what the matter was. We said we changed our travel plans and we don't know what is the problem with that. Here Ryan D’Souza intervened and started alleging us for bad-mouthing his brand (Etihad Airways). We did not say anything that would defame Etihad Airways or influence other passengers traveling by it. (This can be verified by CCTV footage)

4— We received our boarding passes and headed to Security. After clearing security we were waiting for our turn with the Immigration Officer. During this, another staff (Abdul Ashiqui) of the Etihad Airways approached us and took us out of the immigration queue telling us that we were not traveling. He took away our boarding passes, canceled them and took us back to the Check-in counter. (This can be verified by CCTV footage, security gate register where an entry was made canceling our boarding passes)

5 — At the Check-in counter we met Prachi Bhatt, the Duty Manager. She was briefed about the case by Ryan D’Souza. She said we were not allowed to travel due to security reasons. Ryan D’Souza pointed out to her that we were defaming the Etihad brand as we were chatting with the fellow passengers. The time was roughly 8:15 PM by then. We had valid visas for UK and Ireland, we were hand carrying our luggage, we had cleared security. We explained everything to her and asked her to help us.

6 — She said you must go all the way to Dublin, and take a flight back to London the same day and she would issue the boarding passes once the tickets were booked (Dublin to London) This can be verified by viewing the recording of Abdul Ashiqui below. We agreed and started booking our tickets at 8:22 PM. She said you have 10 minutes to book tickets and we will let you in. Ryan D’Souza was waiting right there while we booked our ticket's worth INR 11,000 (120 Euros). He saw us book tickets and pay for them, it was 8:30 PM (proof of ticket reflecting time attached below). He said right after that the counters were closed and walked away. We pleaded him, begged him and he still wouldn’t move. He clearly made it an ego issue. (This can be verified by CCTV footage)

7 — Ryan D’Souza also told us that they had a 4 AM flight to Abu Dhabi that they would put us on.

8 — All the staff went to the boarding gates for departure. We waited at the information desk and tried to contact the Duty Manager several times. She either did not answer or cut the call knowing it was us. She refused to meet us or speak to us and left for the day. Ryan D’Souza also did not come to see us after the flight took off.

9 — Abdul Ashiqui, Etihad staff came to meet us at 12 AM and told us he was here to exit us from the Airport. The reason he gave us was that we had booked the tickets after the counter closed and so we were not allowed to board the flight. (recording attached)

10 — We spoke to the Etihad call center (Employee Rajesh), the Terminal In-charge (Amit Patel), they all told us that the Etihad duty manager and staff refused to get on a call with them. They also said they could put us on a 4 AM flight to London if the duty manager gave consent. The duty manager and the staff refused to come to meet us, speak to us or provide us reasons as to why we were not allowed on the flight.

11 — We waited and now we have lost all the money! I request all of you have saved every penny to travel to share this story and to help us. No one deserves this! It is all hard earned, money as well as leaves.

12 — Attaching all the details here:

a) Abdul Ashiqui’s audio recording where he is talking about how we were not able to book the flights at 8:30 PM.

b) The above is the time of email — 8:31 PM — Please note that tickets were booked at before that, email usually has a leg. Please note that, they did not let us on the flight because we booked these tickets later than 8:30 — Audio Recording is mentioned above.

c) Details of losses incurred:

Ryan Air Tickets — Dublin — London and London to Dublin

London Booking INR 9,756
Dublin Booking 1– INR 4,281
Dingle Booking — INR 698
Dublin Booking 2 — INR 9155

d) Visa copy:

e) Total Cost — 1.4 lac + all the harrassment and a cancelled trip that a lot effort, salary and office leaves to waste. I please request everyone to share this and help us out. Thank you. No written reasons for not putting us on the plane were provided.