Lost Luggage Tarnishes Reputation of Leading Airline, Emirates

One of the world’s leading airlines is at the center of a lost luggage debacle, after a businessman had his claim for compensation rejected, despite losing everything but the clothes on his back during an eight-day business trip.

Abrar Khan’s luggage was lost en route to Emirates’ flagship aviation hub in Dubai, one of the world’s most high-tech and forward-thinking airports. The businessman had to cancel his eight-day trip immediately, and with no emergency assistance, no refund for his subsequent missed flights, and no confirmation from Emirates that he would be compensated for the baggage loss, he decided to take the issue further and call out one of the biggest names in commercial aviation.

Mr Khan says, “After a number of weeks, Emirates failed to locate the suitcase and declared it lost – but they also advised that they would not be able to compensate me because the contents were of an unreasonably high value. Considering I only had two suits and six shirts and associated accessories in the suitcase, I found this hard to believe.”

The dispute continued for weeks, with more than 100 emails exchanged between Emirates and their former customer. Mr Khan sent receipts and proof of purchase for all of his belongings, but Emirates still felt they were not required to provide an apology or any form of compensation. After much consideration by Mr Khan, he took the issue to the small claims court.

Emirates made every effort to complicate the case, claiming they hadn’t received certain correspondence – but the day before the trial was due to commence, Mr Khan received an offer to settle to the maximum value. Crucially, however, the settlement did not amount to legal fees, which had risen to around £3,000 by this point, as a result of Emirates’ unwillingness to cooperate. James Hart (Fountain Court Chambers) defending for Emirates advised the court this offer was only sent after they received confirmatory evidence of the suitcases’ contents as part of the legal bundle sent to the courts, which was in direct contradiction to Emirates own arguments filed with the courts months before the offer.

Luckily, Mr Khan had expert small claims lawyer Nisar Ahmed Khan on his side – a senior partner at BRM Legal, a Coventry law firm. Mr Nisar Khan said, “This is a clear case of a very large organization ‘bullying’ a passenger that they left in a foreign country with nothing but the clothes on his back. They failed to address his pleas for assistance and blamed him for the loss. Although my client has been awarded the maximum amount for his claim, I feel legislation should be re-written to provide better protection for passengers in foreign countries.”

Though Mr Khan eventually won out and managed to wrestle compensation from the renowned airline, he wants to raise awareness for situations like this and call for a rise in customer service when passengers are left stranded. He says, “Lost luggage can be a nightmare. I was relatively lucky that my suitcase had items that were all replaceable – I know other people who have lost expensive gadgets, sentimental keepsakes and other important possessions that can not been replaced. Airlines must take responsibility for their passengers, supporting and compensating them when one of their processes fails.” 

To find out more, get in touch with Nisar Ahmed Khan (nakhan@brmlegal.co.uk) at BRM Legal, website: http://www.brmlegal.co.uk.